Source:Dodge County Planning, Development and Parks
Nitschke Mounds Park - Mounds Information
Horicon Marsh Area - Wild Goose State Trail
Selection of mounds with Park's explanation.
The well-known and documented Nitschke Mounds are comprised of 2 mound groupings with a total of 62 effigy, conical and linear mounds. Forty-six of these mounds were identified in the northern group - located on the now County-owned property.
The so-called turtle and panther mounds are long-tailed forms that comprise the second largest class of effigy mounds.
The long-tailed mounds were representative of water spirits usually found in areas with large lakes, swamps and marshes and typically were located near springs.
These springs flow from the earth and have been revered by ancient people as a source of life-giving water, symbolic of rebirth and renewal.
Springs also represented entrances to the water underworld for the powerful water spirits.
The Nitschke Mounds are located less than 2 miles from the Horicon Marsh and the site has 2 continuously flowing springs.
The largest mound in the group is a Turtle Effigy that measures 200 feet in length by 57 feet in width and 4 feet in height. The mounds were mapped and catalogued during a 1929 investigation which revealed that most of the mounds contained burials.
- Who built the mounds and why on this site?
- Were they for ceremonial, spiritual or functional purposes?
- Why do many of them resemble animals?
- Why were some used for burials and others weren't?
- Were the mounds part of an ancient village?
While there are many theories to these and other questions, we may never know the answers for certain. However, it is only through the preservation and study of unique sites like the Nitschke Mounds that we have any hope of trying to understand the mysteries of the mounds.....
Although, to date no dinosaur fossils have been found in Wisconsin, we humbly offer this alternative Type as an explanation for one of the effigies. Panther, long necked dinosaur or yet another alternative? (And while we're at it; Turtle-or guitar?:0)