Prehistoric Quarry is Centerpiece of Newest Archaeological District

On February 17, 2006, the Secretary of the Interior designated Silver Mound Archaeological District a National Historic Landmark (NHL), making it one of the first properties approved under the Earliest Americans NHL Theme Study. Located in rural Jackson County, Wisconsin, Silver Mound is a prominent natural landform visible from great distances.

As a unique source of Hixton Silicified Sandstone, Silver Mound played an important role in the initial peopling of North America. The landmark was a focal point for Paleo-Indian groups who came here regularly more than 10,000 years ago to quarry the quartzite for making stone tools. Silver Mound continued to be exploited by Native Americans episodically until the arrival of European explorers. The 425-acre NHL district lies within much larger national Register archaeological districts.
B&W photo of trees and snow.
Silver Mound Archaeological District

National Park Service

There are 21 localities representing several distinct periods of prehistoric activity on Silver Mound itself, and more than 60 related sites have been identified in the surrounding agricultural fields. Sites within the NHL district reflect a wide range of function and include concentrations of quarry pits, workshop areas for chipping stone tools, and places where people camped on open ground and in rock shelters.

The Archaeological Conservancy, a national non-profit organization devoted to the acquisition and preservation of important sites, is the principal steward along with several private landowners, including the Hixton/Alma Center KOA Campground. The Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, whose staff members prepared the nomination, hosts Silver Mound Archaeology Day each year at the KOA Campground.
Originally published in "Exceptional Places" Vol. 1, 2006, a newsletter of the Division of Cultural Resources, Midwest Region. Written by Vergil E. Noble.

Last updated: July 5, 2018