Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/680

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

valuable information can be diffused throughout the land; and not the least of the benefit which will come from such work will be the moral effect of intelligent study and the pleasure and satisfaction of working out understandingly some of the many perplexing problems of every-day living.

 

PREHISTORIC JASPER MINES IN THE LEHIGH HILLS.
By H. C. MERCER.

BEGINNING at Durham, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and following the trend of the Lehigh hills toward the Schuylkill near Reading, and generally in close connection with veins of hematite, occurs a series of outcrops of the hard homogeneous rock known as jasper. This many-colored stone with its smooth, conchoidal fracture stood somewhat in the same relation to the North American Indian that iron stands to us. With it he fashioned his best spears, perforators, knives, arrowheads, and scrapers. No less diligently did he seek for it than does the man of the nineteenth century search for that great lever of his power and progress, iron; and no less persistently did he quarry it, shape it to his needs, and transport it to great distances.

So Indians in the West had been known to quarry jasper at the now famous "Flint Ridge," in Ohio; novaculite at their great quarries in Garland County, Arkansas; jasper, or hornstone, again in the Indian Territory; quartzite at Piney Branch, in the District of Columbia; obsidian, or volcanic glass, in the Yellowstone Park and Mexico, and other workable stones at other places. But whence the jasper supply came from east of the Alleghanies has long remained a mystery. Even the State geological surveys did not seem to recognize the existence of jasper in the eastern Lehigh hills; so that the recent series of discoveries, by expeditions in the interest of the University of Pennsylvania, have thrown an unexpected light upon the story of ancient man in the Delaware Valley.

The thanks of the university are due to Mr. Charles Laubach, of Durham, who first introduced the explorers, in 1801, to the aboriginal jasper quarry on Rattlesnake Hill, at Durham, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and to Mr. A. F. Berlin, of Allentown, who, by a series of valuable clews, greatly furthered the work of subsequent research.

How did the Indian, armed only with tools of wood, bone, stone, or beaten native copper, make the excavations, sometimes quite twenty feet in depth and one hundred in diameter? Did he use pickaxes made of deer antlers, as did the ancient flint-workers