Wisconsin Creepy, Nature December 04, 2017
The Hauntingly Beautiful Place In Wisconsin That Humans Left Behind
There was once a large settlement of people who lived next to the Crawfish River, in an area about halfway between Madison and Milwaukee. They flourished there from about 1050 AD to 1200 AD, then mysteriously vanished. The ruins were discovered by white settlers in 1835, and today the area is a state park. Take a look!
You'll find Aztalan State Park at N6200 County Road Q, in Jefferson.
The park encompasses 172 acres, which includes forest, ancient fields and three flat-top mounds.
The settlement is nestled on the banks of the Crawfish River.
The river would have provided people with water for drinking and washing, as well as fish, mussels, turtles, and muskrats.
Archaeologists are still figuring out the purpose of the three platform mounds at the park.
It appears that one was used as a burial mound, with three tiers. One mound was used to store corn, though it's not known if the corn was stored for food, or for ceremonial purposes. The purpose of the third mound is still unclear.
Another group of smaller mounds lines up to the north. These mounds contained a pit filled with gravel and dirt, with a large post sunk in the middle. Archaeologists call these mounds "marker mounds," because they may have been used to mark the settlement's border, or as relay posts for messages.
The people who lived here had access to a lot of resources.
They were able to find plenty of food by hunting and fishing, and they established agricultural fields here as well. The people lived in pole dwellings with walls made of grass and clay and roofs of bark. The dwellings were built around a central town square where residents would have gathered for social or religious purposes.
Some of this land was used for agriculture.
The ancient Mississippian people planted corn, squash, sunflowers, gourds and many other crops. In the distance, you can see another flat-topped mound.
The settlement once had two fortifications, built with logs sunk upright into the ground.
The fences would have provided security for the settlement; they have been reconstructed for visitors today.
While many ancient artifacts have provided clues about these Mississippian People, archaeologists still have a lot to learn.
No one is sure why the people abandoned this place sometime around 1200 AD. In fact, the entire Mississippian culture disappeared completely from the midwest around the same time. While researchers continue to seek information about this culture and its people, the state park provides a peaceful, beautiful place to visit.
The park is open from 6 AM to 10 PM, every day. Visit the state park's
for more information.
Have you visited Aztalan State Park? Tell our readers about your trip!
Are you interested in the history of Wisconsin? Take a look at
this 100-year-old bridge!