Effigy Mounds Culture

For many thousands of years Wisconsin's inhabitants survived by hunting, fishing, and gathering wild plants. Each community moved often, traveling to places where food could be found in abundance. Springs and summers were spent in river valleys and near lakes. During cold weather, families separated from one another and moved into sheltered upland valleys. As the years passed, complex social and religious systems appeared, evolved, and vanished, leaving the basic pattern of life unchanged.

Between 700 BC and AD 0, pottery, domesticated plants, and the practice of building earthen burial mounds were introduced to Wisconsin. These changes marked the beginning... more...

Original Documents and Other Primary Sources

Link to article: The first careful investigation of Wisconsin mounds is published in 1838.The first careful investigation of Wisconsin mounds is published in 1838.
Link to article: The "Vanished Race of Mound Builders" theory advanced in 1906.The "Vanished Race of Mound Builders" theory advanced in 1906.
Link to article: A Mormon writer theorizes about the origins of Aztalan in 1845A Mormon writer theorizes about the origins of Aztalan in 1845
Link to article: The second scholarly attempt to map and explain the mounds (1842)The second scholarly attempt to map and explain the mounds (1842)
Link to book: Cyrus Thomas proves in 1894 that Indians built the effigy mounds.Cyrus Thomas proves in 1894 that Indians built the effigy mounds.
Link to images: Increase Lapham examining a meteorite, ca. 1868Increase Lapham examining a meteorite, ca. 1868
Link to images: Pictures of Native American Burial MoundsPictures of Native American Burial Mounds
Link to manuscript: Increase Lapham lectures on Indian mounds, 1851Increase Lapham lectures on Indian mounds, 1851
Link to manuscript: Archaeologist Increase Lapham writes home from the field.Archaeologist Increase Lapham writes home from the field.
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