Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Upper Paleolithic Origins of the Hopewell Mound Builders

Upper Paleolithic Origins of the Hopewell Mound Builders

Rock Bluff, Illinois skull showing primitive characteristics of a protruding brow ridge and sloping forehead.

Skeletal Remains Suggesting Or Attributed to Early Man in North America: 1907
    The National Museum collection contains a good series of Indian crania obtained from mounds along the Illinois river, with which the Rock Bluff skull can be compared; and there are several skulls from the Albany mounds, Illinois, in the Davenport Academy of Sciences, which can also be utilized in this connection. These mound crania are certainly not geologically ancient, though they probably antedate the advent of whites into the valley. They show some variety, due possibly to tribal mixture, but the predominating type is dolichocephalic, having rather low orbits and, in males, strongly developed supraorbital ridges, with narrow, low, and occasionally very sloping, forehead. Mesocephalic forms appear occasionally. With most of these skulls the Rock Bluff specimen agrees fairly in every essential particular that goes to form a cranial type. Its supraorbital ridges alone are quite equaled by those of no. 4401, Davenport Academy (plate xm, a), and in several other specimens they are closely approached. Were the Rock Bluff skull mingled with the rest of the Illinois River male crania no observer would be likely to single it out as especially remarkable. It agrees with most of them even in color. The peculiarities it presents are well within the scope of individual variation. The following table and illustrations (plate n, h, c) show the resemblances, which are still further strengthened by an exami nation of the whole series of specimens from the Illinois valley. In view of the above facts, and irrespective of the wholly unsatis factory geological evidence, the Rock Bluff skull, though regarded as of a low type, must be classed with crania from the Illinois River mounds, with which it has much in common. The differences are not sufficient to indicate any distinct cranial variety, and the specimen can not properly be regarded as evidence of a geologically early man in North America.

Ohio Hopewell skull, (left) compared with the Oberkassel skull from Europe dating to 10,000 B.C.