« AnteriorContinuar »
mented with lines. Other objects obtained are: a bead of glass or of blue and white enamel, such as we now have from the lakes of Bienne and Neufchatel: buck-horns carved; fossil teeth of the shark taken from the molasse of the country; spindle-whirls of baked clay; pottery, like that of the bronze-sites in the lakes; cones of baked clay, with a hole at top, designed doubtless as weights to stretch the threads in the process of weaving; and pieces of the clay facings of the walls of wicker-work, bearing the impression of the branches or osiers destroyed by fire. Bones of animals were by no means wanting, and they have been ascertained by Professor Rutimeyer to pertain to a cow of large speeies, to the hog, the goat, the deer and the roe-buck. Lacustrian sctlement of Robenhausen, at Lake Pläffikon, canton of Zurich— Of this notice has been taken in previous publications of Dr. Keller. M. Messikommer continues to make explorations, leading to interesting observations and to the discovery of objects, often of great curiosity, which, after having submitted them to the inspection of Dr. Keller, he offers for sale. This locality is situated in a moss, at the east end of the lake, which there had but little depth, and where the growth of the peat has by degrees advanced the limits of the dry land. To arrive at the bed containing piles and antique objects, it is necessary to remove some six feet of peat; this requires long continued exhaustion, but the objects are in a remarkable state of preservation. The report on recent researches is drawn up by M. Messikommer, who even indites some pleasing verses on the occasion. He has remarked that the objects are found more or less grouped, according to their nature. Thus, at certain points, charred cereals occur in abundance; elsewhere flax prepared for spinning; further on there may be flax woven or platted, and at still another place numbers of those perforated cones of baked clay which pertained to textorial operations. At one point M. Messikommer discovered that under the floor of the ancient dwelling there was a formation of peat from 2 to 24 feet deep, beneath which was found another floor, still more ancient. We must infer that the place was long inhabited and during the age of stone, for not the least trace of metal has been met with, The new acquisitions at Robenhausen, to which Dr. Keller has appropriated two plates, are: a canoe formed of the hollowed trunk of a tree, 12 feet long by 13 wide, with a depth of 5 inches (the Swiss foot has 10 inches and is equivalent to 0.3 of a meter;) some well fashioned bows of yew wood; an arrow point of silex, still attached to its wooden staff by means of flax thread and mineral bitumen; a hatchet or wedge of stone fixed transversely in a wooden handle, somewhat club-shaped; another hatchet of stone fixed in a piece of buck's horn, which again was fastened transversely to the handle of wood. This last arrangement was also met with at Concise, but the stupendous impostures practiced at that locality throw suspicion on whatever comes from it. especially when it is known that the counterfeiters went so far as to cast their own fabrications into the lake, that they might be afterwards drawn up by the dredge before the eyes of the amateurs. At Robenhausen, divers articles of wood also have becn collected, such as knives, basins, implements which served perhaps for beating butter, and large spoons like those for skimming milk. Among articles of flax, recently obtained, may be mentioned a portion of a girdle or ribbon quite skilfully woven, so as to present a small figure in squares of very neat appearance; also remnants of fishing-nets, with meshes measuring 0.05 of a meter on the side; and, lastly, a bit of cloth to which a pocket is attached by sewing: Settlement in the lake of Bourget, in Savoy.—Baron Despine having drawn attention to a pile-work in the lake of Bourget, the Savoyard Society of history and archaeology caused reseaches to be made, under the direction of MM. Desine and Delaborde. M. Rabut Laurent has given an account of them, in the ulletin of the above Society, from 1861 to 1862, second number, p. 44, and this report is here republished by Dr. Keller. At the point in question there have been found articles of pottery, calcined bones, a stone hammer, a small bronze ring, ears of wheat, acorns, hazelnuts, cherry-stones, grains of millet, and, what has not been yet met with in Switzerland, husks of chestnuts. Professor Desor also has made explorations in the lake of Bourget; and M. Louis Revon, the zealous and able director of the museum of Annecy, has commenced them in the pile-works of the lake of Annecy. Lake of Neuchâtel, new discoveries of Colonel Schwab, 4 plates, comprising 71 figures.—The indefatigable colonel has caused dredgings to be executed at several points and has considerably enriched his admirable collection at Bienne. Certain objects reappear in indefinite numbers, such as hair-pins of bronze, but from time to time new and curious articles repay the zeal of the antiquary. We may distinguish of this class, a wheel of cast bronze, 0.49 of a meter in diameter; it has four radii, which, equally with the perimeter, are hollow. The nave, also hollow, is prolonged on both sides, making its entire length 0.50 of a meter. Near this wheel, thirteen small objects of the crescent-moon shape were found, each with a handle perforated at the end, as if to suspend the object, which is of bronze cast in a single piece. These, as well as the wheel, were perhaps employed in some religious ceremony. Similar small crescents appear also in the exquisite collection of Madame Febvre, of Chiseul, at Mâcon, a French lady, whose 83 years place in stronger relief the artistic discrimination, as well as the rare and high-bred courtesy of the venerable owner. Among the new acquisitions of Colonel Schwab we should further specify a sling of platted flax, exactly like one brought from the Sandwich Islands, and to be seen in the museum of Berne; also several beads of amber, and others, oblong in form, of blue glass or enamel, around which is encrusted a spiral of white enamel. These glass beads have been met with at four stations, whose characteristics clearly assign them to the age of bronze. In Mecklenberg, also, beads of blue glass, but of simple formation, have been twice found in tombs of that age. It is to the age of bronze, then, that we must refer the appearance of glass, but only in the shape of such beads; and even these are extremely rare at that epoch, at least in countries north of the Alps. Of all Colonel Schwab's discoveries, the most curious is the product of a station of the age of bronze near Coataillod, being'a dish in terra cotta, fashioned by the unassisted hand, having a diameter of 0.39 of a meter and a height of 0.4 of a meter, and inlaid on the inner surface with small plates of tin. These plates, which are themselves embellished with carved lines, are so arranged as to form a geometrical design surprisingly rich and ingenious, comprising among others a circuit of figures, which recall those, in the Greek manner, seen on Etruscan vases. The surface of the vessel had been blackened and rendered lustrous by being rubbed with graphite. It has not been ascertained by what means the tin was made to adhere to the surface of the material. The above notices are followed by some account of the stations of pile-work in the lakes of Sempach, Baldegg and Mauen, and by a brief memoir of professor Deicke on the researches made by M. Ullersberger of Uberlinger in the lake of Constance. The publication of Dr. Keller concludes with 7 pages of remarks on the book entitled Laeustrian Habitations of Ancient and Modern Times, by F. Troyon. After having long kept silence, Dr. Keller at length raises his voice to rectify the errors and refute the absurdities of the book in question; a book which tends to induce obscurity, where it would be so desirable to proceed by sober investigations, set forth in simple and precise terms. Dr. Keller incidentally notices that his own reports have been entirely absorbed in the work of M. Troyon. The distinguished savant of Zurich could say no more, for he is not one to complain of having been unfairly laid under contribution. In the remarks spoken of, he shows that the collective phenomena of lacustrian settlements seem to evince a gradual and peaceful development of civilization in Switzerland, from the age of stone to the Roman epoch, without an indication of violent social convulsions or industrial revolutions, suddenly superinduced by external and intrusive influences. It is doubtless picturesque to burn periodically, as M. Troyon does, all the lacustrian cities and to massacre their population. But it is more rational to recognize, as Laplace did at the close of his long and brilliant career, that what we know is little, while what we do not know is immense ! A. MORLOT.
P. S.—The seventeenth plate of Dr. Keller is not alluded to in the text of the report; it contains plans of the lakes of Neuchatel, Bienne, Morat and Sempach, with an indication, according to the researches of Colonel Schwab, of all the lacustrian stations discovered, distinguishing them as respectively dating from the age of stone, of bronze, of iron, or finally from the Roman epoch, for there are a few where Roman objects have been found. Professor Vogt has published a work on man, Vorlesungun neber den Menschen, in which he severly criticises certain parts of M. Troyon’s “Lacustrian Habitations,” upon which Dr. Keller had not animadverted; and the central organ of German archaeology, published at Nurnberg, Anzeiger für kunde der deutschen corzeit, equally takes ground against M. Troyon's book. (See Beilage, No. 10, October, 1863, page 373.)
A G RIC ULTURAL IMPLE MENTS
NORTH AMERICAN STONE PERIOD.
My collection of Indian stone implements contains a number of specimens remarkable alike for large size and superior workmanship, which, to all appearance, have been used for agricultural purposes by the aborigines of this country; and, as no description of similar relics has appeared as yet in any modern work on North American ethnology or antiquities, a notice thereof might be acceptable to all who take an interest in the former condition of the aboriginal inhabitants of North America.
The implements in question are of two distinct forms, represented in the woodcuts, figures 1 and 2, and may be classified, from their shape and probable application, as shovels and hoes. The material from which they are chipped, and which I never succeeded in discovering in situ, is invariably a very hard slint of a bluish, gray, or brownish color, ...; a slightly conchoidal fracture, and quite unlike that variety of flint of which the arrow and spear heads occurring in the west are usually made.
Fig. 1. Fig. 2.
Fig. 1 represents one of the shovels in my possession. Like all other specimens of this kind, it is an oval plate, flat on one side and slightly convex on the other, the outline forming a sharp edge. It measures above a foot in length, a little more than five inches in its greatest breadth, and is about three-quarters of an inch thick along the longitudinal diameter. The workmanship exhibits an admirable degree of skill. Besides the specimen just described, which was discovered in a field near Belleville, St. Clair county, Illinois, I possess two others of similar shape and workmanship. The one of these last named I found myself within sight of the celebrated Cahokia temple-mound in Illinois, in the construction of which it may have assisted centuries ago; the other was dug up in 1861 in St. Louis, while earthworks were built by order of General Frémont for the protection of the city against an apprehended attack of the southern secessionists. When attached to solid handles, these stone plates certainly constituted very efficient digging implements.
Fig. 2 illustrates the shape of a hoe. This specimen, which was obtained from a burial-mound near Illinoistown, opposite St. Louis, is seven and a half inches long, nearly six inches wide, and about half an inch thick in the middle; the round part is worked into a sharp edge. Another specimen of my collection, of equal workmanship but inferior in size, was found, after a heavy rain, in a garden in the city of Belleville. The fastening to a handle was facilitated by the two notches in the upper part, and, in order to constitute a hoe, the handle was doubtless attached in such a manner as to form a right or even an acute angle with the stone plate. If the shape of the described implements did not indicate their original use, the peculiar traces of wear which they exhibit would furnish almost conclusive evidence of the manner in which they have been employed; for that part with which the digging was done, appears, notwithstanding the hardness of the material, perfectly smooth, as if glazed, and slightly striated in the direction in which the implement penetrated the ground. This peculiar feature is common to all specimens of my collection, and also to the few which I have seen in the possession of others. They seem to be rather scarce, and merely confined to the States bordering on the Mississippi river. Dr. E. H. Davis, of New York, has none of them in his excellent and comprehensive collection of Indian relics, and, consequently, does not describe or represent them in his work on the “Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley,” forming the first volume of the Smithsonian publications; nor am I aware that Mr. Schoolcraft has mentioned them in his large work on the North American races. A passage in the “History of Louisiana,” by Du Pratz, refers, doubtless, to the implements described by me as hoes. In speaking of the agricultural pursuits of the Indians of Louisiana, that author observes, they had invented a hoe, (pioche.) with the aid of which they prepared the soil for the culture of maize. “These hoes,” he says, “are shaped like a capital L; they cut with the edge of the lower part, which is entirely flat.” It is true, he does not mention of what material this “lower part” consisted, but we may safely infer that it was stone, the substance from which the aborigines of North America manufactured nearly all their implements of peace and war. They had no iron, and the scanty supplies of native copper, derived from the region of Lake Superior, were almost exclusively used for ornamental purposes. The fact itself that simple agricultural utensils of Indian origin are occasionally met with is by no means surprising, for we know from the accounts of the early writers that many of the North American tribes raised maize and a few other nutritious plants before the arrival of the Europeans on this continent. Maize was, however, their principal produce, and that on which they mainly depended. In describing the . Mississippi expedition of De Soto, Garcilaso de la Vega speaks repeatedly of the extensive maize fields of those Indian tribes through whose territories that band of hardy adventurers passed. During an invasion of the country of the Senecas, made as early as 1687 under the Marquis de Nonville, all their Indian corn was burned or otherwise spoiled, and the quantity thus destroyed is said to have amounted to 400,000 minots, or 1,200,000 bushels. # It is even asserted by Adair, that the colonists obtained from the Indians “different sorts of beans and peas with which they were before entirely unacquainted.”f From these and other facts, which need not be cited in this place, we learn that the North American Indians generally, though warriors by disposition and hunters by necessity, had, nevertheless, already made some steps towards an agricultural state. But the events that happened after the arrival of the whites, instead of adding to their improvement, served only to lower their condition, and reduced them, finally, to the position of strangers in their own land.
"Ces pioches sont faites comme une L capitale; elles tranchent par les cétés du bout bas quiest tout plat.—Histoire de la Louisiane, par M. Le Page du Pratz, (Paris, 1758,) vol. ii, p. 176.
t Documentary History of New York, vol. i. p. 238. This estimate may be somewhat exaggerated.
# The History of the American Indians, by James Adair, (London, 1775,) p. 408.