Houses

© Photographed July 21, 2015
Aztalan State Park
Jefferson, Jefferson County, Wisconsin
43.063353, -88.861921
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Houses
Two house types are found at Aztalan: circular and rectangular. Each contained separate entrance chambers and hearths inside. Although no rows of houses have been found, houses are densely grouped, suggesting some level of community planning. House construction began by setting wall posts into individual holes or within a trench dug to the size and shape of the house. The walls were then covered with branches and the same type of plaster that covered the stockade (made of grasses and clay) -- this technique is known as "wattle-and-daub." Based on historic accounts and the structures themselves, we can infer that roofs were covered with bark or thatch. People likely lived in these houses all year, and many houses had entrances facing south, away from harsh winter winds. Inside were pole frame beds, probably covered with tamarack boughs, deer skins, and furs. Fireplaces were either in the center of the house or by the doorway, with a central hole in the roof to release smoke, acting as a chimney.
The marker is one of a series of markers located on the grounds of Aztalan State Park,



Aztalan has remained a mystery since the early 19th century when it was discovered by settlers who came to the Crawfish River, 50 miles west of Milwaukee. Who were the early indigenous people who inhabited this place? When did they live here? Why did they disappear? Robert Birmingham and Lynne Goldstein attempt to unlock some of the mysteries, providing insights and information about the group of people who first settled here in 1100 A.D. Filled with maps, drawings, and photographs of artifacts, this volume examines a time before modern Native American people settled in this area.

To receive a review copy or press release, to schedule an author event, or for more information contact the WHS Press Marketing Department:
whspress@wisconsinhistory.org.

Note: This book meets and exceeds the requirements of the Wisconsin American Indian Education Act (Act 31).



Houses
     The structure of two different types of Aztalan houses. The top drawing is a plan view, as you might see if you looked down on where the house was. The middle view shows the interior of the house and its construction; the bottom view shows how the outside of the house looked.
With the Crawfish River in the background.

View of the large mound from the marker location.

 The Visitor Center was closed the day of my visit.

The marker is located at Aztalan State Park in Jefferson, Wisconsin.

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