Though many of the mounds in the Madison area have been destroyed by farming, road construction, or housing developments, Edgewood College is home to fourteen very unique and historical mounds. These mounds date back to the Woodland Indians that once inhabited the area that is now the Edgewood College campus. It is believed that the mounds specifically date back to the Ho-Chunk tribe. The Dominican Sisters chose to preserve these effigy, conical, and linear mounds for wealth of history and education that can be provided by them. Though some of the surviving mounds have some partial damage, most have remained fairly intact.
Currently, on Edgewood’s campus there are two linear mounds, nine conical mounds, and three effigy mounds. The three effigy mounds are a bird, a bear, and a panther or water-spirit. These three mounds represent the “three natural realms – air (bird), earth (bear), and water (water-spirit or panther) that provide the resources on which humans depend.” The bird effigy mound is of an eagle, and it is because of this mound that our mascot is the eagle. The bird’s body is 80 feet, and its wingspan was originally 260 feet – some of its wingspan was destroyed by road construction. The bear mound was first documented by students of Charles Brown, a renowned archeologist, in 1920. The panther mound contains conch shells originating from Florida, which suggests that the inhabitants of the area were travelers. Mounds like the panther or water-spirit were often made to point towards sacred springs or waterways.
To this day, the mounds provide very historical and educational value to students, staff, and visitors of Edgewood College. The study of these unique mounds can provide students with insight to the culture of the Woodland Indians who once inhabited our campus.
Information from: http://hcap.artstor.org/cgi-bin/library?a=d&d=p584