Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 15.djvu/507

This page has been validated.

They appeared to be mostly the work of nature adopted with but little change, if any, by man for his own uses. However, on this point the different members of the party failed to agree.

What this race cooked, baked, or burned in them yet remains to be seen. From the quantity of the deposit, and as no human remains have been found, nor any semblance of graves, it may be that their method of disposing of the dead was by cremation.

Now, who and what were these people? The modern Indians know nothing of them, never inhabit caves, and say that none of their traditions show that their ancestors ever lived in them.

They could not have been a race of giants, for the caves inhabited by them were too small for their accommodation. Yet here was a colony living at an altitude of eight thousand feet above the level of the present sea, the nearest water at this time being the river two and a half miles away, and to reach it an abrupt descent must be made of several hundred feet. Appearances and surroundings indicate that these caves were inhabited during the period when the San Luis Valley was an immense lake or sea; and when that valley was a lake where was the rest of America? The valley is seven thousand feet above the ocean, and a natural inference would prompt one to conclude that most of the continent was under water.

I will here state that though interested in the subject, I am not enough versed in it to venture my opinions before those who have made it a life-long study, but would ask, If the cave-dwellers were among the earliest developments of man, and these Colorado men were cave-dwellers at the period of general moisture, with a tropical climate preceding them, is it reasonable to suppose that they could reach this point from Asia?

It is easy to follow these people from their traces as they improved in knowledge with time. They passed southward, apparently following the warm climate, stopping for ages at a time in some now sterile valley, which when occupied by them must have been rich and fertile; their gradually improving architecture extending down the La Plata, Mancos, San Juan, and Colorado Rivers, through Arizona, and, as I before said, culminating in the comparatively modern buildings of the highly intelligent Aztecs.



IT fell to my lot to be the first in this country to investigate the action of hydrate of chloral after the remarkable discovery of its properties as a narcotic by the distinguished and original Liebreich. At the meeting of the British Association, held at Exeter in the year