Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/219

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PREHISTORIC CANNIBALISM IN AMERICA.

The only implements of a warlike nature found in the garbage-heap were in the topmost strata, from which fact I would infer that their early occupation of this place had been a peaceful one, with the introduction of wars with rival tribes at a later date, forcing them to learn warfare as an art of defense.

The shrinking of the village site from so large an area to so small a one as the last walled in for more sure defense indicates the rapid depopulation of the village and increased danger of assault.

In one quarter of what I regard as the second epoch of the community I estimated as many as two thousand foundations of tepees. In that same portion of the village site, Dr. Lapham, in 1853, or about that time, took out of a grave in one of their temple foundations fragments of cloth made from vegetable fiber. They seem to have been a comparatively civilized people, among whom agriculture and manufacturing were carried on, and great order displayed in laying out their village and defending it with walls and other devices.

Of their cannibalism there can be no doubt after these discoveries. Had they been slain and eaten by their enemies, or by other tribes conquering them, their bones would not have been mingled with those of beasts, birds, and fishes taken in the same locality, and evenly distributed through eight feet of accumulating silt carried from the hills by a stream that only had water in it at extremely wet and short periods of the year, where the accumulation is not over three inches in a century, since the timber has all disappeared, and the plow has turned the soil every year for about forty years.

That the flesh of those bodies was eaten there can be no doubt, for no savage would go to the trouble to mutilate the dead bodies of friend or foe, to the extent of separating all the joints with a knife, chopping the bones three or four inches long, and splitting all those and only those containing marrow, and then finally mixing them with the bones of the animals he undoubtedly used as food, and throwing them into one common heap.

The diversity of the skeletons as indicated in their texture and physiological configurations would suggest to my mind that the persons eaten were probably taken prisoners in battles, with possibly some of their own number eaten as a sacrifice in their festivals and orgies, of which they must have had many, as indicated by the temple-like structures that existed among the variety of structures built by them. Their social life must have been highly developed, to hold them together in one village, and to create such strong defenses as its walls indicate, and to carry their industries to so high a degree of perfection as is indicated by the relics referred to above.

The government of so large a body of primitive people would