Ancient Indian Earthwork Near Milwaukee Wisconsin

Ancient Indian Earthwork Near Milwaukee Wisconsin




On the land of Mr. Geo. O. Tiffany, half a mile south of Forest Home Cemetery, is a sort of inclosure opposite some very large springs.  The walls are about eighteen inches high, and three or four feet wide. It is on a level flat, from which there is a descent of about eight feet to the springs. The wall is double, as shown by the figure, the outer one interrupted by two gateways. There are some irregular excavations within the inclosure. Large trees grow upon and near the works, constituting a dense forest of thrifty growth. The flat on which these works are built terminates in the rear by high hills surmounted by the mounds before described.
There can be no doubt that this wall of earth is the only remaining trace of some building erected here on account of the copious springs opposite the main opening; but the nature of the edifice can only be conjectured. Perhaps it may have consisted of palisades or timbers set in the ground, against which a bank of earth was erected to secure greater strength and permanency. There is no regular ditch accompanying the wall, as is found in similar works in New York and elsewhere. Immediately above these works another was traced, with a ditch very irregular in its form, direction, and dimensions, which proved to have been the work of the beaver. This industrious little animal had here set up a colony, and erected his works; his “nation” has had its rise, and its decline and fall, since the aboriginal structures were abandoned.
Further up the creek, on the west side, north of the plank road, and not far from some very large mounds, are three similar works, except that they are not on the immediate bank of the creek. Two of them are represented in Fig. 6. The inclosure is about one hundred feet long, and thirty wide, in its greatest dimensions. The opening at appears to have been caused by the washing away of the earth by the rain that fell within the inclosure. The walls were nine feet wide and one foot high. The small size of these inclosures prevents their ranking with the “works of defence” or other extensive embankments described in the first and second volumes of the Smithsonian Contributions; and we can only suppose them to be the remains of ancient buildings, or structures of some kind, needful in the simple condition of those who erected them.