- DNR lands with reported mounds
- Aztalan State Park - a National Historic Landmark
- Devil's Lake State Park
- Governor Nelson Park
- High Cliff State Park
- Interstate Park
- Kinnickinnic State Park
- Lake Kegonsa State Park
- Lake Wissota State Park
- Nelson Dewey State Park
- Perrot State Park
- Wyalusing State Park
- Kettle Moraine State Forest - Pike Lake Unit
- Cranberry Creek State Natural Area
- Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area
- Lower Wisconsin State Riverway
- Northern Highland - American Legion State Forest
- Related links
- Burial site preservation statute
- Effigy Mounds National Monument (Iowa)
- Cahokia Mounds (Illinois) State Historic Site
- Human burials, mounds and cemeteries (Wisconsin Historical Society)
- Pictures of Native American Burial Mounds (Wisconsin Historical Society)
- Woodland Tradition (Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center)
- Contact information
- For information on cultural resources, contact:
- Mark Dudzik
Cultural resources Burial mounds
Indian peoples have lived in the area we now call Wisconsin for more than 12,000 years. Throughout this time, Indian peoples engaged in a universal practice of humans – the respectful burial of their dead.
During the Woodland period (about 500 B.C. to A.D. 1100), earthwork or “mound” construction (generally associated with burial of the dead) developed.
Wisconsin is the center of effigy mound culture.
Map and picture of Effigy Mounds National Monument (at left) courtesy of the National Park Service.
Wisconsin has a large number of such mounds, although many have been destroyed or otherwise affected by later development and natural processes. In Late Woodland times, Indian peoples began to build animal-shaped or “effigy” mounds–birds, bears and panthers are common forms. Because of the especially dense concentration of effigy mounds in the state, Wisconsin is considered to be the center of what is referred to as “effigy mound culture.”
In addition to building mounds, Woodland peoples developed other technological innovations including plant domestication, pottery and, late in the period, the bow and arrow.
Many burial mounds, as well as other burial sites (both Indian and non-Indian), are in DNR parks, forests and other properties. Visitors should avoid walking over or picnicking on mounds and other designated burial sites. State law protects all such burial areas, including those on both public and private lands, against unauthorized disturbance.
Other mounds, such as platform mounds, are also protected as burial mounds even though they served different primary functions. Examples are those related to Mississippian (not Woodland) people of Aztalan. There are very few such sites in Wisconsin, but Aztalan is important as the northern expression of a Mississippian period "empire," directly related to the great site of Cahokia, Illinois (near St. Louis), a World Heritage Site.