Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/369

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355
SETTLEMENTS OF THE PACIFIC COAST.

therefore, evident that the layer of sand covering its rocky ground is artificial, and placed there by the aborigines, not a natural deposit accumulated by drifts, etc. The mound begins at the brink of the bluff, some thirty feet above high-water mark, and extends back over a flat of a little more than one hundred yards, toward the ascending hill, diminishing gradually in height, and ceasing entirely before the rocky outcroppings are reached, whence the ground rises rapidly into a ridge, forming a spur of the backbone of the island (see Fig. 2). Investigation revealed the artificial formation to consist of a layer of shells, most of which are still found among the living species on the island, bones of fish, sea-fowl, seal, and sea-lions, and whales, dogs and foxes, and a great mass of cobble-stones of all sizes, especially of the size of a fist as used for fireplaces, and chippings of different varieties of chert, chalcedony, jasper, quartz, etc.—rocks suitable for the manufacture of knives, arrow-heads, spear-points, and other cutting tools, which do not occur in situ on the island and had to be imported. The whole is mixed with a large quantity of sand, reaching to a depth of about five feet at its deepest part, where formerly the dwellings stood. Underneath the layer of animal remains, the kjokken möddings kitchen-middens or cooking débris—of a former people, pure sand is met in which we find but few valves of an edible shell-fish, or beach-rocks showing marks of fire, or such marks as are made by human hands, and were probably introduced while the dwelling-mound was raised preparatory

PSM V10 D369 Settlement geological foundations.jpg
Fig. 3.

to the erection of the hut. The sand—which was either carried there overland, or in canoes from some neighboring sand-bank—attains a depth of about three to four feet, and is deepest around the circular depressions of the house-sites, indicating the embankments which had been raised around the huts. The section, Fig. 3, represents a site of a former dwelling as now found, and its original depth, as indicated by broken lines, may occasionally be traced by still remaining upright boards of the former subterranean inclosure. After the erection of the dwellings, the accumulation of the kjokken möddings began to spread all over the town-site, but was kept imbedded in sand by fresh supplies, thus raising the level of the village gradually, and increasing the depth of the subterranean part of the hut until the latter was deserted, or built over with a new structure.