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Radio Chipstone: Wisconsin's Effigy Mounds

Platform Mound in Aztalan State Park in Aztalan, Wisconsin.

There are Native American burial mounds across the United States, but the kind found in Wisconsin and nearby areas of Iowa, Illinois, and Minnesota are distinct to this region. The three- to four-foot-high earthen effigy mounds depict panthers, deer, bears, raptors, and other animals.

But according to historian and author Robert Birmingham, Wisconsin’s Effigy Mounds are not only archeological monuments, they are also works of art. Birmingham is professor emeritus of Archeology at UW Waukesha and the former Wisconsin State Archeologist. He’s also written several books on the subject, including Indian Mounds of Wisconsin.

In this edition of Radio Chipstone, contributor Gianofer Fields digs a bit deeper into the history of our remaining mounds with Birmingham, who says the mounds tell the story of cultural growth, community and change:

Material culture contributor Gianofer Fields curates the Radio Chipstone series. The project is funded by the Chipstone Foundation, a decorative arts foundation whose mission is preserving and interpreting their collection, as well as stimulating research and education in the decorative arts.