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Devil's Lake Bird Mound Centennial Commemoration

Devil's Lake Bird Mound Centennial Commemoration

Sunday, September 11, 2016


Devils’ Lake State Park, South Shore

The Bird Mound at the South Shore of Devil’s Lake is one of the largest and most spectacular effigy mounds in Wisconsin.  Located in Wisconsin’s most popular state park, the Devil’s Lake Bird Mound is likely seen by more people than any effigy mound.  In early September 1916 the Sauk County Historical Society and the Wisconsin Archeological Society placed a historical marker at the mound as part of the efforts to preserve this and other effigy mounds around the area.

On Sunday, September 11, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. the two societies are hosting a centennial commemoration of the placing that marker.  The program will begin performance by the Ho-Chunk Thundercloud Singers which will be followed by a talk by Carlyle Greendeer, Executive Director of the Ho-Chunk Nation’s Heritage Preservation Department and other Ho-Chunk representatives.  Todd Leibman, President of the Sauk County Historical Society and Kurt Sampson, President of the Wisconsin Archeological Society will speak on their organizations’ role in the preservation of effigy mounds.  Ken Lange, longtime naturalist at Devil’s Lake State Park, will talk about the Bird Mound and other effigy mounds in the area.  There will also be a portrayal of William H. Canfield who measured and mapped the Bird Mound in 1875.  George Christiansen, Director of the Center for Wisconsin Archeology at UW-Baraboo/Sauk County will emcee the program.

Before and after the program there will be exhibits by several organizations involved with protecting and caring for effigy mounds including the Ancient Earthworks Society and the Center for Wisconsin Archeology.  The event is open to the public.  Participants may want to bring a lawn chair and are welcome to bring a picnic lunch for after the program.  While the program is free, an admission sticker for Devil’s Lake State Park is required.

The Devil’s Lake Bird Mound is one of over 200 effigy mounds that have been recorded in Sauk County.  Only about 30 of those mounds survive on the landscape today.  Effigy mounds were created by the native people who lived in what is now southern Wisconsin and small portions of Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota between about the years 750 and 1200.  The mounds are burial sites, ancient artworks and remain sacred sites to this day.  The mounds were shaped as birds, land animals and water spirits.  There is even one in the human form east of Baraboo.


 For additional information, please contact:

Paul Wolter, Executive Director, Sauk County Historical Society, 608-356-1001, or

Kurt Sampson, President, Wisconsin Archeological Society, 414-405-4367