Where to find Wisconsin’s effigy mounds

Wisconsin—and particularly the "four lakes"...
Where to find Wisconsin’s effigy mounds

Part burial site, part earthen art, effigy mounds were created by native peoples between about 700 and 1200 AD in the shapes of animals like birds, deer or snakes. Wisconsin–and particularly the “four lakes” area around Madison–has the highest concentration of effigy mounds in North America and probably the world.

Hidden almost right beneath our feet are 1,300 extant mounds, usually in spots with higher elevations overlooking water. Some contained human remains; others pottery, tools or relics. All are now protected by law, but not all are available to the public. The impressive 624-foot eagle or thunderbird mound on the Mendota Hospital grounds, for instance, is on private property. However, UW-Madison, which contains more mounds than any college anywhere, does publish maps of local campus mounds. Start your research at lakeshorepreserve.wisc.edu.