Effigy Mounds

Ron L. ’89

How many effigy mounds are on the UW campus, and where are they located?

Abe

This is a more complicated question than you might think. There are four groupings of effigy mounds identified on campus: the Willow Drive group (which includes three effigy mounds and one conical mound), the Observatory Hill group (with four mounds), the Eagle Heights group (with three mounds), and the Picnic Point group (with six extant mounds and a seventh that was destroyed many years ago by relic hunters). The Wisconsin Historical Society has also identified the remains of many other Native burial sites — which were probably mounds that have been destroyed either by erosion or by human activity. Including those, the total comes to 17 extant, identified mounds, 12 known-but-destroyed mounds, and at least two (and probably more) barely documented or unknown mounds. That’s more than 30 Native mounds on central campus. If you want to see their locations more specifically, check out the map on the Lakeshore Nature Preserve’s website.