Spook Hill Mound Group

Twenty-one mound sites have been recorded in the park, once totaling more than 130 mounds. In the 1880s, Cyrus Thomas(Photo right) of the Bureau of Ethnology at the Smithsonian Institution investigated several mounds in his search for the identity of the mound builders. In 1909, Charles E. Brown of the State Historical Society, assisted by the Reverend Drexel and Robert Glenn, mapped most of the mounds in the area. Among the groups mapped was the Signal Hill Mound Group or "Procession of the Mounds"--a single line of mounds, including conical, linear, and one effigy, that follows the crest of the bluff.

At least two separate periods of mound building are represented at the park. Thomas investigated several large conical mounds and found burials in stone crypts, one with shell beads, a copper celt, and a stone platform pipe (Photo Left). These characteristics suggest construction during the Middle Woodland stage. Most mounds, however, appear to have been built during the Late Woodland state. They consist of small conical mounds, linear mounds, and several types of effigy mounds, including bears and other animals, several long-tailed water spirits, and compound or chain mounds, which, like the bear effigies, are common in this region of the Mississippi River valley.**
(Spook Hill Mound Group, Below)

Indian peoples have lived in the area we now call Wisconsin for more than 12,000 years. Throughout this time, Indian peoples engaged in a universal practice of humans – the respectful burial of their dead.

During the Woodland period (about 500 BC to 1000 AD), earthwork or “mound” construction (generally associated with burial of the dead) developed.

Mounds are a type of monumental architecture built primarily of earth, although they do occasionally have stone or wood foundations. These structures may or may not contain human burials.

 In Late Woodland times, Indian peoples began to build animal-shaped or “effigy” mounds–birds, bears, and panthers are common forms. Because of the especially dense concentration of effigy mounds in the state, Wisconsin is considered to be the center of what is referred to as “effigy mound culture.”

In addition to building mounds, Woodland peoples developed other technological innovations including plant domestication, pottery, and, late in the period, the bow and arrow.

Many burial mounds, as well as other burial sites (both Indian and non-Indian), are in  DNR parks, forests, and other properties. The department removes brush and trees from the mounds and promotes the growth of native plants on them. We do not mow the mounds. State law [exit DNR] protects all such burial areas, including those on public and private lands, against unauthorized disturbance.*
***Wyalusing Park Photos : Link ***

*http://dnr.wi.gov/org/land/parks/interp/archaeology/index.html
**http://www.wisconsinstories.org/