Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

ANTIQUITIES OF CHARLES COUNTV, MARYLAND.

BY OLIVER N. BRYAN, of Marshall Hall, Maryland. The following paper does not propose to be an entire summary of all the Indian relics in this county, but only to present a list in part of such as have been found upon my farm on the Potomac, opposite Mount Vernon, and of a few found upon the adjoining estates. What I propose is simply to give a glance at my own cabinet, which I have been accumulating for the last ten or twelve years, and at a few specimens I, from time to time, have sent to the Smithsonian Institution.

Some ten or twelve years ago I became interested in gathering up, as opportunity offered, the stone arrow-heads, axes, &c., that happened to lie in my path, scarcely without knowing why I did so. At that time an interest in archæology had not developed itself in my mind, but now, with a taste somewhat cultivated in that direction, and more sharply eyed by practice, I take great pleasure in gathering up everything of the kind that falls under my observation bearing evidence that it can be referred to human ingenuity. I have become deeply interested in the subject, and earnestly desire to add my mite toward developing the history of the ancient people who lived upon the ground which I now call my own.

Among the articles I have gathered in my walks are axes, hoes, arrow and spear points, scrapers, and lances of stone and bone, wampum and pottery, pipes, needles with two holes, mortars, sinkers, hammers, chisels, paint-material, boues (human and brute) from Indian graves, and specimens from muscle-shell heaps. I have also found axes of greenish jasper, of various shapes and sizes, one of which I sent to the Smithsonian Institution ; found about three miles from my house. It was double grooved and very long, and in respect to the extra groove was unlike any other that I ever saw. The arrow-points show a greater diversity of forin and mineral than the axes or any other implement. I have them of quartz, jasper, agate, chalcedony, hornstone, flint, lydian-stone, and a very rough one of a granitic character. They vary in length from 1 inch to 4 inches.

It is evident that the makers of arrows could not work the stone, by chipping, to any desired form, as is proved by the fact that no two points can be found exactly of the same shape and size in all respects. Compare two of the same length and material and you will find one more umbilicated than the other, bases differently notched, points not true with the base, and many other different phases, which plainly show that the character of the mineral controlled the makers at least in part. This is not, however, the case with axes, pestles, or other implements submitted to a rubbing or grinding process. The makers of these bad evidently a mechanical eye as good, as far as their range extended, as that of the mechanic of the present day. Nearly all the rubbed implements

have their proportions wrought out, on both sides, as true to the design of the artist as could be done in our day upon such work.

Some of my arrow-heads have their points so crooked that one might fancy that they were intended to shoot around a corner. Besides arrowpoints with bases to fit to the shaft, I have many without the projecting base, from one to three inches long; others with flat and thin bases, said to be war-implements, and to be left in the wound; and some few almost triangular. These last are generally more perfect than the regularpointed.

The hatchets, so called, did not apparently answer the purpose of the modern instrument of the same name, and, so far as I can see, were never used by the Indian in that way. I have never seen one rubbed or worn, and this is true also of the axes. The latter were, in my opinion, used exclusively in war and in the chase.

Pottery seems to have been very extensively used among the ancient inhabitants of this region; some of very good quality, others very imperfect; some baked doubtless in nets, other as certainly without nets. I have one piece which, from its curvature, indicates a diameter of 17 inches, others from that down to 4 inches; none with ears or handles, but some with deflected rims. Some of the pottery bas pounded chalcedony mixed with the clay of which it is composed; more, however, without it; another variety is worked out of soapstone or steatite. I have a number of pipes, one of clay, one of limestone, representing the human face and head in good style, and another of steatite showing a fox's head, a most capital representation. There are hammers in the collection, large and small, one weighing 8 pounds, 8 inches long, 6.3 inches broad, 24 inches thick.

Mortars are found on my farm. A broken corn-mill was sent from it a year or so ago; a medicine-mortar was also presented to the Institution. I have another, a paint-mortar, very unique, 4 inches long, and 2 broad, with a cavity on both sides (top and bottom) for the thumb and fingers to hold the article while the party is painting himself. The corn-mill was found three miles from my house. I think it singular that among the articles I have found on my farm there has not been a single corn-mill, although I have found a piece of a very large pestle. I have, however, two other very small mortars, which I suppose must have been for medicine or paint.

I have gathered since I commenced my collection, as stated above, everything that showed any trace of buman art, consequently hare quite a variety of unfinished pieces, some just begun, others more per. fect, showing at once the implement to be formed. One piece, for instance, of yellow quartz, 10 inches long, 5 broad, 277 thick, weighs 6 pounds, intended to be a spear; another quartz piece, cimeter shape, 15 inches long, 34 inches broad, 24 inches thick, weighs 61 pounds, seems to be for a war-club, having a handle sufficiently developed for that purpose. There are also a variety of net-sinkers, very rough, of

cobble-stones; needles, one of stone, 14 inches long, 4 inch wide, to inch thick, with hole and notch in one end; another, of horn, 7 inches long, 4 inch wide, very thin; a third, of bone, an inch long, of cylindrical form, constructed from the rib of some very small animal.

Wampum.—There are in my collection ten pieces of a bead, nine or shells, one of stone; another of shell, 4 inches long, 4 inch thick. This last shows that the Indians must have had some communication with the ocean, as no shell now found in the river or bay would make such a bead. These wampum were taken from an Indian grave upon Piscataway Creek. There are doubtless graves in this neighborhood, but as yet I have not been able to find them. I heard, a few days ago, of some graves washed out, about fifteen miles below me, which I shall visit.

We have near my place several small “shell- heaps ” of muscle-sbells, Complinatus, nearly all weathered out, from which I have obtained specimens of pottery and bones of such animals as the ancient people ate. One remarkable bone was submitted to Professor Cope, which was pronounced by him to be the tarsus metatarsus of some large water-fowl, but I have examined all the skeletons of that class in the Smithsonian museum without finding anything like it. It might seem at first that the Indians here were driven from necessity to eat muscles, but from experiment I think otherwise. I have tried this mollusk, and find it, when well cooked, quite a savory dish, as good, to my taste, as common oysters.

We have also in this region and also in Saint Mary's the true oystershell heaps; one at Pope's Creek, covering thirty acres from one to six feet deep. Oyster-shell heaps abound upon the Wycomico River, and there are several in Saint Mary's County, upon the Potomac, the Wycomico, and Patuxent Rivers, and upon the bay. No ethnologist, so far as I know, has ever visited these localities. Although, near as they are to me, I have not yet visited them, intending to do so, I have been prevented by the constant recurring duties of the farm.

ANTIQUITIES OF STANLY AND MONTGOMERY COUNTIES, NORTH CAROLINA.

By F. J. Kron, of Albemarle, N. C.

I forward to the Institution, from Salisbury, N. C., by express, a small box containing some antiquities collected in this part of North Carolina, (the counties of Stanly and Montgomery,) on both sides of the river called Yadkin above and Pedee below the mouth of the Uharree River, on an area which, may be embraced at a glance from the accompanying sketch, rough to be sure, but the bearings and distances of which are very nearly true.

From the vestiges left here by the Indians it must have been a place much frequented by them. They have now all disappeared

from about here. Some fifty years ago, however, bands of ten or more were frequently met with on their way to Fayetteville, armed with bows and arrows, and ready for a reward to display their dexterity in bitting, before it came down, a piece of coin tossed up in the air.

Implements of war or the chase, broken pots, burned stones, where fires had been made, and arrow-heads chipped from minerals, are met with in all directions, in the bottoms along the river, and on the hills within a mile or so of the numerous fishing-stands aloug the banks of the stream, Between the mouth of Ubarree and Island Creek, on the river-bottom, large spaces are covered with chips and blocks of chert from which pieces had been taken. The lands being all made by successive deposits from the stream, the remains are found from the surface down to the old bed of the river, to the depth of about four feet. Broken pots, of various material and ornamentation, can be picked up. Among those sent to the Institution will be found one heavy specimen of soapstone, a mineral not found in this neighborhood. Some years ago, a whole pot was washed up during a freshet, but the vessel, which was of about two gallons' capacity, and gourd-shaped, unfortunately fell into the hands of children, was broken, and only a few fragments saved.

Immediately below the month of Ubarree River, across the Pedee, when the waters are low, there can yet be seen the greater part of a stone ford, in the form of a zigzag rail-fence. In 1829 it was still entire, and could be used for passing over the stream; but the stones have since been removed from both extremities for the building of fish.dams. Wbat remains, however, indicates the sound engineering notions of the builders when they traced their path along a course the angles of which would divide the force of the stream.

No mounds nor vestiges of other permanent works are to be found. Wbat remains seems to have been left on a vast camping-ground during the shad-fishing season, which in those days must have yielded a prodigious number of fish; for, not fifty years back, more shad could yet be caught than could be cured by the fishermen. Not so, however, now, Game must also have been an attraction, for the wild approaches of the river are, even now, much visited by hunting-parties of the white race.

ANTIQUITIES OF FLORIDA.

By Augustus MITCHELL, M. D., of Saint Mary's, Georgia. While in the South during the winter of 1848, pursuing the study and collecting specimens of ornithology, I was impelled by curiosity to examine a mound of a moderate size situated on the southern portion of Amelia Island, Florida, being kindly furnished with colored laborers, and aided by Dr. R. Harrison.

This mound was about 15 feet in height, and 30 feet in diameter at

the base, flattened and worn by attrition for ages; there having been two growths of live-oak upon it, as stated by an old Spanish inbabitant of the place. The soil composing the mound was of a light sandy, yellowish loam.

We commenced the examination by cutting a trench 4 feet wide directly through the center, from the apex to the base, and then another trench at right angles to the former. The excavation revealed a number of relics, and the mode of burial of the mound-builders. They must have commenced by digging into the surface of the ground about 2 feet; then, partially filling the excavation with oyster-shells, they placed their dead on these in a sitting posture, their legs bent under them, with their faces to the east, and their arms crossed upon the breast, and next spread over them a stratum of earth. It is evident that in the succes. sive burials the earth was reopened, and the additional bodies were placed close either to the back or side of those which had been previ. ously interred, until the whole of the first layer was complete; then the circumference of the mound was walled in by a compost of marsh-mud; and then another layer of oyster-shells was placed over the heads of the first layer of bodies, and a continuation of the mud wall, until the superincumbent layer completed the mound to its apex.

Full three centuries must have rolled their tempests over this aboriginal repository of the dead. I quite expected to find everything like mortal remains returned to dust. But in this I was in error, as throughout the mound parts or complete portions of the bony structure still remained; those on the southern or sunny side being in a more perfect state of preservation. Counting the remains existing in the different layers of this ancient tumulus, it must bave contained about four hun. dred individuals.

As we proceeded with our work, the interior of the mound presented many objects of interest to the ethnologist. We could not, however, secure many of these, since they crumbled, except the teeth, to dust as soon as exposed to the air. I had therefore to study them mostly in the earth, carefully scraping it away with a knife.

The conformation of the crania found in this mound appears to differ somewhat from that of the present Indians; the facial angle less, with superior depth of the frontal region, and greater capacity for the anterior lobes of the brain; the outer surface of the skull somewhat oval, smooth, and regular; frontal sinuses large; high cheek-bones; cavity of the antrum large; orbital cavity of the eye deep and large; occipital protuberance very large, with a great development of the organs of philoprogenitiveness; superior depth of the base of the inferior maxillary bone; rough serratures and deep depressions for the attachments of powerful muscles of that bone.

The teeth of many of the crania of this mound were, without ex. ceptions, in a perfect state of preservation, the vitrified enamel of these organs being capable of resisting exposure for centuries. These

« AnteriorContinuar »