Saturday, June 03, 2006

Who Built the Wisconsin Mounds

Madison Democrat
March 25, 1906
"From the advent of the whites the problem of the mound builders has been a more intricate one than it was when the scientific world was wrestling with the curious earth structures in Ohio and other older sections of the country. There is a strange individuality in the earthworks of Wisconsin, different from those of other parts, and the most perplexing thing about the problem is whether the builders here were the orginators of the work, or did they attempt to copy the structures of other aboriginal peoples?
There are many mounds about lakes Mendota and Monona, but no systematic effort has been made to survey, plat and preserve them. Two or three are on the unversity grounds and on the hills beyond are many more. "

If you look up into the metal structure of the sculpture nextwhere you are standing, you will see the shapes of these mounds. Amorphous shapes of humans and animals, that L.B. Hatcher has used in this work.

With the settlement of the area, local people were puzzled about the origin of the effigy mounds throughout southern Wisconsin. 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. Who had built these earthen sttructures

Further research has defined these areas as burial sites dating between 600 and 900 AD. The dead were place in shallow pits, first covered by prepared surfaces and then the mounds were built as grave markers. Some theories say that the mounds symbolize the spirits of nature with each group being a picture of the native universe. Others say that the mounds associate to clans with connections to specific animals.


Site - Top of State St. in the fabric of the public sculpture

Challenge - to create a effigy mound of their own.

Media - Photo

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