Elephant Mound

Elephant Mound – A noted effigy mound, 4 m. s. of Wyalusing, Grant co., Wis., first brought to public notice in 1872 through a pencil sketch and brief description by Jared Warner (Smithson. Rep.1872, 1873). From its massive form and an apparent prolongation of the nose, sup posed to be a part of the original mound, giving the tumulus a slight resemblance to an elephant, the name Elephant Mound was applied to it. Although frequently mentioned and illustrated, the figures are copies of Warner s sketch, no reexamination having been made until Nov., 1884, when the Bureau of American Ethnology surveyed and platted the mound; the result of this work appears in its Twelfth Report (91-93, fig. 44, 1894). The immediate situation is a long rectangular depression forming a cul de sac, the level of which is only a few feet above the Mississippi at high water. Although the tract had been cultivated for many years, the mound at the time of the survey distinctly showed the rounded surface, the highest point being at the hip of the effigy, where the height was 4 ft. The measurements were: length, 140 ft; width across the body and to the lower end of the hind leg. 72 ft. At the time of the survey no indication of an elephant-like proboscis was found. After an examination of similar effigies it was determined that this mound was designed to represent a bear, and that the supposed nasal prolongation seen by Warner was accidental, due probably to washed or drifted earth. In addition to the references cited, see Am. Antiq., vi,178, 1884; Strong (1) in Rep. Wis. Geol. Surv. for 1873-4, (2) in Smithson. Rep. 1876, 431, 1877; Thomas, Catalogue Prehist. Works, Bull. B. A. E., 232, 1891. (C. T)

Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906.

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