New Edition of Indian Mounds of Wisconsin Discussion and Signing
Oct
24
7:00pm 7:00pm

New Edition of Indian Mounds of Wisconsin Discussion and Signing

The University of Wisconsin Press has published a new edition of the popular Indian Mounds of Wisconsin written by archaeologists and mound experts Robert Birmingham and Amy Rosebrough. The L.D. Fargo Public library, 120 E. Madison St. Lake Mills, will host a book discussion and signing by the authors on October 24 at 7:00 PM. The event is co-sponsored by the Friends of Azataln State Park.

First published in 2000, the new edition contains much new and updated material and images. The book includes exciting new research and information on the spectacular effigy mounds, an archaeological world wonder, and the great Mississippian civilization as represented by the ancient town of Aztalan near Lake Mills, among other topics. The cover of the book features a photograph of platform mounds at Aztalan State park taken by Dan Seurer of Lake Mills. A lengthy appendix provides an expanded list of ancient Indian mound sites that can be easily visited by the public. Books will be available for purchase at the event for $25.

For more information contact Friends of Aztalan State Park executive director Bob Birmingham at (608) 241-4958 or birmi@sbcglobal.net

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Field Trip to Trempealeau Mounds and Perrot State Park Museum
Sep
24
8:00am 8:00am

Field Trip to Trempealeau Mounds and Perrot State Park Museum

Last year, the Friends of Aztalan State Park, sponsored a field trip to Trempealeau, Wisconsin on the Mississippi River to view the amazing mounds and other ancient features associated with the Mississippian civilization. It proved so interesting that we are revisiting Trempealeau this year, particularly since a new trail and interpretive exhibits have been installed since our last visit, and there has been new insights provided by on-going archaeological work.

The Mississippians who established Aztalan also builtlarge platformmounds on a high hill in the center of Trempealeau - the only ones known for Wisconsin outside of Aztalan. Until recently the Mississippian mounds had been a mystery but continuing archaeological excavations have revealed a short-lived Mississippian settlement or colony below the mounds and these people came here directly the Cahokia area in southern Illinois even before the Mississippians appeared at Aztalan.  What brought them to this place is unknown but archaeologists investigating the village speculate that the nearby Trempealeau Mt., occupying an island in the Mississippi River, might have been perceived as aplace of great supernatural power as it was for the much later Ho-Chunk people that lived in this area.

The Friends have scheduled a tour with archaeologist Robert Boszhardt, who has been leading the recent excavations at Trempealeau, for afternoon of Sunday September 24.  Trempealeau is located just north of La Crosse,  and is about a 2 hour drive from Madison. We will arrange van(s) or a bus transportation depending on the number of people with two pick up points: the DNR headquarters at the Old Depot at Lake Mills at 8:00 AM, and the Dutch Mills Park and Ride in Madison at 8:40 AM. We will have lunch at the Trempealeau Hotel (great hamburgers) overlooking the Mississippi River and then tour the Trempealeau mounds and colony area well as nearby Perrot State Park that has new displays on the archaeology of the area. We expect depart to head home 4:00 PM or so.

The cost of the field trip is $30 that will cover transportation and other expenses.  Those wishing to attend should register with Bob Birmingham at 608-516-3421 or birmi@sbcglobal.net by September 20 and Bob will supply other details. You can also send your payment online at http://event.elcoyotesurvives.net/

Those wishing to read about the recent Trempealeau discoveries beforehand can find information in a short book entitled Beneath your Feet: Archaeology at Trempealeau that can be ordered from www:driftlesspathways.com, and an online La Crosse Tribune articlehttp://lacrossetribune.com/news/local/archaeological-excavations-in-trempealeau-reveal-mississippians--year-old-history/article_93bade4d-2be9-5857-8359-d861ccb3bd9d.html

Don't miss this exciting opportunitythat will shed light on the occupation of ancient Aztalan itself.

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Native American Day
Aug
19
1:00pm 1:00pm

Native American Day

A tribute to Native American culture at the park. This year it will be the Omeyocan Dance Company (Aztec Dancers. Wikipedia: Omeyocan is the highest of thirteen heavens in Aztec mythology.)

Nineteenth century speculation on the nature of the ancient Native American town of Aztalan in Wisconsin asserted that it was the homeland of the Aztecs of Mexico and thus the name Aztalan is derived from the Aztec name for the homeland. Subsequent archaeological research established that this is not the case and that it was instead a northern town of an indigenous civilization archaeologists call Mississippian that grew along the banks of the Mississippi River in Illinois and expanded throughout eastern North American. Nevertheless, the Mississippians shared many customs and beliefs found throughout the Americas in ancient times such as the establishment of agriculturally based towns and cities with large flat topped structures used for religious and other purposes. Corn or maize, the basis of the Mississippian agricultural economy, was also first domesticated in Mexico and later spread northward into what is the United States

To highlight the many different pre-Columbian cultures of the Americas, the Friends of Aztalan State Park have invited the well-known Omeyocan Dance Company of Milwaukee to perform traditional Aztec dances in spectacularly colorful regalia on Saturday, August 19. The company's mission is to celebrate and share Mexico's colorful cultural history through dance, music and costumes. The performance will be begin at 1:00 PM near the park shelter at the second parking lot in the southwestern part of Aztalan State Park. The park is located on County Highway Q, one mile east of Lake Mills.

The event itself is free, but visitors will need a Wisconsin State Park daily admission pass or annual sticker and these can be purchased at the park. For further information, contact Friends of Aztalan Executive Director Bob Birmingham at 608-516-3421 or birmi@sbcglobal.net

 

 

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Aztalan Day at the Park
Jul
16
10:30am10:30am

Aztalan Day at the Park

In conjunction with the Lake Mills-Aztalan Historical Society annual Aztalan Day festival Sunday July 16, the Friends of Aztalan State Park will host Aztalan Day at the Park at Aztalan State Park. The park is located on County Highway Q, 1 mile east of Lake Mills and preserves the ancient Native American town of Aztalan occupied by Native people of the Mississippian culture between AD 1050 and 1200. Park events will include a tour of the ancient town at 10:30, AM and a program on Increase Lapham at 3:00 PM. Increase Lapham, Wisconsin's famous natural scientist, made the first detailed map of Aztalan that was published in his 1855 book Antiquities of Wisconsin. Lapham researcher, Rob Nurre, will appear as Lapham and describe the historic mapping of Aztalan and also discuss the unusual effigy mound sites in the form of human beings such as the famous Man Mound near Baraboo, now a National Historic Landmark. This program will take place at the park shelter located at the second parking lot. 

The temporary visitor center at Aztalan State Park will be open throughout the day. 

Both special events are free, but a daily or annual Wisconsin State Park sticker is needed for each vehicle and these can be purchased at the park. For more information, contact Bob Birmingham, Executive Director, Friends of Aztalan State Park at 608-516-3421 or birmi@sbcglobal.net.

The main Lake Mills-Aztalan Historical Society Aztalan Day events will take place from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM at the Lake Mills-Aztalan Historical Society grounds at the corner of Hwy Q and Hwy B. As part of the many activities there Friends of Aztalan State Park board member Kurt Sampson will give a noon presentation on early 20th century Milwaukee Public Museum excavations at Aztalan. This will take place at the “Princess Mound” located behind the old Church, now the Lake Mills-Aztalan Historical Society Museum. The Friends of Aztalan will have a table on the grounds, for information and cool stuff for sale.

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Solstice Celebration
Jun
20
7:00pm 7:00pm

Solstice Celebration

The annual summer solstice celebration marking the longest day of the year will be held on the evening of Tuesday June 20 beginning at 7:00 PM with snacks and beverages at the park shelter. This will be followed by a program on Aztalan agriculture. The Mississippian people who lived at the town of Aztalan were farmers and summer was the farming season. Viewing of the summer solstice sunset (weather permitting) will take place at about 8:30 PM from the large southwest platform mound that probably supported a structure where the leader of the community lived.

The program is free but a Wisconsin State Park sticker (either day or annual)  is needed and can be purchased at the park. For more information contact Friends of Aztalan Executive Director Bob Birmingham at (608) 516-3421 or birmi@sbcglobal.net.

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Excavations Tours
Jun
16
10:00am10:00am

Excavations Tours

In conjunction with the University of Wisconsin-Madison archaeological excavations in progress at the park, the University is holding a field school that is searching for more evidence of houses where Aztalan people lived as well as other features relating to the history of the site. This will be a public day when vistors can get close-up views of the excavations with explanations by the archaeologists. Artifacts recovered from the site will also be displayed. The Friends of Aztalan State Park will provide tours of the site and the excavations throughout the day starting at the interim visitor's center at the second parking lot at the park.Donations towards the proposed new visitor's center at the park being built by the Friends of Aztalan State Park will also be gladly accepted.

The tours are free, but you will need a state park sticker for your vehicle. For more information contact Friends of Aztalan State Park Executive Director Bob Birmingham at (608) 516-3421 or birmi@sbcglobal.net.
 

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Spring Walking Tour
May
7
2:00pm 2:00pm

Spring Walking Tour

Aztalan Spring Tour to Highlight Recent Discoveries

The Friends of Aztalan State Park will begin its season of summer and fall events at Aztalan State Park with a spring walking tour of ancient Aztalan Sunday May 7 at 2:00 PM. Aztalan was a fortified town occupiedby Native Americans between A.D. 1050 and 1200. It was the northern outpost of the speculator Mississippian Civilization that mysteriously vanished from the Upper Midwest after A.D. 1250.
 
The tour will be led by archaeologist and Friends of Aztalan executive directorRobert Birmingham, co-author of Aztalan: Mysteries of An Ancient Indian Town, and will highlight recent discoveries and new research by various research institutions.  The tour is free but visitors must have a state park sticker for each vehicle and day or annualstickers can be purchased at the park.

Guided tours of Aztalan will be conducted every Sunday at 2:00 PM from June through August. Group tours for any time can be arranged by calling Robert Birmingham (608) 516-3421.

 

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Feb
10
to Feb 12

Garden Expo

As in past years, the Friends will have a booth at the Garden Expo in Madison, Feb 10 - 12. The Expo is held at the Alliant Energy Center's Exhibition Hall, on John Nolen Drive. From the Beltline (USH 12/18), exit at Rimrock Road. Enter the Center from Rimrock Road.

 

See http://www.wigardenexpo.com/ for more information about the Expo, admission tickets, and parking.

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Jan
28
5:30pm 5:30pm

Friends of Aztalan State Park Annual Dinner Meeting

The annual dinner meeting of the Friends of Aztalan State Park will be held on Saturday Jan. 28, 2016 at Hi-Way Harry's, 710 Glover Lane, Johnson Creekbetween  5:30 and 8:00 PM. Dinner will be served at 6:00 followed by a business meeting at 6:45 that will include elections of board members. At 7:00 ,  UW- Madison archaeologist Dr. Sissel Schroeder will give a presentation on the results of  continuing  excavations at Aztalan by UW-Madison and future research plans at the site.

The buffet dinner includes sliced beef with gravy, a Fettuccini Alfredo bake, baked chicken,garlic mashed potatoes, salads, vegetables, cake, coffee and soda. There will also be a cash bar foralcoholic beverages.. The cost of the dinner is $25.00 per person. Make your registrations by Jan. 20 by calling or emailing executive director Bob Birmingham (608-516-3421,  birmi@sbcglobal.net)  and sending a check to Friends of Aztalan State Park, PO Box 855, Lake Mills, WI 53551. Payments may also be made via Paypal on the Friends of Aztalan secure website: http://event.elcoyotesurvives.net/. Those not interested in dinner may attend the business meeting and program without charge.

Happy Holidays 

Friends of Aztalan State Park

 
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Oct
1
8:00am 8:00am

Annual Bus Tour

This year's Friends of Aztalan fall field trip will be to one of the state's largest effigy mound groups, the remarkable Cranberry Creek mounds that comprise the Cranberry Creek Archaeological Mound District, near Necedah, Wisconsin. It is also a State Natural Area.  Over 300 mounds are found in two adjacent groupings. One huge grouping consists longlines of conicalmounds with a few key effigy mounds. The other includes many  unique and intriguing effigy mounds that include birds, bears,  and odd, elongated bear- like creatures,  New LIDAR imaging(below)  revealed many more mounds than previously known to have existed so we can examine new mounds that have never been mapped. LIDAR imaging is revolutionizing archaeology in the world since satellite or airborne lasers just map the surface of ground, including ancient constructions, essentially cutting through foliage that obscure the ancientfeatures, in this case mounds.   Our guide will bearchaeologist Robert (Ernie) Boszhardt who gave us thewonderful tour of  Trempeauleau archaeological sites earlier in the year. Mr Boszhard is the expert on the Cranberry Creeksince he helped coordinate the modern mapping of the mounds and discovered an adjacent associated ancient campsite.

The field trip will be Saturday,  October 1  and we will travelby van(s) or bus depending on the number of people who register. We will meet at 8:00 AM  at  the DNR Glacial Drumlin State Trail headquarters (the old depot) 1213 S. Main St.on the west side ofLake Mills  where people can leave their cars. However, we can also pick uppeople at the Dutch Mill Park and Ride on East Broadway just offthe Beltline in Madison since it is on the way. Soda and water will be provided, but please bring a bag lunch. We expect to return by 4:30 PM . Cranberry Creek is about a 2 1/2hour trip fromLake Mills . The mounds are located on level ground near roads, so the tour will not involve strenous walking. We will be hiking through some forested areas,.however.

The cost of trip will be $30 per peson to cover transportation. To register contact Bob Birmingham at   608-516-3421 or birmi@sbcglobal.net  by  September19,  and send a check to the Friends of Aztalan State Park. PO Box 855, Lake Mills, WI 53551. Or send your payment online using PayPal, at event.elcoyotesurvives.net.

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Aug
28
2:00pm 2:00pm

Native American Day

Elliott Funmaker and the popular Wisconsin Dells Singers and Dancers will perform traditional Ho-Chunk Nation songs and dances at Aztalan Sate Park beginning at 2:00 PM on August 28. The Ho-Chunk lived in the Aztalan area before and after formal removals by the U.S. Government in the 1830s and there some archaeological evidence that some Ho-Chunk people lived at the remains of the ancient town of Aztalan during the 19th century. The famous original town had been occupied by Mississippian culture people between AD 1050 and 1200. The troupe will also discuss the significance of the history and significance of the dances, songs, and drum in Ho-Chunk culture. The Wisconsin Dells Singers and Dancers have performed previously at the park, much to the enjoyment and education of visitors.

The event is sponsored by the Friends of Aztalan State Park. Attendees will need a Wisconsin State Park vehicle sticker and these can be purchased at the park at the time of the event. Donations for the planned new Aztalan visitor center will also be gratefully accepted. For more information, contact Friends of Aztalan Executive Director Bob Birmingham at 608-516-3421 or birmi@sbcglobal.net. Aztalan State Park is located on County Hwy. Q, one mile east of Lake Mills.

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Jun
12
12:00pm12:00pm

Field Trip to Trempealeau Excavations

Archaeologist Robert Boszhardt gave a presentation on recent excavations at Trempealeau, Wisconsin, at the Friends of Aztalan State Park annual dinner and graciously offered to give members of the Friends a special tour of excavations in progress and the amazing archaeological features at Trempealeau. Recent archaeological excavations at Trempealeau have revealed a Mississippian settlement or colony from southern Illinois, likely from the city of Cahokia, that dates earlier than Aztalan. The Mississippians also built a large platform mound on a high hill in the center of Trempealeau - the only one that had been known in Wisconsin outside of Aztalan.

The Friends have scheduled a tour with Mr. Boszhardt on Sunday June 12 beginning at noon in Trempealeau. This will be a drive-on-your-own field trip although we can make arrangements for car pooling. Trempealeau is located on the Mississippi River north of La Crosse,  about a 2 hour drive from Madison. Those wishing to attend should register with Bob Birmingham at 608-516-3421 or birmi@sbcglobal.net, who will supply directions and other details. There is no cost for the tour. Don't miss this exciting opportunity that will shed light on the occupation of ancient Aztalan itself.

 

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Jun
11
2:00pm 2:00pm

Fund Raising Event to Tour Archaeological Excavations at Aztalan

The University of Wisconsin will be conducting archaeological excavations in late May and early June at the famous ancient Native American town of Aztalan located at Aztalan State Park. The site is a large fortified town established by people of the Mississippian culture from southern Illinois over 900 years ago.  Prominent features include large earthen platform mounds once used to elevate important civic and religious buildings. Aztalan is National Historic Landmark and has been attracting thousands of visitors interested in Native American history from around the United States and the world. The goal of the excavations is to provide further information on the lifestyles of the people who lived in the town.

UW is planning public days on June 10 and 11 when archaeologists will be on hand to discuss the excavations, and information on this will be forthcoming from UW. However, the Friends of Aztalan Park has arranged a special tour of the excavations June 11 guided by Dr. Sissel Schroeder of the UW Department of Anthropology, a prominent Mississippian culture specialist who is leading the research.

The special Friends tour will be used as fund raiser for the building of a much needed visitor center at the park that will provide interpretive exhibits and other park services. Architectural plans for the center have been completed and will be displayed during the event, but the Friends of Aztalan are now seeking donations for construction. Donations to visitor center fund are generously matched by Elizabeth Parker of Milwaukee from the trusts of Trusts of George S. Parker II of the Parker Pen Corporation in Janesville.     

Aztalan State Park is located along Hwy. Q, one mile east of Lake Mills. The event begins at 2:00 and those attending should meet at the Friends of Aztalan temporary visitor center at the second parking lot in the park. Visitors will need a Wisconsin State Park admission sticker or day pass and these can be can be purchased at the park. Since a substantial amount of money still needs to be raised to make the visitor center a reality, visitors are also urged to make generous contributions toward construction at the Friends of Aztalan donation table. All donations will be permanently acknowledged at the new visitor center. Donations may also be made on the Friends of Aztalan secure website www.aztalanfriends.org using this secure online form. For further information, contact Friends of Aztalan State Park executive director Bob Birmingham at (608) 516-3421 or birmi@sbcglobal.net

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Aztalan Visitor Center Fund Raiser
Dec
5
1:00pm 1:00pm

Aztalan Visitor Center Fund Raiser

The Friends of Aztalan State Park volunteer organization is excited to announce that proposed architectural plans for a much needed visitor center at Aztalan State Park have been completed and will be displayed and discussed at a fund raiser for the planned facility between 1:00 and 3:30 PM at the Fargo Public Library in downtown Lake Mills. Aztalan State Park, near Lake Mills, encloses the famous ancient town of Aztalan, the 900 year old northern outpost of the spectacular Mississippian civilization that arose in southern Illinois around the prehistoric city of Cahokia. Aztalan has been designated a National Historic Landmark and has been attracting thousands of visitors from around the United States and many foreign countries as well school groups throughout the region coming to learn about Native American history.

The proposed visitor center will greatly enhance visitor experience and attract thousands of new visitors that studies indicate will bring over one million dollars into the local economy annually as visitors use area accommodations, restaurants, and many other businesses.

The architectural design was created by Dimension IV of Madison and funded by a Wisconsin DNR Stewardship grant that was matched by Aztalan patron Elizabeth Parker of Milwaukee. Elizabeth has been matching all donations for the visitor center project over the last several years from trusts of George S. Parker II (Parker Pen Corp.). Maas Brothers Construction of Watertown will be the construction manager for the new facility.

The fund raiser will also highlight reports by archaeologists from several major universities that detail recent discoveries at both Aztalan and nearby Lake Koshkonong that have increased our understanding of life at Aztalan and its role in the ancient past of the region. Selected artifacts will be displayed. Hors d'oeuvres and beverages will be also be served.

The event is free, but since several hundred thousand dollars still need to be raised for construction, visitors are urged to make generous contributions that will be matched dollar for dollar by Elizabeth Parker. All donations will be permanently acknowledged at the new visitor center. Those who cannot attend, or prefer to make a donation prior to the event, may use the online donation form at our secure Paypal website

For more information, contact Bob Birmingham, Executive Director of the Friends of Aztalan State Park, at (608) 241-4958 or birmi@sbcglobal.net.

 

 
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