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Book Unearths Fort Blue Mounds History


Archaeologists excavate the site of Fort Blue Mounds, circa 1991

Archeologist and Wisconsin Historical Society Press author Robert A. Birmingham demonstrates what it's like to be a "history detective" in his new book, 'Life, Death, & Archaeology at Fort Blue Mounds.' Brimingham's historical and archeological investigations of the Fort Blue Mounds site, near Blue Mounds, Wisconsin, illuminates the lives of white settlers in the lead-mining region during the conflict known as the Black Hawk War.

The cover of "Life, Death, & Archaeology at Fort Blue Mounds"
Focusing on the strategically located Fort Blue Mounds in southwestern Wisconsin, Birmingham first summarizes the 1832 conflict and details the history of the fort, which played a major role not only in U.S. military and militia operations but also in the lives of the white settlers who sought refuge there. He then transports readers to the site decades later, when he and fellow Wisconsin Historical Society archaeologists and dedicated volunteers began their search for the fort's remnants as pictured above. The artifacts they unearthed, including bottles, colorful plates, utensils, tools and more, provided Brimingham and his crew with fascinating insights into the life, diet and material culture of the frontier.

"Life, Death, & Archaeology at Fort Blue Mounds" is grounded by a sense of place and the discovery of what a careful examination of our surroundings can tell us about the past, most especially about the Black Hawk War, frontier life, Native American history, military history and archaeology. An e-book edition is also available.

Learn About Being a 'History Detective'

Discover more about archeology and the Wisconsin Historical Society at the Society's online archaeology site, and learn specifically about digs at other Wisconsin fort sites.

About the Author

Birmingham served for many years as Wisconsin state archaeologist at the Wisconsin Historical Society. He now teaches at the University of Wisconsin–Waukesha and writes from his home in Madison. He is the recipient of the 2005 Merit Award for history from the Midwest Independent Publishers Association for 'Aztalan: Mysteries of an Ancient Indian Town,' written with Lynne G. Goldstein; the Increase A. Lapham Medal from the Wisconsin Archeological Society; and a 2007 Wisconsin State Park Hero Award for his work promoting Aztalan State Park.

:: Posted December 13, 2012

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