On October 31, 2016, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell designated the Man Mound as a National Historic Landmark. The National Historic Landmark designation recognizes places which possess exceptional value and quality in illustrating and interpreting the heritage of the United States. Like the more widely known National Register of Historic Places, National Historic Landmark designations are made to bring attention to sites that are historically significant; however Landmark designation requires a much more stringent nomination process and the site must be of national significance.
The Man Mound is the 43rd site to be designated as a National Historic Landmark in Wisconsin. It joins Aztalan, Copper Culture State Park and Silver Mound as archeological sites with that designation in the state. The Man Mound is the first effigy mound from the region of the Effigy Mound Culture that flourished in southern Wisconsin and small adjoining portions of Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota from approximately 800 to 1200 C.E. to be designated a National Historic Landmark. The Man Mound is a rare example of an anthropomorphic effigy mound and is believed to be the last remaining example of perhaps only a half-dozen such human-shaped mounds that were created by the Native People of this area.
The Man Mound is considered to be the first effigy mound in Wisconsin that was acquired specifically to preserve such an archeological site from possible destruction. It was purchased in 1907 through the combined efforts of the Sauk County Historical Society, the Wisconsin Archeological Society and the Wisconsin Federation of Women’s Clubs. The property is now managed as a Sauk County Park with the specific care of the Man Mound itself being done by volunteers associated with the Wisconsin Archeological Society and its Preservation of Site Committee. The nomination process for the Man Mound National Historic Landmark began nearly five years ago and has been led by Dr. Amy Rosebrough, Staff Archeologist with the Wisconsin Historical Society’s State Archeologist’s Office.
The designation of the Man Mound as a National Historic Landmark provides recognition of this spectacular effigy mound, and by extension, adds to the recognition of the importance of protecting and caring for all effigy mounds as burial sites, as sacred and ceremonial sites, and as ancient works of art.
A public event to commemorate the designation of the Man Mound as a National Historic Landmark is being planned for Spring 2017.