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 firstname.lastname@example.org