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Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters
volume IV (1876-1877)

Andrews, Edmund
Discoveries illustrating the literature and religion of the mound builders,   pp. 126-131 PDF (1.7 MB)


Page 126


126    Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Acrts, and Letters.
DISCOVERIES       ILLUSTRATING        THE    LITERATURE
    AND RELIGION OF THE MOUND BUILDERS.
                BY EDMUND ANDREWS, A. M.. M. D.,
                Prof. of Surgery in Chicago Medical College.
  Looking back into the dawn of American history, we see certain
figures stalking dim and phantom-like across the horizon. So
unreal do they appear, that were it not for the massive earthworks
they have left behind them, we might well disbelieve their ex-
istence.
  Little by little we have gained information respecting them.
They were miners and coppersmiths of considerable skill, but
apparently wrought their metal solely by hammering, yet they
occasionally had molten bronze chisels, which they probably im-
ported from Mexico. They possessed shells from the sea, plates
of mica from the Alleghanies, and Obsidian from the Rocky Moun-
tains. They probably sent copper to Mexico, and in the graves of
Yucatan have been found heads of their Lake Superior chloras-
tralite. They were farmers, and cultivated broad fields with hoes
and spades made of flint and wood. --They wove cloth, made pot-
tery, and erected earthworks of such enormous size and number
as to astonish even the white men who now occupy their deserted
cities. Their skeletons often exceed six feet in height, their skulls,
which are generally brachycephalic, are flattened at the occupit
like those of the modern Indians, but enclosed a large sized brain.
This comprises nearly all that we have hitherto known about the
vanished races.
  The exploration of the interiors of their mounds has generally
been conducted in Pa very slovenly and inefficient way. It would
seem that in sacrificial mounds, the builders were accustomed to
deposit sacred records inscribed on stone, but so incomplete have
been our examinations, that hitherto only a few of them have been
disinterred, and these more by accident than by any real skill of
the discoverers.


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