Bird Effigy Mound

© Photographed April 23, 2017
Madison, Dane County, Wisconsin
43°03'25.7"N 89°25'25.0"W
43.057150, -89.423622
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Bird Effigy Mound
The Edgewood College campus area is a very special place. The original inhabitants to this area are gone, but the physical remnants and spirit of this rich culture remain in the form of effigy mounds. It is believed that the Effigy Mound culture existed during the Lake Woodland Period (650-1200 A.D.)
Effigy mounds are precontact earthworks that need to be valued and protected. Ninety percent of the world's effigy mounds are located in southern Wisconsin. Originally there were about 2,000-3,000 mounds in Dane County. Eighty percent of the effigy mounds have been totally destroyed.
The mounds are actually earthen sculptures. They were constructed by outlining a specific shape and piling many layers of earth within the lines. Soil was transported from other areas as evidenced by soil samples taken from the mounds. Very few ornaments are found inside these mounds except for shells, pottery shards, copper and sometimes the bones of their ancestors.
Effigy mounds are clustered in groups near water and appear to tell a story. The complete story they tell is unknown to us at this time. However, we do know that some mounds were to be used as solstice and equinox markers. Others were constructed to honor a deceased clan member, as clan totems, and/or artistic creations that tell a story. They have been used by the Winnebagos for various sacred ceremonies.
Effigy mound groups can be found in various shapes and sizes. At one time, on what is now the Edgewood College campus, the mound complex consisted of two bears, one bird, two linear, and ten conical mounds. At present, there are one bird, one bear, one panther, two linear and nine conical mounds. 
This bird effigy mound has wings that span 200 feet; however, the tips of both its wings have been cut off by the construction of the sidewalk and Woodrow Street. The body length of the mound is 80 feet.
To show honor and respect to the Native Americans of the past and present, and to help prevent erosion, please view the bird mound from the sidewalk or walk around it.
The Sinsinawa Dominicans founded Edgewood College in 1927. One translation of the Winnebago word "Sinsinawa" is "home of the young eagle."
The Bird Effigy Mount and marker are located on the Edgewood College Campus and are accessible Woodrow Street, between Edgewood Drive (to the south) and Edgewood College Drive (to the north), adjacent to the Diane Ballweg Theatre Building, at or near 1000 Edgewood College Drive, Madison, Wisconsin 53711.

Edgewood College Campus Map

See also, Indian Bird Effigy Mound, also at this location.


The marker is at the top of the post.

The effigy mound is roped off . . .

The effigy mound . . .

A Dr. Evermor sculpture!!


Plenty of parking at The Stream / Diane Ballweg Theatre
building to access the effigy mound and marker.

The marker and mound are located on the Edgewood College
campus in Madison, Wisconsin.

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