Effigy mound on Observatory Hill, UW-Madison.
This earthwork, identified as a two-tailed water spirit, is one of two surviving effigy mounds located to the north of Agricultural Hall on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.
In a 2011 article for the Wisconsin Magazine of History, archaeologist Amy L. Rosebrough writes:
Archaeologists use the term effigy builder to describe a population of Native Americans that lived in the oak savannahs of southern Wisconsin and adjoining portions of Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois between AD 700 and AD 1200. Though the effigy builders shared the practice of building earthen mounds in the shapes (effigies) of animals, birds, and spirits, they probably weren’t members of a single tribe or culture. Instead, the different clusters of effigy mounds noted in places like Milwaukee, Madison, and Green Lake probably marked the territories of independent communities with their own—albeit similar—ways of life.
via: Cultural Landscape of the UW-Madison Campus, by way of Wisconsin Historical Society and University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
This week’s guest curator is Debbie Cardinal, former Program Manager for Wisconsin Heritage Online. Debbie was born in Wisconsin and has lived here most of her life. She loves Wisconsin’s often surprising history and its varied landscape.
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