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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/179

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169
VINLAND AND ITS RUINS.

rounded by upright stones at the four corners and filled with oak charcoal, but no ashes, was the distinctive feature of this ruin, and resembled the cooking fireplaces of the Icelanders, The absence of ashes has been accounted for by absorption in the soft clay soil. Ashes often disappear in PSM V56 D0179 Old wall at fort william henry in maine.pngOld Wall at Fort William Maine. this way, but can be detected with acids.

Although the outline of the walls of the long house can only be suggested, the few stones which were found at the base of the old walls were placed about a metre and a half apart, as in the walls of the Saga-time. This, so far as is known, is peculiar to that period and race. Iroquois long houses were constructed for communal use, and were usually from one hundred to three hundred feet long. The chief traces left are fire rows and kitchen middens. They are not known to have used stone foundations, nor to have made any attempt at regularity of outline. The drawing shows the method of construction of these long houses, which were built only by the Indians of the Iroquois tribe.

Depressions which appeared to be the sites of old huts were in the hillside back of the terrace on which the long house stood, but the roadway in front had apparently destroyed all but one of these, and had also carried away the front wall of this.

This hut was four metres across the front, and may have been five metres deep. When the sod, stones, and the clearings, which had been thrown in from the cultivated field above, were all removed, the remains of two side walls were found, supported and protected by the upper portions of these same walls which had slipped down from above and lay close to them, forming a compact mass of earth and stones. None of the stones in this wall were in contact with each other, being separated by two or three inches of dark earth such as results from the decay of vegetable matter. There was no fireplace. The manner of constructing these walls was the counterpart of Icelandic work. I shall now show you how this differs from post-Columbian cellars.

This is a photograph of a ruin in the Thjór's River Valley, in Iceland. It shows the sod between the stones closely packed but