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Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters
volume IV (1876-1877)

De Hart, J. M.
The antiquities and platycnemism of the mound builders of Wisconsin,   pp. 188-200 ff. PDF (4.5 MB)


Page 188


188    IVisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters.
THE ANTIQUITIES AND PLATYCNEMISM OF THE
          MOUND BUILDERS OF WISCONSIN.
                      BY J. M. DE HART, M. D.
  The vast difference that has been found to exist between the
mounds of Wisconsin and those of other parts of the United
States, both in their form and variety of structure, have led many
arebeologists to infer that they were constructed by a different
race; but such eminent authority as the late Dr. Lapham, has
dispelled these views, and finds in them sufficient evidence to
prove that they are of a common origin. The animal mounds,
located a few miles west of the four lakes, near Madison, were
first described by Squier and Davis, in their contributions to the
Smithsonian Institution, in 1848, and also by R. C. Taylor, in
Silliman's Journal.
  Dr. Locke, in the Geological Report of Iowa and Wisconsin,
furnished information which greatly increased our knowledge of
these structures; but Dr. Lapham, in his contributions to the
Smithsonian Institution and American Antiquarian Society, has
done more than any other writer, in furnishing evidence of their
conformation and general character.
  Most of these mounds consist of imitations, on a gigantic scale,
of animate objects, which were characteristic of the region, such
as the bear, buffalo and deer, among the mammals; of the turtle
and lizard, among the reptiles, and the night hawk and eagle,
among the birds; and, in a few instances, of the human form.
The animal mounds seldom exceed five feet in height, while some
of them were only one or two feet high, above the surrounding
ground. From the fact that the mounds were nearly always
located near the great rivers, and in the vicinity of the lakes, we
are led to infer that the mound-builders availed themselves of the
natural advantages of the country -ready access to living water,
natural highways, streams abounding with fish, and the adjacent
forests with game.


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