Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/468

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452
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

holes being used to regulate the size of the thread. But all doubt vanishes when it is found that some "ash-pits," in which most of the relics have been found, contain pieces of coarse matting. This has been carbonized, so that it can not now be ascertained of what material it was made. Enough, however, remains to show that the fibers running one way are secured by twisted cords running across, and woven in and out between and around them.

As is very well known, the copper-mines of Lake Superior were extensively worked at an early day, and articles made of the copper are found all through the valleys of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. The present cemetery is no exception, for fragments of copper are quite common. The pieces are mostly small, however, and do not seem to have been in very general use. In all probability the metal was highly prized, and used simply for personal adornment. The most of the pieces are simply coiled or rolled, and Fig. 15 represents

PSM V22 D468 Ancient copper ornaments from lake superior area.jpg
Fig. 15.

common shapes. These two pieces still have the remains of a leather thong in them, showing that they had been used like beads. Another piece is a sort of copper bell, made of a single piece of metal, with a hole in the side, a handle, and a small piece of copper inside, which rattles when the bell is shaken. Still another large piece is like a cross with two arms, the use or purpose of it being entirely unknown. Objects like it have occasionally been found elsewhere. Squier and Davis[1] have figured a similar piece, but of silver, which they refer to the French Jesuits; and Professor Putnam figures another,[2] which differs in having only one arm. He considers it an ornament, "made in its present form simply because it is an easy design to execute, and one of natural conception." We must beg leave to differ from him in this latter point, for, if the design is one of natural conception, why do we make a point when it is found? Why are the forms like it not more numerous, and why does not the ornamented pottery have innumerable examples of it in the ornamentation?

Beads made of pieces of fresh-water and marine shells are found among the other remains. Sometimes pieces are cut from the mussel-shell, rubbed round, and then a hole bored. Sometimes specimens of Melania or Paludina holes bored near the aperture, and were then used as beads. The beads made of marine shells show that some system of barter or commerce existed with the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf.

  1. "Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley," p. 208.
  2. "Eleventh Annual Report of the Peabody Museum of Archæology and Ethnology," p. 307.