FIG. 1 .-The Lenape Stone--Aboriginal picture representing Indians fighting the Hairy Mammoth
--discovered in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, 1872 and 1881.
THE LENAPE STONE
THE INDIAN AND THE MAMMOTH
H. C. MERCER
NEW YORK & LONDON
G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS
The Knickerbocker Press
H . C. MERCER
G. P. PUTNAMS SONS
IN claiming an impartial examination of so extraordinary a carving as the "Lenape Stone" at the hands of archaeologists, the writer has had several difficulties to contend with.
First, The fact that, the carving is quite unique, it being the first aboriginal carving of the mammoth thus fat claimed to have been discovered in North America.
Second, That no "scientific observer" was present at the discovery.
Third, That since its discovery the Stone has been several times cleaned, and that thereby many geological tests of its authenticity have been rendered impossible.
Fourth, That within the last few years, and particularly in Philadelphia, serious frauds have been perpetrated upon lovers of Indian relics.
These considerations may well have been sufficient to prejudice the mind of a stranger against the alleged wonderful Indian relic, yet they should in no case suffice to prevent, on the part of the archaeologists, a thorough and impartial examination of all the evidence pertaining to its discovery.
In presenting this and other evidence, the writer has wished only to be impartial, and to be led by the facts as they have presented themselves, and for the examination of which his opportunities have been peculiarly favorable.
In his knowledge of the neighborhood and its people (his home), an acquaintance with all the persons concerned, and very frequent visits to the Hansell Farm, nothing has yet occurred to shake his faith in the unimpeachable evidence of an honest discovery. Yet should any fresh light be brought to bear upon the subject, however at variance with this opinion, it will be welcomed.
The appearance in America of a carving of the hairy mammoth, presumably the work of our aborigines, if not a surprise to students of archaeology, would certainly be no less interesting than the French discoveries of some twenty years ago; while the ready connection of the work with the Indian of comparatively recent times, the appearance of human figures in the carving, and of many symbols which seem related to highly important branches of archaeological study, would awaken a more general and enthusiastic interest in the Stone, than has been felt for any other prehistoric representation of the great elephant.
A disbelief in its authenticity would leave us with an interest, not inconsiderable, in the unknown person who, after months of careful Study and preparation, could have conceived and executed so remarkable a fraud.
Page 81, line 2, for Delaware read Susquehannok.
Page 81, line 4, for Delaware read Susquehannok.
THE LENAPE STONE.
IN the spring of 1872, eight years after the discovery of the famous mammoth carving in the cave of La Madeleine, Perigord, France, Barnard Hansell, a young farmer, while ploughing on his father's farm, four miles and a half east of Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, saw, to use his own words, a "queer stone" lying on the surface of the ground, and close to the edge of the new furrow. The plough had just missed turning it under. He stopped and picked it up; it was the larger piece of the fractured "gorget stone," in fig. 1, (frontispiece). By wetting his thumb and rubbing it he could see strange lines and a carving representing an animal like an elephant, but without troubling his boyish head much about it, he carried it several days in his pocket, and finally locked it up in his chest, where, along with his other relics, arrow-heads, spear-points, axes, and broken banner stones, thrown in from time to time as he found them on the farm, it remained until the spring of 1881, when he sold it to Mr. Henry Paxon, son of a well-known resident of the neighborhood, then a youth of nineteen, and with a fancy for collecting Indian antiquities, in whose possession it still remains. [See Hansell's sworn statement in the appendix.] At the moment of the purchase no particular attention had been paid to the carvings, and the new owner was not certain that he had noticed the mammoth while at Hansell's house, or until a few hours later, when he had brought home his trophies and shown them to his Father, who distinctly remembers calling his sons attention to the rude outline of an elephant upon the stone.
But without doubt the singular part, of the story is the unexpected finding of the smaller piece of the fractured stone a few months later. After many ineffectual searches for it in the intervening years, it was picked up by Hansell while corn-husking with his brother in the same field and at the same spot where nine years before the first piece had been found. This luckily discovered fragment Hansell presented to Mr. Paxon. Several persons of the neighborhood had seen the stone at Mr. Paxon's house both before and after the discovery of the second piece, but it was not until both parts had been some months in his possession that any unusual interest was attached to it even by him.
Some time in July, 1882, Captain J. S. Bailey, of the Bucks County Historical Society, to whom the writer in preparing the present article must acknowledge his great indebtedness, and who first called serious attention to the archaeological value of the stone, made it the subject of a paper read before the Society, but since that time, although displayed at a county exhibition and twice shown at meetings of the Society above mentioned, this remarkable relic has remained unheard of.
This is the simple story of most great archaeological discoveries; no "man of science" was at hand to analyze the condition of the surrounding soil, or satisfy himself that a fraud had not been committed, and a hundred questions now arise as to the finder of the stone, and its present owner, its long unrecognized importance, the whereabouts of Bucks, County, Pennsylvania, etc., etc. The "modern scientist" will by no means be satisfied with such evidence as would be held sufficient in a court of law, and every fraud that has been perpetrated upon the lover of Indian relics adds to the necessity of carefully examining each detail of the discovery--nothing must be believed except upon the strongest evidence.
For a full discussion of this evidence the reader is referred to the appendix.
Several circumstances seem to concur in adding to the novelty of the discovery. In the first place the carving has been made upon one of the so-called "gorget stones," than which no class of Indian relics have been more puzzling to archaeologists.. Our museums are well-supplied with these mysterious perforated tablets of slate, generally resembling in size and shape the stone represented in fig. 1, and which are found in all parts of the United States. Ornaments, talismans, breastplates, or buttons, as we may choose to call them, they, seem to have been the peculiar property of the North American Indian, without a counterpart, as far as the writer can learn, in the stone implements of other uncivilized races. They seem often to have been buried with the dead warrior and when discovered in Indian graves are generally close to the breast of the skeleton. [Nothing seems to contribute so much to the problem of their use as the absence, in most cases, of any sign of friction around the holes. Similar stones have been found recently seen in use by the Pah-Utes of Southern Nevada, "for giving uniform size to their bow-strings," yet the clean edges of the perforation, make it imposible to believe that these stones could have been used for that purpose, while the difficulty of supposing they could have been used as buttons, or that they could have been suspended at all is almost as great, unless we adopt the very ingenious theory of Dr. F. W. Putnam, i.e., that the raw deer thong used for suspending them, and forced tightly through the holes, becoming hard when dry, remained motionless in its, place, and rendered friction impossible.] Gorgets are frequently scratched and scribbled upon, and ornamental zig-zags and cross-lines, like the faint scratches plainly to be seen on the Lenape stone crossing the carvings in all directions, are not uncommon on these stones, pipes, banner stones, and other Indian implements; but picture-writings proper, such as are commonly found painted upon buffalo robes, scratched upon birch bark, or carved upon the face of cliffs or large boulders, are exceedingly rare on small stones, and the tablet in question is the only known instance, the writer believes, of a pictured gorget. The carving, when compared with the larger and more conventional Muzzinabiks or rock-writings and birch-bark records of the Indians, seems to lack much of the symbolic obscurity common to these production of the prophets and medicine men. It doubtless belongs to the less hieratic class of writings, known among the Algonkins as "Kekeewin," which dealt with things generally understood by the tribe.
It is unquestionably a picture of a combat between savages and the hairy mammoth--an encounter such as our imagination has not yet connected with the ancient forests of America, and drawn as well as an Indian who had seen the great monster could have drawn it. Most of the figures seem represented according to the common conventional method of the modern Indians, yet there is certainly a seeming picturesque relation between them of which we can find no example in the few ancient Indian pictographs which have been preserved to us. We can almost fancy a foreground, a distance, and a faint chiarooscuro.
The combat we might imagine takes place on the confines of a forest, and if we may judge from an upward inclination of the foreground on the right, at the base of a hillside. The monster, angry, and with erect tail, approaches the forest, in which, through the pine trunks, are seen the wigwams of an Indian village. In the sky overhead, and as if presiding over the event, are ranged the powers of heaven: forked lightning flashes through the tree-tops, and from between a planet and the crescent moon, beyond which we seem to see a constellation (represented by a series of crossed lines) and two stars, the sun's face looks down upon the scene. Four human forms confront the monster, the first holds in his right hand a bow from which the arrow just discharged is sticking in the side of the enraged beast, and in his left, if it is not planted in the ground, a long lance; a second warrior with headdress of feathers stands farther to the right; and still farther, and near what may perhaps be called a rock, a third sits upon the ground apparently smoking a pipe. A fourth figure is easily distinguishable trampled under the fore feet of the mammoth.
The strong effect upon the fancy of the rude carving, as we gaze upon it, would be hard indeed to resist. Its stern naivete and characteristic lack of aesthetic purpose bring upon the mind a haunting sense of the reality of the event it represents, and our sympathies seem genuinely awakened for the four human beings who have dared to confront the monster with their rude weapons of stone, yet whose destiny, like that of their huge antagonist, is overshadowed by the near presence of a supernatural power, seen in the great phenomena of nature which the artist has connected with the scene. Well might the appearance of the hairy mammoth have excited in the superstitious mind of the Indian hunter fancies more wild than those contained in the carving. Hardly more thrilling could have been the coming of the white men in ships, or the sound of their cannon, than the sight of one of these ungainly monsters in the shadows of a primeval forest, or the crash of his irresistible advance through the underbrush.
[dat euntibus ingens Silva locum et magno cedunt virgulta fragore.]
Beckendorff, a Russian engineer, who, in 1846, saw a carcass entire, "a black, horrible, giant-like mass," floating on one of the rivers of Siberia, declared that its appearance to that of a modern Indian elephant was as "that of a coarse ugly dray-horse to an Arab steed." He also noticed a ridge of stiff hair like a mane about a foot in length and extending above the shoulders and along the back.
Its size, like that of the modern elephant, must have varied considerably. The famous St. Petersburg skeleton measures but nine feet in height, while that in the Royal Museum of Natural History in Brussels reaches eleven feet, and the animal in the carving, judging from the relative size of the figures, would have been still larger than Beckendorff's carcass, which he declares measured thirteen feet in height. Geology tells, us much of the aspect, epoch, habits, and range of the mammoth; that it had appeared later than the mastodon, and somewhere in the age known as the Pliocene; that there were several species--three at least--two of which were inhabitants of America; that in North America it ranged from Behring Strait to the Gulf of Mexico, and in Europe from the extremity of Eastern Siberia as far south as Rome and the Pyrenees; that it fed upon the branches of the fir, birch, poplar, willow, etc., and was probably migratory in its habits, wandering toward grazing grounds in the north in summer, and southward in winter.
The long shaggy hair with which it was clothed, distinguishing it in appearance from the modern elephant and its smaller contemporary, the mastodon, was composed of three distinct suits: the longest, rough, black bristles, about eighteen inches in length; the next, a coat of finer close-set hair, fawn-colored, from nine to ten inches long; and the last, a soft, reddish wool, about five inches long, filling up the interstices between the other hair, and enabling the animal to withstand an arctic, cold.
The enormous tusks measured along the curve from eleven to fifteen feet, and curved quite abruptly outward and backward.
The massive grinder, sometimes weighing seventeen pounds, was a conspicuous characteristic; the whole of its surface was not brought into use at once, but successively, new grinding-points being formed from behind as the outer and older points wore away.
Several etymologies have been given for the name "mammoth;" among others, the word "behemoth" in the Book of job, and the Arabic word "mehemot," signifying an elephant of very large size. One of the most interesting is the Tartar word "mamma," meaning the earth, suggested by Pallas, a Russian scientist, who first gave a description of the animal. "The Tungooses and Yakoots," he says, "believed that this animal worked its way in the earth like a mole. The mammoths had retired, they say, into great caverns from which they never emerge, but wander to and fro in the galleries; and as they pass into one the roof of the gallery rises, and the roof of the one just vacated sinks. The moment this animal sees the light it dies, and the reason why so many carcasses have been exposed to view is because of their having been deceived by the irregular conformation of the earth's. surface, thus unintentionally venturing beyond the confines of darkness."
[See an interesting little book, from which we here quote, entitled "Mastodon, Mammoth, and Man." By J.P. McLean. Cincinnati, 1880.]
Mastodon and mammoth bones have been discovered in Europe from the earliest times, and a history of the remarkable theories to which they had given rise before the time of Cuvier is very interesting. By the learned of by-gone times the fossils have been mistaken for the bones of Ajax, the "body of Orestes," unicorns, the teeth of St. Christopher, and the remains of Hannibal's elephants. The middle ages have given us a whole library on the subject of a race of giants, whose remains were clearly recognized in the huge bones.
In America, in colonial times, Governor Dudley, of Massachusetts, was "perfectly of opinion" that the mastodon tooth discovered near Albany in 1705 "will agree only to a human body, for whom the flood only could prepare a funeral; and without doubt he waded as long as he could keep his head above the clouds, but must at length be confounded with all other creatures."
At what period the monster became extinct in Europe is a question to which geology gives no answer from the point of view of human history. The evidence rests upon the variously computed age of the beds in which the fossil bones occur. In France, for instance, it is known that the mammoth, whose bones are found in the strata underlying, and therefore older than, the Somme Valley peat, became extinct before the peat stratum, thirty feet thick, which contains no bones, had formed. It had grown, says M. Boucher de Perthes, at the rate of three inches in a hundred years; and if, as geologists say, the mammoth bones of Niagara Falls were deposited in their bed before six miles of the present river gorge were worn by the cataract out of the solid rock, they may be, according to Lyell, 31,000, or Desors, 380,000 years old.
In Siberia, whence most of our information comes, many carcasses of these huge animals have been found preserved entire in the frozen mud. When and how did they perish? Possibly, says the geologist, all at once, overwhelmed by some sudden cataclysm, which, burying the carcasses in the mud, was immediately followed by an intense cold that has lasted ever since; possibly, again, great freshets in the northern rivers, overtaking the migrating herds, swept their carcasses from warmer regions to the shores of the Polar Sea.
In Europe, the fact that the mammoth survived, into the human period was proved some years ago by the discovery of human stone implements associated with mammoth bones in the river gravels of the Somme Valley, France, and in the Virgin Cave at Brixham, South Devon, England; but more interesting still, was the discovery of prehistoric carvings of the great elephant, sketches from nature made by the "cavemen," and found in their subterranean dwellings along the river Dordogne in France, illustrations of which will be given in the following pages.
In America, we have traces of a race of savages as old or older than the now famous river-drift and cave-men of Europe. Since the "Calaveras Man" lived, a valley, say geologists, has been metamorphosed, by the slow processes of nature, into a mountain; and the "San Joachim plummet," the "Trenton gravel-flints," and stone implements from the gold-bearing gravels of California, all speak of a race of human beings who must have lived in the time of the hairy mammoth.
But who were these people? Were they Indians? or had the Indian or his ancestor the mound-builder not yet appeared? and how many thousands or tens of thousands of years ago did they exist? These are questions which archaeology has not yet answered.
Here, however, with the carving before us we need not go back so far, nor beyond the Indian as we know him--the fierce, roving, bauble-loving, picture-making hunter of today. A study of the wonderful outlines on the stone will lead us through a period of his history extending over many hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years before the coming of Columbus; and here we may try to read, from the few vestiges of this time that chance has preserved to us, fragments of his picturesque mythology, strange legends of his origin and wanderings over a forest-covered continent, and the thrilling story of the mound-builders, and of long wars when the forest soil for centuries was a dark and bloody ground."
[A term, says Filson (Imlays' Topographical Description of the Western Territory, 2d Ed., p. 276) formerly applied by the Indians "to the fertile region now called Kentucky."]
That the mammoth had survived into the time of the Indian can hardly be doubted. Early travellers had frequently seen its bones at the "Big-Bone Licks" in Kentucky, whither the huge animals had come, like the deer and buffalo of modern times, to lick the salt. The great bones often seemed hardly older than those of the modern animals with which they were mingled, and, judging from their position along the modern buffalo-trails through the forest, it seems that the latter animals had followed the ancient tracks of the mammoth to and from the licks.
Not a few of these early travellers thought it worth their while to question the Indians about the huge bones and note down their answers. Jefferson, in his "Notes on Virginia," devotes several pages to the subject. He even believes the mammoth to be still in existence in his time in some remote part of the American continent. He tells the story of a Mr. Stanley, who, "taken prisoner by the Indians near the mouth of the Tanissee," relates that "after being transferred through several tribes from one to another, he was at length carried over the mountains west of the Missouri to a river which runs west-wardly; that these bones abounded there, and that the natives described to him the animal to which they belonged as still existing in the northern parts of their country, from which description he judged it to be an elephant."
Further, in support of his theory, he gives an Indian tradition of a great monster known as the Big Buffalo, and obtained, he says, from, a Delaware chief by one of the governors of Virginia during the American Revolution. Nothing has seemed more interesting in a study of the carvings on the Lenape Stone than the remarkable similarity between this tradition of the Lenni Lenape or Delawares and the carvings on this relic, discovered in the middle of their ancient territory. The chief, as the account runs, being asked as to the bones at the Big-Bone Licks in Kentucky, says that it was a tradition handed down from his fathers that "in ancient times a herd of these tremendous animals came to the Big-Bone Licks and began a universal destruction of the bear, deer, elks, buffaloes, and other animals which had been created for the use of the Indians. That the Great Man above, looking down and seeing this, was so enraged that he seized his lightning, descended on the earth, seated himself on a neighboring mountain, on a rock on which his seat and the print of his feet are still to be seen, and hurled his bolts among them till the whole were slaughtered except the big bull, who, presenting his forehead to the shafts, shook them off as they fell; but missing one at length, it wounded him in the side, where-on, springing around, he bounded over the Ohio, over the Wabache, the Illinois, and finally over the great lakes, where he is still living at this day."
Making due allowance for translation, and a reasonable amount of garbling, the points of similarity between the carving and the tradition--the great man above (the sun) looking down, the lightning, and the big bull presenting his forehead to the shafts, and at length wounded in the side--are very striking; and if we compare the curious circle enclosing a dot, on the inclined foreground to the right, with the "neigboring mountain," and the footprint on the rock of the, tradition, the correspondence seems again too unusual for mere coincidence. On the other hand, the tradition says nothing of warriors or wigwams, or of planets, moon, and stars, yet these differences may naturally be accounted for if we suppose the stone older than the tradition, and that in the latter the local and matter-of-fact elements of time, place, and human agency would have been the first to fade away as time went on. But this is not the only Indian tradition of a great monster--presumably the mammoth--which has been preserved to us.
The element of divine wrath, common to monster myths among barbarous peoples, again occurs in a Wyandot version of the same tradition, taken down from a band of Iroquois and Wyandots by Colonel G. Croghan, at the Salt Licks in Kentucky in 1748, and given in Winterbotham's "History of the United States," vol. iii., page 139. The head chief, says the writer, having been flattered with presents of tobacco, paint, ammunition, etc., on being asked about the large bones, related the ancient tradition of his people as follows: "That the red man, placed on this island by the Great Spirit, had been exceedingly happy for ages, but foolish young people forgetting his rules became ill-tempered and wicked, in consequence of which the Great Spirit created the Great Buffalo, the bones of which we now see before us. These made war upon the human species alone, and destroyed all but a few, who repented and promised the Great Spirit to live according to his laws if he would restrain the devouring enemy; whereupon he sent lightning and thunder, and destroyed the whole race in this spot, two excepted, a male and female, whom he shut up in yonder mountain, ready to let loose again should occasion require."
David Cusic, the Tuscarora Indian, in his history of the Iroquois, among other instances, speaks of the Big Quisquis, [A word meaning " hog " in modern Iroquois.] a terrible monster who invaded at an early time the Indian settlements by Lake Ontario, and was at length driven back by the warriors from several villages after a severe engagement; and of the Big Elk, another great beast, who invaded the towns with fury and was at length killed in a great fight; and Elias Johnson, the Tuscarora chief, in his "History of the Six Nations," speaks of another monster that appeared at an early period in the history of his people, which they called Oyahguaharb, supposed to be some great mammoth who was furious against men, and destroyed the lives of many Indian hunters, but who was at length killed after a long and severe contest."
Another instance of a terrible monster desolating the country of a certain tribe "with thunder and fire" appears in a collection of Wyandot traditions published by one William Walker, an Indian agent, in 1823; and again the great beast appears in the song tradition of the "Father of Oxen," from Canada, and in a monster tradition from Louisiana, both spoken of by Fabri, a French officer, in a letter to Buffon from America in 1748.
"The Reliqux Aquitanicae," published by Lartet and Christy, page 60, quotes a letter from British America of Robert Brown to Professor Rupert Jones, which speaks of a tradition common to several widely separated tribes in the Northwest, of lacustrine habitations built by their ancestors; to protect themselves against an animal who ravaged the country a long time ago.
Hardly less remarkable in its description of the animal than any of the others is, perhaps, the Great Elk tradition as mentioned by Charlevoix in his "History of New France."
"There is current among these barbarians," says the author, "a pleasant-enough tradition of a Great Elk, beside whom all others seem like ants. He has, they say, legs so high that eight feet of snow does not embarrass him, his skin is proof against all sorts of weapons, and he has a sort of arm which comes out of his shoulder and which he uses as we do ours."
Whatever we may have previously thought of these legends, their evidence now combined with that of the carving is irresistible. Nothing but the mammoth itself, surviving into comparatively recent times and encountered by the Indians, could suffice to account for the carving, and we can no longer suppose that the size and unusual appearance of the mammoth bones seen by the Indians in Kentucky could alone have originated the traditions.
In the carving, we have the most interesting mammoth picture in existence; not a mere drawing of the animal itself, but a picture of primitive life, in which the mammoth takes a conspicuous part in the actions and thoughts of man, --a carving made with a bone or flint instrument upon a tablet of slate at least four hundred years ago,--the hairy elephant, drawn in unmistakable outline, and attacked by human beings,--a battle-scene which thrills our imagination, and the importance of which the ancient draughtsman magnifies by the introduction of the symbols of his religion, the sun, moon, and stars, and the lightning alone powerful to overthrow the great enemy.
All is evidently the work of the Indian; so would he rudely carve trees, the pine with its straight-spreading arms, like a modern telegraph pole; his forest wigwam, a simple triangle; the sun, with human face, and a halo; and the moon, a crescent; the stars were small crosses, and diverging lines were the rays of light that traversed the sky from the great luminaries. Men were triangles with their sides produced, and three dots in the head for eyes, nose, and mouth; here the minute forms standing their ground before the great beast, are warriors, with feathers in their hair, and bows and lances in their hands. The chief figure, the great buffalo, or the great elk of Charlevoix, armed with a proboscis, as the Indians may well have named the mammoth, is assailed, as in the Jefferson tradition, by lightning.
Between such a monster, however inoffensive in its habits, and the Indian hunter, there could be no peace; his size and terrific appearance were enough for the superstitious fancy of the red man, and as he browses harmlessly near the village he is attacked; then his rage transforms him into the fierce enemy and destroyer of mankind remembered in the traditions. As naively represented in the carving, he tramples men to a pulp under his feet with the ungovernable fury of a modern elephant, and overturns whole villages of fragile wigwams, while his anger perhaps vents itself in loud bellowings; arrows and spears only annoy him; he must be destroyed by the lightnings of the Great Spirit to whom the medicine men pray for help.
A remarkable story, alleged in support of the coexistence of the Indian, and the mammoth's great contemporary the mastodon, regarded by most scientists with distrust, though defended by some, was that of Dr. Albert Koch, collector of curiosities, who in 1839 disinterred the skeleton of a mastodon in a clay bed near the Bourboise River, Gasconade County, Missouri. Associated with the bones Koch claimed to have discovered, in the presence of a number of witnesses, a layer of wood-ashes, numerous fragments of rock, "some arrow-heads, a stone spear-point, and several stone axes," evidencing he claimed, that the huge animal had met its untimely end at the hands of savages, who, armed with rude weapons of stone and boulders brought from the bed of the neighboring river, had attacked it, while helplessly mired in the soft clay, and finally effected its destruction by fire.
Koch also published with his statement and in connection with another skeleton, that of the Mastodon giganteus discovered by him in Benton County, Missouri, a tradition of the Osage Indians, in whose former territory the bones were found, and which he says led him to the discovery. It states, says Koch, "that there was a time when the Indians paddled their canoes over the now extensive prairies of Missouri and encamped or hunted on the bluffs. That at a certain period many large and monstrous animals came from the eastward along and up the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, upon which the animals that had previously occupied the country became very angry, and at last so enraged and infuriated by reason of these intrusions, that the red man durst not venture out to hunt any more, and was consequently reduced to great distress. At this time a large number of these huge monsters assembled here, when a terrible battle ensued, in which many on both sides were killed, and the remnant resumed their march toward the setting sun. Near the bluffs which are at present known by the name of the Rocky Ridge one of the greatest of these battles was fought. Immediately after the battle the Indians gathered together many of the slaughtered animals and offered them up on the spot as a burnt sacrifice to the Great Spirit. The remainder were buried by the Great Spirit himself, in the Pomme de Terre River, which from this time took the name of the Big Bone River, as well as the Osage, of which the Pomme de Terre is a branch. From this time the Indians brought their yearly sacrifice to this place, and offered it up to the Great Spirit, as a thank-offering for their great deliverance, and more latterly, they have offered their sacrifice on the table rock above mentioned (a curious rock near the spot of the discovery), which was held in great veneration and considered holy ground."
There is considerable variety of opinion of late, and especially among persons familiar with the Indians, as to the value of the information furnished by their traditions; and certainly among Indians to-day the separation of 'heir pre-Columbian from their later traditions, and their traditions proper from the extravagant relations so readily dealt forth by them extempore, is no easy matter. Much stress is laid on the absence of a tradition of De Soto ; yet, is Schoolcraft remarks, the Delawares and Mohicans had in his time one of Hudson, the Chippeways of Cartier, and the Iroquois one of a wreck on a sea-coast, and the extinction of an infant colony, probably Jamestown.
Interest in the American elephant has of late been considerably increased by the appearance of several supposed representations of the animal among the relics of our aborigines, drawings of which, and of the so-called elephant trunks, and head-dresses from the architecture of Mexico and Central America, are given in the following pages.
Fig. 2.--Elephant Pipe (Louisa Co., Iowa).
Fig. 3.--Elephant Pipe (Louisa Co., Iowa).
Not one of these outlines is unmistakable, and all lack the characteristic tusks of the mammoth.
Figures 2 and 3, the now famous "elephant pipes," the authenticity of which is doubted, however, in the last report of the Bureau of Ethnology, came to light in Louisa County, Iowa. The former, discovered in 1872 or 1873, was found, it is said, on the surface by a farmer while planting corn; and the latter, more interesting from the scratches upon it evidently intended to represent hair, was taken from a mound near an old bed of the Mississippi by the Rev. Dr. Blumer and others on March 2, 1880. The material of the two pipes, which apparently have been much greased and smoked, is the same--a light-colored sandstone.
The next of the elephant documents is the so-called elephant mound of Grant County, Wisconsin, (fig. 4). It was described by Mr. Jared Warner, of Patch Grove, Wisconsin, on page 416 of the "Smithsonian Report for 1872," when public attention was first generally called to it. The effigy, 135 feet long, 60 feet broad, and but feet high, is situated on the east bank of the Mississippi, just below the mouth of the Wisconsin, and, says Mr. Warner, has been known in the neighborhood of Patch Grove for twenty-five years as the "elephant mound." Like the elephant pipes, however, it lacks the characteristic tusks, and sceptics claim that its original shape has been too much modified by many years of cultivation to render judgments concerning it admissible.
But to return to the carving, a somewhat novel feature in it, and one which has been objected to as casting a doubt upon its authenticity, is the spear between the two upright human figures on the right. Large flint spear-points, so-called, are found abundantly in the Eastern States, and within the last hundred years instances of the use of the spear by the Indians in hunting and fishing are common; no one doubts, as we learn, for instance, in Tanner's narrative, that the Indians speared salmon in the Eastern rivers, or, as Catlin shows, used steel-pointed lances in their Western buffalo hunts. Yet the early writers, in their descriptions of aboriginal implements, have been supposed to make no mention of the spear, and there has been some controversy among archaeologists as to whether it can be classed among Indian prehistoric weapons of warfare or the chase.
Fig. 4.-Elephant Mound (Grant County, Wisconsin).
Dr. Abbott, who, in his "Prehistoric Industry," has given a wood-cut of the curious egg-shaped stone found at Lake Winnipissiogee, and upon which there are several carvings of spears, quotes in the same work, by way of the nearest approach to an allusion to the spear among the early writers, a description from Josselyn of an elk-hunt among the early Massachusetts Indians, in which the writer describes a lance made of a staff a yard and a half long and pointed with fish-bone. But a passage in Bernal Diaz del Castillo ("Historia verdadera de la Conquista de la nueva Espana," Madrid, 1638), kindly pointed out to the writer by Dr. Rau, seems to furnish conclusive evidence on the subject. Bernal Diaz, among several instances in his works, speaks (chapter vi.) of an attack upon the Spaniards in Florida by Indians "armed with immense-sized bows, sharp arrows, and spears, among which some were shaped like swords" ("y lanzas y unas, a manera de espadas").
Furthermore there is fig. 5 (plate xiv. from De Bry's "Brevis Narratio," published in Latin in Frankfort-on-the-Main in 1591), representing Indians holding spears, for which likewise the writer is indebted to Dr. Rau. It was drawn from life by one Jacques Le Moyne, a French artist, in 1564. He had come to Florida with the French Admiral Laudonniere, and having been left by the expedition for some months at a fort upon the St. John's River, frequently made sketching expeditions among the neighboring tribes. Many similar drawings by him, of Warriors armed with spears are to be found among the numerous illustrations in De Bry.
Fig. 5-Picture of North American Indians carrying spears, drawn from life by Jacques Le Moyne, in 1564
Passing over the mysterious animal on one of the Davenport tablets, sometimes taken for a mammoth, and the pictograph on a boulder near the Gila River seen by Colonel W. H. Emory in 1846 in a military reconnaissance, ["Notes of a Military Reconnaissance from Fort Leavenworth to San Diego, Cal.," Col. W. H. Emory, Washington, 1848, P. 90] and which, he says, "may with some stretch of the imagination be supposed to be a mastodon," we come to the supposed traces of the elephant noticed by numerous writers in the mural paintings and architecture of Mexico and Central America.
Fig. 6.-Elephant Trunk (Uxmal).
Figures 6 and 7, reduced from Catherwood's "Atlas" to Stephens' "Yucatan," are fair specimens of the remarkable architectural ornaments from Central America known as elephant trunks, and which, placed between two eyes and a mouth-like cavity, seem at first, as Waldeck and other travellers have remarked, to bear a striking resemblance to the trunk of a proboscidean.
Figure 6 is from the gateway of the great Teocallis at Uxmal, and 7 from that of the Casa de las Monjos at Uxmal; as in the case of all the other "elephant trunks," however, they offer no suggestion of the prominent tusks of the American elephant, and, as Dr. F. W. Putnam maintains, should perhaps be looked upon as grotesque representations of the human race, of which the so-called trunk forms the nose.
Fig. 7.-Elephant Trunk (Uxmal).
Far more striking among the so-called traces of the elephant in North America are the priests' head-dresses from Mexico and Yucatan.
Figure 8, a reduction from plate xiii. in Waldeck's "Recherches sur les Ruines de Palenque," is taken from a stucco bas-relief in the palace of Palenque. Waldeck considers it "evidently a representation of the head of a proboscidean."
Figure 9, the no less fantastic Mexican head-dress, is from the Vues des Cordilleras, plate xv. As to it, Humboldt says: "I would not have had this hideous scene engraved, were it not for the remarkable and apparently not accidental resemblance of the priest's head-dress to the Hindoo Ganesa, or elephant-headed god of wisdom. It seems hardly possible to suppose that a tapir's snout could have suggested the trunk in the head-dress, and we are almost left to infer either that the people of Atzlan had received some notice of the elephant from Asia, or that their traditions reached back to the time of the American elephant."
Fig. 8-Elephant Head-dress (Palenque).
Fig. 9-Elephant Head-dress (Mexico).
It is interesting to compare the Lenape Stone with the mammoth carvings of the cave-men of Europe, of which we here give the series. None of these outlines equal the Lenape drawing in realistic spirit except, perhaps (fig. 10) the most remarkable of them all, the celebrated La Madeleine carving. It is engraved upon mammoth ivory and was discovered in 1864 in the cave of La Madeleine, Perigord, France, by M. Louis Lartet. It was broken into five fragments, and like the carving on the Lenape Stone, which it singularly resembles in general position, and in the indecisive drawing of the back and tail, unmistakably represents the mammoth. The mammoth scratching his side (fig. 11), and the very indistinct head (fig. 12), carved on opposite sides of a bone plate, are from the Edouard Lartet Collection. M. Louis Lartet, brother of the former, in his description of the drawings in the "Materiaux pour l'histoire primitive de l'homme," vol. ix., p. 33, thinks that "the primitive artist to whom these rude but sufficiently faithful representations are due, and who changed his mind several times when sketching, had, without doubt, the living model before his eyes, and was disturbed in his work by the movements of the animal."
Fig. 10.-Prehistoric carving of the Mammoth from the cave of La. Madeleine.
Fig. 11-Mammoth Carving from the Collection of M. Lartet.
Fig. 12-Mammoth Carving from the Collection of M. Lartet.
Fig. 13.-Mammoth Dagger-hilt from the Rock Shelter of Bruniquel.
Figure 13, is the mammoth dagger-hilt carved in deer horn, in the collection of M. Peccadeau de l'Isle. It was discovered in the rock shelter of Bruniquel (Tarne et Garonne), France. Here, to avoid breakage probably, the muzzle has been greatly exaggerated and the shape of the trunk and position of the tusks have been considerably departed from.
Fig. 14.-Head of Mammoth from the cave of Laugerie Basse.
The least interesting specimen perhaps in the French, collection is (fig. 14) the very indistinct elephant's head, minus the tusks, discovered by the Marquis de Vibraye in the cave of Laugerie Basse, Dordogne, France. Another so-called prehistoric representation of the mammoth, though resembling that animal only in the trunk-like prolongation of its muzzle, is (fig. 15) a more modern bronze specimen from Siberia. The writer of the description in the " Materiaux," vol. iv., p. 197, prefers to consider it a fantastic cat, tiger, or lion.
Fig. 15.-Bronze figure supposed to represent the Mammoth. (Siberia.)
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