Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

eighteen inches beneath the surface, often" imbedded in charcoal and ashes. They consist of haminers, sinkers, celts, stone ornaments, pipes, pottery; also implements and ornaments of bone, such as bone splinters, awls, and needles, daggers or dirks, cylindrical ear ornaments, implements for the ornamentation of pottery, perforated metatarsals, and perforated teeth. These bone implements are found in all stages of manufacture, from the rude splinter to the ground and polished implement or ornament.

What was the original height of these works can now only be a matter of conjecture. It is probable, however, that the embankments were from four to five feet in height and surmounted by palisades. Vegetable mold to the depth of six inches bas accumulated upon those points most elevated and exposed to atmospheric action; beneath this stratum the relics occur to the depth of eighteen inches. The inference, therefore, is that since the work was abandoned time enough has elapsed for the accumulation of this six inches of vegetable matter by the slow process of growth and deposit on dry land. It was inbabited or used long enough for twelve inches to accumulate. It was probably abandoned when the lake was so nearly filled that it ceased to afford either fish or a permanent supply of water. Since the time when timber commenced to grow at the surface of the lake, two feet of vegetable matter hare accumulated.

ANTIQUITIES OF LA PORTE COUNTY, INDIANA.

By R. S. ROBERTSON, OF FORT WAYNE, INDIANA.

At Union Mills, La Porte County, is located one of the most remarkable groups of mounds to be found in Northern Indiana.

Union Mills is a small village, with a beautiful location on the high table-lands between the great Kankakee Marsh and Lake Michigan, most of the village being on the east side of Mill Creek, which furnishes a fine water-power for the mill from which its name is derived, and which flows southwardly through a ravine some 40 or 50 feet below the nearly level plain on which most of the mounds are situated. To the southwest another ravine terminates this table-land, beyond which are a series of ridges and levels gradually merging into the Kankakee Marsh, which is here, however, generally drained and cultivated. Along the brink of this ravine, ten (or rather five double) mounds have been raised, of nearly uniform construction, and all evidently for places of sepulture.

Where the mounds are double, as all of this series are, the larger one is now about 10 feet in height, and its companion about one-third lower. The longitudinal diameter of the two is about 150 feet by from 60 to 70 feet across, and they are from 50 to 100 feet apart. The small mound at each end of this series is thrown back nearly at right angles with the general line, as if there were an intention on the part of the builders to make these terminal points for the group.

The first or northernmost large mound was almost entirely cut away some time ago in constructing the Peninsular Railway, which runs directly through it; and the third large one was nearly half cut away by the wagon-road, whose track here runs below the base of the mound. The next has been partially leveled and a farm-house built on its truncated base. There are no depressions in the surrounding surface, showing that the materials, which in some are sand and others surfaceloam, have been brought to the place from some other point.

Proceeding eastward to the bank of the creek, we find another mound, (No. 6,) which has been leveled to a terrace-form about 4 feet high, on which Mr. Flanigan's house stands; and directly north, across an arm of the ravine, was another, (No. 7,) whose site is occupied by the house of Allen Cummings. Across the creek, nearly east of this, is a very large round tumulus, (No. 8,) which is about 15 feet high, with a base of about 100 feet. One hundred feet north of this is another double mound, (No. 9 ;) the smaller one of the group is in the yard of a church, and the larger one just in rear of it.

I could find no traces of fortifications, and there are no other mounds in the immediate vicinity, but I was informed that a large group exists on a rolling prairie about two miles east, of which a very large one was leveled several years ago. This is, perhaps, the same group examined by Dr. Higday, of La Porte, some years since.

My informant also states that about a mile south of Union Mills is a burial-place of the modern Indians, still known as “Indian Fields," from which bones, medals, kettles, guns, &c., have been obtained, while a half mile farther south, on a prairie overlooking the Kankakee, is another group of seven or eight mounds. These different burial-places would, undoubtedly, prove of interest to the ethnologist, for a compari. son of the remains of the two races who practiced such different modes of burial.

The greatest interest in these prehistoric remains centers in the fact that the crania of the mound-builder, as found in these tumuli, differ widely from those of any known race, approaching the Neanderthal skull in type, and being, perhaps, lower in development. The frontal bone recedes backward from a prominent superciliary ridge, leaving no forehead, or rather the eye looks out from under the edge of a frontal plate, which reminds me of a turtle-shell and is scarcely more elevated. My speci. men is lower than the Stimpson-mound skull, and even than the Neanderthal, if we can judge correctly between the actual and the pictured skull. None have yet been found here with the skull or bones entire.

In my examination of the group I concluded that the road cut through No.3 had passed a little south of the center of the mound, and selecting the sloping bank of the roadway as the easiest point to excavate with .favorable results, I was rewarded, after a few minutes' work with pick

and shovel, by finding several flakes of a white flinty stone, and then some fragments of bone, after which the bands were the principal tools used to complete the work, lest I might injure the decomposing remains.

The skeletons of two individuals were found, all in a confused heap, occupying a space less than two feet square, except that the leg-bones were extended in different directions, perhaps a foot farther, each way. The skulls had evidently fallen down upon the other bones of the skeleton, and all had been crushed together by the falling earth. They had evidently been buried in a sitting posture, back to back. While exhuming them I concluded there were but two persons, but on a more critical examination I find some fragments of a lower jaw, which lead me to think there may have been three.

Most of the bones had become as soft as the surrounding earth, and while I could see and follow their outlines it was iinpossible to remove them, except in fragments. One upper jaw was perfectly outlined in the earth, with the full row of teeth upward, but it crumbled to powder on attempting to remove it. The skulls were crushed and the lower fragments were in the same state of comparative decomposition. I secured the right half of the frontal plate of one and the lower jaw nearly entire. The teeth were worn flat, indicating great age and hard food. The molars and fivo incisors were perfect, but both canines and one incisor bad been lost and the bone bad grown over and closed the cavities. I regret that these teeth have nearly disappeared in drying, falling to pieces like slaked lime.

I also secured a fragment of the right frontal bone of another individual, which I conclude to be that of a female, from its difference in form, and from the fact that the teeth in the fragments of the jaw found with it indicate mature age. The teeth are perfect and beautifully white when washed.

Neither pottery nor weapons were found in this mound, but in the one through which the railroad was cut were found a stone pipe of beautiful workmanship, two awls of native copper, a large earthen jar containing a black substance, and an earthen bowl, which are described as having handsome designs on the surface, but which were broken and lost, and ten spear and arrow heads, five of which I secured and have represented. They are of a white flinty stone, with a delicate chipping, and are quite thin. The form is different from any of the hundred or more specimens in my cabinet, which are mostly “surface-flints."

Since I was there I learn that there have been exhumed from the small mound on the railroad bank, (No. 1,) a copper batchet, which, from the description, I conclude to be similar in form to the European bronze "celt," two more copper awls, or needles, and two jars of pottery, both broken. I have made arrangements to secure them. These remains, as near as I could determine, are found on or immediately below the original surface. The earth in the mounds is as hard aud compact as * the surrounding strata, and immediately around the skeletons is discolored. I dug through about six inches of black loamy earth before coming to the bones. They were found in what was nearly the exact center of the mound.

At Hascall, a few miles west, I found a small ball of baked potter's clay in which pounded shells had been mixed. It had been squeezed up by the hand just as we see children form balls of dougl or putty. It is of the color of Philadelphia brick. What is remarkable about it is, that notwithstanding the lapse of time since it was baked it not only shows the marks of the fingers, but even the lines of the skin are clearly impressed on its surface.

Some phrenologists would say that a race with foreheads like those of this race bad no brain capacity, and could bave no intelligence. Yet they fabricated and used tools and weapous, some of which are of fine workmanship. They understood the ceramic art, and that they had a religion no one can doubt who reflects that they erected such monuments to tbe memory of their dead chiefs, or showed such care for the safety and com. fort of their passage to the spirit-world as exbibited in placing beside them jars of food and water, their pipes and weapons, and perhaps by their sacrificing and burying with them their favorite wives. It is difficult on any other hypothesis to account for these facts.

ANTIQUITIES OF ALLEN AND DE KALB COUNTIES, INDIANA.

BY R. S. ROBERTSON, FORT WAYNE, IND. I inclose by to-day's mail manuscript description of mound-remains in Allen and De Kalb Counties, which I hope may be considered worthy of a place in your report. I think it important to describe locations of mounds as far as discovered, and when Northern Indiana is fully explored, it will prove rich in prehistoric remains.

I have been careful to defer noting anything froin reports, which are almost always much exaggerated, until I can verity them by personal examination. For instance, some ten days since I rode twelve miles in carriage and ten on horseback and return, to visit a fortification and mounds in the north part of Huntington County, only to find a very large beaver-dam. As reported to me, it was said to inclose from 150 to 200 acres. I found a beaver-dam, in zigzag lines, nearly 1,000 feet in length, and half a mile farther on two more, one about 300 and the other 600 feet long.

Since my paper containing a description of the location and contents of the mounds at Union Mills, I have received from there a copper implement 43 inches long, 27 inches broad at the cutting-end, and 1 inch at the other, and f of an inch in thickness. It is slightly convex on one side, and has apparently been flattened by hammering. I class *it among the hatchets of the "Age of Copper, although it has no groove

for the handle. It was exhumed from one of the small mounds of the group described by me, and with it was a copper awl or needle 3 inches long, pointed only at one end. The same mound furnished fragments of two different vessels of pottery, one deep and narrow, with bands cut in chevron patterns upon the outside. The other was apparently about the shape of the glazed earthen vessels used by our farmers for milk-pans. The outside of this has been highly ornamented with cut and indented patterns, but the device cannot be made out from the fragment in my possession. Its inner surface has been smoothed by pressure, I think, upon 'a potter's wheel. Bones of a single skeleton were found in this mound, but unfortunately no record was taken of any peculiarities.

During the summer I have investigated the prehistoric remains of Allen and De Kalb Counties as far as my opportunities would allow. All that I have discovered thus far have been in the vicinity of the Saint Joseph River, which flows from the northeast to the head of the Maumee and of one of its tributaries, Cedar Creek, which flows from the northwest into the Saint Joseph. I know of no mounds on the Saint Joseph much above the mouth of Cedar Creek; and the greatest number are on the creek in De Kalb County and the northern part of Allen.

Near Waterloo, in De Kalb County, R. W. McBride, esq., an enthusi. astic archæologist and collector, had excavated two mounds, finding in one the remains of a great number of human skeletons, apparently buried in a promiscuous heap, and in the other, not far distant, a single skeleton. The bones were too much decayed for preservation. One of the skulls, he says, appeared to have been crushed by a blow from a blunt instrument. He found no works of art, but in examining the rubbish afterward with him I found the butt-end of an arrow-head of flint and a small fragment of pottery. These two mounds are about 50 feet apart, are about 30 feet in diameter, and about 4 feet in height, and are situated on the high ground bordering a marsh, which has once been a small lake. The remains were laid on the surface of the ground, covered with earth, and fires built, which baked the earth and calcined some of the bones. Quite a layer of charcoal and ashes was passed through in digging, and above this layer earth had again been heaped.

From there we went to Smithfield Township, six miles northwest of Waterloo, where, on the farm of Mr. Ruffner, is a circular earth-work about 600 feet in circumference, with two entrances opposite each other. The earth-work is from 2 to 24 feet high, with a ditch outside. Very large trees, which grew on the embankment, have fallen and gone to decay, and a black oak standing just inside the wall measured 121 feet jo circumference at a height of 6 feet from the ground. The “fort” is situated in the woods, on a high piece of ground, which is nearly surrounded by ravines cut by the action of two streams now nearly dry.

We next went to the farm of Henry Gonzer, in Fairfield Township, where a mound once overlooked a small lake, which is gradually filling..

« AnteriorContinuar »