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Silver Mound | Wisconsin Historical Society

Historical Essay

Silver Mound

Silver Mound | Wisconsin Historical Society

Hwys. 121 and 95, 1.5 mi. W of Alma Center, Jackson County 

This large, isolated hill is a famous site where prehistoric Indians gathered to quar­ry a particularly attractive quartzite for the manufacture of chipped stone tools. Several aboriginal quarries are scattered along the rimrock of this mound. Thousands of tons of waste rock from these pits indicated that quarrying was car­ried on selectively over many centuries. Fields surrounding this mound are littered with quartzite fragments and flakes which accumulated during the process of mak­ing and shaping trade blanks for transportation to out lying areas. Stone spear-points, knives, and scapers made from this colorful material have a wide distribu­tion throughout Wisconsin and portions of nearby states. It is known that the earli­est Indians who migrated into the midwest, perhaps 10-12,000 years ago, made many spearpoints and knives from rock quarried here; thus this site is one of Wisconsin's oldest archeological monuments. History relates that the first white explorers mistakenly thought that the Indians were mining silver. Hence the name "Silver Mound."

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[Source: McBride, Sarah Davis. History Just Ahead (Madison:WHS, 1999).]