Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/632

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
614
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

Quebec in 1535 were familiar with the fact that Saguenay was a copper-bearing region. John Gilmary Shea, LL. D., says (Shea's "Charlevoix"): "The Saguenay of the St. Lawrence Indians was evidently the Lake Superior region, and possibly the ports accessible by the Mississippi. The river Saguenay was not so called from being in but from leading to Saguenay." Thus, at a distance of from eight hundred to one thousand miles from its origin, Cartier in 1535, and Champlain in 1610, encountered Indians who informed them of the manner of mining, and of manufacturing copper implements, Champlain stating that the copper was melted.

It is not presumed that this is a complete list of historic references to the use of copper and copper mining by the Indians, but it is amply sufficient to show that it is not necessary to invoke a strange race, prior to the Indian, to account for all the copper implements and the nuggets of copper that have been found in the mounds, as well as for those found on the surface of the ground throughout the Northwest.

The term mound-builders is distinctively applied to the race that constructed the remarkable earthworks of the valley of the Ohio, and of the interior of the United States in general, but it is true that in nearly all parts of the world the practice of mound-building has prevailed, sometimes among nations that come within historical epochs. Mounds are found among the Celts and the Scythians, in the Sandwich Islands and in New Zealand, in Japan and India, and throughout the central parts of the Eastern Continent, as well as in both Americas, from the country of the Esquimaux to Chili and Fuegia. The earliest of human records refer distinctly to this method of honoring the dead. The heroic age of Greece, as sung by Homer, abounded with ceremonies and curious details relating to the tumulus erected over the bones of the slain hero. The burial of Patroclus, as related in the twenty-third book of the "Iliad," is an illustration of the practice of mound-building by the ancient Greeks:

"The sacred relics to the tent they bore,
The urn a veil of linen covered o'er.
That done, they bid the sepulchre aspire,
And cast the deep foundations round the pyre;
High in the midst they heap the swelling bed
Of rising earth, memorial of the dead."

At the burial of Hector, the Trojans erect a pile of large stones over the urn containing his remains, and upon that pile up the tumulus. When ├ćneas buried the pilot of his fleet, Misenus, he

". . . piously heaped a mighty mound sepulchral."

Artach├Žas, superintendent of the canal at Athos, was honored by Xerxes with a memorial mound which still remains, in remembrance of the skill of that engineer, and an evidence of the custom of the