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Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley, Cover

Ancient Monuments

of the Mississippi Valley

Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge, Volume I

Squier and Davis (1848)

 Gustav's Library Vintage Reprint

The legendary book that started the Smithsonian's Contributions to Knowledge series.

Ephraim George Squier and Edwin Hamilton Davis conducted very thorough surveys and examinations of many of the the earthworks in Ohio and some southern states for this landmark publication.   Being a native of Chillicothe, Ohio Davis had grown up around some of the most outstanding examples of prehistoric earthworks and was concerned that the farmer's plow would soon destroy many of the earthworks and they should be surveyed and explorations documented immediately.

Although Squier and Davis conducted many excavations and surveys themselves, they also drew on work already accomplished by others such as: Charles Whittlesey, C. S. Rafinesque, John Locke, James McBride, J.W. Erwin, etc.

This is the only reprint available with the two Marietta Works plates (numbers 1 and 45) rendered in color as in the original.

This work is not limited to the earthworks in Ohio as a review of the Table of Contents and plate list will show (below). 

Also, please take a look at the plate and description for Ancient Works at Marietta, Ohio (below).

This 9-1/2" x 12" soft cover, facsimile reprint contains 306 pages of text, 207 wood engravings and the famous 48 full-page plates.  $27.95

   

 

CONTENTS

 

List of Plates,
List of Wood Engravings,

I.
II.
III.
IV.
V.
VI.
VII.
VIII.
IX.
X.
XI.
XII.
XIII.
XIV.
XV.
XVI.
XVII.
XVIII.
XIX.

General Observations on the Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley,
Earthworks ; Enclosures ; Works of Defence,
Sacred Enclosures,
Monuments of the Southern States,
Monuments of the North-west,
Earthworks ; The Mounds ; Mounds of Sacrifice,
Mounds of Sepulture,
Temple Mounds,
Anomalous Mounds ; Mounds of Observation ; Stone Heaps,
Remains of Art found in the Mounds ; Pottery and articles of Clay,
Implements of Metal,
Ornaments of Metal,
Implements of Stone, etc.,
Ornaments of Stone, Bonk, etc.,
Sculptures from the Mounds,
Metals, Fossils, Minerals, etc., of the Mounds,
Crania from the Mounds,
Sculptured or Inscribed Rocks,
Concluding Observations,

PLATES

I. View of ancient works at Marietta
II. Map of a section of 12 miles of Scioto valley
III. Map of a section of 6 miles of Miami valley
     No. 2. Map of 6 miles of Paint creek valley
IV. Stone work near Bourneville, Ross co., Ohio
V. " Fort Hill," Highland county, Ohio
VI. Fortified Hill, Butler county, Ohio
VII. " Fort Ancient," Warren county, Ohio
VIII. Ancient work, Butler county, Ohio
     No. 2. Ancient work, Butler county, Ohio
     No. 3. Ancient work near Piqua, Miami co., Ohio
     No. 4. Ancient work near Dayton, Montgomery county, Ohio
IX. Fortified Hill near Granville, Licking co., Ohio
     No. 2. Fortified Hill at the mouth of Great Miami river
     No. 3. Ancient work near Lexington, Kentucky
X. Ancient work, Ross county, Ohio
XI. Ancient work, Butler county, Ohio
     No. 2. Ancient work, Butler county, Ohio
     No. 3. Ancient work, Butler county, Ohio
XII. Stone work on Duck river, Tennessee
     No. 2. Ancient work, Preble county, Ohio
     No. 3. Ancient work, Greene county, Ohio
     No. 4. Ancient work, Ross county, Ohio
XIII. Ancient work, Bourbon county, Kentucky
     No. 2. Colerain works, Butler county, Ohio
XIV. Ancient work, Pickaway county, Ohio
     No. 2. Ancient Work, Franklin county, Ohio
     No. 3. Ancient work, Fayette county, Kentucky
     No. 4. Ancient work, Fayette county, Kentucky
XV. Ancient work, Huron county, Ohio
     No. 2. Ancient work, Ashtabula county, Ohio
     No. 3. Ancient work, Ouyahoga county, Ohio
     No. 4. Ancient work, Lorain county, Ohio
     No. 5. Ancient work, Lorain county, Ohio
     No. 6. Ancient work, Cuyahoga county, Ohio
     No. 7. Ancient work, Cuyahoga county, Ohio
     No. 8. Ancient work, Wood county, Ohio
XVI. High Bank works, Ross county, Ohio
XVII. Hopeton works, Ross county, Oliio
XVIII. Cedar Bank works, Ross county, Ohio
XIX. " Mound City," Ross county, Ohio
XX. Ancient work, Ross county, Ohio
XXI. Ancient work, Ross county, Ohio
     No. 2. Ancient work, Ross county, Ohio
     No. 3. Ancient work, Ross county, Ohio
     No. 4. Ancient work, Ross county, Ohio
XXII. "Junction Group," Ross county, Ohio
     No. 2. Blackwater Group, Ross county, Ohio
XXIII. Dunlap's works, Ross county, Ohio
     No. 2. Ancient work, Athens county, Ohio
XXIV. Ancient work, Pike county, Ohio
XXV. Newark works, Licking county, Ohio
XXVI Marietta works, Washington county, Ohio
XXVII. Portsmouth works, Scioto county, Ohio
XXVIII. Portsmouth works, Group A
     No. 2. Portsmouth works, Group B
     No. 3. Portsmouth works, Group C
XXIX. Ancient works, Montgomery county, Ohio
     No. 2. Ancient works, Scioto county, Ohio
     No. 3. Ancient works, Franklin county, Ohio
XXX. Ancient works, Butler county, Ohio
     No. 2. Ancient works, Butler county, Ohio
     No. 3. Ancient works, Boss county, Ohio
     No. 4. Stone work, Boss county, Ohio
XXXI. Graded Way, Pike county, Ohio
     No. 2. Ancient work, Butler county, Ohio
     No. 3. Ancient work, Butler county, Ohio
     No. 4. Ancient work, Butler county, Ohio
XXXII Ancient work, Butler county, Ohio
     No. 2. Ancient work, Washington county, Ohio
     No. 3. Ancient work, Ross county, Ohio
     No. 4. Ancient work, Ross county, Ohio
     No. 5. Ancient work, Ross county, Ohio
     No. 6. Ancient work, Montgomery co., Kentucky
XXXIII. Ancient work, Montgomery co, Kentucky
     No. 2. Ancient work, Randolph county, Indiana
XXXIV. Ancient work, Clermont county, Ohio
     No. 2. Ancient work, Clermont county, Ohio
     No. 3. Ancient work, Greene county, Ohio
     No. 4. Ancient work, Greene county, Ohio
XXXV. Great Serpent, Adams county, Ohio
XXXVI. " The Cross," Pickaway county, Ohio
     No. 2. " The Alligator," Licking county, Ohio
     No. 3. Ancient work, Fairfield county, Ohio
     No. 4. Map of section of Newark valley
XXXVII. Ancient works, Wateree District, S. C.
XXXVIII. Ancient works on Etowah river, Alabama
     Ancient works on Tennessee river, Alabama
     No. 2. Ancient works, Chickasaw surveys, Miss.
     No. 3. Ancient works, Lafayette county, Miss.
     No. 4. Ancient works, Prairie Jefferson, Louisiana
XXXIX. Ancient work, Madison parish, Louisiana,
     Ancient work, Bolivar county, Mississippi
XL, Ancient works, Dade county, Wisconsin
XLI. Ancient works, Dade county, Wisconsin
     No. 2. Ancient works, Dade county, Wisconsin
XLII. Ancient works, Dade county, Wisconsin
     No. 2. Ancient works, Richland county, Wisconsin
XLIII. Ancient works, Grant county, Wisconsin
     Nos. 2 to 18, various localities
XLIV. Ancient work on Rock river, Wisconsin
     Nos. 2 to 8, various localities
XLV. View of great mound at Marietta
XLVI Pottery from the mounds
XLVII. Crania from the mounds
XLVIII. Crania from the mounds.

 

Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley, Serpent Mound Plate Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley, Hopewell Mound Group Plate Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley, Fort Hill Plate
Serpent Mound, Ohio Hopewell Mound Group, Ohio Fort Hill, Ohio
Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley, Wisconsin Mounds Plate Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley, Alabama Mounds Plate Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley, Indiana and Kentucky Mounds Plate
Rock River, Wisconsin Etowah River, Alabama Kentucky & Indiana Works
Sample Plate Illustrations - click on image to enlarge
 

Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley

Ancient Works, Marietta, Ohio - Surveyed by Charles Whittlesey

Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley, Marietta Works Painting

Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley, Marietta Works Plan

     THIS remarkable group of works was among the earliest noticed by Western explorers. It was described by Harte as early as 1791; and a further account was presented in "Harris's Tour," published in 1805, in which an imperfect birds-eye view was also given. Since that period various descriptions have appeared in print; and a number of plans, differing materially in their details, have been published. It is of so much importance, however, and has been the basis of so much speculation, that it is time an accurate map and a careful description should be placed before the public. Such a map and such a description it is here aimed to present.
     The works occupy the high, sandy plain, at the junction of the Muskingum and Ohio rivers. This plain is from eighty to one hundred feet above the bed of the river, and from forty to sixty above the bottom lands of the Muskingum. Its outlines are shown on the map. It is about three fourths of a mile long, by half a mile in width; is bounded on the side next the hills by ravines, formed by streams, and terminates on the side next the river in an abrupt bank, resting upon the recent alluvions. The topography of the plain and adjacent country is minutely represented on this map.
     The works consist of two irregular squares, (one containing forty acres area, the other about twenty acres,) in connection with a graded or covered way and sundry mounds and truncated pyramids, the relative positions of which are shown in the plan. The town of Marietta is laid out over them; and, in the progress of improvement, the walls have been considerably reduced and otherwise much obliterated; yet the outlines of the entire works may still be traced. The walls of the principal square, where they remain undisturbed, are now between five and six feet high by twenty or thirty feet base; those of the smaller enclosure are somewhat less. The entrances or gateways at the sides of the latter are each covered by a small mound placed interior to the embankment; at the corners the gateways are in line with it. The larger work is destitute of this feature, unless we class as such an interior crescent wall covering the entrance at its southern angle.
Within the larger enclosure are four elevated squares or truncated pyramids of earth, which, from their resemblance to similar erections in Mexico and Central America, merit a particular notice.* Three of these have graded passages or avenues of ascent to their tops. The principal one is marked A in the plan, and an engraving more clearly illustrating its features is herewith presented, Fig. 17.
     It is one hundred and eighty-eight feet long by one hundred and thirty-two wide, and ten high. Midway upon each of its sides are graded ascents, rendering easy the passage to its top. These grades are twenty-five feet wide and sixty feet long. The next in size is marked B in the plan, and is one hundred and fifty feet long by one hundred and twenty wide, and eight feet high. It has three graded passages to its top, viz. upon the north, west, and east. Those at the sides are placed somewhat to the north of the centre of the elevation. Upon the south side there is a recess or hollow way, instead of a glacis, fifty feet long by twenty wide. This elevation is placed upon an easy swell or ridge of land, and occupies the most conspicuous position within the enclosure, every part of which is commanded from its summit. A few feet distant from the northern glacis, is a small conical mound, surrounded with shallow excavations, from which the earth for its construction, and, perhaps, for the construction in part of the pyramidal structure, was taken. To the right of the elevation, and near the eastern angle of the enclosure, is a smaller elevation one hundred and twenty feet long, fifty broad, and six feet high. It had graded ascents at its ends, similar in all respects to those just described. It is now much obliterated. Near the northern angle of the work is another elevation, not distinctly marked. The two larger squares are covered with a close turf, and still preserve their symmetry. Indeed, no erections of earth alone could surpass them in regularity. They are perfectly level on the top, except where some uprooted tree has displaced the earth. There is a passage or gateway one hundred and fifty feet wide, in the middle of the left wall of this enclosure, on the side next the Muskingum. Leading from it towards the river, and at right angles to the embankment, is the " Sacra Via,'''' a graded or covered way of singular construction. It is six hundred and eighty feet long by one hundred and fifty wide between the banks, and consists of an excavated passage descending regularly from the plain, upon which the works just described are situated, to the alluvions of the river. The earth, in part at least, is thrown outward upon either side, forming embankments from eight to ten feet in height. The centre of the excavated way is slightly raised and rounded, after the manner of the paved streets of modern cities. The cross section g h exhibits this feature. This section is constructed from measurements taken at a point midway between the top and base of the grade. Measured between the summits of the banks, the width of the way is two hundred and thirty feet. At the base of the grade, the walls upon the interior are twenty feet high. From this point there is a slight descent, for the distance of several hundred feet, to the bank of the river, which is here thirty-five or forty feet in height. It has been conjectured by some, that the river flowed immediately at the foot of this way at the time of its construction. This is, however, mere conjecture, unsupported by evidence. If admitted, it would give to this monument an antiquity greatly superior to that of the pyramids, unless the deepening of our river channels has been infinitely more rapid in times past, than at present. But one fact favors the conjecture, and that is the entire absence of remains of antiquity upon the beautiful terraces to which this graded passage leads. They may nevertheless have been once as thickly populated as they now are; and this passage may have been the grand avenue leading to the sacred plain above, through which assemblies and processions passed, in the solemn observances of a mysterious worship.
     To the south of the smaller enclosure is a finely formed truncated mound, (a view of which is given in a subsequent Plate,) thirty feet high, and surrounded by a circular wall, constituting a perfect ellipse, the transverse and conjugate diameters of which are two hundred and thirty feet, and two hundred and fifteen feet respectively.* This beautiful monument is now enclosed in the public cemetery, and is carefully guarded from encroachment. A flight of steps ascends to its summit, on which seats are disposed, and from which a beautiful prospect is commanded In the vicinity occur several fragmentary walls, as shown in the map.
     Excavations, or "dug holes," are observable at various points around these works. Near the great mound are several of considerable size. Those indicated by m and n in the plan have been regarded and described as wells. Their regularity and former depth are the only reasons adduced in support of this belief. The circumstance of regularity is not at all remarkable, and is a common feature in excavations manifestly common feature in excavations manifestly made for the purpose of procuring material for the construction of mounds, etc. Their present depth is small, though it is represented to have been formerly much greater. There is some reason for believing that they were dug in order to procure clay for the construction of pottery and for other purposes, inasmuch as a very fine variety of that material occurs at this point, some distance below the surface. The surface soilhas recently been removed, and the manufacture of bricks commenced. The " clay lining" which has been mentioned as characterizing these "wells," is easily accounted for, by the fact that they are sunk in a clay bank!
     Upon the opposite side of the Muskingum river are bold, precipitous bluffs, several hundred feet in height. Along their brows are a number of small stone mounds. They command an extensive view, and overlook the entire plain upon which the works here described are situated.*
     Such are the principal facts connected with these interesting remains. The generally received opinion respecting them is, that they were erected for defensive purposes. Such was the belief of the late President HARRISON, who visited them in person, and whose opinion, in matters of this kind, is entitled to great weight. The reasons for this belief have never been presented, and they are not very obvious. The number and width of the gateways, the absence of a fosse, as well as the character of the enclosed and accompanying remains, present strong objections to the hypothesis which ascribes to them a warlike origin. And it may here be remarked, that the conjecture that the Muskingum ran at the base of the graded way already described, at the period of its erection, seems to have had its origin in the assumption of a military design in the entire group. Under this hypothesis, it was supposed that the way was designed to cover or secure access to the river,— an object which it would certainly not have required the construction of a passageway one hundred and fifty feet wide to effect. The elevated squares were never designed for military purposes,—their very regularity of structure forbids the conclusion. They were most likely erected as the sites for structures which have long since passed away, or for the celebration of unknown rites,—corresponding in short, in purpose as they do in form, with those which they so much resemble in Mexico and Central America. Do not these enclosed structures give us the clue to the purposes of the works with which they are connected? As heretofore remarked, the sacred grounds of almost every people are set apart or designated by enclosures of some kind.
     The absolute identity in size between the smaller enclosure, (which varies a little from a true square,) and several of those which occur in the Scioto valley, should not be overlooked, in any attempt to educe the character and design of the group. That there is some significance in the fact is obvious. (See Plates XVI and XVII.) There are no other works in the immediate vicinity of Marietta. At Parkersburgh, Virginia, on the Ohio, twelve miles below, there is an enclosure of irregular form and considerable extent, a miniature plan of which, from the MSS. of Prof. Rafinesque, is herewith presented, Fig. 18. There are also some works at Belpre, opposite Parkersburgh.
     The valley of the Muskingum is for the most part narrow, affording few of those broad, level, and fertile terraces, which appear to have been the especial favorites of the race of mound-builders, and upon which most of their monuments are found. As a consequence, we find few remains of magnitude in that valley, until it assumes a different aspect, in the vicinity of Zanesville, ninety miles from its mouth, where the interesting remains figured in the preceding Plate are situated.

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