Manitoba Historical Society
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Historic Sites of Manitoba: Sourisford Linear Burial Mounds (Municipality of Two Borders)

The mounds at this site, near the town of Melita in the Municipality of Two Borders, are remnants of the largest concentration of ancient burial mounds in Canada. During the early 20th century, curious European settlers and archeologists excavated some of the mounds, looking for clues to their origin. Our present understanding derives from the early archeological work by Chris Vickers and Richard Stockton “Scotty” MacNeish (1918-2001), supplemented by later work of Dr. Leigh Syms, who speculates that Siouxian people buried their winter casualties here, coinciding with the spring migration route of bison herds.

The mounds at this site in the Souris River valley were constructed between 900 and 1400 AD, and vary in size and shape up to large composites joined by long grades. Most were built above the flood plain and have one or more circular or oblong central pits covered by clay, poles, and sods. Artifacts found in the mounds have included stone tablets, clay mortuary vessels, and shell gorget masks made from Gulf Coast conch shells.

A commemorative plaque was erected in late 2012 and visitors are asked to respect the archeological integrity of this important site.

Sourisford Linear Burial Mounds

Sourisford linear burial mounds (September 2012)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Sourisford Linear Burial Mounds

Sourisford linear burial mounds (September 2021)
Source: Rose Kuzina

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N49.11686, W101.01711
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Manitoba Plaques for Persons, Events and Sites of National Historic Significance

Sourisford Linear Burial Mounds, Turtle Mountain - Souris Plains Heritage Association.


We thank Rose Kuzina for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 29 March 2022

Historic Sites of Manitoba

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