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therefore impute to the builders the wish to make these figures as accurate as possible ; and this wish is a greater proof of habitual skill and intellectual advancement than even the ability to draw such figures. If, then, we take into account this ability and this love of geometric truth, and further consider the dense population and civil organisation implied by the construction of such extensive systematic works, we must allow that these ancient people had reached the carlier stages of a civilisation of which no traces existed among the savage tribes who alone occupied the country when first visited by Europeans.
The animal mounds are of comparatively less importance for our present purpose, as they imply a somewhat lower grade of advancement; but the sepulchral and sacrificial mounds exist in vast numbers, and their partial exploration has yielded a quantity of articles and works of art which throw some further light on the peculiarities of this mysterious people. Most of these mounds contain a large concave hearth or basin of burnt clay, of perfectly symmetrical form, on which are found deposited more or less abundant relics, all bearing traces of the action of fire. We are therefore only acquainted with such articles as are practically fire-proof, or have accidentally escaped combustion. These consist of bone and copper implements and ornaments, disks, and tubes ; pearl, shell, and silver beads, more or less injured by the fire; ornaments cut in mica ; ornamental pottery ; and numbers of claborate carvings in stone, mostly forming pipes for smoking. The metallic articles are
! Woven cloth, apparently of fax or homp, as well as gauges supposed to have lieen used to regulate the thickness of the thread, have also been found
all formed by hammering, but the execution is very good; plates of mica are found cut into scrolls and circles; the pottery, of which very few remains have been found, is far superior to that of any of the Indian tribes, since Dr. Wilson is of opinion that it must have been formed on a wheel, as it is often of uniform thickness throughout (sometimes not more than one-sixth of an inch), polished, and ornamented with scrolls and figures of birds and flowers in delicate relief. But the most instructive objects are the sculptured stone pipes, representing not only various casily recognizable animals, but also human heads, so well executed that they appear to be portraits. Among the animals, not only are such native forms as the panther, bear, otter, wolf, beaver, raccoon, heron, crow, turtle, frog, rattlesnake, and many others well represented, but also the manatee, which perlaps then ascended the Mississippi as it now does the Amazon, and the toucan, which could hardly have been obtained nearer than Mexico. The sculptured leails are especially remarkable, because they present to 115 the features of an intellectual and civilised people. The nose in some is perfectly straight, and neither prominent nor dilated; the mouth is small, and the lips thin ; the chin and upper lip are short, contrasting with the ponderous jaw of the modern Indian, while the cheek-bones present no marked prominence. Other examples have the nose somewhat projecting at the apex in a manner quite unlike the features of any American indigenes; and although there are some which show a much coarser face, it is very difficult to see in any of in several of the mounds of Ohio. (Foster's Prehistoric Ruces of the United States, 1873, pp. 223-229.)
them that close resemblance to the Indian type which these sculptures have been said to exhibit. The few authentic crania from the mounds present corresponding fcatures, being far more symmetrical and better developed in the frontal region than those of any American tribes, although somewhat resembling them in the occipital outline;' while one was described by its discoverer (Mr. W. Marshall Anderson) as a “beautiful skull,worthy of a Greek.”
The antiquity of this remarkable race may perhaps not be very great as compared with the prehistoric man of Europe, although the opinion of some writers on the subject seems affected by that “parsimony of time” on wliich the late Sir Charles Lyell so often dilated. The mounds are all overgrown with dense forest, and one of the large trees was estimated to be 800 years old, while other observers consider the forest growth to indicate an age of at least 1,000 years. But it is well known that it requires several generations of trees to pass away before the growth on a deserted clearing comes to correspond with that of the surrounding virgin forest, while this forest, once established, may go on growing for an unknown number of thousands of years. The S00 or 1,000 years estimate from the growth of existing vegetation is a minimum which has no bearing whatever on the actual age of these mounds ; and we might almost as well attempt to determine the time of the glacial epoch from the age of the pines or oaks which now grow on the moraines.
The important thing for us, however, is that when North America was first settled by Europeans, the Indian
1 Wilson's Prehistoric Van, 3rd edit. vol. ii. pp. 123-130.
tribes inhabiting it had no knowledge or tradition of any preceding race of higher civilisation than themselves. Yet we find that such a race existed ; that they must have been populous and have lived under some established government; while there are signs that they practised agriculture largely, as, indeed, they must have done to have supported a population capable of executing such gigantic works in such vast profusion ; for it is stated that the mounds and earthworks of various kinds in the state of Ohio alone, amount to between eleven and twelve thousand. In their habits, customs, religion, and arts, they differed strikingly from all the Indian tribes; while their love of art and of geometric forms, and their capacity for executing the latter upon so gigantic a scale, render it probable that they were a really civilised people, although the form their civilisation took may have been very different from that of later peoples, subject to very different influences and the inheritors of a longer series of ancestral civilisations. We have here, at all events, a striking example of the transition, over an extensive country, from comparative civilisation to comparative barbarism, the former leaving no tradition and hardly any trace of its influence on the latter.
As Mr. Mott well remarks :- Nothing can be more striking than the fact that Easter Island and North America both give the same testimony as to the origin of the savage life found in them, although in all circumstances and surroundings the two cases are so different. If no stone monuments had been constructed in Easter Island, or mounds containing a few relics savel from fire, in the United States, we might never have suspected
the existence of these ancient peoples. He argues, therefore, that it is very easy for the records of an ancient nation's life entirely to perish or to be hidden from observation. Even the arts of Nineveh and Babylon were unknown only a generation ago, and we have only just discovered the facts about the mound-builders of North America.
But other parts of the American continent exhibit parallel phenomena. Recent investigations show that in Mexico, Central America, and Peru the existing race of Indians has been preceded by a distinct and more civilised race. This is proved by the sculptures of the ruined cities of Central America, by the more ancient terra-cottas and paintings of Mexico, and by the oldest portrait-pottery of Peru. All alike show markedly non-Indian features, while they often closely resemble modern European types. Ancient crania, too, have been found in all these countries, presenting very different characters from those of any of the existing indigenous races of America.?
The Great Pyramid.—There is one other striking example of a higher being succeeded by a lower degree of knowledge, which is in danger of being forgotten because it has been made the foundation of theories which seem wild and fantastic, and are probably in great part erroneous. I allude to the Great Pyramid of Egypt, whose form, dimensions, structure, and uses have recently been the subject of claborate works by Prof. Piazzi Smyth. Now the admitted facts about the Pyramid are so interesting and so apposite to the subject
1 Wilson's l'irhistoric Man, 3rd edit. vol. ii. pp. 125, 1.11.