“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Pierre in Hughes County, South Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

Turtle Effigy

Turtle Effigy Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Ruth VanSteenwyk, July 18, 2017
1. Turtle Effigy Marker
Effigies are patterns on the land made by the careful placement of stones. There are over one hundred effigies in South Dakota. Created by American Indians, little is understood about the effigies. Archaeologists believe some mark significant places, people, or events. Other effigies may have aided hunting or held spiritual power. Many different stories are often associated with an effigy. The historical marker on this site shares one of the legends associated with the turtle effigy.

One effigy may look different from one researcher's sketch to another due to changes in the rock's visibility, alterations made to the effigy, or differences in interpretation.

Human effigies were recorded near Punished Woman's Lake in 1883. The effigies no longer exist.

How to reach the site

The landowners invite you to respectfully visit the site. Please be considerate of their land and close all gates behind you. Proceed up the driveway and park on the top. Please keep your vehicle off the grass, but do not block the driveway. Enter through the small metal gate to the left.
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Follow the ridge through the green gate on the hill and continue to the fenced-in area about 100 yards up the hill. The disturbance of relocation of any effigy stones is prohibited. Please be aware of snakes and livestock.

James E. Todd (left) began exploring stone effigies in the 1880s. He later became the state geologist. Doane Robinson (right), South Dakota State Historian from 1901-1925, wrote about many of the state's stone effigies.

Erected by South Dakota State Historical Society, a Preserve America grant, and the Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern Railroad Corporation. Images courtesy of the South Dakota State Historical Society.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Native Americans. A significant historical year for this entry is 1883.
Location. 44° 26.029′ N, 100° 21.845′ W. Marker is in Pierre, South Dakota, in Hughes County. Marker is on Highway 1804, 0.8 miles west of Grey Goose Rd. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Pierre SD 57501, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Sioux Indian Mosaic (a few steps from this marker); The Oahe Dam & Lake (approx. 0.9 miles away); A Tense Three Days (approx. 0.9 miles away); A Changing Landscape (approx. 0.9 miles away); The Lewis and Clark Expedition
Turtle Effigy Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Ruth VanSteenwyk, July 18, 2017
2. Turtle Effigy Marker
(approx. 0.9 miles away); Lindbergh Landing Site (approx. 1˝ miles away); Oahe Mission (approx. 2 miles away); Oahe Mission School and Chapel (approx. 2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Pierre.
Credits. This page was last revised on January 20, 2018. It was originally submitted on January 17, 2018, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. This page has been viewed 330 times since then and 54 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on January 17, 2018, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Jun. 1, 2023