For approximately 1000 years the Man Mound has reclined upon the land between the bluffs of the Baraboo Range. Built by the Native Peoples of this area, along with the other remaining Effigy Mounds, it is among the oldest human-made monuments in our area. The preservation of the Man Mound was a primary effort of the then new Sauk County Historical Society in the first decade of the 1900s, along with the Wisconsin Archeological Society and the Wisconsin Federation of Women’s Clubs.
Early this summer, Professor George Christianson of the UW/Baraboo and a half dozen of his archeology students conducted a dig at the Man Mound site. They were attempting to learn more about the stratigraphy of the earth near the mound. During their visit, they excavated several test pits down to about a meter and did a number of borings in an attempt to determine how and when the mound was created. A portion of the legs and the feet were destroyed during the early part of the last century when a road was cut through them. The archeological group worked in the area of the truncated feet—now on private land—which no longer exist.
The test pits were a meter square and dug down10 centimeters at a time. Any protruding inclusions were meticulously documented. Then the excavated soil was sifted through a shaker screen in an attempt to locate artifacts which may have been deposited eons ago. Any items thus found were also documented. Later, these recordings would be analyzed to learn if there was any organization to their placement, and thereby a determination could be formulated as to whether they were left there by Mother Nature, or by Native Americans. Discoloration of some of the soil indicated that burrowing animals had left their mark, as had the blade of an early pioneer’s plow.
All excavated pits were carefully refilled so that the archeologists’ visit there would leave little visible impact on the site.