The University of Wisconsin Press

Archaeology / Native American Studies / American History / Wisconsin


The Antiquities of Wisconsin,
as Surveyed and Described
I. A. Lapham
Foreword by Robert A. Birmingham
With an introduction by Robert P. Nurre

"Lapham's maps are striking, conveying the power and majesty of the mounds in a way that has not since been duplicated."—Robert A. Birmingham, state archaeologist

First published in 1855 and long out of print, The Antiquities of Wisconsin, as Surveyed and Described  remains invaluable as a detailed record of Wisconsin's rich archaeological heritage of mounds and mound groups, many of which were later destroyed by farming and urban growth. Lapham was among the first scientists to produce evidence that the earthworks had been built by the ancestors of modern Native Americans, not some mythical "lost race," as was believed by many white authorities of the time. Modern researchers still use Lapham's maps and descriptions to locate vestiges of sites that once existed, or to help reconstruct Wisconsin's ancient cultural landscape. This edition includes a detailed introduction by Lapham scholar Robert P. Nurre and a foreword by Wisconsin state archaeologist Robert A. Birmingham.

I. A. Lapham (1811–1875) was Wisconsin's pioneer scientist and scholar and a true Renaissance man. He came to Wisconsin in 1836 to serve a chief engineer for the ill-fated Milwaukee and Rock River canal. Over the next four decades he would be the author of the first book published in the state, A Geographical and Topographical Description of Wisconsin (1844); draw and publish many of the state's earliest maps; and study the state's effigy mounds and earthworks, publishing his findings as The Antiquities of Wisconsin, as Surveyed and Described  (1855). He would also collect specimens to document Wisconsin's flora and fauna, assist in establishing the U.S. Weather Bureau, and serve as Wisconsin's chief geologist. In addition to these works. Lapham was instrumental in founding the Milwaukee Female College, the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters.

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the cover of Lapham's Antiquites of Wisconsin is blue green with an oval portrait of Lapham and, superimposed, a map of some mounds.

January 2001
184 pp.    9 1/2 x 13
drawings & maps

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Paper $45.00 s
ISBN 978-
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