Madison is an Indian mound capital

© Photographed October 3, 2015
Erected 2006 by City of Madison
Madison, Dane County, Wisconsin
43° 4.351′ N, 89° 22.897′ W
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Madison is an
Indian mound
At least 887 earthen Indian mounds once dotted the land around lakes Mendota, Monona, Wingra, Waubesa, and Kegonsa—so many that archaeologist Charles E. Brown once suggested Madison be renamed Mound City.

Most southern Wisconsin mounds were constructed between 2,800 and 900 years ago. At first Indians shaped them into cones, and later into animal, spirit, and linear forms. Often built on high ground near water, the mounds were burial sites and probably served other ceremonial purposes.

A long-tailed water spirit and two conical mounds once stood where Wilson Street intersects Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Water spirit mounds are sometimes called panther or turtle mounds.

Madison’s wealth of mounds suggests to some researchers that even in ancient times, our city was this region’s “capital."
The marker is located on westbound West Wilson Street, on the northwest corner of its intersection with Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard, Madison, Wisconsin 53703.

Native American Mounds in Madison and Dane County

The marker is included in The Madison Heritage Series, Sharing Our Legacy, created for Madison's sesquicentennial. The marker was sponsored by Sponsored by the Madison Community Foundation and Dean Health/St. Marys.

Charles E. Brown with Ho-Chunk chiefs, 1932
Between 1908 and 1944, archaeologist Charles E. Brown led an effort to preserve Madison’s Indian mounds. The ancient earthworks of this area are sacred to many Ho-Chunk and other Indian people. European settlement gradually destroyed about 65 percent of the mounds in Dane County, but because of the efforts of Brown and others, more than 100 remain, one of the highest concentrations in the country.

The marker is visible in the center of the photo.

View of the capital building from the marker location.

The marker is locate din Madison, Wisconsin.

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