Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Large Skeletons Found at Quadrangular Earthwork that Antedated the Indians in New York

Large Skeletons Found at Quadrangular Work that Antedated the Indians in New York
" A humerus or shoulder bone, which is preserved, denotes a stature one- third larger than the present race"

Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe. Notes on the Iroquois: Or, Contributions to American History, Antiquities, and General Ethnology. E. H. Pease & Company. 1847.

       But the most remarkable and distinctive trait connected with its archaeology is the discovery of human bones denoting an uncommon stature and development, which are mentioned in the same communication. A humerus or shoulder bone, which is preserved, denotes a stature one- third larger than the present race, and there is also a lower jaw bone, preserved by a physician at Batavia, from the vicinity, which indicates the same gigantic measure of increase. 

   The shape is quadrangular, and is shown in the diagram or ground plot. The forest has been removed. Not a tree remains on the quadrangle, and only a few on the edge of the ravine on the west. By cultivating the land, the trench is nearly filled in some places, though the line of it is clearly seen. On the north side the trench is considerable, and where the road crosses it, is three or four feet deep at the sides of the road. It will take only a few years more to oblate rate it entirely, as not even a stump remains to mark out its line.
  From this view it may be seen or inferred,
  1. That a real trench bounded three sides of the quadrangle. On the south side there was not found any trace of trench, palisadoes, blocks, &c.
  2. It was formed long before the whites came into the country. The large trees on the ground and in the trench carry us back to an early era.
  3. The workers must have had some convenient tools for excavation.
  4. The direction of the sides may have had some reference to the four cardinal points, though the situation of the ravines naturally marked out the lines.
  5. It cannot have been designed merely to catch wild animals to be driven into it from the south. The oblique cut down to the spring is opposed to this supposition, as well as the insufficiency of such a trench to confine the animals of the forest.
  6. The same reasons render it improbable that the quadrangle was designed to confine and protect domestic animals.
  7. It was probably a sort of fortified place. There might have been a defense on the south by a stockade or some similar means, which might have entirely disappeared.
By what people was this work done?
Must we not refer Fort Hill to that race which peopled this country before the Indians, who raised so many monuments greatly exceeding the power of the Indians, and who lived at a remote era?”
H. R. SCHOOLCRAFT, Esq.: I forward you the observations on Fort Hill, for your use. My speculations are added for my pleasure, and you will use them as you please. In great haste, I am obliged to close.
Your obedient,