Cyrus Thomas proves in 1894 that Indians built the effigy mounds.

Wisconsin Mounds


White settlers were puzzled about the origin of the large platform mounds at Aztalan and the striking effigy mounds throughout southern Wisconsin. Because the Indians whom they knew did not construct mounds and had few traditions about them to share, preposterous theories sprouted like weeds in the popular literature of the day: the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, forgotten European visitors, inhabitants of Atlantis, and a mythical Lost Race of Americans were all given credit for the mounds between 1820 and 1890. This investigation by Cyrus Thomas was established to specifically answer the question of who built the mounds. It is a cornerstone of modern scientific archaeology, and laid to rest forever the myth of a Lost Race of mound builders. We give here only the Wisconsin portion, which includes illustrations of mounds that have since been destroyed by development.


Related Topics: Early Native Peoples
Mississippian Culture and Aztalan
Effigy Mounds Culture
Creator: Thomas, Cyrus, 1825-1910.
Pub Data: In: Report on the mound explorations of the Bureau of Ethnology (Washington, D.C.: U.S. G.P.O., 1894 as accompanying paper to the 12th Annual report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, 1890-1891)
Citation: Cyrus, Thomas. "Wisconsin Mounds." In Report on the mound explorations of the Bureau of Ethnology (Washington, D.C.: U.S. G.P.O., 1894 as accompanying paper to the 12th Annual report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, 1890-1891); online facsimile at www.wisconsinhistory.org/turningpoints Online facsimile at:  http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/turningpoints/search.asp?id=122; Visited on: 11/28/2014
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