Water Panthers, Bears, and Thunderbirds: Exploring Wisconsin's Effigy Mounds

By Amy Rosebrough and Bobbie Malone

Paperback: $9.95

ISBN: 978-0-87020-357-2

48 pages, 40 b/w maps, charts, and student worksheets, 8.5 x 11"

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Based on recent archaeological interpretation, this standards-based resource enriches material covered in "Native People of Wisconsin." Water Panters, Bears, and Thunderbirds" introduces students to effigy mound sites in five southern Wisconsin counties, allowing them to graph, compare, contrast, and analyze the way these mound groups vary from county to county.

From the Introduction:
"In the first half of the nineteenth century, Euro-American explorers traveled westward along Wisconsin's rivers and trails. As they paddled and walked they encountered areas where the earth was sculpted into birds, animals and even people. Euro-American explorers had found burial mounds in other areas before, but they had never seen anything like the effigy mounds. Amazed, but unsure what to make of their discovery, they drew maps and wrote reports for newspapers, scientific journals and even Congress. Soon the Wisconsin Territory had become famous for its mysterious effigies."

"As the years passed, Euro-American farmers and settlers took up residence in Wisconsin. Many mounds were plowed away by farmers who saw them only as nuisances. Some were carted away by gardeners and bridge-builders who wanted to use the earth they were made of for fill. People dug into the mounds out of curiosity, or in the hopes of finding valuable objects to sell. Other mounds were simply in the way - in the path of roads, railroads, houses and quarries. Perhaps as many as 20,000 mounds once existed in Wisconsin. Now less than 5,000 remain."

"Thanks to the introduction of new state and Federal laws, Wisconsin's remaining mounds have now been protected. However, many people are now unaware that the land they live in was once covered with gigantic earthen birds and animals. This exercise will allow your students to use maps produced by Lapham, Lewis, Brown and others to reconstruct the vanished landscape. They will be asked to use maps to draw graphs, produce hypotheses and imagine Wisconsin as it once was. In the process, it is hoped that they will gain an understanding of the people who built the effigy mounds and an appreciation of how important the remaining mounds are to us today."

To receive a review copy or press release, to schedule an author event, or for more information contact the WHS Press Marketing Department: whspress@wisconsinhistory.org.

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