OUTLET MOUND

(Outlet Group)

Intersection of Ridgewood and Midwood Avenues

The Yahara River outlet on Lake Monona was a longstanding important ceremonial and living area for Native Americans.  Here was the earliest dated mound group in the Four Lakes region, the Outlet mound group.  Established as a ceremonial and burial place by earlier Woodland people around two thousand years ago, the site continued to be used through the early part of the Late Woodland prior to the appearance of animal effigies. 

 

The largest of nineteen conical, oval and linear mounds once located in this vicinity, the Outlet Mound was constructed as a burial place by Woodland Indians about 2,000 years ago. It was saved from destruction by the Wisconsin Archaeological Society and local citizens in 1944 and donated to the City of Monona.

 

In 1947, the University of Wisconsin excavated a conical mound on the highest elevation of the grouping, just prior to development of the area.  They uncovered a burial pit below the conical mound but with only a few fragments of bone surviving.  They also found a small, stone arrow tip and a cut deer antler, which was believed to be a digging tool.  The antler tool may have been used to loosen dirt for mound construction.  The presence of the arrowhead dates the mound generally to the Late Woodland stage when the bow and arrow first came into use. 

dedication of the historical marker at the Outlet Mound (1998)