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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Madison in Dane County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Bear and Lynx Effigy Mounds

500-1000 A.D.

 
 
Bear and Lynx Effigy Mounds Marker image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, July 16, 2010
1. Bear and Lynx Effigy Mounds Marker
Inscription. These mounds were constructed by a people of a hunting and gathering culture who met periodically at ceremonial grounds like this one to bury their dead.
 
Erected 1990 by Madison Landmarks Commission. (Marker Number 94.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Wisconsin, Madison Landmarks Commission marker series.
 
Location. 43° 5.414′ N, 89° 20.424′ W. Marker is in Madison, Wisconsin, in Dane County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Lakeland Avenue and Maple Avenue, on the right when traveling east. Click for map. The marker is in Elmside Park. Marker is in this post office area: Madison WI 53704, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. "Let The Great Spirits Soar" (a few steps from this marker); Riley House (within shouting distance of this marker); Corry Carriage House (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Lt. Gerald Stull USAF (approx. 0.2 miles away); Lizard Effigy Mound (approx. mile away); "Elmside" (approx. 0.3 miles away); Herman J. Loftsgordon House (approx. 0.3 miles away); Olbrich Park (approx. 0.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Madison.
 
Regarding Bear and Lynx Effigy Mounds.
Bear and Lynx Effigy Mounds Marker image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, July 16, 2010
2. Bear and Lynx Effigy Mounds Marker
According to a 1996 survey by Robert A. Birmingham and Katherine H. Rankin entitled Native American Mounds in Madison and Dane County, "At the corner of Lakeland Avenue and Maple Avenue overlooking Lake Monona are two well-preserved Late Woodland animal effigies now referred to as a lynx and a bear. These mounds were originally part of a dense and extensive cluster of mounds that extended along the north shore of Lake Monona. Once part of the Simeon Mills farm, this site was still a favored Winnebago campground as late as the late 19th century. Most of the mound cluster, which included a bird effigy with a reported wingspan of 568 feet, was destroyed by turn-of-the-century residential development. Nearby, the beautiful sculpture, entitled 'Let the Great Spirits Soar,' was carved by Harry Whitehorse, a Winnebago whose ancestors have lived in the Four Lakes area for hundreds of years. The sculpture was carved from a storm-damaged hackberry tree and honors his Indian ancestors and the effigy mound builders."

According to the Madison Landmarks Commission, "Overlooking Lake Monona are two well-preserved animal effigies [dated between 700 - 1200 A.D.]. Referred to for many years as a lynx and a bear, the actual animals or spirits that they were intended to represent is not entirely clear. These mounds were originally part of the same cluster as the Hudson Park mound.

"Wisconsin
Bear and Lynx Effigy Mounds Marker image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, July 23, 2010
3. Bear and Lynx Effigy Mounds Marker
With the "Let The Great Spirits Soar" sculpture in the background.
has the highest concentration of effigy mounds in the United States and the Madison area has one of the highest concentration of effigy mounds remaining. Most mounds were lost to 19th century agricultural practices and city development. The mound builders were farmers who also engaged in hunting and gathering. They lived in small villages and migrated from one to another based on the seasonal availability of natural resources. The mounds often, but not always, have burials associated with them, but their exact purpose is not entirely understood. Mounds tend to have been built in places with beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. The mounds are considered sacred by modern Native Americans and should be treated with respect."
 
Also see . . .
1. Madison is an Indian mound capital. Related marker with links to other markers for Madison Indian mounds. (Submitted on July 24, 2010, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin.) 

2. Madison Landmarks Commission. The landmark nomination form for the mounds (pdf). (Submitted on March 26, 2011, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin.) 
 
Categories. Cemeteries & Burial SitesNative AmericansNotable Places
 
Sign on path near Bear and Lynx Effigy Mounds Marker image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, July 23, 2010
4. Sign on path near Bear and Lynx Effigy Mounds Marker
Representation of Bear Effigy Mound image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, July 23, 2010
5. Representation of Bear Effigy Mound
Carved into a nearby stone (next to the "Let the Great Spirits Soar" sculpture)
Representation of Lynx Effigy Mound image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, July 23, 2010
6. Representation of Lynx Effigy Mound
Carved into a nearby stone (next to the "Let the Great Spirits Soar" sculpture)
Map of mounds near marker image. Click for full size.
By Native American Mounds in Madison and Dane County, July 24, 2010
7. Map of mounds near marker
Black shading represents existing mounds and grey shading shows lost mounds.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 1,056 times since then and 4 times this year. Last updated on , by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin.   3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on , by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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