Aztalan State Park is the site of a ceremonial and residential Native American town established in 1100 AD (approximately). This site has provided insights into ancient agriculture and gardening.

While people lived along the Crawfish River in Wisconsin's Jefferson County before 900 A.D., the Mississippians arrived at ancient Aztalan around 1100AD. They established a heirarchal society that was culturally exotic for the area.

The Mississippian people built earthen pyramids used by the religious and ruling leaders. The largest Mississippian site is Cahokia, located near St. Louis. Aztalan has clear connections to Cahokia, the nature of which is the subject of recent investigations by archeologists from UW-Milwaukee and Michigan State University.

The Aztalan people built three earthern pyramids and a protective stockade complete with guard towers. Two of the pyramids and sections of the stockade are reconstructed.

In 1837 Nathaniel Hyer mapped the site and, believing that it was built by people from the ancient Mexican city of Aztalan, named the Wisconsin site Aztalan. Though it is now known that the inhabitants were not from Mexico the name of the site was not changed.



The Book by Bob Birmingham, Executive Manager of Friends of Aztalan, former Wisconsin state archeologist and Lynne Goldstein of Michigan State University is an excellent source of information on the prehistory and archeology of Wisconsin's premier archeological site.


Increase Lapham's monumental study, The Antiquities of Wisconsin, was published in 1855. Now in the public domain, a facsimile edition is available in two formats:



Currently Out of Print

Hardcover, for purchase at several online bookstores, including The University of Wisconsin Press






A free PDF download from the University of Wisconsin Library