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The Mound-Builders.

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To which the skeleton in armor is supposed to begin his story thus:

"Far in the Northern land,

By the wild Baltic strand,
I, with my childish hand,
Tamed the ger-falcon."


The researches of travellers and antiquaries have, however, thrown discredit upon the romantic narrative that follows these lines. Both the skeleton and the inscription on the Writing Rock seem to be of Asiatic origin. Several careful writers on the subject believe the Writing Rock to contain a representation of the Pillars of Hercules (Gibraltar), and that the mail-clad hero was one of the crew of a Phoenician vessel who passed the Pillars of Hercules and crossed the Atlantic. The armor is the same as appears in drawings taken from the sculptures found at Palenque, Mexico, which has led to the supposition that an Asiatic race transiently settled in North America, and afterwards went to Mexico and founded those rock-walled cities, in exploring the ruins of which such astonishing evidences of Asiatic civilization have been discovered. A portion of the North American Indians and certain tribes of the Aztecs in Mexico had distinct traditions of the flood.


Of all the vanished races of antiquity the Mound-builders are among the most mysterious and interesting. Their mounds are to be found principally in the West, and are numerous in the Mississippi Valley. A mound until recently was to be seen on the plain of Cahokia, Illinois, nearly opposite the city of St. Louis, Missouri, that was seven hundred feet long, five hundred feet broad, ninety feet high, and that covered more than eight acres of ground. Some of these

mounds in Wisconsin and Iowa are in the shape of huge animals; and there is one near Brush Creek, Adams County,

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Ohio, that is in the form of a serpent, and that is more than one thousand feet in length. The mouth of this strange figure is open, as in the act of swallowing or ejecting an oval

The Mound-Builders.


substance, which is also curiously made of earth-works. This oval mound is thought to represent an egg.

At Marietta, Ohio, are ancient works that cover an area about three-fourths of a mile long, and half a mile broad. "There are two irregular squares, one containing fifty acres, and the other twenty-seven acres, together with the crowning work standing apart, which is a mound thirty feet high, elliptical in form, and enclosed by a circular embankment."

But the most intricate, and perhaps the most extensive, of the works of the Mound-builders are those in the Licking Valley, near Newark, Ohio, extending over an area of two square miles. Why they were built we may not even conjecture, but that they were constructed with almost infinite toil by a superior race of people, under skilled direction and for some definite purpose, no one can deny who examines them.


Many of these mounds have been found to contain skeletons; and the appearance of the bones would seem to point to an antiquity of two thousand or more years. Curious pottery, known as the "coil-made," has been found in the mounds and caves, and at the ruined pueblos in Utah. Vessels of various forms and sizes were made, without the potter's wheel, by coiling bands of clay upon themselves. On the outside the projecting edges of these coils often formed bands or ridges, which were cut into diamond-shaped figures, marked with the thumb-nail, or otherwise ornamented, as shown in the engraving of the coil-made jar.

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