The North American Review/Volume 1/Western Antiquities



I wish to propose an undertaking to the publick, which I hope some of our learned societies or liberal individuals may be disposed to prosecute. This is to explore those ancient entrenchments that are found in the western states, more effectually than has yet been done. All the speculations upon them, that I have seen, are founded on an examination of their superficial state. I have never heard of any attempt to search below the surface. It is very probable, if a trench five or six feet in depth were dug across them in different directions, or if some of the mounds near them were opened, that some remnants of tools, of warlike or domestick instruments, fragments of earthen vessels, &c. &c. might be discovered, that would at once decide the problem, by whom they were constructed. It is impossible that the people who are able to construct such extensive works, should not have possessed a variety of tools, and utensils of various descriptions; and it is extremely probable that fragments at least of these might be found if a civilized people had any thing to do with them, coins might perhaps be discovered. The expense of a very thorough investigation would be trifling. Five or six labourers skilfully directed for a week, would at least be sufficient to shew whether any light could be thrown on the origin of these antiquities, by making excavations. Perhaps the Antiquarian Society recently established here, may think this proposal worth their attention; or that the Historical Society would add to the valuable services they have rendered to the publick, by directing an effort of this nature to be made.

Boston, A. B.