And now for a bit of a shameless self promotion...
We are excited to announce that a new book (second edition), Indian Mounds of Wisconsin, by Robert Birmingham and Amy Rosebrough, has been released by the University of Wisconsin Press. Geographic Techniques is thrilled to have created many of the LiDAR mound images found throughout the book. The imagery is a byproduct of LiDAR derived digital elevation models (DEMs). The DEMs were originally created from bare earth filtered point clouds (available from WisconsinView.org), and enhanced with "hillshading," which is a technique that emphasizes subtle changes in topography at the local scale.
An excerpt from the site states that,
More mounds were built by ancient Native Americans in Wisconsin than in any other region of North America—between 15,000 and 20,000, at least 4,000 of which remain today. Most impressive are the effigy mounds, huge earthworks sculpted in the shapes of thunderbirds, water panthers, and other forms, not found anywhere else in the world in such concentrations.
This second edition is updated throughout, incorporating exciting new research and satellite imagery. Written for general readers, it offers a comprehensive overview of these intriguing earthworks.
Citing evidence from past excavations, ethnography, the traditions of present-day Native Americans in the Midwest, ground-penetrating radar and LIDAR imaging, and recent findings of other archaeologists, Birmingham and Rosebrough argue that effigy mound groups are cosmological maps that model belief systems and relations with the spirit world. The authors advocate for their preservation and emphasize that Native peoples consider the mounds sacred places.
In our view, effigy mounds and other forms of ancient earthworks should not only be be respected, but preserved and prevented from being destroyed for the sake of development or profit. These distinct cultural sites are highly spiritual and considered sacred to the indigenous peoples of the region. They offer tremendous opportunities to educate about the past histories of the land and the highly sophisticated peoples who lived here well before European contact.
Check it out! The book is an excellent read.