In a specific sense, many people desire to know what historically known tribes built the mounds.
The answer to this question is far more difficult to answer because the mounds were built over a period of approximately 2500 years, and mounds ceased to be constructed almost 200 years before any Euro-Americans started asking who might have built them.
Inquiries to Indian people of Wisconsin by anthropologists in the early part of the 20th century were answered by partial and conflicting answers, however, only the Ho-Chunk and the Iowa were able to provide any information at all.
This, of course, is a tentative answer pending continued research.
During the period 350 to 2800 years ago, Indian peoples of the Midwest built at least 15,000 earthen mounds in a variety of shapes and sizes.
The most commonly found shapes are hemispherical (sometimes called conical), ovate (shaped like an egg or an oval), and linear embankments.
Answered by George Christiansen III In this brief summary, George answers some of the most often heard questions.
George Christiansen III, a professional archaeologist and doctoral student at UW-Madison, is an expert on the archaeological sites of the UW-Madison campus.
As an anthropology instructor and frequent public speaker, George has fielded hundreds of questions about Wisconsin's Indian mounds.
There are two answers to this question depending on what exactly is being asked.
In a general sense, Indian oral tradition and archaeological research has confirmed that the ancient mounds found throughout Wisconsin were built by Indian peoples.
Although this may seem like common sense, it was not long ago that some people believed that the mounds found throughout Wisconsin were made by a vanished race of "Mound Builders" who were thought to be any one of a number of non-Indian people including the "Ten Lost Tribes of Israel," Vikings, Britons, Hindus and many others.
We now know this to be false and sometimes the product of racist views.
After more than 165 years of archaeological research there has not been any evidence to suggest that anyone other than Indian peoples built the mounds.