Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/77

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67
DIFFICULTIES OF DEVELOPMENT, ETC.

a mile and a half in length, part of the way cut through solid rock. Artificial reservoirs for water were made within it, while at one extremity, on a more elevated point, a keep is constructed with its separate defenses and water-reservoirs. Another, called Clark's Work, in the Scioto Valley, which seems to have been a fortified town, incloses an area of one hundred and twenty-seven acres, the embankments measuring three miles in length, and containing not less than three million cubic feet of earth. This area incloses numerous sacrificial mounds and symmetrical earthworks in which many interesting relics and works of art have been found.

The second class—the sacred inclosures—may be compared for ex tent and arrangement with Avebury or Carnak—but are in some respects even more remarkable. One of these, at Newark, Ohio, covers an area of several miles with its connected groups of circles, octagons, squares, ellipses, and avenues, on a grand scale, and formed by embankments from twenty to thirty feet in height. Other similar works occur in different parts of Ohio, and by accurate survey it is found not only that the circles are true, though some of them are one-third of a mile in diameter, but that other figures are truly square, each side being over one thousand feet long, and, what is still more important, the dimensions of some of these geometrical figures in different parts of the country, and seventy miles apart, are identical. Now, this proves the use, by the builders of these works, of some standard measures of length, while the accuracy of the squares, circles, and, in a less degree, of the octagonal figures, shows a considerable knowledge of rudimentary geometry, and some means of measuring angles. The difficulty of drawing such figures on a large scale is much greater than any one would imagine who has not tried it, and the accuracy of these is far beyond what is necessary to satisfy the eye. We must therefore impute to these people 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 organization implied by the construction of such extensive systematic works, we must allow that these people had reached the earlier stages of a civilization 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