« PreviousContinue »
see, their sciences, letters, inscriptions, sculptures, &c. &c.; in chapter eight nine pages are taken up with a discussion of a race of pigmies found in Tennessee ; chapters nine, ten and eleven consider Indians in general, and the Chickasaws in particular, together with the Hebrew origin of the tribes. The author displays familiarity with ancient literature, for the volume abounds in learned references. It is certainly an anomaly how such a learned man as Judge Flaywood appears to have been could have written such a book. Evidently he starts out to plead a case, and everything within his reach he forces or distorts in order to meet his requirements. Doubtful or unverified discoveries and irrelevant circumstances are pressed into service along with admitted facts in order to swell his mass of evidence. He attempts to describe the ancient Tennesseans with a particularity which would hardly be given in an account of a living race. In treating of the stature of the people (pp. 193–200) lie declares them to have been of common size, but that their exterminators were giants. One example will illustrate his method of argument :
“ The skeletons, we find, are entire under conical mounds, or in part consumed by fire, and under such mounds, or entire in shallow graves, with flat rocks placed on the edges, at the sides, and at the head and feet, or are entire, above the common surface, and in the conical mounds enclosed in rocks placed together in the form of a box, or stand erect in suchi boxes, with the head some depth below the surface. To burn and cover with a mound, is Hindooic, Grecian, and belonging to the ancient countries of Asia Minor, and probably belonged to the aborigines of America, properly so called. To cover the entire body, is Scythic. To bury in graves, or in boxes, is Ethiopic, Egyptian, and in part Hebraic, the Hebrews lava ing learned it during their residence in Egypt, though they did not generally adopt it. It may be concluded, that the mounds over entire bodies are Scythic; graves and boxes, Hebraic; and boxes in the mounds, Hebraic and Scythic; and of course, that the unconsumed skeletons, we see liere, are either pure Scythians or Hebrew Scythians, whilst all others are Hindooic, or in other words, aborigines.” (p. 199).
A book of this description would give an impetus to fanciful
works, emboldening theorists to put forth their speculations however absurd they might be. A year later appeared Prof. C. S. Rafinesque's “ Ancient Annals of Kentucky," } prefixed to Marshall's History of that State. Prof. Rafinesque had the reputation of being a man of scholastic and scientific attainments. His practical labors in the field of archæology have been of great benefit, although the same cannot be said of his “Ancient Annals." He is very minute in relation to time in his description of the geological periods and inundations through which Kentucky has passed. He gives an account of the origin of the human race ; follows the course of migrations, peopling North America with the Atlans and Cutans who came through the Atlantic Ocean ; and the Iztacans and Oghuzians who came through the Pacific Ocean. The history of the settlements of these two migrations in America he divides into five epochis. In liis details (brief ) and incidents he is very precise, being prodigal in names and pedigrees, and exhibiting an air of acquaintance in almost every particular. He describes the many revolutions which swept orer the people of Kentucky, and in an unbroken chain all is given down to the period of the advent of the white man.
The rerelation here made is so perfect as to make useless all further investigation.
The fruit of the above work was Josiah Priest's “ American Antiquities and discoveries in the West." This work is a curiosity-shop of archæological fragments, made up from the works of others, especially from that of Rafinesque, and put together in rather a confused manner. It might be supposed that Atwater's work would have been a check to works of this kind, but such was the state of public opinion that within less less than three years after the appearance of Priest's work, over twenty thousand copies had been sold.
Nothing of any material importance was written upon the subject of antiquities from 1820 until 1837, when Dr. John C. Warren read a paper before the British Association in September of the latter year. This may be said to date the origin of inductive research, or accurate scientific investigation. In this essay, Dr. Warren, by physiological research, attempted to prove that the human remains from the mounds were not only different from the existing American Indians, but were identical with the ancient Peruvians. In reality this was but a confirmation of what Atwater had conjectured seventeen years before. Dr. Warren also claimed that the ancient North Americans and Peruvians were derived from the Southern part of Asia, and the present race of Indians from Northern
8 Ancient Annals of Kentucky, or Introduction to the History and Antiquities of the State of Kentucky. By C. S. Rafinesque, A.M., Ph.D. Professor in Transylvania University, Member of the Kentucky Institute, and fifteen other Scientific and Literary Sucieties in the United States and in Europe. 39 pages. 1824. Fictitious value, $12. In the work of John Delafield, the antiquities of the Ur.ited * Crania Americana; or, a comparative view of the skulls of various Aboriginal Nations of North and South America: to wbich is prefixed an essay on the varieties of the Human Species. Seventy-eight plates and a colored map. By Samuel George Morton, M.D. Philadelphia and London. 1839. 296 pp., and namerous wood cuts. Fictitious value, $25.00.
Two years later, the great work of Dr. Morton was published. This is a work of great merit and intrinsic value, and will long continue to shed lustre on American research. Its author was industrious and profound. In solving the types of the lost races, this work in no wise can be passed over. It is a little unfortunate that he did not possess more skulls from the mounds, for it appears, at that time he had access to but five crania from the mounds of the United States, and of these five, according to Squier and Davis, only two were genuine mound builders' remains, viz., one from Grare Creek Mound, and one from Tennessee.
In the year previous (1838) the oft quoted address of President Harrison, on the “ Aborigines of the Ohio Valley," was delivered before the Historical Society of Ohio. In this able dissertation he claims the Aztecs to bave been the builders of the mounds, prior to their advent into Mexico. Valuable suggestions are thrown out which have been of material aid to the archæologist in his researches.
6 An Inquiry into the Origin of the Antiquities of America. By John Delafield, Jr., with an Appendix containing no:e8, and a view of the causes of the superiority of the men of the Northern over those of the Southern Hemisphere, by James Lackey, M.D. Cincinnati: Published by N. G. Burgess & Co. 1839. pp. 142. 10 plates. Price, $ 8.00.
States are only referred to, no drawings, descriptions, or details being given. He attempts to show that the ancestors of the Mexicans were Egyptians and Hindoos, and the American aborigines were the descendants of Cush, the son of Ham.
In some respects Bradford's “ American Antiquities," published in 1842, is an able production, but like all works derived wholly from other books, errors of fact have crept in, which mars its value.
The first systematic work containing descriptions and figures was undertaken by Squier and Davis in 1815, and published by the Smithsonian Institution in 1848, forming the first volume of its contributions to knowledge. This is the greatest of all the works on American Antiquities, and the first of any special note sirice the appearance of Atwater's contribution. An analysis will not be here attempted. The forty-eight plates represent over one hundred enclosures, besides numerous other interesting remains. All of the actual knowledge concerning the mound builders, then known, is fully dwelt upon in a clear and entertaining manner, embodying in the description a detailed account of the surveys made by the most prominent civil engineers then engaged in original research. It is not a mere compilation of the works of others, for it contains much original matter, besides confirining many things which had been previously suggested. It strikes boldly out, giving the conclusions which the authors were forced to make from observations during personal examinations of the tumuli. They classified the mounds into sacrificial, sepulchral, temple, symbolical, and anomalous. A very important feature of the work is the separating of many varieties of relics found in the mounds that belong to an intrusive age, among which are iron implements, silver crosses, gilded ornaments, glass beads, &c., all of which had previously given rise to much speculation and confusion. They established that the true or genuine relics of the mounds consisted of implements
8 Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley. By E. G. Squier, A.M., and E. H. Davis, M D. Published for the Authors. New York and Cincinnati. pp. 206. plates. 207 wood cuts. Fictitious value, $30.00.
of stone, bone, and metal, such as arrow-heads, spear-heads, pottery of graceful form, pipes finely and wonderfully sculptured, accurately representing both animate and inanimate forms, copper hammered cold, hematite implements, strings of bones and pearls, plates of mica, &c., &c. These conclusions are given in a modest manner, and in such a way as to carry conviction. The work does great credit to its authors, and the Smithsonian, in publishing it, added honor to itself, making a happy beginning, one full of promise, which it has fully kept. The market value is high, owing to its being out of print, yet no one particularly interested in American archæology can afford to be without it.
In the year 1850, the Smithsonian published “ Aboriginal Monuments of New York." 7 In the Ancient Monuments" Mr. Squier attributed the earth-works of Western New York to the mound-builders, but in this work he ascribes them to the Iroquois or their neighbors, although there is a wonderful similarity between the mural remains of New York and those of Ohio. In this memoir Mr. Squier takes seventeen counties and separately speaks of the antiquities located within them. In the appendix he treats of the antiquities of Pennsylvania and New Hampshire.
Col. Whittlesey's “Ancient Works in Ohio"8 was designed as a supplement to the “ Ancient Monuments.” The surveys and plans which Col. Whittlesey had previously made were freely given to Squier and Davis, and the additional surveys, or such as were not at hand when presented to Squier, are here given. The work consists of explanations of the eighteen earth-works illustrated in the plates.
Lapham's “ Antiquities of Wisconsin” 9 (which did not ap7 Aboriginal Monuments of the State of New York. Comprising the results of origipal surveys and explorations; with an illustrative Appendix. By E. G. Squier, A.M. Accepted for publication by the Smithsonian Institution. 1849. pp. 188. Wood cuts 72.
8 Descriptions of Ancient Works in Ohio. By Charles Whittlesey, of the late Geo logical Corps of Ohio. Accepted for Publication by the Smithsonian Institution, May 1850. pp. 20. Plates, 7. Value, 50 cts.
9 The Antiquities of Wisconsin, as Surveyed and Described by I. A. Lapham, civil engineer, on behalf of the American Antiquarian Society. Accepted for publication, D mber 1853. pp. 95. Plates 55. dlap. Wood-cuts 62. Fictitious value, $10.00.