Ancient Effigy Mound Landscapes of Upper Midwestern North America (Paperback)
Between c. AD 700 and 1100, Late Woodland people of the Upper Midwest used the topography and other features of the natural landscape to create vast ceremonial landscapes consisting of thousands of earthen mounds sculpted into animals and animal spirits that mirrored their belief and clan-based social structure and that served an important role in mortuary ritual. In so doing, the Late Woodland people created quite visible three-dimensional maps of ancient cosmology and social structures that are similar to the beliefs and social systems of more recent Indian people.
Ancient Effigy Mound Landscapes will provide an overview of the effigy mound phenomenon of the Upper Midwest centered on southern Wisconsin. It documents the nature of these unique landscapes, describing the use of topography and natural features to create the ceremonial landscapes, and provides the interpretation that these were living landscapes in which ancestral animals and supernatural beings were ritually brought back to life at places where the spirits are best evoked in a continuous cycle of death and rebirth of the earth and its people. These monuments can often only be fully appreciated by modern observers from the air and Robert Birmingham includes both high quality historical and modern maps, aerial photographs and the results of the very latest LIDAR imagery to reveal detail of the stunning complexity and ordered layouts of these mysterious spiritual landscapes.