Wonders of the Lowlands by L.J. DuPre - Excerpt:
“About twenty years ago Elijah Cheek, who during the late war sought the Chief Magistracy of Arkansas at the hands of President Lincoln, was engaged in
constructing a plank road from Mound city, five miles above Memphis to Marion, the capital of Crittenden County, ten miles west of Memphis. In making
excavations and embankments Mr. Cheek discovered strangely shaped bricks of which specimens were sent to the writer of this memoir. They were made of
grayish clay nine by 12 inches in width and length and four inches thick. Mr Cheek supposed from the number of ruins which he found every fe rods along the
route of this old military road that Spaniards, when they held the country, built palaces every where and grew enormously rich by cultivating the lowlands. He
finally accepted the conclusion, after hearing a curious recitation of mound builder's history written by the late Cornelias Mathews of New York that the old
military road was not the product of modern but of ancient skill and toil. He then saw how the ridge it traverses is artificial, how it is wider where the richest
mound builder built his domicile and how it is true that these people lifted up in the lowlands not only countless canals and aguadas, but mounds and dug count-
absolutely created, by uplifting the earth that constituted them, broad farms of hundreds and even thousands of acres.
We of modern times are boastful of the triumphs of engineering skill the bridges rivers upheaves levees and builds railways. Thee mound builders achieved
mightier tasks and constructed road beds that stagger credulity and dug canals infinitely more serviceable than railways every where in the lowlands. Floods
ruinous to civilization and wealth were rendered by them wholly impossible. Canals were not only the cheapest agencies of commerce, but the area of water
service exposed to the action of the sun's rays was not materially lessened, as would occur if levees could effect their purpose and wail in the river. No such
changes in climatic or hygrometrical laws resulted as would reader, by producing wet and dry seasons, the successful cultivation of cotton impossible. These
mound builders were wiser than we. They cultivated the lowlands, first regulating the distribution of water, and making the country healthful by this useful
system of drainage; and then doubtless there were at Memphis, as at St. Louis and Loisville, and other points designated by remains of the mound builders
greatest works, magnificent cities.”
In estimating the period at which these people occupied the Mississippi Valley, Mr. Du Pre bases his calculations on the fact that the ruins of their work are not
found lower down the river than at a a distance of 325 miles from its mouth. As the Mississippi makes land at the rate of nearly a mile in eight years, it would
follow that a period of about 3000 years must have elapsed since the city was built at the (then) mouth of the river , the present site of Natchez, Miss. The
statement is made by Du Pre as follows: “The river has grown 325 miles in length since the mound builders ceased to follow its curse downward from the Lake
Superior copper mines to the Mexican Gulf and thus the conclusion is deduced that quite 3000 years have elapsed since the people known as mound builders
Boscobel, Wisconsin Mounds
Pacific Stars and Stripes, Tokyo, Japan
Wednesday, June 28, 1961
Ancient Indian Cemetery Found
Prairie du Chien, WI (UPI) Wisconsin archeologists have unearthed an Indian cemetery whose age experts estimated at between 1,500 and 2,500 years.
Dr. Joan Freeman of Madison told a state historical society meeting Saturday the graveyard was found in Richland County about five miles northeast of Boscobel, WI
Note by M.S.: This was on the farm that Brad Sutherland's (my husband) grandparents lived . Homer and Opal Merwin. Right on the Richland/Crawford line on Crawford county
side of the Wisconsin River. Approximately 200 yards off Hwy 60 right along Knapp's Creek. Nothing was mentioned to the locals as to what was found...including the land owners..
but locals say that artifacts were taken out.
Braxdon, Wisconsin Mounds
Weekly Wisconsin | Milwaukee, Wisconsin |
Saturday, July 03, 1886 | Page 6
BRAXDON, Wis., June 25.— Rev. Stephen Peet.of Clinton, Wis., the eminent antiquarian, recently surveyed the Indian mounds near Dtley. Mr. Peet has made a special study of
American antiquities and is employed by the government to investigate these mounds. Some of the Utley mounds are peculiar to that section being in the form of a rattlesnake
several hundred feet long with the rattles on the tails clearly denned. His theory of these mounds is that they were the burial place of long since extinct tribes and that the different
forms are to designate different clans.
Brookfield, Wisconsin Mounds
Waukesha Freeman – Waukesha Wisconsin
Thursday, May 31, 1906
Excerpt From 'Things from long Ago'
Brookfield- Important groups of mounds on Showrman place- sadly invaded- some of them dug into by frmer boys in a former day, bones and pottery taken out. Village sites and
Indian burial places located by Arch. Soc. At various points in this town
Burlington, Wisconsin Mounds
Racine Journal Times – Racine Wisconsin - Wednesday, May 23, 1951 - Mysterious Extinct Tribe Left 20,000 Mounds in Wisconsin
More than 20,000 Indian burial mounds exist in Wisconsin, including a number in Mound Cemetery in Racine.
There probably are more of the ancient burial mounds in Wisconsin than anywhere else in the country. Many have been excavated and their Indian effects preserved in local
museums. Some other mounds were used only for ceremonial or lookout purposes. The mounds vary in size. Many are more than 200 feet in length.
Left Effigy Mounds - Effigy mounds, representing deer, buffalo, birds, turtles and other wild life, are found around nearly all the southern Wisconsin lakes. Unusual specimens are
found on the grounds of the University of Wisconsin in Madison. There are others at Lake View Bluff at Hudson, in Wyalusing State Park, Beloit College Campus, Riverside
park at Cassville, Delevan Lake Assembly Grounds, around Lake Koshkonong (Hoard's golf course uses mounds for bunkers), Wild Rose, Webster and Aztalan
Mound Park, three miles east of Lake Mills.
Little is known about the Mound Builders except that the central part of North America was inhabited at one time by a people who had emerged to some extent from the darkness of
savagery and had acquired certain domestic arts and practices some well defined lines of industry. Ohio roughly was the center of the Mound Builders civilization and most of the
mounds were conical in shape and when opened up contained human skeletons. Others were in the form of truncated pyramids-square or rectangular at the base and flat on the
Opened Racine Mounds - Ethnologists divide Mound Builders in eight districts. The Wisconsin District's distinguishing features are the effigy mounds. Only two or three effigy
mounds in Ohio and two in Georgia are the only ones not in the Wisconsin District, which includes the northeast corner of Iowa, Minnesota and the Dakotas as well as Wisconsin.
Bird effigies are by far the most numerous.
Dr. P. R.Hoy of Race and a Dr. I A. Lapham did extensive research in the Racine area, including 14 in the Mound Cemetery groups. Most contained more than one skeleton and
one had seven. Bodies were regularly buried in a sitting or partly kneeling posture, facing the east, with the legs placed under them. They were covered with a bark or log roofing,
over which the mound was built. Dr. Hoy found no evidence of stratification or additions to the mounds.
Other mounds were found in the Town of Caledonia, Town of Raymond, Town of Norway on the west shore of Wind Lake and on the bank of the Fox River near
One of the finest collections of Mound Builders' relics known was that of Frederick S. Perkins of Burlington.. Part of this collection was sent to the National Museum and part to
the Wisconsin State Historical Society.
Racine Journal News – Racine Wisconsin - Wednesday, April 2, 1919 - Eighth Grade Pupils of the McMynn School Correspond with New York Scholars: Excerpt:
My name is Lillian Morrow and I will tell you a little about the cemeteries of Racine. This may seem a queer subject to write about but our largest cemetery is very interesting
because it was formerly an Indian burying ground. We have three cemeteries of which Mound cemetery is the oldest and most interesting because of the Indian mounds in it.
A man who made a study of Indian mounds opened one of these mounds and in it he found several skeletons in sitting posture, facing the east where the sun rises. The skeletons
were in quite good condition. The bodies had been buried in hollow basins with a bark roof over head.
There are mounds along the 'plank roads' to Burlington also. These were carefully excavated and they also contained skeletons and vases. In one was burled an oak tree
stump in which they counted two hundred rings, showing it was two hundred years old. We also have mound in Wisconsin shaped like birds, foxes and other animals. There are
only two other states that have these, Georgia and Ohio. The largest mound is near Fox River, it is 16 feet high and twenty feet in diameter.
Delafield, Wisconsin Mounds
Waukesha Freeman – Waukesha Wisconsin - Thursday, May 31, 1906 - Excerpt From 'Things from long Ago'
Delafield – Village site near N.E. Side of Lake Nagowicka.
Ixonia, Wisconsin Mounds
Watertown Chronicle Watertown Wisconsin - Wednesday, August 11, 1847 - Mounds in Ixonia
We have heard and read much of the ancient mounds in Wisconsin; but never had an opportunity of examine any of them until one day last week. These are situated upon the
farm of r. Joseph C. (Rugs?), a few rods north of Rock River, in the town of Ixonia, in the county. We have never seen any mention made of them in any publication on this subject,
and know not how they will compare as to magnitude with the generality of those to be found in the territory; but to us they proved full of interest.
These mounds are between thirty and forty in number, and are situated upon a hill some eighty rods long, that has every appearance of being partially artificial - The hill rises
about one hundred feet above the surrounding county; its sides are unusually smooth, being marked by some of the inequalities of surface peculiar to all natural ridges; while its
top is gently crowning, and of uniform height, except where it is dotted by the mounds.
These appearances go far to prove that the hill is part the work of art. But this idea is strengthened by another circumstance. - The predominating soil through that region is a
sandy loam, as well upon the highlands as the lowlands. But upon the hill in question, the soil to the depth of from two to four feet , is a coarse gravel. Under this coat of gravel, as
has been proved by examination, in a number of places, the same stratum of loom is found which prevails in every other part of the neighborhood. A short distance north of the hill,
is a low piece of ground, the peculiar make of which affords still farther evidence in support of this supposition. It is the general opinion of all who have examined the two places,
that the gravel upon the one was taken from the other.
The larger of these mounds are about forty feet in diameter at their base, and some ten feet high. There are a number of this class, though the most of them are smaller. But one
of them has been opened and that was done for the purpose of converting it into a potato hole! This was two or three years ago. After digging eight or ten feet, a large number of
human bones were found, in an excellent state of preservation. They were thrown out, without much are, to make room for the potatoes, and most of them have remained there
ever since. Those skulls, however, which had suffered the most from the ravages of time, have been carried aways, as have also some of the other bones.
An examination of these bones, however superficial, must satisfy every one that they belonged to a race of beings of much larger stature than the present generation. When
covered with muscles, and flesh, and skin, their owners must have stood seven feet or more in their moccasins. We brought away the lower jaw bone of one of these aborginal
giants, for to a giant only could it have belonged, as all will concede upon an examination of it. It may be seen at this office.
The bottom of this mound was nearly as hard as solid rock. The earth of which it was made, had undergone some process of pounding or of baking, which rendered it almost
impervious to the pick ax. Upon this floor all the bones excepting those belonging to one person were found. The bones of this person reposed upon a solid earthen seat,
extending the whole width of the mound, about eighteen inches high and of the same width. This seat was composed of the same material as the floor and was quite as hard. Who
the individual was who occupied this evident seat of honor must of course be wholly left to conjecture; he was probably, however, one of the leading men of the nation or trible. We
did not learn that anything in the shape of war implements, beads or other trinkets was found with the bones. And the only thing of the kind we saw in the vicinity were rude flint
hatchets, a number of which, we were told, had been found in the immediate neighborhood.
The size of some of these mounds, and the large number of them, certainly render them an object of curiosity, even in a country abounding with so vast a number of antiquities as
Wisconsin does, and would well repay a visit to them by any person living in this part of the country. - Watertown Chronicle
LaCrosse, Wisconsin Mounds
Daily Argus And Democrat | Madison, Wisconsin | Friday, July 20, 1860 | Page 2 A Past Generation.
In turning up some of the Indian mounds near La Crosse, it is found that the "giants in those clays" bad teeth two inches long, and thigh bones three feet in length ;
one of the skeletons showed that the original was killed with an arrow having a point five inches long, while another was struck in the head with tho blade of a
copper hatchet, 1.} inches wide at the edge and 2 inches long.
Eau Claire Leader – Eau Claire, Wisconsin -Saturday, November 16, 1912 -Five Bodies of Ancient Race Near La Crosse -
La Crosse, WI – November 15- Fifty skeletons believed to be a part of mysterious tribesmen of a prehistoric race have been unearthed by a party of La Cross state normal school
graduates on the farm of Alois White, a few miles south of this city. The skeletons were taken from five mounds which were excavated. Among the significant discoveries made by
the students was the uncovering of a number of copper arrow heads and two or three copper knives. This, it is claimed, must dispel the popular belief that the mound builders
antedated the whites. Investigation shows there are three distinct types of mounds, specimens of which are found in Wisconsin. The conical mound is most common, the pyramid
shaped tumuli and the so-called effigy mounds, the latter usually in the shape of some animal. The size of the skeletons, and the weight and thickness of the bones
indicate this early race was composed of giants. Most of the skeletons were more than six feet long and the bones are much heavier than those of the modern
Manitowoc Pilot – Manitowoc Wisconsin - Friday August 31, 1860 - A Past Generation –
In turning up some of the Indian mounds near LaCrosse, it is found that the “giants in those days” had teeth two inches long, and thigh bones three feet in length; one
of the skeletons showed that the original was killed with an arrow having a point five inches long while another was struck in the head with the blade of a copper hatchet 1 ½ inches
wide at the edge and two inches long.
Lisbon, Wisconsin Mounds
Waukesha Freeman – Waukesha Wisconsin
Thursday, May 31, 1906
Excerpt From 'Things from long Ago'
Lisbon – Indications of a an aboriginal village site near Sussex. Stone and copper implements found.
Madison Wisconsin Mounds
Madison The Center of An Ancient Settlement - Elaborate System of Defensive Earthworks- Fort Covering Fifteen Acres- Burial Place of the Strange People
Evidences of a Terrific Combat - Reference: The weekly Wisconsin, Milwaukee Wisconsin - Saturday, August 15, 1891
Madison Wi -Aug 9, 1891 - The largest prehistoric work in this state heretofore described, and of which the Smithsonian Institute has published a complete report, is Fort Aztalan,
near Lake Mills, so named from the pyramidal mounds found there, which greatly resemble those found in Mexico. But without doubt the most stupendous and elaborate system of
defensive works in the state are found in the vicinity of this city.
The celebrated mounds of Ohio and Indiana can bear no comparison either in size, design or the skill displayed in their construction with these gigantic and mysterious monuments
of earth- erected we know not by whom, and for what purpose we can only conjecture. That the unknown race was semi-civilized is certain and art of of a high type flourished
among them. Carving in stone, especially was brought to a high degree of perfection. The art of weaving and dyeing cloth was known and practiced, the color used being invariably
Madison was in ancient days the center of a teeming population, numbering not less than 200,000 souls. It is situated on the northern end of a chain of five lakes, between Lakes
Mendota and Monona and extending south to Lake Wingra. It is built on a chain of hills which slope gently down to the water's edge or end in high bluffs. This was the mound
builder's paradise in bygone ages, and the region has lot none of its natural beauty.
On the land of George Catterson, seven miles south of Madison is a prehistoric fort. It occupies the summit and southeast side of a huge hill overlooking Lake Kegonsa. It is
bounded on the east by a marsh and the cliffs of the lake on the south. It is undoubtedly a strong position for defense. The fort is square in shape. Its four outer walls are each 400
feet in length and from the center of each side high walls, 300 feet long, stretch out. Inside the fort, about 10 feet from the first line of breastworks, extends a second, parallel to the
others. In this line gates were left in the corners and these were protected by round mounds, the tops of which show evidences of fire, for a few inches below the surface are found
quantities of charcoal. In the center are three mounds in a direct line, connected with each other by a thick bank of earth. The tops of these mounds are sunken, showing that they
served the purpose of “caches”.being hollow, but in the lapse of ages the tops have caved in.
Scattered about inside the second line are six rows of earthworks about 20 feet long. A group of seventeen burial mounds occupied the northeast corner of the fort, arranged in the
shape of a turtle. Two of these were opened and interesting finds made. In the first mound opened a layer of forest mold six inches in thickness was first removed; then seven feet
of yellow clay was penetrated and a thick bed of ashes and charcoal, in which were scattered arrow heads of flint, and pottery prettily ornamented in various patterns was brought
to light. Below this was a foot of clay so hardened by the fire as to turn the edge of a spade. Beneath this was a RUDELY MADE COFFIN of large flat stones probably brought from
the lake. Upon being opened this coffin was found to contain a large sized skeleton in a sitting posture, the earth within the coffin having held it in shape. The hardened clay above
prevented the least moisture from entering, thus preserving the bones in fairly good condition. At the side of the body was found a curiously carved pipe, in shape resembling a
human head with peculiar characters rudely cut on the sides. Near the right hand was an ax of banded slate in the form of an ancient double-edged battle ax, a number of arrow
heads, and a gorget of slate. Near the feet was a jar of pottery, which was filled with a black mold. This was unfortunately broken by one of the workmen while handling a spade.
Another mound a few feet away contained a number of arrow heads and two axes of the usual grooved form, but no bones. In a mound opened in the western corner of the fort was
found a square implement of slate, very highly polished, with a hole drilled through the center.
Altogether, the fort occupies about fifteen acres. It is now covered with a second growth of trees, but that there was an older growth is shown by the stumps of former forest giants
found here and there. Outside the fort the ground has been plowed, and it is shown that there stood the village under the shelter of its walls. Pottery, arrow heads, broken axes and
flint spades are found here in protrusion, as well as great numbers of iron ore. Indeed, the whole vicinity shows the presence of iron ore in large quantities.
The burial place of the town was situated on the land now owed by William Colloday, where there are seventeen burial mounds within the defenses. A few feet, below the surface of
one of these mounds a round implement of stone, around which a slight groove was made, running completely around both ways, thus dividing it into quarters, was found. Upon it
are rude characters resembling bird tracks. A highly-polished, pear-shared instrument of iron ore, with a very small groove at the lesser end, was also uncovered.
A short distance from the fort, to the northeast, on the farm of Erick Dierson are found STRANGE OVENS OR FIREPLACES. All over the field can be noticed stones laid in circles,
about three feet in diameter. These, upon being opened, show a cavity about 3 feet deep, in the shape of an inverted cone, and the sides are carefully walled up with flat stones.
Around the edge, on the top of the ground; a space of about 6 inches was left bare. This ran around the mouth, and outside of it the circle of stones mentioned was placed. Inside
of these fireplaces were large quantities of charcoal. The owner of the land also found seventeen pounds of lead ore in one of these ovens, of which there are about fifty. On this
piece of land, on the banks of the Yahara River, is a large mound in the shape of a war club. This mound was partly opened and was found filled with particles of lead ore. The mud
on the river banks was also covered with fine particles of lead ore, which shine like diamonds in the sunlight. All the works described are associated with the people of the fort, as
are undoubtedly the work of the mound builders.
Following the Yahara River northward to its outlet to Lake Monona, the stream narrows down to a width of only a few yards. Breastworks were erected on each side of the banks,
thus making it impossible for a party to gain an entrance into that lake even should they escape the fort further down. Signal stations were established on each hill of the range, so
that word could be sent from Stoughton to Westport, a distance of thirty miles in twenty minutes. One of these stations was situated on the high hill overlooking and separating Lake
Wingra and Lake Monona. The ground is baked hard from the watch fires. Chipped flints, a few arrow heads and pieces of pottery were found lying a few inches beneath the
In opening a new road through the hill a landslide occurred, exposing a hollow place about six feet square, which contained the skeleton of a person who must have been a giant in
his day. Beneath the hand was an ax of syenite, finished with great skill and very nicely polished and grooved, which weighed five pounds. Further along the hill are SIX BURIAL
This ends the line of prehistoric works on this side of the city, leaving an open space of over two miles.
Cross the Yahara on the northern limits of the city the line of fortifications again appears. The breastworks run parallel to the lake and are about 200 feet in length. A large number
of modern Indian graves are situated on the outside of the walls. Inside the fortifications rises a sacrificial mound to the height of 15 feet. Upon excavating this mound there was
found an altar built of rough stones, on top of and around which were immense quantities of charcoal and ashes and a pipe shaped object of slate. A short distance to the north
and seemingly guarding the works, is the effigy of an elk over 100 feet in length, in front of which small round mounds of sand were placed, but when opened they were found to
contain nothing of any interest. One hundred yards from this spot was a pottery manufactory, which, judging from the number of fragments lying around, must have supplied the
great part of the country. The lake at this point throws up great quantities of fresh water clams. The shells were ground to powder and mixed with sand and clay found on the
banks, and this, when baked hard, was formed into vases, jars and other utensils, many of which are of beautiful patterns and exhibit a high artistic taste on the part of the
designer. The soil in this vicinity is almost completely covered with fragments of pottery. The effigy of some animal bearing a very good resemblance to an elk is situated a few
hundred yards northward, in front of which are two small mounds a foot high and three feet across, made entirely of sand.
In an examination of the Wisconsin State Hospital grounds attention was first given to the so-called “Eagle Mound”. This mound resembles an eagle with expanded wings, and is
perfectly formed. The body measures 100 feet in length and the expanded wings 300 on each side of the body. The tail is 40 feet wide and the beak is 15 feet in length. Three
similar bird mounds are situated in the immediate vicinity. Near the left wing of the “Eagle Mound” is a gracefully formed mound in the shape of a deer with branching horns and
further to the north are bear, squirrel and turtle mounds and other in the shape of animals now extinct.
Works of defense crown the summit of the hill 100 yards further on, and a large number of burial mounds are found there. There is evidence of its occupation by two different and
entirely separate races. While the one erected mounds over the dead and placed them in a sitting posture facing the east, the other buried them a foot or two below the surface,
where the caving in of the lake bank every year exposed them to view.
In the open field, on Lake Mendota's shore, between the Yahara River and ex-governor Farwell's house, was once the battlefield in olden time. To the north extended an almost
impassable marsh, while on the southern side a steep hill rises up from the lake shore 150 feet in height. On the topmost point stands a lookout mound, from whose summit one
can command a view of the country for miles around. Long lines of fortifications extend along the lake shore, rising tier above tier, almost to the summit, one being over 1300 feet in
length. Crowning the top are two altar mounds from when rose the smoke of sacrifices offered to the gods. The ground is baked as hard as a rock from these fires.
SIGNS OF A BLOODY FIGHT
In bygone ages a terrific combat took place upon this open field. This place is strewn with the debris of the battle, a person living near by having picked up hundreds of arrow
heads and many axes. Every ax picked up is broken. After the fight an excavation was made near the sore about 10 feet square, which after being lined with a peculiar substance,
served the purpose of a huge coffin. In this mortuary chamber were deposited the dead. The ground near the pit is covered with flint chips, showing that weapons were
manufactured on the spot to deposit with the fallen, who until this year reposed in peace. Many skeletons were found in the bank and wherever a cave-in occurred from the
encroachment of the waves more were exposed to view. This spring the chamber was reached and exposed, but the wind in a week's time had almost choked it with sand. A high
mound 600 feet long was erected over the dead. A similar one, horseshoe shaped, measures 1,100 feet in length. It is close beside the one described and probably contains other
victims of the fight. Nearly every skull in good enough preservation to be examined shows marks of violence, the cleft of the tomahawk or the fracture caused by an arrow, which in
one or two instances was found imbedded in the skull.
In the construction of mounds in this vicinity great care was taken to remove even the smallest stone from the material used except when placed there for a purpose. A tumulus
opened on the Wisconsin Hospital grounds showed stones placed in position to form a neat pattern running from the top to the bottom and beneath this was placed the body. This
vicinity gives evidence of a long occupation and a very large population. The fireplaces showed different strata of cinders and ashes, and the lower the excavations are pushed the
ruder the forms of the pottery disclosed. Calcined bones split to extract the marrow are scattered through the mass.
In the construction of the mounds the earth was brought from long distances and differs entirely in character from the native soil. Stratification was universally practiced in building.
Two forms of burial were employed. Some were buried with their weapons in the ordinary manner, while others were cremated. In no case were any weapons found with a cremated
body, but only ornaments and pottery were placed within the tomb. Some were provided with rude effigies, while others were buried without them, and the clay firmly placed about
the body and burned into a mass nearly as hard as brick. A number of the peculiar fishlike bones found in the boad of (linipinidonotus grunhilus (?)) a fish extinct, as far as these
lakes are concerned, are frequently found in the mounds here.
MANY IMPLEMENTS OF COPPER
consisting of beads, disks, spears, arrows and axes are found. Some of these appear to have been cast, others are hammered into shape and contain nuggets of silver, imbedded
in the sides. All are tempered by some unknown process. Ornaments of shell are also common, but when dug out they invariably crumble away. They have the appearance of
having been ground, and small holes were drilled through them. Many rare and wonderful articles of chipped flints are excavated, needles of stone one-half inch in length, with the
base a quarter of an inch long, from which a point of chipped flint as fine as a needle extends. They are very fragile. Articles for drilling holes in pipes and soft stones are found
occasionally. There are flints worked as round as a lead pencil, some straight and others with a variety of bases. A few double-borers were discovered, these having a place for the
hand in the center, while each end was worked into a sharp point.
Fifteen different types of arrow heads were found,among the most important being those used in war. They were made triangular in form and with serrated edges, and were fitted
loosely into a reed. When these projectiles entered the body the first effort would naturally be to attempt to draw them out, but the loosely fitted head of flint would remain in the
wound, the toothed edges working it further and further inward and would eventually cause death. Another form has the edges beveled, which would give a rotary movement and
was an instrument designed to GIVE A TERRIBLE WOUND.
They are in the same form as arrow heads, but have wide blunt tips. The bases are notched for inserting into a handle. All knives discovered are of fine workmanship. Some are
made of Jasper and other fine material. Some of these knives are over nine inches long.
Axes are in two styles; some, long and polished without grooves. Occasionally a unique and beautiful form is met with, some of them so delicate as to be unfit for service. Pipes are
discovered having bowls and are made of baked clay and stone. More rarely are found specimens in which Catlinite (sacred pipe stone) is the material used. These are often
worked into weird and fantastic shapes.
These mounds all belong to a continuous system extending for every fifty miles through the state and two distinct lines cross each other, forming a huge Saint Andrew's cross,
guarded by forts at each corner. While scientific men have long been aware of the existence of these wonderful works, nothing has been done in the way of obtaining an accurate
description or of obtaining a better knowledge of them. Every year the plow is laying them low, and persons ignorant of their value to the eyes of science are destroying not only the
mounds themselves, but also the relics in them, and in a few years they will have disappeared entirely.
Madison Wisconsin Mounds
Wisconsin Patriot – Madison Wisconsin January 7, 1860 pg.6 - Opening an Ancient Mound Near Madison, Wisconsin
(Report by I. A. Lapham, Esq. To the American Ethnological Society)
Travelers approaching the beautiful city of Madison, the capital of the young state of Wisconsin, by the Milwaukee and Mississippi Railroad, from the East, are conveyed across
one of the lakes that give so much interest to this charming locality. Looking towards the South, they will find the lake hounded by a ridge of considerable elevation, the crest of
which is serrated by 'a series of ancient monuments of earthwork, the mysteries of whose origin and nature have not yet been fully found out. Their sharp outline, projected against
the sky for a background, with the scattered trees and shrubs, all reflect in the clear, still water of the lake, render this spot quite conspicuous and beautiful.
On this remarkable ridge, which divides the water of Lake Monona (the third of the series) from Lake Wingra, with its ancient earthworks, a sketch (Fig 1) and a plot (Fig 2) are
given on plate 2. The slopes were steep, especially on the south side; the crest narrow, the soil a loose gravel, (drift of the geologists,) but slightly compacted with clay or other
material. At the highest point, where the two largest mounds are situated, it has an elevation quite abrupt, of seventy-five feet, upon which the mounds make an addition of ten feet.
In some parts, the ridge is covered with groves of small tress – at others it is naked.
By invitation of George P. Delaplaine, Esq., of Madison, I visited that place on the 1st of June 1859, in company with Prof. J.D. Whitney, the Geologist, for the purpose of making a
survey and exploration of the interesting group of mounds before they should become lost by the progress of 'improvement' in that direction. Already some of them have been
injured, by the opening of roads and by the idle curiosity of persons who have made slight excavations. It would be fortunate if other landed proprietors would follow the good
example of Mr. Delaplaine and preserve an accurate record of such ancient works as they are about to destroy. Many very interest animal effigies (mounds in the forms of animals)
have already been leveled by the plows, or otherwise injured or effaced.
The peculiar form of this ridge, the nature of the soil and its position between two valleys, exposing it to the drying effect of the winds, render it peculiarly fitted for the preservation
of anything that may have been buried under the mounds. The steep slopes fall away from the base of the mounds on either side, thus carrying off immediately the falling rain. The
earth composing the mound was of fine material, well compacted, and still further protected by a dense sod of prairie grass and weed; so that very little water could penetrate it;
and the depth was such as to exclude all the destroying effects of frost in the winter. We were therefore convinced that if any of the original mound builders are any where
preserved, we might look for them here; and in this we were not disappointed.
These mounds, as is usual in such groups in Wisconsin, present a variety of forms – among them the circular, oblong, attenuated and animal shaped. They are situated on the
northwest quarter of section twenty-six, in township seven and range none of the government surveys. From the top of these mounds there is a very fine and extensive view of the
country around, suggesting at once the idea that this may have been a sort of a look out station or sentry post from which to watch the approach of the enemy.
The largest mound on this ridge, the base excavated by us has an oval form, the basal dimensions being seventy and fifty feet; the height ten feet. It was built upon the convex
surface of the ridge, so that the depth of the mound in the middle was a little less than appeared from the outside. The exploration was commenced on the south-east side by
running a horizontal drift from the base towards the centre. This brought us a little below the original surface.
Our first discovery was the remains of a human skeleton that had been buried about three feet below the top of the mound. The position of this skeleton was horizontal, the head
towards the west. The bones were very much decayed, the teeth and a few of the larger bones being all that were sufficiently strong to be taken out. At the foot was the skull of a
skunk and also a few teeth, and a portion of the jaw of another animal, apparently a fox. Whether these had been buried with the human body, or had burrowed into the mound on
their own account is not easily determined, though the latter supposition is rendered, probable by the good state of preservation of the skull of the skunk.
As we descended into the mound, the extreme firmness and dryness of the loamy material became apparent, giving strength to our conjecture and hope that a real mound builder
was about to be brought to light; and we wished for some magic power by which he could be re-endowed with the faculty of speech; that he might reveal the story of his strange and
Our work was temporarily arrested by the high wind, which swept with full force over the ridge, and kept the opening we had made involved in a cloud of fine dust, rendering it
almost impracticable to breathe while making excavation. The earth thrown out was quite dry, and in much indurated masses or clods, though the spring rains had hardly ceased –
the material of the mound was mostly the dark colored soil of the prairie, showing that the surface only had been taken to construct it. At one place, there was a slight layer of
gravel, as if a small quantity of that material had been use when the work had reached that point. At one place, there was a slight layer of gravel, as if a small quantity of that
material had been used when the work had reached that point.
Under the middle of the mound we found the object of greatest interest. An excavation had been made in the original ground, the bottom of which was paved with rounded stones,
embedded in clay. Upon the pavement was placed the body of a man, in a horizontal position, the head towards the east, the legs and arms folded back. The skeleton ws in a very
good state of preservation, most of the bones being found including many of the smaller ones. The skull was nearly entire, but had been crushed and distorted by the pressure of
the superincumbent earth.
As this was clearly a skeleton of one of the honored dead, over whose remains, and for whose memory, the mound was erected, with so much care and labor, all material facts in
relation to it will be of interest, and accordingly I have endeavored to reconstruct the skull from the separate parts preserved, and have made the drawing of plate 1, figure 1 –
Upon a careful comparison with the numerous figures in Morton's Crania Americana, it will be found that it agrees, in general contour and size, most nearly with that on plate 28
representing the Chippewa. Though it would be wrong, perhaps, to infer, upon such slight evidence, that the ancient mound builders of Wisconsin were the ancestors of the
Chippewas, yet we may regard it as further proof that they were one and the same with the American race as clearly indicated by Dr. Morton. (Crania Am., pg 229)
About two feet above the skeleton, we found a few fragments of a human skull, but no traces of other bones. They had, doubtless, been casually thrown upon the mound during
the progress of its construction.
Very near the skull was found a gray flint arrow-head and a bone apparently of a bird, which had been wrought into an implement of some important use, no doubt, to those who
Occasionally fragments of bones and pieces of charcoal, were found at various depths, but no indication of the burning of human or other sacrifices. Roots of trees or shrubs had
penetrated to the very bottom of the mound. While the work was in progress we were visited by numerous citizens of the city of Madison and the officers and students of the
Wisconsin University, many of whom manifested a deep interest in the subject of American Antiquities.
Besides the mounds referred to in this paper there are numbers of others in the vicinity of the “Four Lakes,” many of them quite interesting on account of their particular forms,
etc. A few of them are described and figured in the 6th volume of the Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge. It is hoped that provision will be made by law, for the preservation of
at least such as happen to be on the grounds selected for the site of the State Lunatic Asylum and other public institutions.
Appleton Post-Crescent – Appleton, Wi - Monday, November 14, 1927 - Old Indian Mounds Put to Queer Uses -
A railroad construction crew used mounds now destroyed in Madison as storage cache for blasting powder. One early settler in the state reported to have buried a box of money in
a mound and when he lter forgot just where he had buried it, he was forced to dig up a number of mounds in the group near his home before he recovered his treasure. Many
mounds were rifled by early physicians to obtain skulls or skeletons for their offices.
Eau Claire Leader – Eau Claire, Wi - Thursday July 15th, 1915 Pg 3 - Indian Mounds are Visited by Students - Madison, WI July 14 –
A successful excursion by students of the University of Wisconsin summer session, was made last Saturday under the direction of Curator Charles E. Brown of the State Historical
Museum to the many Indian Mounds found about the Madison lakes. A number of these excursions are conducted by the University each summer. The student of Indian remains
finds many opportunites for observation near Madison, tributed to the Winnebago Indians. Wisconsin Indian Mounds are at- There were about Lake Mendota thirty groups of
earthworks, most of which age preserved. The bird effigy on the state hospital lawn at Mendota is the largest mound of its type in Wisconsin. It has a wing spread of 624 feet. The
conical burial mounds at Morris park include some of the largest and finest mounds in this region. The plot of Indian corn hills located there is the only one now remaining on the
shores of Lake Mendota.
McFarland and Madison Mounds
Capital Time, Madison Wisconsin
Friday, May 1, 1942
Brown Tells of Indian Mounds at McFarland
Nine Burial Places on Sanderson Site in “Procession” by Charles E. Brown Director, State Historical Museum
What is acknowledged by Wisconsin archaeologists to be one of the most interesting groups of prehistoric Indian mounds in Dane county is located on the narrow crest of a high
wooded ridge located about one fourth mile west of the village of McFarland and between it and the Edwards Park shore of Lake Waubesa. The mounds, 9 in number, extend down
the length of this north and south ridge in what mound experts refer to as a “procession.”
Series of Mounds
At the northern end of this line of ancient earthworks there is a linear mound 130 feet long and short distance beyond it another mound of the same form 81 feet long. Beyond this
is a round mound 22 feet in diameter and another linear 104 feet long. Beyond these, in the center of the group, are a round and an oval mound.
At the southern end of the ridge there is a bar effigy, the only animal shaped mound in the group, and a linear mound 180 feet long. The linear runs across the ridge crest instead
of in line with it. A short distance south of this mound is one of the most curious mounds found in any group in the Lake Waubesa region. This large linear mound has a large hook
at its northern end. Its total length is 326 feet, and its straight part is 272 feet long. Its unique form has long been a puzzle to archaeologists. None of the linear mounds is ore than
16 feet wide.
This find mound group, then on the T. Lewis property was surveyed for te Wisconsin Archaeological society by the late Dr. W.G. McLachlan of McFarland in 1914 and was
described in a Lake Waubesa report which the state socieity published. Several of the mounds in this group were dug into in previous years by local relic hunters searching for
Indian treasure supposed to have been hidden during the Black Hawk war. They found only Indian bone re-burials and a flexed burial.
Will Erect Cabin
This ridge group was recently visited by the write and C.H. Sanderson of Madison, the present owner of the site and the land at its base. Sanderson intends to erect a log cabin
residence on the crest and will prserved the ancient mounds. From the crest of this ridge a fine view of Lakes Waubesa and Monona and the state capital is to be seen to the
northwest and of Lake Waubesa and Mud Lake to the south. Sanderson has planted several hundred pine, spruce and other fir trees on the steep slopes of the ridge thus adding
to the beauty of this location.
About a mile south of the ridge at Watcheetcha, on the old Indian trail once running over the site of McFarland and in a southweserly direction toward Lake Kegonsa, was the
locaton in 1829 of the village of the Winnebago Chief Spotted Arm, an Indian leader of considerable note.
A total of 188 mounds in 42 groups were found during the McLachian survey of the lake Waubesa region. A few others have been found since bringing the total to nearly 200
earthworks. Sanderson is setting a good example in the preservation of Indian mortuary landmarks which it is hoped that other residents of this part of Dane county will follow.
Menomonee, Wisconsin Mounds
Waukesha Freeman – Waukesha Wisconsin
Thursday, May 31, 1906
Excerpt From 'Things from long Ago'
Menomonee – Indications of aboriginal village sites known to exists near Menomonee Falls and Fussville. Seven human skeletons discovered in digging a basement at former place
a few years ago.
Menasha, Wisconsin Mounds
Appleton Post-Crescent – Appleton, Wi , Monday, November 14, 1927
Old Indian Mounds Put to Queer Uses - Early Settler Built Houses on Them and Used Them for Their Cemeteries - Madison – AP –
The approximate fifteen thousand Indian burial mounds which once dotted Wisconsin, were put to various curious and interesting uses by early settler who failed to understand
their significance and historical value. Many white settlers buried their own dead in the Indian earthworks, the first city cemetery at Menasha being located among Indian skeletons,
according to T.T. Brown of the Wisconsin Archaeological Society. On the upper campus of the University of Wisconsin the early pioneers of Madison entered their dead in 1839 in
graves dug by the side of a prehistoric mound built by red men to represent the water spirit, says Mr. Brown, who quotes Dr. Increase A. Lapham as his authority.
Merton, Wisconsin Mounds
Waukesha Freeman – Waukesha Wisconsin
Thursday, May 31, 1906
Excerpt From 'Things from long Ago'
Merton – Two groups of mounds and one village site have been found
Mound Builders of Wisconsin Continued on Next Page
The Adena burial rites were a mixture of the old and the new; and the bodies of the ruling class and other important people
were usually sprinkled with RED OCHRE and laid to rest with a variety of artifacts such as flints, beads, pipes, and mica
and copper ornaments. The red ochre aspect of the burials was a practice that extended back for generations through the
Old Copper Culture and all the way back to North Africa's Capsian period. As the archaeologists have discovered, Adena
marabouts were also buried with varying amounts of grave goods -- the amount indicating either the social inequities in
their culture, or perhaps varying degrees of baraka. Tomb goods included engraved stone tablets (often with predatory
bird designs); polished gorgets (throat armor of stones and copper); pearl beads; ornaments of sheet mica (also found in
Maya graves); tubular stone pipes; and bone masks. Animal masks are common in late Adena sites. In addition to these
grave goods the Adena people made a wide range of stone, wood, bone and copper tools, as well as incised or stamped
pottery and cloth woven from vegetable fibers. *See mounds of Wisconsin
For their "common folk," the Adenas cremated the dead bodies and placed the remains in small log tombs on the surface
of the ground. Virtually all of these graves have been destroyed by nature and later settlement. Therefore, the more
substantial mounds of the ruling class are our only physical records of Adena burials.
Those people were called Talligew (Tallegwi or Allegwi) and have been described as red haired giants.
Mary Sutherland is the author of the following books
- Living in the Light: Believe in the Magic
- Mysteries: Exploring the Mysteries of Burlington and Southeastern Wisconsin
- Revelations: Truths Revealed
- In Search of Ancient Man: Lost in Time
- The Red Haired Giants
- Haunted Burlington Wisconsin
Check Out Books Written by Mary Sutherland She is also the creator of
BURLINGTON NEWS one of the largest and most popular websites on the world
|Exploring the Unknown
|Mary Sutherland is an author and researcher focusing her work
on consciousness studies, ancient history and unusual
phenomena. She is a "hands on" researcher and the creator of
one of the largest website on the internet with hundreds of
pages providing information on the paranormal, UFOs, ancient
races and their cultures, sacred sites and power points of the
world, underground tunnels and cave systems, dimensional
worlds , metaphysics, etc. The governor of Kentucky
commissioned her as a ‘Kentucky Colonel” for her work on the
ancient sites of Kentucky. For the last 5 years, she has been
exploring, mapping and documenting the ancient underwater
structures of Rock Lake – near Aztalan. For the last fourteen
years she has been documenting the ancient sites around
Burlington, WI. Truth is her passion. She believes it is through
truth that we will break ourselves free of our present
entanglements in life. When we become free, we will create our
own ‘personal story’ of the ‘hero’s journey’ suggested by Joseph
|CONTACT US TODAY
Brad and Mary Sutherland
248 Carver Street
Winslow, Illinois 61089
815 367 1006
“There are rare persons in this world who see things others
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What differentiates her book. Haunted Burlington Wisconsin , is that
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Perhaps, then, this book itself may be considered a vortex. and
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