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By Bela Hubbard 1887 .... "Are they here-The dead of other days?-.... Let the mighty mounds That overlook the rivers, or that rise In the dim forest, crowded with old oaks, Answer. A race, that long has passed away, Built them;--a disciplined and populous race Heap'd, with long toil, the earth, while yet the Greek Was hewing the Pentelicus to forms Of symmetry, and rearing on its rock The glittering Parthenon. These ample fields Nourish'd their harvests." Bryant. Part I. General Character and Distribution of the Works Few works of a pre-historic people comparable to those found in Ohio, and elsewhere to the southward, occur in Michigan. Some scattered earthworks are found, of whose origin and uses the tribes of Indians living here at the first advent of the white man had no knowledge. They are of far less extent than those of Ohio, and indicate a people of different customs. Circular earthworks occur here and there, but they are of small size, and referable to a different purpose from the large circle-mounds of the Ohio. There are no truncated mounds, such as those found further south, and supposed to have constituted foundations or terraces for the dwellings of chiefs, or for religious edifices. No long earth-built ways, connecting the larger circles or squares, occur in Michigan. Nor are there any defensive works on so grand a scale as those in the Ohio Valley.
A few earth-mounds occur, some of which may be referred to a defensive purpose. One of these is found--or was found, for the desolating plough has reigned rampant over it for the last thirty years--on the Clinton River, in Macomb County, and is thus described to me by Mr. J. E. Day, of Romeo. It lay between the north branch of Clinton River and a small spring tributary, and was about twenty rods distant from either stream, and on a plateau elevated fifteen feet above. It consisted of a nearly circular embankment four to five feet high, and enclosed about three acres. The diameters were 350 and 400 feet respectively. On the outer side was a wide ditch. There were three openings or gateways, each twenty feet wide, and protected within by a mound so placed as to shut off from without all view of the interior. A small lake within the enclosure supplied water to the garrison. Between this "fort" and the smaller stream were a large number of tumuli, in an irregular cluster, each of which contained a single skeleton. A little below the junction of this stream with the Clinton was a very large tumulus, surrounded by seven smaller ones in a circle. In situation and general character this work bears considerable analogy to the defensive works of Northern Ohio. The embankment may have been crowned with palisades, and the interior mounds may have served for observation, as well as defence, to a village within the circle. A large amount of broken pottery and other relics found in the vicinity seems to indicate a once numerous population. Nothing is known which would indicate a religious purpose, analogous to the so-called "sacred enclosures" of Ohio. In all the north-western portion of this county, extensive fields or gardens, in which the cultivation was in drills or rows, may still be distinctly traced. Near the mouth of this river occurs another similar work, and of apparently a like defensive character. Mr. Henry Little, in one of several papers on the Mounds, published in the Kalamazoo Telegraph in 1874, mentions an ancient work in Gilead, Branch County, which may with some probability be classed as defensive. "It was an earth embankment, one end starting from the waters of a small lake, the other end coming around to the lake at a point considerably distant from the first. It enclosed an excellent spring of water." He also describes an earthwork of this kind, and much more extensive, at Three Rivers, in St. Joseph County. "The Rocky River from the north, and Portage Creek from the north-east, unite their waters with the St. Joseph, but a few rods distant from each other, forming a tract of land in
the shape of the letter V. About a mile north of this junction was an artificial earth embankment, about six feet high, stretching across the plain, from Rocky River to the Portage." This plain is elevated many feet above these streams, and with this triple defence a beleaguered army might here sustain itself with considerable confidence against the warfare of savage foes. This defensive work has a peculiar interest, from its vicinity to those remarkable evidences of ancient labor, skill and taste, denominated the "garden beds," of which a description is given elsewhere. Blois, in his Gazetteer, alludes to "forts of the square or rectangular kind," one of which "is said to be one or two miles below Marshall, one in town of Prairie-Ronde, and several on the Kalamazoo." It is to be regretted that no traces now remain of these structures. On the banks of the St. Joseph River I remember to have seen, in 1837, a circular embankment of unknown origin. It was of small size, and so well defined that I could not pass it unnoticed. My recollection, however, does not enable me to give any very definite description. Mr. Little, in the papers above referred to, mentions an antique work of very unusual form. Describing a tumulus on Climax Prairie, he adds. "South of the mound and in the edge of the timber, on the highest part of a hill or eminence, there was an excavated ring, which formed the whole of a perfect circle, and enclosed one and a half acres. The excavated hollow was about one rod wide at the bottom and between 2 and 3 feet deep. When first discovered, forty years ago, it was overgrown with large forest trees." Circles of this kind are very rare. Some have been found in Ohio, and I remember seeing in Wisconsin an animal form made in intaglio, instead of relief. The ring described by Mr. Little could not have had a military purpose, or pains would not have been taken to remove the earth, which, if thrown up as an embankment, would have assisted such an object. A circular embankment occurs at Springwells, just below Fort Wayne. Of this I shall give a detailed description on a future page. Some of the works above alluded to have a similar character to those small earthworks found in the vicinity of Lake Erie, on its south side, and extending into New York, which have been surveyed and described by Col. Charles Whittlesey. These consist of embankments with outer ditches, and are built across the necks of the uplands between ravines, thus aiding to render a small piece of land easily defended. Their purpose as works of defense cannot be mistaken.
elsewhere.These are all isolated instances of comparatively small defensive works. differing in this respect from the others. 4 . and there were evidences of still older ones which have perished. and some continued to be used for their ancient purposes for a long time afterward. This group occupies the first terrace. Many of these were in use by the Indian tribes inhabiting the country at its discovery and settlement by the whites. It lies in the shadow of the ancient. and among them one of the largest. No relics were disclosed. It is probable they were temporary refuges. This was found to be wholly composed of the richest portions of the surrounding alluvial soil. consisting principally of sugar maples. by captain Coffinbury and others. As I propose to describe with some particularity those which occur in the immediate vicinity of Detroit. Seven of these tumuli were opened during the year preceding my visit. This great emergency may have arisen when those barbarous hordes. They are in a line about 100 feet apart. who occasioned the final destruction or dispersion of the Mound-Builders of Ohio. and varying in height from eight to two feet. turned their victorious arms upon the northern race of peaceful cultivators. which were composed of the gravel of the uplands. Close by are two others of nearly equal size. Possibly they were the last refuge of an agricultural people. or with any plan or system. Of other kinds of relics of a past race Michigan has more abundant examples. I will content myself with alluding to a few only of special interest. By far the finest group of mounds that has come to my knowledge occurs on the banks of Grand River. They were still perfect when the writer had the satisfaction of seeing them in 1874. single and grouped. and 500 feet from the river. All are within an area of two and a half acres. Tumuli or burial mounds. which is overflowed in high water to the foot of the mounds. all very regular in shape and conical. Trees were growing on the mounds of two to three feet diameter. like those series of forts which are found in Ohio and which serve for the protection of a large district. like those who made the garden beds. and a height of 15 feet or more above the general surface. unconnected with each other. three miles south of Grand Rapids. hastily erected against some sudden inroad. The largest of these mounds has a diameter of 100 feet. Around them cluster seventeen smaller tumuli. without regular arrangement. untrimmed forest. are very common in all parts of the peninsula.
in the early part of this century. eight inches long by four wide. and faced to different points. Patches of ochreous earth were met with. and entirely above ground. it is the general opinion that the era of their original fabrication belongs to a more remote past. six were opened. generally one only in each.and spear-heads. We can certainly point to an exception in this State. together with ashes. were several copper needles. a tumulus of considerable size. except one. The spot occupied by this interesting group of tumuli. mingled with comminuted bone. and one-fourth inch thick. a bushel in a place. In all skeletons were found. They were of ordinary size. A different mode of entombing their great men was practised by the Indians inhabiting Western Michigan. the grave of the renowned chief. While certain tribes of the red man in historic times are known to have made frequent use for intrusive burial of mounds which they found in the land. which is pronounced gigantic. Government to Kansas.except a copper awl. Of the smaller mounds. and the body surrounded with a crib of logs. impressed my mind strongly with the poetical character of that race. who combined with the savage life such a sympathetic love of nature. I saw on the summit of a lofty bluff overlooking the river Kalamazoo. and tradition asserted that it enshrined the remains of a celebrated chief of the Pottawatomies who formerly occupied that part of the country. until the remnant were moved by the U. and all were so decayed that it was impossible to preserve them. In 1837. many years ago. in 1841. quite smooth and perfect. Besides the usual variety of stone arrow. Wacousta. lovely in its seclusion and grand with its overshadowing foliage. strongly put together. He was placed in a sitting posture. I saw. It was found by the first whites who settled there in 1826. would imply that this mound was appropriated to such bodies only as were cremated. S. No attempt had been made at 5 . With the bones were many relics. Four handsome pots constituted the most interesting discovery. On the beautiful prairie of White Pigeon. and a copper axe. He was still held in such estimation that thousands of his tribe came annually to pay their tribute of respect at his grave. several stone pipes and marine shells were also found. the proportions "indicating a stature of seven feet. the lowest mound yielding the richest harvest. and near the village. These will be alluded to hereafter. with its silent surroundings. and who buried him there a century before the date of the white settlement." All were in a sitting posture. The absence of skeletons in this tumulus. as though dumped from a basket. and the red earth.
and the discovery of the skeleton serves to confirm his opinion. and had been preserved in shape by a tree which grew on the summit. But these places know him no more." One of these stone-mounds was opened forty years ago. his history is lost to tradition. They were entirely alone. and threw its roots over the sides of the pile. "It was four feet in height and placed in a circular excavation of two feet depth by four feet diameter. associated with the ancient remains in Macomb County. The skeleton was entire and still partially enveloped in its integuments." Piles of stone are mentioned by Mr. and further south. his people have long ago departed. and which was probably his favorite resort while living. after the flesh had decomposed. nicely piled up to a height of four to five feet. 6 . Schoolcraft as existing on the Island of Mackinac. He says: "In several places in this vicinity were found mounds made of stones. An instance of a similar construction is reported to me by Mr. But. and more than a mile distant from the group of earth-mounds elsewhere mentioned. on or near the banks of the larger streams. Among the mounds of the Mississippi Valley. portions of a human skeleton were exhumed. although ancient fields exist near. Day. Day is certain that the stone piles mentioned by him were for a different purpose. The stones were nicely placed. with a view to removal of the bones. of Rome. The stones being removed. The earth-tumuli in Michigan are nearly always found in some picturesque situation. to some general resting-place of the nation. often on some promontory that commanded a lengthened prospect of the Indian's natural highway. and even his tomb tells but an uncertain story of his former being. Possibly this disposition may have been but temporary.raising an earth mound. are occasionally found some built of stones. like a hay-cock."--a custom which I shall notice presently. and supposed by him to have been gathered by the ancient race for the purpose of clearing the land for cultivation. until the time should arrive for a general inhumation or "Feast of the dead. Mr. that the stones were heaped about the body for protection. My own theory is.
well illustrates the desolation which has fallen upon the race. And broke through Nature's wild repose. is truly wonderful." These lines from "Ontwa. is far less definite and certain than could be desired. It is almost certain that one or more human skeletons will be found entombed. Henry Whiting. The tumuli are monuments to the dead as well as graves. the late Col. According to some accounts. eight and three-quarter inches. And yet the spot no sign disclose. when laid out upon the turf. that they closely resembled the historic races. by cranium and other measurements. but as he was entirely of gypsum it was quite easy to 7 . twenty years before. according to others.-Save this rude mound. it is impossible to determine from the reports whether the skeletons found belong to original or intrusive burials. And down through generations run. unless the bones of the occupants have perished through time.--that ever there The hum of men had filled the air. that the information they convey to us of the character of the ancient occupants." a poem by our distinguished townsman. The elasticity of these ancient relics." found by Mr. H. Original burials seem to have been made at or below the natural surface. to suit the zeal of the narrator. Sloping beneath the day's warm beam. Gillman in the mounds at Springwells. Amid the diversity of statement as to reported and actual finds. My guide gravely informed me that. and the skull of which fitted entirely over the judicial head! The Cardiff Giant was a few inches longer than this. and little regard seems to have been paid to the direction in which the face is turned. might seem to refer them to a lower type. I think the conclusion may be drawn. whose sole monuments are mounds of earth. he had dug from one of these mounds a skeleton which. and the bodies are found both in horizontal and sitting postures. So unscientific has been the usual mode of unearthing these tombs. although several very prognathous skulls and the "flattest tibia on record."Perhaps on banks of many a stream. On one occasion I accompanied an old pioneer and worthy Judge to visit several mounds in Western Michigan. so far as relates to the aboriginal Wolverines. When mounds are opened in most cases. or from cremation. the skeletons indicate a race of very inferior size. they show a race of giants. Laying their bones within the mound Where all their gathered sires were found. Tribes may have lived from sire to son. measured eleven feet.
The other three differed in this.fabricate any proportions which the gullibility of the public could swallow. the whorls being cut out and holes made for hanging. The surface otherwise was covered with small indentations. that the bowl--round bottomed in all-was divided into four equal bulges. A smooth band encircled the neck. which Dr. for drinking-cups. one had a rim around the neck. while one is pronounced by Prof. Among the relics found in the Grand Rapids mounds--and by no means uncommon in other tumuli--are marine shells. than among the dwellers west of Lake Michigan. in inch wide. In connection with the copper axe mentioned as among the finds in the mounds at Grand Rapids. Some of the pots are at least fully equal to those of the bronze period in Europe. practised by the unknown peoples. and the rim was adorned with cross-lines or hatching. 8 . Several copper axes from mounds in Iowa were found wrapped in a similar covering. the whole effect being quite tasteful. On each side were ornaments of similar design. Shells similarly prepared were in use by the Southern Indians in the time of De Soto. While the Michigan mounds contain the usual complement of stone axes. on the part of the ancient inhabitants of our peninsula. and probably system of barter and exchange. Farquharson pronounces to be cloth. Possibly a microscopic examination may prove that the Grand Rapids tool was similarly encased. with knives and other implements of chert. Finds of this kind in Wisconsin have far exceeded those from our soils. showing both advance in the art of weaving and some especial reverence or consideration for the metal implement. Strong to be from the Pacific. arrow-heads and spear-points. very accurately modelled and deeply impressed. surrounding each. swelled into a bowl of uniform bulge. These were made more sharply protuberant by a smooth band. and this would seem to indicate less acquaintance with the copper quarries of Lake Superior. it is a little singular that so few tools of copper have been found. as horns were used by our Saxon ancestors. They are interesting as showing the extended intercourse. The four pots mentioned as disinterred at Grand Rapids were of very regular form. was some substance having the appearance of cloth. but too much decayed for preservation. after a slight curve inwards. In pottery our mounds are quiet rich. from which the vessel. Some of these must have come from the Atlantic of the Gulf. The Pacific coast shells had evidently served the pupose of vessels.
below the rim. found usually in fragments. The art of the potter is so ancient and universal. abruptly contracted toward the mouth. It resembled the smaller half end of an egg-shell. and presented to the Archæological Museum at Cambridge. Gillman. on exposure. they were smooth on the inside but marked on the exterior with various fantastic figures. The specimens from the Michigan mounds show a taste to appreciate. and on the inside was black throughout.Among the finds in Macomb County was a dish of an unusual size and form. The fineness of the texture. lay a pot or urn. and may betoken the first advance from the rudest savage ideas. was admirable. But curved forms and figures are more pleasing to the cultivated eye. largely mixed with pounded stone. Mass. with a flaring brim. which contained much mica. in good preservation. By the side of each of the numerous skeletons found in what is known as the Carsten Mound. and of the capacity of one or two gallons. The composition and general character are much the same. Below this the body swelled into a graceful curve. crumbled to pieces. and an eye and hand capable of giving finish to articles of admirable form. and entire. The above describes but a few specimens of the many pots. of two inches breadth. Springwells. They appeared to be in the form of a half egg. combined with great lightness. The pots found by Blois in the mound opened by him at Springwells in 1839 were generally too much broken to determine their shapes. of which three only were obtained entire. than to any other of the ordinary relics. and about a foot in height. It was ornamented with figures of various kinds. scarcely less perfect than if constructed on a potter's wheel. that more interest attaches to the remains of a perished race which show the state of the ceramic art among them. and imply a degree of æsthetic advancement. in a determination of the advance in culture of the people by whom they were fabricated. and the character and forms of the utensils made of baked clay are so important. The composition was clay. The neck was about five inches wide. rounded at the base into a gourd form. Two of these were uncommonly fine specimens. symmetry and lightness. in the mounds at Springwells and elsewhere. These vases were purchased by Mr. with a collar. quite distinct from the remainder. Unfortunately this unique vase. By some process differing from and less effective 9 . On the exterior was a thin coating of reddish clay. and had a capacity of twelve to fifteen gallons. Straight or zigzag lines occur on the coarsest specimens.
than the modern. even in modern times. while it deprives the Northern Mound-Builders of the credit due to such skilful artisans. and it is known that. These incidents of history are recalled. Mingled 10 . ancient and modern. arrow-points. etc. They raised corn and many vegetables. the Indians of the Southern States. many evidences were still extent of the old aboriginal occupation. When I came to Detroit. in 1835. It was hardly possible to dig a cellar or level a hillock without throwing out some memorial of the red races. This supposition. in the immediate vicinity. Old kilns have been found in Georgia. in large quantities. at least. and the general resemblance of the ornamentation. The fact that in the better kinds of pottery found in the Northern mounds exactly the same materials combine. It is possible. and the inner surfaces are often quite smooth and fine.--colored clays. sea-shells. being noted for the excellence and variety of their pottery. They had villages strongly defended by stockades. Conspicuous were the Hurons. THE MOUND-BUILDERS IN MICHIGAN Part II. because the fact of the considerable degree of settled and civilized habits attained by the Indian tribes of that day serves to throw some light upon those pre-historic antiquities whose origin and purposes are involved in so much obscurity. between the widely separated portions of the continent. and micaceous rocks. was confined to a few skilled persons. may therefore warrant the conclusion that they were importations. shows. That country furnished all the material desired. though it seems hardly probable. Indian Antiquities at Springwells During the early French occupation of Detroit several Indian nations had settlements on the river banks. The sea-shells tell the same story. for purpose of sale and barter. and Adair suggests that the black color was owing to the smoke of the pitch pine used in the fires. that the Northern peoples had the good taste to appreciate these beautiful and useful articles.. that these pots were an importation from the South. and it conveys an enlarged idea of the extent of the traffic which existed in these ancient times. an imperfect glazing was obtained. and that such articles were transported all over the country. Pottawatomies and Ottawas. the manufacture of stone implements.
from the fact that it is stained through with permanent colors of red and green. the arrow and tomahawk of the savage. then covered with forest. Allusion has already been made to tumuli at Springwells. Of several skull thus obtained and in my possession. and the whole have since disappeared. It did not exceed six feet in height. should have penetrated the bone. ornaments of silver and copper. They were thrown out by spade and plough. and sometimes were seen protruding from the soil where the action of the waves had broken into the land. But arrow-and spear-head. mingled with shell beads. wampum-beads of curious workmanship. were thickly strewn bones and broken pottery. A close examination reveals the presence of a belt of color. 11 . one is deserving of particular mention. laid upon the skin. and my conjecture is. mementos of the place-faced warriors who strove on the same battlefields. and the figured cross of the missionary. On and around this spot. It was the custom among some tribes to paint the face of the dead with his war-colors. stone knives and arrow-points. that the stain is a deposit from the oxidation of a copper band. though injured by pilferers of Indian relics. A group of these existed on the river front of the Reeder farm. On this bank were two mounds of conical form. sword-blades and cannon balls. of which one still existed at the time of my first visit. while the implements of the civilized race are nearly perished with rust. broken pottery. Just below the copper works the bank was very bold. within the grounds of the United States reservation. But more interesting memorials of a traditionary race were then extant. The old alone is ever new. and is still in good preservation. and other memorials of the savage--rude as were the artificers--are perfect as in the day when they left the hands that made them. placed about the temples. "in one red burial blent. and for clay used in the manufacture of brick. for the extent of an acre. and elevated about thirty feet above the water.with their half-decayed bones were pipes and other utensils of stone." gun-barrels. In striking relationship with the emblems of savage warfare it was not uncommon to find. Several rods below was a smaller tumulus in a field. Thus does the remote past outlive the present. extending around the head. Large excavations were in progress for gravel. fresh and imperishable! To unearth a human skeleton was a common occurrence. with a base diameter of forty feet. but it is not possible that these pigments. The colors are strong and penetrate the entire bone. These encroachments had destroyed one of the tumuli. It was then about ten feet in height. on a line with the forehead.
laid in a promiscuous manner. of the rudest kind. which proved it to have been of iron. in the attitude of a person preparing to drink. the volume of the brain quite small. the forehead exceedingly low and receding. resembling Spanish brown. but which colored red any object to which it was applied. like that of the surrounding country. was unknown to that early race. It suggests a very difficult subject of inquiry. and six were found enclosed in the mouth. was penetrated. and occasional fragments of bone. Some had been strung. The vessels were of the capacity of one or two gallons. some of which had evidently undergone calcination." Arrow-heads. in cylindrical form. It was judged that the stature of none exceeded five feet six inches. Blois.In a "Gazetteer of the State of Michigan. with deposits of the usual utensils and implements. then are we in conflict with the apparently well founded opinion that the art of smelting metals. The excavation was commenced on the top. the face wide and short. as every other circumstance would imply. The head was invariably turned toward the north. "The general contour of the cranium was different from what is commonly noticed in the present Indian races. others lay upon different parts of the body. "No metal was discovered. white marine shell. were beside them. and with each were several pounds of a friable earth. Only the long bones and parts of the ribs and crania remained undecayed." published by John T. supposed to represent a vessel of that metal. before. but the oxide or rust of iron was traced in the shape of a vessel. The soil. The most remarkable feature of this find is the presence of an oxide of iron. was sand. but some forming very sharp cutting implements. and continued a depth of four feet below the base. either iron or copper." Great numbers of beads. holding some two or three gallons. but it exhibited a mixture of decomposed animal matter. and made of similar shell. Iron is very 12 . wrought and unwrought. lying in different parts of the mound. in 1839. pieces of hornstone and quartz. Each appeared to have been interred in a kneeling or sitting posture. is given an account of the opening of one of these mounds two years. for if these bodies really belonged to the prehistoric race. By the side of one was found the remains of an uncommonly large. were found. About one foot from the base a stratum of charcoal. and the hands supporting an earthen vessel. The first few feet revealed many human skeletons. which has much interest. The mouth large and broad. the body a little inclined backwards. the skull unusually thick. Immediately below this were found six human skeletons. three inches thick.
stated. for intrusive burial. H. The story of the use of these mounds by the native tribes to a quite recent date. B. he adds. H. and the rivers and lakes of the western forests. and probably this artifice was required to compel him to set forth on hi spirit travel. by the recollection of Mr. Wyandots. Foxes. Tawas and other tribes congregated at this favorite spot. Sioux. Blois written me in 1877. the above plan was resorted to. "This sand hill was a favorite camping-ground with all the Western tribes in their annual migration from their far off homes on the banks of the Mississippi. regarding the supposed iron vessel. The Hon. he confirms his statement made in 1839. He then scraped the sand from the hollow interior. and made night hideous with their discordant yells. F. is very interesting. frequently all night long. Witherell. but there was not sufficient strength in it to hold together. beaten with unvarying stroke. Iowas. "They scooped out a shallow grave in the centre of the top. It was done to drive the evil spirit off. and yet the circumstance seems to him incredible. the shores of Lake Superior. and sometimes indicated that a warrior was laid in his grave. Here they held their war and medicine dances. who was present." The appearance. was certainly that of indurated oxide of iron. and were even preserved frozen during the winter." 13 . Winnebagoes. General Cass said that bodies were brought here from great distances. after covering the body with sand brought from the neighboring bank. the friends of the dead man went into the river and waded about in zigzag course for some time. Their music was the monotonous sound of the rude drum. In a letter from Mr. long before human bones deposited at that remote era would have crumbled away." According to a common superstition. in order that he might lose sight of friends who would have otherwise attracted him to stay too long. unwilling to quit his earthy belongings. to receive from the Indian agent at Malden the annuities so liberally furnished them by the British Government. that in his childhood he had seen the children of the wilderness deposit the remains of their departed friends in the bosom of one of these mounds. in a paper read in 1858 before the Historical Society of Michigan. Chippewas. and. the soul of the deceased lingered for several days. Menominees. until the spirit had departed on its long journey. The object of this custom was. and would probably be wholly consumed by rust. Ransom. At different times the Sacs. As a ghost cannot cross water. Pottawatomies. He says he had "broken one side of the top before he noticed anything peculiar.perishable. that the spirit might not be able to follow the tracks in the sand. in order that they might be interred in these favorite mausolea.
They mark the shores or water-lines of the ancient lake or ocean. They were in the usual contracted posture. and now in the Archæological Museum at Cambridge. was heaped above. is a small circular earthwork. by ridges of sand and gravel. one of the ancient tombs was disturbed. which was only three or four feet high. toward the river. about 7 inches long by 3 wide. and the skeletons of fourteen bodies disinterred. and beside the head of each was an earthen crock. on land of Mr. and about two feet in height. is an opening or gateway. interred in these deep graces before the tumulus. The latter is about twelve feet wide at base. There was the usual report of big bones. In this case the large individual measured seven and a half feet in height! The original surface of the ground was about fifteen feet above the general level. The bodies were found at a depth of six or seven feet from this original surface. and mostly on the outer side. The ditch from which the earth was taken is about eight feet wide. of an oval form. Among the relics was a long needle of copper. J. Two of these. Until recently it was not known that any portion of these was artificial. but in some places on the inner side. over a considerable portion of the town of Springwells.This practice on the part of the British Government was continued down to 1836. Carstens. overlaid by yellow sand. and a necklace of copper beads. which were quite perfect. and about 100 feet distant. and I have seen the river alive with canoes of these various tribes. About half a mile below the group of Springwells tumuli already mentioned. and very finely and evenly serrated. the shortest 250 feet. opposite Fort Wayne. to centre of embankment. as though this had been a matter of indifference. but no vestige of iron. and consisted of drift gravel. It consists of a low embankment. and were. 50 feet wide. of the kind alluded to at the beginning of these observations upon the Indian antiquities of Michigan. of course. Among a large number of arrow-points and other articles common to the mounds were several lance-heads of unusual size and beauty. were the vases described in a former page. The longest axis is 320 feet. They were of milk-white quartz. The general level of the land in the vicinity of Detroit is varied. These elevated places were often chosen by the natives for sepulchral purposes. 14 . in digging away a section from one of these ridges.H. at different epochs. In the year 1870. as late as the second year of my residence in Springwells. enclosing about one and a half acres. At the south end.
To the old French habitants it was also known that it had been used by the Indians as a burial-place. which upon the north and west sides is several hundred feet wide. and the absence of any protective mound within. Upon the east this marsh narrows to a neck about 100 feet wide. shrouded from any observation but that of an antiquary. There are no traces of a stockade.The accompanying sketch will give a clearer idea of the situation. while the warriors were upon a warpath. 15 . three miles below the city. half a century ago. as it is overlooked by the higher land on the east. No attempt seems to have been made to level the surface within the enclosure. within the distance of an arrow cast. I shall close these remarks with some account of the great mound near the junction of the river Rouge with the Detroit. and neither the ancient nor modern races are supposed to have had herds of domesticated animals. When this interesting relic first came to my knowledge. and attributed to the Iroquois. and the irregular character of the ditch hardly accord with the supposition that it was a military work. we are left to conjecture. Yet the regularity of the work marks it as one of studied design. and as many wide. which separates the hard-land tact from a ridge of some fifteen feet elevation. and the interest which attaches to it may warrant me in occupying some further pages in its description. Of the purpose for which this work was constructed. The width of the gateway. and cut off from roads and settlements by the morass. about 500 feet long. at Del Rey. It would hardly seem to have answered that of a fortification. There is nothing to indicate that the enclosure surrounded a village. a few feet apart. Yet its true character seems never to have been fully appreciated. It is upon a small area of land. or open wet prairie. Ever since the settlement of the country this mound has been a wellknown and conspicuous feature. Many generations had risen and passed away since the dusky forms of its artificers were consigned to the neighboring tumuli. and antique oaks and rambling grape-vines--its sole occupants-silently told the story of the years that had gone by. There are traces of what appear to have once been two parallel embankments. such as have been found with similar structures in Western New York. or been thrown up in some sudden emergency. which crossed the neck of marsh. it was in the midst of a dense forest and thicket. This tract of firm land is surrounded by a morass. in a direct line towards the circular "fort. which rises gently from the river to the height of about six feet." if such it may be called. It might have served as a place of security for the women and children. requiring the protection of corrals.
could be retained. to the river Detroit. until the flesh had disappeared. lay the deep waters of the river Rouge. The situation is such as would be chosen by the Mound-Builders. that had been carefully kept for the purpose. Bourdeno. From the immense number of skeletons found within it. and the present extreme height nowhere exceeds thirty feet above the stream. Beyond stretched a field of natural meadow. Much as has been lost by the wanton destruction of this instructive monument. circling nearly two sides of the mound. Above stretched the straits. and little notice taken of its contents. half a mile distant. 400 feet wide." 16 . but more than half also of its width on the river side. and not less than forty feet high. which evidently belongs to the drift that has left many similar deposits over this region. But little examination is needed to show that some part at least of the elevation is natural. by wagon load and boat load. portion after portion has been dug away and removed. enough is disclosed to show that this huge mound has been the memorial of many interesting and marvellous events. until now it is but a miniature of its former self. Mr. Not only has it been reduced more than half the entire length. is artificial.For nearly half a century. who has lived in the vicinity for more than sixty years. and the slopes were about as steep as the sand. and even of the present elevation. At the base. A portion of the overlying sand may be ascribed to the same source. The tumulus must have been visible from a great distance. says the mound originally extended from its present limits westerly fully 500 feet. It was symmetrical in form. for a stratum of gravel appears below ten or more feet of sand. The south side bordered close on the river for its whole length. over all others. and visible for many miles of its course. and other Algonquin tribes. and the mode of their occurrence. as far as the site of the city. It is most picturesque. in every direction. to where a bend in the Rouge brings that river close to the highway. of which most of it was composed. The mound or hill was then 700 or 800 feet long. but I think the fact will be made evident that a considerable part of the original. for a resting-place and monument to their dead. there can be little doubt that it was one of these national sepulchres of the Hurons. where were deposited the remains of their dead. while northward the view commands many miles of rolling country. Little of the original shape now remains. and the proper season had arrived for the great "Festival of the dead. To the south and west were seen Grosse Isle and the channel leading past Malden to Lake Erie.
gathered from the whole nation.-To final home.--the promiscuous casting of the remains into one general pit. amid "a weeping. constituted a scene unique as it was solemn and awful. by our lamented townsman. one of those mysteries of the past that is never to return. amid the general gathering of the tribes. shrieking. howling concourse" of guests and mourners. that I refer the curious to that poem for its full illustration. To spend them on their destined way." 17 . Of both the sexes.This was attended." When the appointed time has arrived "--the recent dead Are lifted from their temporary bed. dreary funeral wail. sachem chieftain bold. The mouldy bones.-Their vacant place in cabin fill. without the lifeless clay. as did the unburied Romans on the borders of the Styx. a melancholy train. Come forth their final resting-place to gain. the lover. simulating voices of disembodied souls. The festival has been so well described in the 15th Canto of Teuch-sa-Grondie. side by side. The child. Until this ceremony had taken place the spirits of the dead were supposed to wander restlessly about. "Two fathoms deep the burial pit.--to land afar-To land beyond the evening star. Awaiting for the festal day." The dismal process of cleansing the bones--the exposure of the remains to the view of mourning friends--the decoration in the richest furs--the display of gifts destined for sacrifice. A circle that might well admit A thousand bodies. in swift decay. And twice two ample fathoms wide. with many ceremonies to which I shall only briefly allude. broken at intervals by the long-measured. Levi Bishop.--the procession--the harangue--the dance--the games--the feast--the solemn song. all illuminated by the midnight glare of blazing torches and camp-fires. and of young and old.-A frightful throng. winging their way to the land of spirits. "Departed spirits linger still. The relics--shapeless forms.
heaping above them the funeral mound. it presents other points of interest. near the east end. It was also. fled to and settled below Detroit." much charcoal and ashes were found. such as pieces of scabbards. and that the dead were buried in this mound. He says that in some parts there seems to have been a "cellar.The Jesuit Relations of 1636 tell us of a place of this kind set apart among the Hurons in Canada. This ceremony took place once in ten or twelve years. and before the fatal ambuscade at Bloody Run. there occurred at this place a massacre of British soldiers by the Indians. viz.* [Note : * It is matter of history that a portion of this nation. a sacred or "altar" mound.] That the river Rouge mound was of this character there is much cumulative evidence to prove. in all probability. His statement goes further. buttons and other portions of military equipment. from the character of the skulls found in a certain part of it. Thousands of fragments of human bones still lie bleaching on the sand. The latter fact is consonant with the theory of cremation. and from the attendant relics.. mingled indiscriminately. I am not aware that history alludes to this event. Squire Ludlow. In the account given me by Bourdeno he states. as in ordinary cases. Powerful as is the interest which attaches to this hill of the dead from this proof of its character. but the fact that many bodies of white soldiers have been interred in the hill is evident. With these were many pieces of large pots. as to their immense quantities. which have escaped decay. Mr. where they were accustomed to inter their dead in one common sepulchre." which was filled with bones. A house was erected on the summit. before their fatal dispersion by the Iroquois. for on these occasions the relics. instead of being buried whole with the dead. mingled with burned bones. an old resident. but all were broken. much of which he collected and buried elsewhere. also gives similar accounts of the number of skeletons disinterred. Another phase in the history of this mound is related by Bourdeno. that in Pontiac's time. where they were known as Wyandots. During old territorial times the mound was made to subserve the living. that in other parts of the mound than those containing the "cellars. Bourdeno has seen hundreds of skeletons removed in the digging down of the hill. were thrown upon the burning pile. which escaped the massacre on Lake Huron. and of course suffered partial destruction. mingled with sherds of pottery and other relics. It affords certain evidence that cremation was practised by the MoundBuilders of this region. which was at first 18 .
--all except a large quantity of bricks and mortar.--glass. but how many feet had been originally heaped over it it was impossible to say. and a United States cent of 1829. Hubbard. near the top. and a foot lower down. and four inches thick. Having determined. was another mass of cinders.a trading-post for the Indians. Henry Gillman and H. first pointed out by Mr. antique pot-sherds. and about two feet from the above and one foot deeper. To the west. iron and other articles of modern housekeeping are in close communion with flint implements. It had evidently originally been placed in a sitting posture. but the larger bones of the arms and legs were sufficiently perfect to be removed. a portion of which seemed to have been undisturbed and was still covered with sod. pieces of crockery.. in company with Messrs. We then struck a skull. to a practical investigation. several inches thick. This was dug carefully around. and was so doubled together and crushed. It has been gone many years. and was continued northerly for the distance of ten feet before anything appeared to reward the labor. that the whole occupied a space not more than two feet long by four inches thick. The relic-hunter finds over the whole surface a curious intermingling of the old and the new. and at a foot 19 . a few years ago I proceeded. reddish soil. except an English halfpenny of George III. Still deeper. and Indian trinkets. G. was very observable. The flattening of the tibia. It formed a dark. and other rubbish. Gillman as characteristic of the most ancient human remains in this region. we proceeded to open a trench near to it. was a mass apparently composed of burned human remains. and with bits of brass and iron that once belonged to the accoutrements of the British soldier. and through the highest part now remaining. which was also so flattened and decayed that it could be removed only in fragments. and the skeleton exposed. as nearly as possible. On the south side of the head was a small pot. composed of baked clay. the central axis of the original mound. These were found about four feet below the surface of the digging. six feet wide and five deep. and quite hard and compact. This trench was commenced on the river side. The ribs and most of the vertebræ and smaller bones had perished. This skeleton was only three feet below the surface. It occupied a space two feet by one and a half. and a perfectly formed greenstone "celt. It lay with the head to the east. Close to this were a few unburned portions of a skeleton." At about the same distance from the skeleton first mentioned. The skull was so much flattened and decayed as to render it impossible to determine the shape or size. Desirous of more fully determining the true character of the mound.
as though hastily buried. The lowest of the compacted masses was five feet beneath the present surface. It may have formed part of an "altar. This. Continuing the excavations beneath the sodded portion of the mound. and found to constitute a bed not less than twenty feet square. On the disturbed surface was found a spot covered with broken fragments of clay. These continued in considerable numbers through the succeeding three feet. may be presumed to be an artificial deposit. They were disposed irregularly. such as are pointed out by Squier in his so-called "Altar Mounds" of Ohio. and a foot thick. was another mass of considerably larger extent. beyond this indicated that these might once have composed vessels of iron. yet the presence of these bones made evident either that interments had taken place at this great depth of more than ten feet. it is apparent that interments took place during long intervals of time. A few inches below this was disclosed a stratum of black earth. and here were found numerous nodules or lumps of a white substance. Among these masses of compacted cinder were several large nodules of irregular form. at three feet from the surface we uncovered numerous skeletons. We now sunk a shaft or well into the sand at the place where the hard. we came. There was no appearance of the sand having ever been disturbed. This was continued to the depth of eight feet. How much lower still these singular masses continue was left undetermined. Some of the crania were shattered. and of a yellowish-red color. as if from heavy blows. It is entirely improbable that any of the Indian races buried their dead in graves of that extreme depth. made by some sharp instrument after death. which seemed held together by a cement of iron rust. when the digging was discontinued." or clay hearth. That they consisted in part of burned human bones there could be no doubt. Two of them exhibited a round hole at the apex. for no such custom is known. as the matrix is entirely sand. The rimming is plainly visible. the earth heaped above the first 20 . cemented masses were discovered. or that the earth had accumulated since the deposition. at a depth of two feet.remove to the west. the extent of which was traced at several points. from its color and character. And as these occur immediately below the undoubted Indian remains first mentioned. and the holes are about half an inch diameter. which proved to be disintegrated bone. and they establish the fact of cremation beyond question. Nothing. The skulls and some of the bones were in those of babes. to have at one period constituted the original surface. composed of cinders and burned bones. upon what appeared. In excavating another trench at a lower part of the mound. however.
perhaps from many now forgotten nations. as tradition tells. the remains being covered. it may be. We must regard this great mound--now being so ruthlessly destroyed--as a vest necropolis. how much of the past has been forgotten! Who can tell the story of that fierce struggle which took place on this spot. mingled together in death in a common mausoleum. Many a time had his canoe paused at this place. that covered alike their bones and their animosities? 21 . while his eye reamed over the wide expanse of river and marsh and land in search of friendly forms. elsewhere in the State. desired to make his final rest after the toils and pleasures of life were ended. and cycle by cycle. he had ascended the ancient mound. and it accords with the known anxieties of the Indian. In this beautiful spot the red man of all those departed eras. Here. and landing. for it was secured by religious veneration. the great Pontiac resorted--that stern. belonging both to the prehistoric past and to our modern era. For what purpose were these perforations? A suggestion has been made.being a foundation for a new interment. uncompromising foe of the Anglo-Saxon. The condition of these crania indicates that they are comparatively modern. bodies being sometimes buried entire and sometimes burned." Within even the brief period of the ascendency of the Anglo-Saxon in this region. or. that they were intended as a means of suspending the skull in view of the friends of the deceased. could he so worthily arouse the hearts of the living to resist their oppressors? And here. the mound grew in height and proportions. and to be gathered to his fathers in the place where reposed the bones of generations gone before. containing the dead of many centuries. Since the discovery of the two perforated skulls others have come to light. of parties of his foes. when the two races that in life had been so distinct and hostile. that the holes were for giving more speedy release to the spirit from its earthly tenement. like the others. may this savage hero have come to muse upon the past and its faded glories. Where but upon the graves of their ancestors. with a fresh deposit of sand. What shades would throng around him if each skeleton form of the thousands that lay below could answer to his summons! "From graves forgotten stretch their dusty hands. And hold in mortmain still their old estates. similarly treated. until the time of the great festival of inhumation. To his limited comprehension this tumulus of sand was stable as an Egyptian pyramid. creeping stealthily along its sandy shores. when hope had perished. Another supposition is of a very practical kind. Thus year by year.
22 . and the proud pile which they created to immortalize their memory has nearly disappeared. and will soon have vanished altogether. as of old. scattering the dust that once animated human forms.And now. The whoop of the savage and his funeral howl are supplanted by the hum of a untiring. the sparkling waters lave its base. In the distance rise to view the spires and buildings of a proud and prosperous city. But the beings these cheered in the olden time have all perished from the land. The protecting forests have been superseded by cultivated farms and village streets. in undeviating flood. the warm sunshine rests upon this spot. rolls its waters to the lake. how changed the scene! The same noble river. and smoking factories. Still. the winds blow over it from the not distant lake. their history is but a fading dream. the barge and the steamer. practical industry. in the progress of an unheeding and remorseless civilization. but the canoe of the red man has given place to the winged barks of commerce.
DIAGRAM OF ANCIENT EARTHWORKS MACOMB COUNTY 23 .
POTS FROM MOUND NEAR GRAND RAPIDS RIVER ROUGE MOUND 24 .
NEAR DETROIT 25 .DIAGRAM OF ANCIENT EARTHWORK SPRINGWELLS.
who. and the very brief period at which it must cease altogether. with a diagram. that “they certainly indicate a methodical 26 . I find. Blois. Foster devotes to them less than a single page of his voluminous work. from the fact that they have been almost entirely overlooked by archeologists. of unknown age and origin. and were it otherwise. which have received the name of “Garden-Beds.” Indeed. form the most prominent. and only says. in 1839.” An unusual importance attaches to These remains of a lost race. explored this region before 1748. we cannot but recognize the rapidity with which we are losing our hold of this kind of testimony. of one kind of the beds. many of which are everywhere covered with furrows.ANCIENT GARDEN BEDS OF MICHIGAN By Bela Hubbard A class of works of the Mound-Builders exists in Michigan. in effect. and that of those which were so numerous and prominent forty. still resident of our State. with several French associates.” It is the report of Verandrier.” Schoolcraft was the first to give to the world any acccurate and systematic account of these “furrows. is by Haven. THE EARLIEST MENTION OF THESE RELICS which. No mention is made of these remains by Priest or by Baldwin. For any knowledge beyond the scanty details hitherto recorded we are forced to rely upon the recollections of the “oldest inhabitants. the most striking and characteristic antiquarian monuments of this district of country. in his “Archeology of the United States. nearly every trace has disappeared. as if they had formerly been plowed and sown. by far. Observations were made by him as early as 1827. and he records the fact that “the garden beds.” We know how uncertain this reliance often is.” a detailed description. he is the only author of note who honors this interesting class of the works of the MoundBuilders with more than the most meagre mention. published. in his “Gazetteer of Michigan. and. He gives figures of two kinds of beds.” Another writer of early date. or even thirty years ago. and not the mounds. John T. He found in the western wilderness “large tracts free from wood.
According to the universal testimony. without paths. which I shall attempt to classify. Lapham describes a few of this kind of remains which were found upon the western shore of Lake Michigan. (Width of beds 12 feet. They are of especial interest to us. length 74 to 115 feet. with the exception referred to in Wisconsin. Joseph.” Yet these relics constitute a unique feature in the antiquities of our country. sufficient uniformity is discoverable to enable me to group the beds and gardens. In the midst of diversity. composing independent plats. in parallel rows. order and symmetry which distinguished them from the ordinary operations of agriculture.” Dr. as in the following CLASSIFICATIONS: 1. and twenty-five of them have been counted in the space of one hundred feet. where they occupied the most fertile of the prairie land and burr-oak plains. These varied in dimensions. But I must first define THEIR SITUATION. from the fact that they were not only the most prominent of our antiquities. separated by sunken paths. principally in the counties of St. but. 1. They consist of raised patches of ground. paths none. Wide convex beds. They average four feet in width. in parallel rows. these beds were laid out and fashioned with a skill.) Fig. in length from twelve to more than one hundred feet. and were combined with some peculiar features that belong to no recognized system of horticultural art. Wide convex beds. The so-called “Garden Beds” were found in the valleys of the St. and were generally arranged in plats or blocks of parallel beds. Cass and Kalamazoo. being from five to sixteen feet in width. The tough sod of the prairie had preserved very sharply all the outlines. separated by paths of same 27 . 2. as if corn had been planted in drills.cultivation which was not practiced by the red man. they are confined to our State. Joseph and Grand Rivers. Some investigations. as “consisting of low parallel ridges. enable me to define more accurately and fully than has been heretofore done the different kinds of these beds. and in height six to eighteen inches. EXTENT AND CHARACTER. by no means thorough. according to the most reliable information obtained.
height.) Nos. height. Schoolcraft does not give the exact localities. while the others areflg~ted as well—i and 2 by Schoolcraft and 4 by Blois. 100 feet. As to their extent. LOCALITIES I present diagrams of each of these classes or kinds of beds on a scale of thirty-two feet to one inch. “The beds are of various sizes. in independent plats. are varieties. paths. length. his language is. Plats of beds are undoubtedly here referred to. paths. arranged in a series of plats longitudinal to each other. Parallel beds.. length. to the plats adjacent. 5. 3. 14 to 20 feet. each 100 feet long. 1~ feet. 7. of uniform width and length. E. 1 to 2 feet. with beds of uniform shape and size radiating therefrom. separated by narrower paths and arranged in a series of longitudinal plats.(Width of beds.) Fig. 3.length. height. length. 6 feet. 2 feet. paths.) Fig. all separated by narrow paths. length. 10 to 12 inches. Wide and parallel beds. 74 to 132 feet. (See figures.paths. and I am unable to state whether beds of the same class have been noticed by other observers.width. (Width of beds. of varying widths and lengths. covering generally from 20 to 100 acres. 2. paths same. 6. 6 feet. 2 feet. and arranged in plats of two or more at right angles N. 100 feet. Parallel beds. separated by narrow paths. separated by narrow paths. (Width of beds five feet. length. 12 to 30 feet. and single beds. length. 8. 1 foot. 12 to 40 feet. consisting of a circular bed. No. 6. arranged in plats or blocks. with narrow paths. (Width of beds 14 feet. 2 and 4 have ever before been delineated. Parallel beds. 18 inches.) Fig. paths. Of these only those numbered 1. Wheel-shaped plats. 18 inches. 28 . (Width of bed 12 to 143 feet. (Width of beds.) Fig.) Figures a. consists of five plats. and S.) Fig. and W. 8 inches. paths. 3 and 5 are described by Schoolcraft and Blois. 4 feet. each plat divided from the next by semicircular heads. (Width of beds.)Fig. 5. 7.. height. about 30 feet. b and c. Long and narrow beds. at varying angles. 8. arranged in plats similar to class 4. 4. to my knowledge. 4. 5 to 14 feet. but divided by circular heads.” Some are reported to embrace even 300 acres. 3. according to the latter. 6 to 20 feet. Fig. 20 beds in each plat.
Cumings. (See figures a. the writer says: “They are found a short distance from Three Rivers. at one hundred. that in 1831 they were very numerous on the plains where now stands the village of Kalamazoo. Prouty concurs as to the extent covered. on one side of an oval prairie. E. but thinks the beds were six feet by twenty-five to forty long. is from a drawing by James R.) The prevailing width of the bed is five or six feet. and the burr-oak trees on them as large as any in the vicinity. 4). and elsewhere. at Schoolcraft. were covered with the beds. Fig. of Galesburg. On the farm of the latter in the town of Comstock. Mr. and says they reminded him of old New England gardens. surrounded by burr-oak plains. within the space of a mile. at this place. and the beds five feet by twelve or fourteen feet. b and c. separated from them by a path as represented. of one hundred acres. regularly laid out in beds running north and south. town of Schoolcraft. say that three or four acres on the edge of the prairie. The “sets” would average five or six beds each. and eighteen inches deep. so far as my own inquiries warrant. and south of the mound. Toland’s prairie. the burr-oak plains at Kalamazoo. M. the beds were quite numerous as late as 1860. In 1832 the outlines were very distinct. Fig. the average being about twenty feet. five feet in width and one hundred in length. of a garden in which the beds are of more than usual diversity in width and length. arranged in alternate blocks. On the farm of J. Laken Brown confirms this account. Shafter and Roswell Ransom. alternating with other similar blocks placed at right angles to them. there were not less than ten acres of beds. Class 6. There must have been 15 acres of them on his land. at the extremity of each bed. represents the form and arrangement which is most common. 6-b. eight or ten acres were entirely covered by them.” The distinctive peculiarity of these beds is what Blois calls the “semi-lunar” head. The prairie contains three hundred acres. T. of class 6. H. old settlers. section 7. six feet by twenty five to forty. Gardens of this kind were found by the early settlers. The garden is judged to be half a mile in length by one-third in breadth. The length of the plats or blocks varies. is from a drawing by Mr. Prairie-Ronde. 29 . and that of the paths one and a-half to two feet. 6-c. Neighbors put the number of acres covered with them in 1830. in the form of parallelograms. viz: that of a series of parallel beds formed into blocks of two or more. T. Henry Little says.Of the plat figured by Blois (No. having a north and south and east and west direction. Mr. A. Shatter. Cobb. Mr. being very regular and even. containing about one hundred acres.
on so extensive a scale. They differ from the more ordinary form of No. and apparently ample walks leading in different directions. that these relics denote some species of cultivation. All occurred at Kalamazoo. which is here not at right angles. are rectangular and parallel. we must proceed according to the doctrine of probabilities. Cobb & Prouty. and in immediate association with the other forms of beds at that place. The former speaks of “enigmatical plats of variously shaped beds. and that they are very different from those left by the field culture of any known tribes of Indians. Nor do we find any similar remains in connection with the works of the MoundBuilders.The series represented by Class 7. with alleys between. They are platted and described to me by Messrs. the centre bed being only six feet in diameter. or sub-area of beds. (fig.” This language is too vague to enable me to construct a diagram. T. There is reason for supposing that there may have existed another class of beds. The reputation of the writers will not allow us to consider the descriptions fanciful. which exist. Prouty. of Kalamazoo. represented generally by Class 6. with avenues. 30 . The figure delineated is from the descriptions and dimensions given by the former. although those unknown builders were undoubtedly an agricultural people. 7) were found at Prairie Ronde.” Some are laid off in rectilineal and curvilineal figures. differing altogether from any I have represented. 6. Class 8 is established on the authority of Henry Little and A. through the valley of the Mississippi river. The number of beds in each block is also greater than usual. All opinions seem to agree. but at various and irregular angles. in parterres and scalloped work. WERE THESE VEGETABLE GARDENS? To answer this question. nor have I any confirmation to offer from other sources. but of smaller dimensions. Others admit of half circles and variously curved beds.” The latter says the beds “appear in various fanciful shapes. in the arrangement of the blocks or sets of beds. The diameter of the circular bed and the length of the radiating ones are each twenty-five to thirty feet. and the radiating ones twenty feet. but it is possible to suppose they were misled by the representations of others. The latter describes two of similar design. from expressions used by both Schoolcraft and Blois. and are differently grouped and disposed.” and further “nearly all the lines of each area. either distinct or combined in a fantastic manner. also in the single beds outlying.
which is without precedent among the pre-historic people of this continent north of Mexico? ASSOCIATED AND CONTEMPORANEOUS RELICS These extensive indications of ancient culture necessarily imply a settled and populous community. and this was never cultivated by them in rows. sowing the fields with a grain called Mahis. while the curvilinear forms suggest analogies quite as strong to the modern “pleasure garden. but had used it for the display of its own peculiar taste. often large but always disposed in a very irregular manner. This author quotes from Capt. cucumbers. laid out in different styles. and in their gardens they plant beans. to look for other evidences of the numbers and character . As little do these beds resemble the deserted fields of modern aqr culure. Joseph valley I learned of numerous places. “They labor and till the ground. widely apart. and many other fruits and roots unknown to us. as well as for ornament Was there something analogous to this in the Michigan Nation? Did the latter also have botanical gardens? May we accord to this unknown people a considerable advance in science. citrons. We are led. who refers to a practice. gourds. that for ages had consecrated these old garden lands—agrees in the fact. Whereof they make their meal.” In the St.” published in London. and an eye for symmetry and beauty. is noticed by Jones. such evidences are almost wanting! The testimony of nearly every one whom I have consulted— men who were among the first of the white race to break up the soil. so well and fitly as is possible. and with an eye to the picturesque. for medicinal uses. therefore. where the labor and skill of our ancient horticulturists were apparent in small gardens.of the people who made them. On the other hand. in addition to a cultivated taste. peas. among some of the southern Indians. But here an extraordinary fact presents itself. of setting apart separate pieces of ground for each family. but in hills. 1563.” The nearest approach to anything resembling horticultural operations among Indian tribes. Ribault’s “Discovery of Terra Florida. that almost none of the usual aboriginal relics were found.The principal crop of the Indians is maize. Historians tell us of the Aztecs. within the historic period. that they had gardens. in which were cultivated various plants. no 31 . Their spades and mattocks are made of wood. the resemblance of many of the plats to the well-laid out garden beds of our own day is very striking. as if each family had not only its separate garden patch.
Tumuli. as to the relative antiquity of the garden beds of Wisconsin. and the soil which has so sacredly preserved the labor of its occupants. subsisting on the fruits of the earth. There are no traces of dwellings. from which he infers. a more recent origin. Upon the St. of course. It seems strange. It thus enclosed a large area. not even the omnipresent pipe. and with a sufficient garrison might have withstood the siege of a large army of barbarous warriors. that these garden beds. and may pass for works of defence. are not uncommon. nor do they give indication of any religious origin or rites. should be the only memorials of a race which has left such an evidence of civilized advancement. which are probably referable to this people. But no connection can he traced between these detached earthworks and the garden beds. and in Gilead. indeed. or burial mounds of the Red man. exist several small circular and rectangular embankments. discloses not even their bones! At Three Rivers. Joseph and Colorado rivers. but have no recognized association with the garden race. that they were a people of peaceable disposition. of laborious habits.pottery. in Western Michigan. are some ancient embankments. a mile apart. no spear and arrow heads. It consisted only of an earth embankment. and was worthy of more enduring monuments! We may reasonably conclude. Their dwellings and their tools were of wood. no implements of stone. and their religious or other significance forgotten. about six feet in height extending between two forks of a river. Branch County. as compared with the animal mounds. that they lived in simple and patriarchal style. This simple record of their character and labors is all. ANTIQUITY OF THE GARDEN BEDS But is this all? May we not form some reasonable conjecture as to the period in which these gardeners lived? A fact mentioned by Dr. We may also suppose a considerably more recent age. rather than of the chase. and in the town of Prairie Ronde. They were found overlying the latter. The date of the abandonment of the beds may be approximately 32 . That at the first named place was notably extensive. though not numerous. it may be. and of asthetic if not scientific tastes. resembling the lesser works of the Mound-Builders so numerous in Ohio. until long after these had been abandoned. since it is not likely that the race could have thus encroached upon the works of another. None of them seem to have been the bases of buildings. we can ever know. suggestive as they are. Lapham furnishes a species of evidence. and have perished.
How long these labors were abandoned before this tree commenced its growth may not be susceptible of proof. I have mentioned. as places of temporary refuge for the women and children. and were overwhelmed. as well as of the bodies of their fabricators. They were ignorant of the authors of these works and were not more advanced in the arts of culture than the other known tribes. mentioned by Schoolcraft. It is probable that the few defensive works. or that they could not have received. by the age of the trees found growing upon them. Much that might then have been cleared up. Early French explorers do not appear to have been interested in the question. had 335 cortical layers. against the raids of the warlike tribes living eastward of them. and after modern culture had for many years obliterated the old. from the memories—of course not always exact or reliable—of early settlers. This carries the period back as far as 1502. Lawrence about the middle of the 16th century. must now remain forever involved in mystery. while they yet remained. or be left to conjecture. scattered or exterminated. were erected by this settled and peaceful race of gardeners. cut down in 1837. At the time of the arrival of the French the country was in possession of Algonquin tribes. Most of the facts I have been able to present are gathered in large part. The larger one may have served for the general defence in a time of sudden and great emergency. the more exact and scientific scrutiny which is now being applied to the antiquities of our land. It is probable that on some such occasion they were surprised by their savage and relentless foes. One of these. who emigrated from the St. It is perhaps useless to regret. or some years prior to the discovery of this country by the French. and it does not seem to me necessary to go further back than the three centuries during which that tree flourished. 33 .fixed. that these most interesting and unique relics of a lost people have so completely perished. for a period quite long enough to have crumbled into indistinguishable dust every trace of wooden dwellings and implements. through the greed of the dominant race. if the latter received only simple earth burial.
and I am not yet restored to faith on this subject. and like the swinging pendulum. that he was the first white man who set a foot or raised a flag on its soil. who had so long roamed over the wild wastes of the western wilderness were regarded as a kind of military force. but the Indian was the only link in my mind between Columbus and Adam. 1879 (Extracted from: Michigan Pioneer Colelctions: Vol. the depths of the past were crowded with generations of Indians. how long they had existed.3 1879-80) History taught me to believe that Christopher Columbus discovered America. or how many millions of them had lived and died. Of CONSTANTINE Read February 5th. set on foot by the Almighty to hold the country until civilization should take possession and subdue it. and strange shafts of light began to flash around and illuminate the world. There is a witchery about the subject that inflames the imagination and warps the judgment.THE MOUND BUILDERS AND THEIR WORK IN MICHIGAN BY HENRY H. I once thought it heresy to doubt the geographical books and schools of the day. RILEY. Beyond him. theories began to dissolve and my opinions swerved the other way. with my head in a whirl. I never look upon the remains of a people which stand so silently and so solemnly around what people I do not Know—without feeling myself stretching away into the past. and my brain 42 . too far at first and beyond the centre. I felt that we had been moving among doubts and shadows. My belief in the existence of the so-called mound builders of our continent increases from year to year. and at last I found myself becoming a skeptic on the subject of the history of man and his origin. I did not try to know just how they originated. Our fathers had lived and died in the faith of what was written about our history—and why should not I also? As I grew older and my credulity sobered down into facts. and all the tribes and nations of red men.
ten thousand mounds are found and fifteen hundred ramparts and inclosures. pointing backwards to oblivion . they are laid out into squares. marking the existence and departure of a great people who have left nothing behind them to tell us from whence they came or whither they went. particularly the Ohio and Mississippi. It is curious to know. in graceful curves. The inclosures referred to are protected by heavy embankments. many inclosures are found in the form of animals. and they are a most interesting subject of study. Iowa. parallelograms into figures of serpents. and beasts. and in Ohio alone. circles. and away up in the northwestern part of our continent. birds. Missouri and on the upper lakes. the mouth wide open in the act of swallowing an egg-like figure. a thousand feet in length. formed of earth and stone. In Wisconsin. Ohio. one at Miamisburg. seven hundred feet long and five hundred wide. hut the mound builder has left no track in New England. Louis and Cincinnati. as many persons have done and are doing.exhausting itself among the phantoms of antiquity. The mound builders seem to belong to a race who finished up their work on earth before the real life-work of men and nations began. seventy-five feet high and a thousand feet at the base. serpents and men. over their remains. he probably 43 . These wonderful works of past generations of men extend along the rivers throughout the Southern States. with buttresses and gateways. to puzzle us with curious investigations and strange questions never perhaps to be answered. and their tributaries. and they exhibit a good deal of art. An inclosure in Adams county. and if possible. the commercial value of such points as St. sixtyeight feet high and eight hundred feet at the base. Ohio. the tail coiled. the great truncated pyramid at Cahokia. Illinois. and who just left their monuments behind them when they passed away. as we have since seen.—not a word—not a sign—no thing to betray their origin—nothing to wring front them the terrible secret of a great people long vanished from the earth. The mound builders have built their fortifications and erected their monuments on our principal rivers. others in mathematical lines. in West Virginia. clothe their dry bones with flesh and breathe life into the old carcass once more. contains a huge relieve. that he seemed to be actuated by the same motives and governed by the same passions that his successors have been in locating their cities. It may not be out of place for me to stir the dust of the mound builder—to wonder and speculate. in the shape of a serpent. There is a mound at Grave creek. birds. however. Inside. They look down solemnly upon the civilization of to-day. He saw.
for the year 1879. upset our theory to-morrow. within our knowledge. a distance of some eight miles. all showing a people not deficient in art and mechanical ingenuity. and raised. silver. raised up so many strange monuments. but just how or 1 Colonel P. we do not know. The mound builder was an early pioneer in Michigan. and has not been found north of the mountains of Cerre Gordo. His works were not all a mere labor of defense—his occupation not merely that of a soldier. porphyry amid green stone. 1 which indicates a communication and reciprocity between people wide apart—between that mysterious nation. Ornaments and implements made of copper. but he went deep down into the copper ore. like the Scioto. says: “I this year traced the mountain of obsidian or volcanic glass from where I discovered it last year. at Beaver Lake. He appropriated rich valleys.had trade and speculation in his eye. and gave the key of their history to oblivion and vanished front the earth. Agriculture and commerce were evidently important considerations in his calculations. knives and bracelets. below the Lake of the Woods. tn his report to the Secretary of the Interior. and dug. We examine them. p roving that it is there the tree dtvtde of the waters of the Missouri and the Yellowstone. peadants and beads. in Mexico. for life and business. theorize over them. toys of bone and mica. and also a vast weapon and implement çuarry for the ancient hermit sheep-eaters. are found.—who built Palenque. finely wrought. elegant patterns of pottery. and almost fancy we hear a chuckle from the old mound builder at our disappointment and distress. or every man for himself. and finally retreat into darkness again. There are copper and stone axes. whether as a member of a joint stock company on a per centage. he was the first miner in the Upper Peninsula. as has been supposed by some writers who have explored the twilight that covers their remains. whoever they were. Porphyry is a hard material to work and required a hard tool to cut it. chisels. Did the mound builder know how to temper his copper tool as the Egyptian did? Obsidian is a volcanic product used by the Mexicans and Peruvians for arrows and instruments. and found in a style and finish beyond anything furnished by the modern tribes of Indians on our continent. believe and disbelieve. “—ED 44 . now buried in a wilderness. Copan and Uxmal. and probably transported vast amounts of it. IV. how he worked. who erected those wonderful buildings in Central Anierioa ages ago. obsidian. The works of art which these mounds contain perplex and instruct us. solve the mystery today. Superintendent of the Yellowstone National Park. to a branch of the Gibbon. Norris.
or some of it. How and where was the ore removed? Why and for what purpose was so much of it consumed? Where did the provisions come from to support the laborers in their work? There are no bones of mound builders found there— no evidence of commerce—no remains of vessels. and drains are cut to carry off the water. it is said. three hundred and four hundred years old. there is one deep cut in the rock. They follow the richest veins of ore with great knowledge and skill in the art of mining. They are connected underground. counting so much. The pits are from ten to thirty feet in diameter. Specimens of Lake Superior copper have been discovered in the mounds. The island is about fifty miles long. weighing from ten to thirty pounds. on Isle Royal. and are scattered throughout the island. When were those pits opened? By whom? Who can tell? Forests have grown up and fallen and mouldered over them. rocky shore. which has been operated with a large force for more than twenty years. 45 . The working out the ore was no doubt by heating and pouring on water— very slow and tedious. which. and brought out only by fire. The copper tools seemed to be hardened by fire. and only so much time for us in our efforts to fix the age of these mines. some of the ore found its way into the mounds on the Mississippi and Ohio. The ancient mining at Isle Royal. and cut up into deep gorges and is covered with a growth of timber. and the whole is a mass of rotten wood. At McCargoe’s Cove there are nearly two miles of pits very closely connected. near the northern line of Lake Superior has excited amazement. have been found. and yet it is said that although two hundred men with their rude way of mining could not accomplish any more work than two skilled miners can at the present day. quantities of stone hammers and mauls. and that at one point alone. from five to nine in breadth. copper chisels. distinguishes no other copper in the world. some broken from use and some in good condition. and great trees. The silver found in other ore is throughout the whole. but as we shall see. covered its entire length by timbers that are now decayed. with a ragged. from twenty to sixty feet in depth. the amount of labor performed exceeds that done on one of the oldest mines on the south shore.where we cannot say. knives and arrow-heads have been discovered. and the chain of evidence by which this is determined is the fact that the copper so found. has little globules or slivers of silver attached to it. but there is evidence going to show that they were originally polished and of good workmanship. stand around them to-day. It is difficult to determine their original workmanship owing to corrosion.
or wharves. the shape and outlines of the head being different and indicating an entirely different race of people. showing that mounds were raised over them and that the body was not afterward buried in them. at the head of the St. the rites and ceremonies over some great chieftain. Gilman in 1872.2 The mound builder was an early pioneer. were not Indians. or houses—and yet vast amounts of copper have been taken out. from which some of the facts about Isle Royal are taken. for although we are called a new country. who is now forever forgotten. We frequently hear of the discovery of the skeletons of a gigantic race. the Rouge. for it may still be seen where the same stream has destroyed a portion of his inclosures higher up where they now stand. the work of men who must have been fed. and many stone axes and 2 Mr. comparatively speaking. They are not as gigantic as some of the others herein described. perhaps. Clair. that physiologists have been able to determine that the mound builders. although the subsequent burial remains of Indians are found nearer the top. Mounds have been discovered on the borders of the Detroit river. 46 . It is through these skulls. The banks and streams upon which he built declare this to be true. A few years ago an article appeared in the Toronto Telegraph stating that in the township at Cayuga in the Grand river. whoever they were. and almost always there is the evidence of an altar having been erected. on the farm of Daniel Fredenburg. Skulls are found at the bottom. and to some extent clothed. on the Grand river and at the foot of Lake Huron. and in many other portions of the State. Clair are said to be very remarkable. Terraces have been evidently formed below his work since he passed away. not only there. we may be the very oldest. and were once regarded as of Indian origin. Their channels have been cut deeper since he laid out his grounds by their sides and erected his cities thereon. and we are therefore the more puzzled to know to what race the mound builders belonged. and whose treasure was no doubt exported to the central and southern portions of our continent. a string of beads around the neck of each. and were discovered by Mr. Henry Gilman read an interesting paper before the Detroit Scientific Association en this subject. Those at the head of the St. but throughout portions of the Upper Peninsula. five or six feet below the surface. upon which the body was laid and consumed by fire. more than in any other way. stone pipes in the jaws of several of them. were found two hundred skeletons nearly perfect. on the Black river.
and there were indications that the region had at some time been inhabited. and few of them less than seven. in which we are satisfied were to be found records of races of men that will be found nowhere else. They had their laws and their literature.” and ‘‘Foster’s Pre-Historic Races. Were these the remains of Indians or some other race? Who and what filled this ghastly pit? Is there any clue to the people who built these mounds? Can we find any track running back into the past. Some of the thigh bones were six inches longer than any now known. The skeletons were gigantic. The farm had been cultivated a century and was originally covered with a growth of pine. who built the mounds. and thus here and there one was preserved in this way and some were not found. or is everything about them forever buried? Perhaps we may grope our way amid mists and shadows to some purpose. a curious sly old Spanish ecclesiastic. and also Lord Kinsborough. The Aztecs were then in power and had built a city of magnitude and even splendor. here and there. about seven 47 . Fires were kindled. ‘The Mound Builders. volumes consumed and the world thereby saved from the heresy they contained.skinners scattered around in the dirt. and who once held dominion in our State? Before answering this question. who understood their value. Books were then in existence. leading us to any foundation upon which we can stand? Is there any evidence to the point which may be regarded as reliable. “ The Lost Tribes. and if we cannot demonstrate our position we can start the reader by strange suggestions and plausible theories. There was evidence from the crushed bones that a battle had been fought and these were some of the slain.” 1st. It is said the ten tribes left Palestine. of any kind. But the books not being Catholic. Cortez destroyed them or intended to do so. but how old we do not know. When Cortez captured Mexico in 1620. who quietly hid a few away at the peril of his soul for the good of mankind. little was known by him of the wonders of Central America. let me look into some of the theories on the subject. He found a wilderness around him filled with architecture which has since been to some extent explored. promulgated by different persons. Can we here show any connection between a pre-historic race. dug out the copper on Lake Superior. and finally established themselves. Bishop Zyumarraga especially made one great conflagration of them.’ were the descendants of the lost tribes of Israel. crossed Behring Straits. and found in “Baldwin’s Ancient America. The Spanish monks supported this theory. But there was found. some of them measuring nine feet. Decayed houses had been found near this spot before.
and may have sailed up and down our great rivers when the kings of Egypt were building the pyramids. and even splendor. The Atlantic Theory. and there is very much tradition and history to be found among the older nations of the earth to confirm the supposition. and its islands were so numerous that the fastest vessel. Wallace says. There is little to support the claim. they were visited by a foreign people who came in ships. Those maritime rovers. But Baldwin says. as there is nothing Malayan in either the antiquities or speech of the early Americans.’ It is supposed. who spread their sails in the face of the Greek philosophers (who despised commerce).’” 3d.’ Its metropolis was in the Island of Java. sailed as far as Central America. ‘The ships of the Malays. The Phonecians were bold navigators. it is supposed. ‘was unable to go round them in two years. This attributes the civilization of ancient America to theAtlantides or Atlantic race who once occupied the lost Island of Atlantis. and there is not a Phoenician letter or word to be found or a monument in Central America. say that centuries before. planted colonies on the shores of the Mediterranean. Madeira. ‘the theory does not hold out. There is just enough mist hanging over it to render it bewitching. where the ruins still show great architectural beauty. One of the most romantic and yet probable theories is the Atlantic’ theory. The Phoenician Theory was also very popular. “ The Malay Theory.” 4th. on this continent. and were supposed to have explored that ‘extensive ocean. so much talked about by the people of their day. or a sign or symbol remaining there which points in any way to that nation as its origin.’ which in some way had been brought to their notice.’ and to have visited that ‘great Saturnian continent.hundred years before Christ. and in the existence of which they fully believed. Identity of language even fails and antiquarians generally have abandoned that field of study.” 2d. ‘they surpass those of Central America. and to stimulate the explorer into a wild enthusiasm. and was a part of what is now known as the Canary. It had ships. and Western Islands. that this continent of ours once extended from New Granada to Central America and Mexico in a long peninsula partly across the Atlantic. and on beyond these islands was still a large tract of fertile 48 .’ The remains of a city called Modjo-pahit are very wonderful. and the old books already referred to. it was said. In pre-historic times the Malays were a great people and ruled a great empire. and even India. as well as the traditions of the Aztecs. but it has always been possible to track them and their works by their language. This empire was described by travelers six hundred years before the first voyage to India by the Cape of Good Hope.
It is supposed that the whole was sunk by earthquakes. planted themselves upon the isthmus now known as Central America. that ‘three kings reigned there with great and marvelous power. To use the language of this tradition: ‘The land was shaken by frightful earthquakes. traditionary and otherwise. The tradition declares the continent was once extended as stated. but still not without a considerable evidence.’ Afterward.’ It is supposed that Atlantis was destroyed before Athens became a city. and invaded Europe and Asia. 49 .” “This history of Atlantis is also found in the annals of Egypt. speaks of a great army which came across the Atlantic sea.” “There is a considerable evidence to be found corroborating this theory. Clavigero.” “And so it is suggested that the survivors of this catastrophe fled inland. he conferred with the priests of Psenophis. celebrated in the north Izcalli.’ Plato makes a record of it. and that they are the mound builders whose remains are strewn far and wide up and down our streams and valleys?’ I will now return to the first proposition. Sonchis. and therefore it is only as groping amid shadows. and it was maintained among the Central Americans when Cortez first overran the country. Boturini. tending to establish this strange and startling theory.’ Most of the inhabitants were destroyed. Atlantis disappeared beneath the sea. and the waters of the sea combined with volcanic fires to overwhelm and engulf it. We must be confined to the ancient records in Mexico and tradition. Torquemada.country. and that the West Indies and other islands were mountains whose peaks were never submerged. there came mighty earthquakes and inundations which engulfed that warlike people. and stand as monuments of the destruction around them. Heliopolis and Sais. commemorated this terrible destruction.’ says ‘their power at one time extended into Lybia and into Europe as far as Tyrrhenum. to furnish us light on the subject. says Plato. and learned from them the story of Atlantis. The old Central American books allude to the tradition of a catastrophe of this kind. speaks of the Island of Atlantis. that they were distinguished in arts and sciences. so that navigation on it ceased on account of the quantity of mud which the ingulfed island left in its place. some escaped in ships. that while in Egypt. and are still out of water. and was destroyed by a sucession of frightful convulsions. ‘in one day and one fatal night. It is stated in Plutarch’s ‘Life of Solon. Can we connect the mound builders with any people within the historic period . Abbe Brasseur de Bourbourg. and then that sea became inaccessible. One of their festivals. and some fled to the mountains. that they built mighty works there. wild and poetical as it seems.
that an old record describes this people as of fine appearance. Another record informs us that the emigration of the Toltecs was forced— that they were assailed by the Chichimecs. and the adobe houses of their forefathers may be found to-day in ruins scattered through the valleys in those regions. being no longer able to hold out abandoned their country to escape destruction—that two chiefs led the march until they finally reached a region near the sea named Tlapalan Conco. where they remained several years. says he has a certain date in their language as old as that. that the Aztecs had held possession of Mexico only about three hundred years before the invasion by Cortez. the next Nahuas or Toltecs. their predecessors? It is claimed that they were a people identical with the mound builders. lasting thirteen years. it may be. intelligent. as has been stated.among the Spanish. It is certain also. Catherwood and Stevens. after many years came to Mexico and conquered the country of the Colhuas. which became their seat of government. who were savages. Huehue. where they built a town called Tallanzinco. it is said—Old Tlapalan—to distinguish it from three other places of the same name. These ancient records declare that an empire once existed in the northeast. The Colhuas reach back to a time beyond computation. were found in possession of the country in 1520. and skilled in working metals and stones. who succeeded them. and under one great leader a terrible struggle ensued. when Cortez came on with his army. industrious and orderly. and he formed an alliance with them and they were 50 . These records show that the very earliest people in Mexico were called Colhuas. But who were the Toltecs. when Cortez invaded and captured their capital. One having made extracts from another when the language was better understood. The Abbe Brasseur. and the Toltecs. They emigrated again and reached Mexico. among the American explorers. what is now beyond the result of the scholar has been thus preserved for our use. founded by them on their way to and in Mexico. and Prescott. The old records are of great value. Torquemada says. the next Aztecs. may be consulted with profit. the Aztecs. and finally. means old. who were hostile to the Aztecs. known as Huehue Tlapalan. and later the city of Tullan. They came from the northwestern or southwestern portion of our continent. It was conducted by twenty chiefs and they were followed by a large number of people. Squier. and that owing to insurrection or an invasion they were driven away. They. to a period nine hundred and fifty-five years before Christ. One company settled near the Tampico river. and the Toltecs. It will be remembered that a portion of the country was held by a people called Tlascalans.
the older ruins exhibit the greatest skill. and there is evidence in these ruins of a higher civilization before the Toltec dominion. The Colhuas. the form and design seem to be the same. statuary and inscriptions over Mexico. defensive and monumental purposes. sacrificial. and with the exception of the work of the Aztecs. I regret that after so much speculation around which thick clouds rest. “came from the east in ships. skillful and beautiful is the work. mocked the inquisitive. the records say. The present condition and decay of the ruins show their age. If the art is higher in its construction. after such an effort to resurrect the buried remains of the past. And yet the picture writing on the Aztec monuments furnishes the scholar with no key to interpret the inscriptions on the temples and monuments of Palenque and Capan. and who were. adopted their high civilization and built the cities scattered over that country. came from the east in ships—the Toltecs from the northeastern.” As we have said. then. particularly on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. called Chichimecs. their work and records have thus far defied the explorer. and who in turn. and they have held their secrets with an assurance and success that is discouraging to the antiquarian and scholar. according to the Abbe Brasseur.of great service to him in his conquest. that the Toltecs were the people who left their remains in our northern peninsula and on Isle Royal—who dug out the copper there—who built our mounds. as the ancient records say. These nations have scattered their temples. after listening to the echoes which faintly die away as the explorer of these mounds turns his ear to 51 . They were erected for devotional. conquered the Colhuas in Mexico. The mounds built by the Toltecs. The Colhuas. then. driven out by a savage people. that is. and the Aztecs from the northwestern or southwestern portion of our continent. The first from an early civilization. And the same mound may be found to-day in Mexico. prior to nine hundred and fifty-five years before Christ. evidently the work of the same people or their descendants. and the greater their age the more elaborate. Is it too much to say. which have excited the wonder of travelers and historians? It is time to bring this article to a close. Stevens thinks they belonged to a dismembered part of the Tolcan empire. are found from Michigan to Mexico. with no history of their own for our instruction. monuments. the last two from a semi-barbarian land. if they were the builders. and who survive mostly in tradition. in their monuments and in the records of a succeeding and different race more highly cultivated.
omnipotent as it is. can utterly destroy the history of a nation—turn its language into a mysterious collection of characters which may never be read. so that not one reliable link between the present and its past can be found to determine from whence its people came and whither they went.catch their significance. its monuments into puzzles to perplex antiquarians. THE MOUND-BUILDERS 52 . I have afforded so little information to my reader. after peering into the skulls and handling the implements of this strange people. Strange that time.
and if any survive it is there they must be looked for. in many directions. often of the most interesting character. but in numerous instances. that the mounds were occupied by the Tuetle Indians. in the shape of the well-known mounds. they have been destroyed. Even those works which remain are fast disappearing before the march of modern improvement. OF DETROIT Read before the Detroit Scientific Associatien in 1874. and thus large amounts of valuable relics have fallen into ignorant hands. about the middle of the last century. is constantly being brought to light.IN MICHIGAN by HENRY GILLMAN. Throughout the region of the Great Lakes abundant evidence. and at that time I further learned that the Tuetle Indians had been absorbed by the Six Nations. were at one time not infrequent. The conclusion arrived at is that the word Tuetle is probably a corruption of Tutelo. from the low monotonous shores of Lake Erie to the rocky cliffs of Lake Superior. a tribe “admitted as a younger member of the confederacy of the Six Nations. And our own State of Michigan. of the presence in bygone ages of that peculiar race known as the mound-builders. and have finally been forever lost. of the Smithsonian Institution. These facts were ascertained by me in the course of some investigations which I made several years ago.” and that the Tuteloes “are believed to have migrated from Virginia northward. Indian tradition says that these mounds along our river were built in ancient times by a people of whom they (the Indians) know nothing. often without their true character being recognized. Along the Detroit and Rouge rivers those monuments. some of the most remarkable relics and monuments of a people whose cranial affinities and evidently advanced civilization totally separate them from the North American Indian. and even within our present city limits. and subsequently by the Wyandottes. to lands assigned them on the Susquehauna by the Six Nations. and ally them to the ancient race of men who inhabited Brazil in the remote past. has contributed. and for whom they have no name. Henry. but were constructed long before their time. through the instrumentality of Prof. In this connection it is proper to state that I have lately been informed. of the result of seine inquiries made at my suggestion in regard to the name Tuetle. but very little is known of their early history and 53 .
migrations.” An interesting paper on the Tuteloes was read by the Rev. J. Anderson, before the American Philological Association, in July, 1871. Reporting Mr. H. Hale’s discoveries, this assigns the Tuteloes to the Dakotan and not the Iroquois stock, and gives an account of Mr. Hale’s visit to Nikungha, the last snrvivor of the tribe of the Tuteloes, and who has since died at the age of 106 years. The establishment of the identity of the Tuetles with the Tuteloes, and their residence on these mounds and along the Detroit river, is not only an interesting addition to our local history, but is of special value in view of its tending to sustain Mr. Hale’s opinion (opposed to the conclusions of others regarding the Dakotan migration) that “in former times the whole of what is now the central portion of the United States, from the Mississippi nearly to the Atlantic, was occupied by Dakotan tribes, who have been cut up and gradually exterminated by the intrusive and more energetic Algonquins and Iroquois.” The relics exhumed from the mounds consist of stone implements, such as axes, chisels, scrapers, arrow-heads, spear-points and knives, fragments of pottery of a great variety of pattern, including the favorite cord pattern so frequently seen in such connection, from the Northern Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico; and the bones of man, generally much decayed, and exhibiting other indications of antiquity. From the fragments of burned bones and charcoal found, it would appear that in the earlier interments cremation was practised. The tibiae present, in an extreme degree, the peculiar flattening or compression pertaining to platycnemic men. In the fourth annual report of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, attention is called to this, some of the relics which I collected here having been donated to the museum by the Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, to whom I had presented them. The curator, Prof. Wyman, says: “Of the tibiae of forty individuals from the mounds of Kentucky, one-third presented this flattening to the extent that the transverse did not exceed 0.60 of the fore and aft diameter. The most extreme case was from the mound on the River Rouge, in Michigan, in which the transverse was only 0.48. In the most marked case mentioned by Broca, viz: In the old man from the CroMagnon (France), it was, as deduced from his figures, 0.60.” Prof. Wyman draws attention to certain resemblances in this bone to the same bone in the ape, adding: “In some of the tibiae the amount of flattening surpasses that of the gorilla and chimpanzee, in each of which we found the short 0.67 of the long diameter, while in the tibie from Michigan it was only 0.48.” Subsequent to this (in 1870), I discovered in adjacent mounds
several instances in which the compression of the tibiae was developed to even a greater extreme. Two remarkable cases of this peculiarity were afforded by tibiae taken by me from a mound on the Detroit river. In one of these unique specimens the transverse diameter of the shaft is 0.42, and in the other 0.40 of the anteroposterior diameter, exceeding, I believe, any platycnemism which has been observed before or since in any part of the world. In communicating these facts to the American Naturalist, not long afterwards, I claimed that the last mentioned case “may be considered as the flattest tibia on record.” (See American Naturalist, October, 1871). Both of these bones are strongly marked with the saber-like curvature, also a characteristic of the chimpanzee, as are likewise many others of the tibiae from the vicinity. The majority of the tibiae present the flattening, which is an exception to the facts as noted in other sections of the United States, where it is supposed to pertain to “only about one-third of all the individuals observed.” In fact it is an exception to find a tibiae from our mounds along the Detroit destitute of this peculiarity; and where one is found it is generally of later burial and consequently of less ancient origin. A few years ago the greater part of the large circular mound in the vicinity of Fort Wayne was removed and most important results were obtained. Eleven human skeletons were exhumed; a large number of burial vases; stone implements in great variety and of superior workmanship, consisting chiefly of axes, fleshers, spear-points, arrow heads, chisels, drillers and sinkers, pipes; a peculiar implement of unknown use, formed of an antler, with duplicate perforations at its thickest end; and two articles manufactured from copper,—one the remains of a necklace, formed of a number of beads strung on a twostranded cord, a few fragments of which remained sufficiently preserved to satisfy me that it was made from vegetable fiber, probably from the basswood (Tilia Americana, L.); the other article of copper consisted of a needle, or borer, several inches in length, quadrangular at the base, and well-wrought. One of the skulls is remarkable for its diminutive size, though adult, its capacity being only 56 cubic inches, or less than 76 per cent of that of the average Indian ‘cranium, which is given as 84 cubic inches by Morton & Meigs, the minimum observed by them being 69 cubic inches. The measurement by Morton of 155 Peruvian crania gives 75 cubic inches for the average bulk of the brain (no greater than that of the Hottentot or New Hollander), the maximum being 101 cubic inches, while the minimum sinks to 58, the smallest in a series of 641 measured
crania; and yet you will perceive this is exceeded in diminutiveness by this crania from the Detroit river. The average volume of the brain in the Mexican is 79 cubic inches, while in a series of measurements of 24 crania from the Kentucky mounds it is found to be 84. The Teutonic crania gives the average of 92 cubic inches. Thus it is seen that while the great volume of the brain is- indicative of power of some sort, the opposite is not always to be regarded as proof of a degraded condition. In short, quality may here, as in other instances, compensate for deficiency in quantity. So we find the cranium of the Peruvian, who possessed a high degree of civilization and refinement, equaled in capacity by that of the New Hollander or Hottentot, while it is exceeded by that of the degraded, brutal North AMerican Indian to the extent of nine cubic inches. Still the crania of the mound-builders, it must be acknowledged, present characteristics which, in the language of Foster, “indicate a low intellectual organization, little removed from that of the idiot.” And this skull from the Detroit river mound must be placed in the same category. Prof. Wyman, in the sixth annual report of the Peabody Museum, in referring to this skull, goes on to say: “In ordinary skulls the ridges of the temporal muscles on the two sides of the head are separated by a space of from three to four inches, seldom less than two, while in the Detroit mound skull this space measures only three-quarters of an inch; and in this respect it presents the same conditions as the skull of a chimpanzee.” It is interesting to remember that “the flattest tibiae on record,” already referred to, were taken by inc from this mound; and all the tibae had more or less sabre-like curvature associated with the platycnemism. It remains for me in this connection to call attention to the fact that the perforation of the humerus is another remarkable characteristic which I have observed to pertain to those platycnemic men of our region. I refer to the communication of the two fossae situated at the lower end of the humerus. This is of great interest, as this peculiarity is most frequently met with in the Negro race; it has also been observed in the Indian, and, though not always present, is quite general in the apes, while it is very seldom seen in the white -races. One of the most remarkable and extensive series of tumuli which are known to exist in this part of the lake region it was my good fortune to discover in the year 1872. I refer to the mounds situated at the head of the St. Clair river, and at the foot of Lake Huron. They extend in continuous succession for about one mile and one-half northward, as I have satisfactorily determined. Strange to say, those who lived in their immediate vicinity knew nothing of their character. A paper which I wrote on the subject, embodying the principal facts, subsequently formed
and was afterward copied into several of the leading periodicals of the country. “I cannot but believe. But the most interesting feature of this repository of relics was a grave. In dwelling on this circumstance. etc. Clair. in connection with my previous discoveries in the same direction. are of similar character. a plate of mica five by four inches. and of the north of Europe. finely perforated at the roots. a wide area at one end being covered with a solid crust of black ashes from eighteen inches to two feet thick. A road having been cut through the easterly slope of this mound. This was so peculiar a circumstance. from what I have seen that future investigation will extend the area in which this type of bone is predominant to the entire region of the Great Lakes.a part of the sixth annual report of the Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology. are formed. All the tibiae noticed by me exhibited the compression characterizing platycnemic men.) two feet in diameter surmounted the summit. or. Stone lance or spear heads of great length were taken out. containing the bones of various animals used for food. one made of small bones. broken pottery. the other composed of the teeth of the moose. alternating with well-wrought beads of copper. which contributed some unusual features. pottery. two of them being each over a foot long. is a burial mound. including the American Journal of Science. no other instance of the 57 . with few exceptions. stained a beautiful green color resembling enamel. and the bones of birds stained green as in the first instance. In the mound containing the last mentioned ornaments several interments had been made. the interior of which was described to me as being lined with pottery similar to that of which the vases. mostly cervical vertebrae. The relics from the burial mounds. One of them presented some features distinctive of the “refuse heaps” of our Atlantic coast.. stone implements and other relics. having been largely used for burial purposes. in addition to those usually found. The numerous mounds. in other words. that at least our northern mound-buildcrs will be found to have possessed this trait in the degree and to the extent denoted . pots. I made the remark. if not of the Great West. and the decayed stump of a scarlet oak (Quercus cocinea Wang. and two necklaces. and one sixteen inches in length. The general publicity thus given the discoveries precludes the necessity of more than a passing notice here. and stone implements. consisted of an extraordinarily large number of broken stone hammers of the rudest kind. the roots spreading above the contents in all directions.“ which prediction recent discoveries in Wisconsin and Iowa would seem in a fair way of fulfilling. a tributary of the St. On the west bank of the Black river. the consequent excavation revealed a large number of human bones.
sienite. The few fragments of human bones. and unsmoothed. Time will not permit inc to speak of a number of other mounds which have come under my observation. The side so ornamented was invariably concave. while the other side was convex. different from any other specimens I have seen elsewhere. and even gravel. From the success attending my brief labors it would appear that the more valued relics of the mound-builders have been here deposited in unusual abundance. After having viewed the evidences I had no longer any great difficulty in receiving the statements previously made. were in the last stages of decay. A remarkable series of those works occurs at Beaver harbor. shale and chert. that at first. but in this instance made with a large cord or small rope. Highly wrought stone implements. not long after. Though the construction of the road through the mound had destroyed most of the original features. They are formed of a great variety of stone. and sand. A very limited and hurried examination which I made of the group in 1871. and marked abundantly with the cord pattern. are frequently encountered. such as diorite. This certainly appeared to confirm the statement. I considered the statement highly improbable. My chief informant was perfectly uneducated in such matters. further excavation revealed a considerable quantity of fragments of the pottery above referred to as having been said to have lined the grave. in Lake Michigan. which. They were probably largely used for purposes of sepulture. and even attributed the peculiar formation lining the sides of the grave to the coagulation and final hardening of blood. and the handicraft displayed in its construction is of the highest order. confirmed this impression. a favorite material for this implement. sufficiently satisfied me as to their ancient origin. on Beaver island.kind having come to my knowledge. I found this pottery to be of rather a coarser description than usual. many of them being of uncommonly skillful workmanship. accounting for its presence in such large quantity by presuming a battle to have been fought in the vicinity. One of the handsomest stone axes I ever saw was taken out at this place. and scattered a multitude of valuable remains. many of them being finely polished. adhering to it. So rough and unfinished was the unornamented side that it had every appearance of having been pressed upon the ground while yet plastic. 58 . to make a special examination. on this occasion were exhumed with the pottery. They appeared to be of the same character as the mounds on the Detroit river and those at the foot of Lake Huron. It is made from sienite. or greenstone. But I availed myself of an opportunity of visiting the locality. known to be of such frequent employment.
Nearly the entire of the island is covered with a growth of timber. to which geographically it would seemingly belong. who is at present engaged in developing the mineral resources of the place.I shall close with a short account of the recent discoveries of ANCIENT MIINING AT ISLE ROYALE. in most parts of the coast line. The island is nearly fifty miles in length. including the various improvements in mining appliances and the vast resources of modern science. rocky shore. abounding in deep inlets and small harbors or coves. on three sections of land toward the north side of the island. Some idea of their extent may be arrived at from the statement of a gentleman well known in mining interests. A large number of islands and rocky inlets lie off the main island. the amount of labor performed by those ancient workmen far exceeds that of one of our oldest copper mines on the south shore of Lake Superior. correspond in a remarkable degree. and all the advantages comprehended by our present civilization.from the south shore of Lake Superior. into the amygdaloid copper-bearing rock. and from twenty to sixty feet in depth. They invariably are on the richest veins. LAKE SUPERIOR. particularly in a northeast and southwest direction—the line of its greater axis—to which direction the rocky elevations of the island. 59 . Canada. wherever examined being sunk through the few feet of superincumbent drift. where it exists. or one might suppose that belonging to the United States. varying from five to nine in breadth. Consequently. The works. This may well appear almost incredible when we take into account the disadvantages under which these primitive miners must have labored. and who calculated that. the mistake of supposing it to belong to Canada is frequently made. are found scattered throughout the island. having. it pertained to Minnesota rather than to Michigan. consisting of the species usually composing our northern forest. Isle Royale is situated about fifty miles. In the year 1872 some of the most remarkable of the ancient works yet encountered were brought to light by a party of explorers on Isle Royale. and the intelligence displayed in the tracing and following of the veins when interrupted. and lies off Ontario. generally pits of from ten to thirty feet in diameter. more or less dense. at one point alone.. and from fifteen to twenty miles from its north shore. an exceedingly ragged. in some places rising more than 700 feet above the level of Lake Superior. a mine which has now been U constantly worked with a large force for over twenty years. etc.
and from its appearance something of the rude character of the tool employed in shaping it could be gathered. Stopes 100 feet in length are found. Tools made of copper. A drain sixty feet long presented some interesting features. both in the vicinity of the pits and scattered over the island. and the fragments of large numbers of them are found intermingled with the debris on the edge of the pits. When opened. and where bearing veins of copper are generally worked. and were evidently hardened. at the bottom of a pit. at the surface. was taken from the debris. Arrowheads of copper have also been picked up. They are either perfect or are broken from use. on the north side of the island. excavations such as are described extend in almost a continuous line for more than two miles. have been found by cartloads. shaped like a bowl. drains being cut in the rock to carry off the water. charcoal. it had evidently been covered for its entire length by timbers felled and laid across. as if lost in the chase. With the exception of the stone hammers. apparently through the agency of fire. These mauls are occasionally found grooved for the affixture of the handle. when cutting with the grain. have been taken from such of the pits as have been explored. It must originally have been about three feet in diameter. e. This vessel had possibly been used in bailing water from the excavation. etc.. I wish to say that. no other tools formed of stone have been observed. or at their bottom. I believe this roughness to have 60 . Having seen the remark that tile copper tools of the ancient miners are of rough and not polished exterior. and consisting principally of chisels and knives. having been cut through the surface drift into the rock. Even the rocky islets off the coast have not escaped the observation of those ancient miners. the vessel was thinner in those portions. inferences being drawn therefrom as to their rude construction. At a deep inlet known as McCargoe’s Cove. and the center portions had sunk into the cavity. or mauls. A large portion of a wooden utensil. p. though injured from oxidation. weighing from ten to even thirty pounds. the timbers had mostly decayed. having examined a large number of those tools.. These excavations are connected underground.has elicited the astonishment of all who have witnessed it—no mistakes having apparently been made in this respect. filling it for nearly its entire length with the rotted wood. in most instances the pits being so close together as barely to permit their convenient working. the wood having been more easily removed when working in certain directions. The fragment was not of uniform thickness throughout. appear to have been of fair workmanship. but are oftener without this adaptation. The tools. The stone hammers. the chief tool with which the labor was performed.
they were partly filled with water. the accumulations of many a fall of the leaf. more or less interrupted as they undoubtedly must have been. often in the roughest manner. to heat the rook through the aid of fire. The removal of the contents was consequently very dirty work. it would seem improbable they could have long remained ignorant of the fusibility of the metal. could barely be equivalent to two of our skilled miners. invariably had on top a large deposit. Excellent arguments have been advanced by Mr. the junction of the bead being in many cases almost imperceptible. It is possible the two classes of tools here referred to may mark two distinct eras in the history of this manufacture. The method of mining pursued by those people was evidently. at least. Besides this. beneath which lay a thick bed of charcoal and mud mingled with fragments of copper-bearing rock. some of their copper tools were made by being cast or moulded. yet the agency of fire was here evidently not employed. by being cleaned out. yet it does not seem too much to estimate hundreds of years for their accomplishment. What a slow. and. As to the time which has elapsed since the mines have ceased to 61 . An experienced mining captain computed that two hundred of those men. on turning back the overlying drift. yet in most cases the evidence appears conclusive that the rudely-fashioned tool was simply wrought by being beaten into the desired form. if not polished.been caused mostly by corrosion. and that the moulded tool designates an advance from the primitive method of hammering the metal into shape. Though no exact estimate can now be made as to the length of time occupied in the prosecution of those extensive works. then. with their rude methods. mostly of vegetable matter. From the method pursued by this people in mining. Foster to prove that the mound-builders understood the art of fusing copper. when by the application of water the rock was sufficiently disintegrated. and evidently confirming the fact that at least the external faces of the tool were originally approximately smooth. Some of the copper heads taken from the “mounds” in Michigan display a wonderful degree of neatness in the manipulation of the metal. if those people withdrew during the lengthy winter season. The pits which have been examined. wearisome process! Even with a large force constantly engaged in this labor. the original surface being apparent in places. it would more than double the period required. In many cases this is quite palpable. and that. to attack and separate it with their great stone mauls. in which the agency of fire bore so prominent a part. as has been supposed. it must have taken a long series of years to accomplish the work exhibited.
As at Isle Royale. interior portion of the stump remaining sound. To this will have to be added thee number of years which a tree with the durability of the wood of this species takes to reach the stage of decay here exhibited. several generations of trees have arisen and disappeared. gave as the result the number of 384.” The late General Harrison. from two to four feet in diameter. Lyell. undecayed center of the tree. may not be far from the truth. all the timber now growing on them being of the same character as that covering the adjacent land. This tree had not been blown down. but had grown and decayed where the stump stood. The present growth of forest covers. we have 584 years as the period of its growth.” quotes the passage with further and approving remarks. A large proportion of the rotted wood surrounded it. and on the tumuli formed of the excavated debris which surround them. On removing this stump the debris underlying it was found to consist of the 62 . no difference being observable in the growth. So that the placing this period at from 700 to 800 years. on their sides. Various careful estimates have placed this period from seven hundred to eight hundred years. President of the United States. The remains of trees older by hundreds of years than the oldest of our present timber are found in and on the sides of the pits. If to this be added 200 rings. as already given. has made some valuable and suggestive remarks on the relation observed by the different species of forest growth. in his notes on the Ohio mounds. In other words it only proves that the pits had not been worked within the time mentioned. as representing the decayed outer portion of the stump.unbroken. Linn. the partially decayed stump of a red oak (probably Quercus coccinea. only the red. are now growing in the pits. and which is now in process of supplanting by what is known as our ‘‘second growth. In one ease. we may form some slight conception of the period which must have elapsed before. I cannot but conclude that since the last work was done on those pits. through the regular rotation. a more definite approximation can be reached. A careful enumeration of the annual rings composing this red. the species of the present forest covers equally the excavations and the adjoining land. in his “Antiquity of Man. But it must be remembered that this does not prevent the period of the desertion of the works being placed back at twice or even three times that distance. those excavations and the debris surrounding them . and not considered an overestimate. and some years may also be allowed for the time which may have elapsed before it commenced growing on its peculiar site. Trees. therefore. the present condition of things was bronght to pass.) was found on the tumulus at the edge of a pit.be worked by this by-gone race. acknowledged to have been remarkably skilled in woodcraft as well as in warfare.
it is hoped will afford. Pine-trees (Pinus strobus) of the present forest. on a thorough exploration. too. was discovered what is taken to be the site of the town. they seemingly had been pushed behind those miners as they advanced in the exploration of the vein. unable to escape. which. as well as in the excavations themselves. The remains consist of a series of shallow excavations. others are quadrangular. Indications suggest that timber or bark was used in their construction. many valuable facts connected with the life of this remarkable people. But time did not permit a satisfactory examination of this interesting locality. It occupies an elevated slope. thrown out from the adjoining pit. It is manifest from the working of the veins. to the south shore of Lake 63 . generally about four feet in depth. have frequently been cut on the tumuli. It had evidently fallen into the pit long after it had been deserted. however. This.usual angular fragments of copper-bearing rock. that they crumbled to pieces. the object of their toil. with other points on the island. From another pit. that those miners followed the deposits of sheetlike copper. some perfect. the soil being thrown up around them to a sufficient height. and more interesting still. had perished. exhibits the character of the copper generally sought by those men. and with which were intermingled a large number of stone hammers. and it was only through the undecayed portions of an antler that the animal was recognized. and they vary from ten to thirty feet in diameter. Some of these pits are circular. where. which had apparently been exposed to the action of fire and then had been partially hammered into a shape approximating to a bowl-like utensil. The latter are found in large quantities in the rubbish forming the tumuli at the mouths of the pits. or the habitations of these people. which varied frown a quarter of an inch to an inch in thickness. and. made of copper. where a stream about forty feet in width had cut a channel through the rocks and formed quite a fall of water. beneath a third deposit of vegetable matter. rejecting as unmanageable the fragments of rook which contained even large-sized nuggets of the metal. the remains of the skeleton of a deer were exhumed. The bones were so decayed. They doubtless shipped the copper. others fractured from use. Another interesting relic consists of a sheet-like piece of copper. giving an extensive view of Lake Superior and overlooking the intervening point of land which makes the little bay an excellent harbor. mingled with considerable amounts of charcoal. a knife. At an indentation of the coast on the south side of the island. in which 380 annual rings have been counted. the walls of which were generally left unbroken. and occupying the successive terraces of the slope.
the wonderful metal finding its way thence to other parts of the country. the abundant stream and fall of water. who. however humble. as is testified by the articles of copper found in the burial-places of the mound-builders. which enabled them to watch the return and departure of their copper-laden flotillas. and have been buried there. copper tools. therefore. and ally them rather with the ancient inhabitants of Brazil. Of the excavations on the small islands lying off Isle Royale. some must have died during even the periodic occupation of the island.. which is dolicocephalic. the sheltered and yet commanding hillside. The conformation of the bones of this race. were all strong recommendations even to those semi-savage inhabitants. was well selected as a town site. But this conclusion will hardly be accepted as satisfactory. the admirable harbor. and the Teutonic. It is possible those men may have had some superstitious belief which led to the removal of their dead to their burial mounds further south. and especially the cranium. it is difficult to believe but that. of a population so crowded as is implied by the extensive excavations on Isle Royale. ie. It is also remarkable that the discoveries of the remains at the settlements on the south shore of Lake Superior have never included human bones—so far as I am aware—but have been confined chiefly to excavations. The sides of the island rise abruptly. up to this time the bones of man have not been met with on the island. This island lies off the south-west end of Isle Royale. occupies a position between the Indian cranium. These will doubtless identify this people with the mound-builders. and only a few small trees or brushes at one end. they have completely disappeared through decay. and there is no 64 . The good landing. places them above the Indian in the scale of humanity. I have named. Some contend that. widely separate them from the North American Indian. for the purpose of distinguishing it. whose monuments are so widely distributed through our country. and the unremitting toil which is devoted to the amelioration of life through the improvement of its surroundings. Their characteristics suggest a people. which is brachycephalic. during so long a lapse of time. from its general outline. and stone hammers. and it is to be hoped that the explorations in process of being made will result in the discovery of human remains. are capable of patient endeavor. though not of any great intellectual development. and is a sandstone rock with very little soil on any part of it. the skull being orthocephalic. and are not devoid of an ambition which. This point. an interesting example was discovered by me on the rocky islet which. Singular to say. Triangle Island. as has been already remarked.Superior. it being hitherto unnamed on any of the maps.
and presenting some indications of artificial origin. and rather abundant on the 65 . leads down to the lake. But about thirty-five feet northwestward of the head of the landing occurs a more remarkable excavation. as a place of safety. as from indications we hoped to find this the repository of some valuable relics. Though of small size. It may not be uninteresting to state in this connection that I found the rare fern Botrychium lunaria (Swartz) flourishing. The fragments occasionally contained copper. and the isolated character of the island. to our disappointment. probably decaying through the lapse of ages. the copper veins in the wall-like cliff had been attacked and partly excavated. as are most of the pits. except for a short space on the northeast side. are the circular pits of the ancient miners. from two to five feet in diameter. they had long since disappeared.landing for even small boats. by about twenty feet wide. Immediately at the inner end of the southern landing. particularly with the aid of timbers laid for the purpose. and about as many feet deep. This last mentioned landing has much the appearance of its natural conditions having been improved by artificial means. the rock being generally smooth throughout. sixty feet in length. Small boats could easily be hauled out here. and at the base of the more central point the sandstone is considerably hollowed. It is filled with water. I am inclined to think that mine were the first hands to rest on those objects since the departure of the primitive workmen. no relics were met with other than the angular fragments of the rock broken off by the usual methods pursued by those rude miners. occupying nearly the center of the island. is a marked depression. totally unlike that produced by the action of water. From appearances. wherever are indications of copper mines. Had any tools or other utensils been deposited here. but though emptied of its contents nothing further was encountered. and all along it. they are remarkably distinct. twenty-live feet long by twenty feet wide. a little over two feet in diameter and nearly two feet deep. and also in a cleft-like indentation on the south side. It required two men to remove this. All those works exhibit the same roughish surface. At this place the rock is mostly as level as the floor of a room. This is of rectangular form. at each end of the circular pits. At two places. One of the smaller pits. Near this. We found this pit more than half full of the angular fragments above alluded to. a gradual slope. Though careful search was made. and the well-like pits are immediately perceived to be the work of human agency. already described. The rock is discolored as if from the action of fire. had a large slab of rock covering its mouth.
would seem to imply that they were of no desultory or intermittent character. or was the work prosecuted during the summer months only? These are questions not easily answered. or were they simply migratory. grass.exposed rock of this island.” covering so wide an area of 66 . Leaving their homes. How did this people become aware of those mineral deposits at so isolated a point? How did these men become present in such large numbers as is implied by the extent of the works discovered? What was the character of their vessels or sailing craft. transported to the island. bear. have been conveyed in vessels. thus affording food in considerable quantity. great or small. It grows in tufts of Potentllla tridentata (Ait. gives evidence of his former presence in the horns which are sometimes found. The copper. The caribou. in sufficient supply. long extinct here. However. whose dangers are formidable to us now. across a stormy and treacherous sea. The discoveries on Isle Royale throw a new light on the character of the mound-builders. while the waters were alive with many varieties of fish. caribou. if such were employed? How did so great a population support life in such circumscribed limits while still carrying on their mining operations? Did they make a permanent settlement. the object of the mining. If grain food was used by them. we have hitherto supposed that the mound-builders were essentially an agricultural people. would not be ashamed to acknowledge. wore doubtless not scarce. as is probable. visiting the island and returning as occasion offered? Did any or all of them remain throughout the severe northern winter. much decayed and gnawed by rodents—which were picked up at two separate points on the island. from a more southern latitude. today. and often proving their destruction. in all probability. The deer. and dignifying them with something of the prowess and spirit of adventure which we associate with the higher races of man. to be available.). most likely. and other dwarfed plants. these men dared to face the unknown—to brave the hardships and perils of the deep and of the wilderness. giving us a totally different conception of them. it was. In contemplating the facts involved. The island probably abounded in game. actuated by an ambition which we. largely dependent on cereals for subsistence. many questions are naturally suggested. their families abiding with them. being dreaded by even our largest craft. and I have now in my possession two interesting relics—the larger portions of the antlers of this animal. The so-called “Garden Beds. and smaller mammals. It is evident that such extensive operations as are here described required a system and an organization of no mean order for those days The vast extent and the method of their labors. must.
or by the banks of the beautiful lakes of the interior. delve in the slowly-deepening pits. the voice of an unknown language falls upon the air with a strange rhythm. Joseph river and Grand river valleys. many circumstances more than hint at. in presence of the remarkable disclosures here detailed. Again they swarm along the rocky beaches with those ragged shores. from Mexico to Lake Superior. that commercial transactions. softly ascending to the same blue Heaven which still bends over all with its eternal benediction. existed between them. even then torn with the storms of thousands of winters. which cannot be received without further confirmation. baptized in the silvery spray of Lake Superior. ruled with patriarchal if not autocratic sway over the entire region. the rude boats or vessels pass to and fro in busy traffic.the St. is an opinion. at least. begrimed. the overhanging cliffs echo and resound with the clang of their stone hammers. and in this thraldom obliged to work the copper mines. The remains of these cultivated fields also afford a clue as to the source of the chief part of the supplies required for the mining adventures in the northern country. landing on the precipitous islets. the forest falls beneath the blows of their rude axes. the curling smoke rises from their excavations or their dwellings. Michigan. however. from their toil. situated at the south. are bound with their valued freight for the main land far to the south. it was not difficult for the imagination to repeople the solitudes once more with those primitive men. as well as similar grounds of other places. Standing on the rocky eminences of the island. the half-naked savages. The question will not fail to suggest itself: Were these vast operations accomplished through slave labor? That a conquered people were kept at this isolated place by their victors. some. demonstrate the agricultnraj habits of the ancient people of this region. The apparent similarity of their characteristics and habits is further testimony in this direction. That a central government. the constant finding in the burial places of the latter of ornaments and utensils wade of Lake Superior copper would warrant. If the ancient miners were not identical with the mound-builders. The past rises and recreates itself. 67 . disappearing in the distance. which lie scattered along the pleasant indentations of the coast. and looking down on the surrounding features.
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