Ohio History Journal

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352 Ohio Arch

352        Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.




Largest Indian mound of its type in Wisconsin.

Body 131 feet. Wing spread 624 feet.

Marked by the Wisconsin Archaeological Society,

July 30, 1910.






Archaeology and theology have sometimes been grouped together,

since both are said to deal with subjects of no interest to modern men.

As a theologian I should be glad to refute this idea: but though I know

you are all eager to hear me discourse on theology, you must bear with

me if I disappoint you. Suffice it to say that theology or the attempt to

answer the ultimate questions which life puts to us, can never become


Archaeology is by no means a useless branch of learning. It is, to

be sure, the study of things that lie far behind us, "in the dark back-

ward and abysm of time"; but these things have to do with the life.

of humanity. These mounds are the records and symbols of human

thought. Hence we think that every cultivated man should know some-

thing about them. For what is culture? It is the knowledge of what

the race has thought and done. Much is claimed in these days for prac-

tical studies such as farming, engineering and the like. But these can

never replace such subjects as language, history, philosophy, art and

archaeology for it is these that give us insight into our vast human

inheritance. By them we enter the life of the race. Archaeological

studies may not butter anyone's bread (unless it be Secretary Brown's)

they do give us the key to the evolution of man.

Effigy mounds are found in several parts of the United States-by

far the greater number are in Wisconsin. Here was an epidemic of

mound building. In the early days they were thought to have been built

by the ten "Lost Tribes of Israel"; or by a prehistoric race far superior

to the Indians in civilization; or by the Aztecs before they migrated

to Mexico. The "consensus of the competent" now pronounces them

to have been the work of the Winnebago Indians, probably a few cen-

turies before the landing of Columbus.

It is a curious fact that the French missionaries and fur traders

who were in Wisconsin as early as 1634-only fourteen years after the

settlement of Plymouth, Massachusetts- make no mention of the mounds.

The Indians of that time did not make effigy mounds and seem to have

lost all knowledge of them. They did not reverence them for they built

their villages, planted their corn fields and buried their dead in them.