Copper Culture State Park

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Oconto Site
Farmstead at Copper Culture State Park
Copper Culture State Park is located in Wisconsin
Copper Culture State Park
Copper Culture State Park is located in the United States
Copper Culture State Park
Location Oconto, Wisconsin
Coordinates 44°53′12″N 87°54′3″W / 44.88667°N 87.90083°W / 44.88667; -87.90083
Latitude and Longitude:

44°53′12″N 87°54′3″W / 44.88667°N 87.90083°W / 44.88667; -87.90083
NRHP reference  No. 66000023
Significant dates
Added to NRHPOctober 15, 1966 [1]
Designated NHLJanuary 20, 1961 [2]

Copper Culture State Park is a 42-acre (17 ha) [3] Wisconsin state park in Oconto, northeastern Wisconsin. The park has natural areas, farmlands, archaeological sites, and a Native American museum.


Archaeological site

The park contains an ancient burial ground used by the Old Copper Complex Culture of early Native Americans, between 5,000 and 6,000 years ago during the Copper Age. It was rediscovered in June 1952 by a 13-year-old boy who unearthed human bones while playing in an old quarry. By July the first archaeological dig had commenced, as part of the program of the Wisconsin Archaeological Survey. [4]


Utilitarian products were much more numerous than ornamental items in the grave goods found, and the ancient artifacts were created from various materials. [4]

  • Copper: awls, crescents, clasps; and a spear-point, fishhook, bracelet, spirally-coiled tubing, rivet, and a spatula.
  • Chipped stone: scraper, projectile points.
  • Bone: awl (fish jawbone), and a "fine specimen of a whistle" (leg bone of a swan).
  • Antler: possible flaking tools.
  • Shell: pond snail ( Campeloma decisum) beads.

The ancient burial ground is a National Historic Landmark, on the National Register of Historic Places listings in Wisconsin, and protected within Copper Culture State Park.

Charles Werrebroeck Museum

The Oconto Archaic Copper Museum is located within the Charles Werrebroeck Museum—Belgium Home, a traditional Belgian style farmhouse built in 1924 by Charles Werrebroeck. [5] Artifacts and photographs from excavations on the park's grounds are displayed in the museum.


Other features in the 40-acre Copper Culture State Park include picnic tables, BBQ grills, restrooms, and a community pavilion.

Natural history

Nature trails explore various natural habitats in the park.


Copper Culture State Park is managed by the Oconto County Historical Society, a non-profit organization, rather than the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, therefore admission is free. Visitors do not require a Wisconsin state park pass to enter, but are encouraged to make a donation at the museum. [6]

The Charles Werrebroeck Museum, with the Oconto Archaic Copper Museum, is open in the summer from Memorial Day to Labor Day, on Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 3pm, or by appointment. Free admission and guided tours are available. [6]

See also


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. April 15, 2008.
  2. ^ "Oconto Site". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on 2009-04-03. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
  3. ^ "Copper Culture State Park". Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Rootsweb: Original 1952 report and photographs of the Copper Culture Burial Site — from the first archaeological dig. | accessed 4.14.2013
  5. ^ "rootsweb: Werrebroeck Farmhouse". Archived from the original on 2012-09-02. Retrieved 2013-04-16.
  6. ^ a b Rootsweb: Copper Culture State Park Archived 2012-10-07 at the Wayback Machine . accessed 4.14.2013

External links