Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/682

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664
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

wheat field glistens with fragments, yellow, blue, purple, red, lavender, and veined in many hues. The forest, too, has set its stamp of age upon the scene, and an old chestnut stump growing on the side of one of the excavations, upon which we counted one hundred and ninety-five rings, proves that the workman must have abandoned his shaft to the growth of underbrush about the time (1682) that William Penn bought his first tract of land from Indians on the Delaware.

And then, as, standing before the ancient works of the mound builders at Grave Creek, Marietta, and Newark, a strange feeling

PSM V43 D682 Pointed cast showing the stone tool marks.jpg

Fig. 2. — Part of a, Fig. 1, enlarged, showing Stone Tool Marks.

born of awe steals over us, so here by degrees the scene assumes its true hue of wonder. We have had a glance beyond the boundary lines of history into the unillumined darkness of this continent's past, and for a moment heard the echoes of that vast forest mysterious with the fate of lost races that for ages darkened the New World before the coming of Columbus and De Soto.

It was important to learn that at Vera Cruz and Macungie, farmers, believing the excavations to have been the work of early Spanish gold-seekers, had dug deep trenches across several of them to find that some, judging from traces of disturbance in the soil, had reached a depth of forty feet; that one was square rather than round; that in those examined there had been no tunneling done, the lateral enlargements having been made from the surface downward.

In the bottom of two pits it was alleged that charcoal was found, and in one case, deep buried in clay at the very bottom, the remains of a textile fabric, and several decayed billets of wood about two feet and a half in length, with points at one end, blackened by charring. In all instances pure nodules of jasper were to a great extent wanting in the pits, but were found imbedded in the soil as soon as the unworked edges of the excavations were reached.

Our own preliminary work proved that in one of the diggings at least the miners had not attacked a solid vein of jasper, but, finding it in bowlders on the surface, had removed these, to work out others imbedded beneath them; and when in the undisturbed bottom of our shaft, at a depth of nineteen feet, we dug out a small, yellow-coated nodule, we were but continuing the long-suspended process of the quarryman, who, prying out the masses one