Page:The American Indian.djvu/168

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feet. The natives usually worked out the "blanks" on the spot, leaving behind a great mass of chips among which the archæologist finds many rejects and abandoned forms.

Some fairly successful attempts have been made to trace the materials of which stone implements are made to particular known diggings, from which it appears that the natives made long journeys for this purpose. The method has, however, not been carried far enough to bring definite results. Some recent studies for the lower Hudson show that we have here a very important method from which much may be expected in the future.

Outside the regions of high culture the only important copper workings were those of Lake Superior. Free copper was gathered in many places, particularly west of Hudson Bay and in Alaska, but no evidences of extensive mining have come to hand for these sections. As just stated, very extensive workings have been noted at Lake Superior, from which stone hammers to the weight of twenty-six pounds have been collected in the ancient pits; in one instance a wooden shovel, a bowl, and a ladder were recovered. The aboriginal method of taking out the virgin copper seems to have been cracking by heat, breaking, and wedging. In one pit twenty-six feet deep a six-ton piece of copper had been worked out and raised five feet on an incline of logs by wedging; most of the supporting timbers and wedges were still in place.[1]

Some copper may have been mined in the Pueblo region before Spanish days, but we have no data as to methods. Our knowledge of operations in Mexico and Peru are equally vague, though here they must have been prosecuted on a far larger and more systematic scale.


Lake Superior copper needed but to be beaten into shape and was, therefore, an ideal primitive metal. Particularly in Wisconsin we find copper duplicates of the most important stone tools, which are less intensively distributed over the whole of the eastern maize area. However, in the immediate vicinity of the mines, we encounter a few departures from

  1. Holmes, 1901. I.