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Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters
volume VIII (1888-1891)

Peet, S. D.
The clan centers and clan habitat of the effigy builders,   pp. 299-311 PDF (5.3 MB)


Page 299


                The Clans of the Effigy Builders.              299
THE CLAN CENTERS AND CLAN HABITAT OF THE
                      EFFIGY- BUILDERS.
                  By STEPHEN D. PEET, Pu. D.
 The animal effigies of Wisconsin are very interesting specimens of the
 handiwork of a people who have passed away. Who this people were, is
 at present unknown. They were, however, remarkable for one thing-
 their skill in imitating animal figures and especially in molding massive
 imitative forms out of earth and raising bas-reliefs above the surface so
 that they could easily be seen and recognized. Nowhere on the face of
 the earth are there so many of these effigies as here, and nowhere else
 can we learn as much about the effigy builders. There are, to be sure, a
 few effigies in the state of Ohio which, like these in Wisconsin, are
 molded from the soil. They are as follows: The Great 'Serpent in
 Adams county, the Alligator mound, and the Bird mound in Licking
 county, and the animal effigy in Scioto county, near the mouth of the
 Scioto river. The writer has discovered also a massive serpent effigy
 near Quincy, Illinois, and other gentlemen have discovered turtle and
 animal effigies, both in northern Illinois and eastern Iowa, though these
 probably belonged to the same system with the effigies of Wisconsin,
 stray specimens which were built beyond the borders of the state. Other
 than these, no effigies made of earth have been discovered anywhere on
 the continent. There are, to be sure, effigies made of stone in various
 parts of the country, as follows: Two in the shape of birds, discovered
 in Georgia and described by Col. C. C. Jones, who is one of the most
 skillful archaeologists. Several in the shape of serpents, turtles, buffa-
 loes and human form in Iowa, described by Prof. John Todd and Mr. T.
 H. Lewis. The figures of birds, turtles and nondescript creatures may
 be frequently seen inscribed upon rocks. Marquette, the missionary,
 saw one such near Alton, Ill. Jonathan Carver saw others in the caves
 in Minnesota. Rev. Edward Brown described those in West Salem, Wis-
 consin. Mr. T. H. Lewis has made a study of those found in the caves
 of Iowa and Minnesota. It may be said, however, that the effigies made
from earth, notwithstanding the havoc -made with them by the relic
hunter and the farmer, have proved about as enduring as those made
from stone, and no more liable to be marred and destroyed than are the
inscriptions in the caves. This makes the responsibility of the citizens
I
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