Indian Lizard Mound Effigy in Milwaukee Wisconsin

Indian Lizard Mound Effigy in Milwaukee Wisconsin



At Walker’s Point were several circular mounds and lizard mounds, now dug away in the process of grading streets. One of them, exhibited in section, was examined during the excavation, and found to be composed of whitish clay, of uniform texture and appearance. The blue, yellow, and red clays, found abundantly in the country, all assume a whitish color upon exposure at the surface; and it is, therefore, not difficult to account for the difference in the color of the clay composing this mound, without resorting to the improbable conjecture that it was brought from a great distance. The several layers of soil, brown subsoil, and blue clay, run uninterruptedly under the mound, showing that it was built upon the natural surface. (See Fig. 7.) No excavation had been made, and no relics of any kind were found in it. Indeed, the animal-shaped mounds have never been found productive in ancient relics or works of art. It was probably for purposes other than the burial of the dead, that these structures were made.
Only one locality has been discovered on the east side of the Milwaukee River where the mound-builders erected their mysterious works. This was at the intersection of Johnson and Main streets, where there were formerly two lizard mounds, and some others, as represented on  On one of these is given the dimensions in feet, showing the method usually adopted in surveying these earthworks. One of the mounds has a slight angle near the extremity of the tail, as represented in the plate; but this is not very common. The other figure is of the more common form. These figures are in their normal position, being on high ground near the edge of a hill or bank, their heads towards the south, legs towards the bank, and their general direction obliquely towards the edge of the bank. A simple oval mound, and one with arms or wings, are seen near the lizards; and a few rods to the north was an oval ring, whose diameters were forty-four and thirty-one feet. The wall was nine feet wide, and only one foot in height.