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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/626

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

coveries of Dr. Koch in Missouri, and by the "elephant-pipe" lately brought to light in Louisa County, Iowa.[1]

Some of these characteristics it is only necessary to name, to enable any one to recognize also their belonging to the red-men who were here when Columbus discovered America, and who probably are identical with the Skrellings seen by the Norse adventurer, Thorwald Ericson, in 1002, described as having sallow-colored, ill-looking faces, ugly heads of hair, large eyes, and broad cheeks, coming to his ship in canoes for purposes of trade, but becoming hostile and treacherous. The various tribes into which the red-men were, and still are, divided, extended over the whole territory that is known to have been occupied by the mound-builders.

That they were an agricultural people, although given to warlike expeditions, and to long journeys for the purpose of trade and for rice-gathering and hunting, is also abundantly attested by the journals of the earliest explorers. Of these it is only necessary to refer to those of Hudson and Juet in the Half-Moon, who mention in several places the existence of extensive cultivated fields along the banks of the Hudson, and to the historians of De Soto's expedition, who speak frequently of Indian villages containing from fifty to six hundred dwellings, substantially constructed of wood, in which must have dwelt upward of two thousand persons. They frequently mention, also, extensive fields of corn, beans, pumpkins, and other vegetables. In one instance De Soto's army traveled two leagues through fields of corn, and sometimes large quantities of corn and of meal were obtained from the houses (vide Irving's "Conquest of Florida").

The fact that the aborigines worked stone, using stone axes, arrowheads, disks, wedges, hammers, pestles, and scrapers, is authenticated not only by the testimony of early writers, but also by the continuance of the same custom nearly if not quite up to the present time among some of the most inaccessible tribes of North America, though they have almost wholly ceased to be used, in consequence of the metallic implements furnished them by the whites.

The manner of making pottery among the Mandan Indians is described in detail by Catlin, who states that "earthen dishes are made by the Mandan women in great quantities, and modeled in a thousand forms and tastes," and that they are nearly equal in hardness to our own manufactured pottery, though they knew not the art of glazing. Fragments of pottery, evidently made by these Indians, are found about Bismarck, in Dakota, and on the Heart River, and in various parts of northern Minnesota, where it was doubtless made by the Chippewas; and they greatly resemble the pottery taken from the mounds, being unglazed, gray, slightly baked or unbaked, and somewhat ornamented by lines and figures.

The articles of cloth that have been found in the mounds are made

  1. John T. Short, "The North Americans of Antiquity," p. 530.