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less reverential than those made to the sun and moon. Similar customs prevailed on the west bank of this great river. In the morning every Indian presented himself at the entrance of his cabin, and extending his hands toward the sun, as his first ray beamed from the eastern horizon, addressed a rude but fervent hymn of adoration to his glory. At noon they performed a similar act in token of their gratitude; and to the setting sun they addressed their thanks for all the bounties they conceived he had bestowed upon them during the day; and they were particularly careful that his last ray should strike their heads.

A remarkable temple was situated in the town of Talmaco, upon the Savannah River, three miles distant from Cutifachique, near Silver Blutt'. It was more than one hundred feet in length, and fifty feet in width. The walls were high in proportion, and the roof steep and covered with mats of split cane, interwoven so compactly that they resembled the rush carpeting of the Moors. The roof was covered with shells of various kinds, arranged in an ingenious manner. On the inside beautiful festoons of pearls, plumes and shells extended along the sides down to the floor. The temple was entered by three gates, guarded by gigantic wooden statues, some of which were armed with drawn bows and long pikes, and others with copper hatchets. On the sides of the walls were large benches, in which sat boxes containing the deceased chiefs and their families. Three rows of chests full of valuable pearls occupied the middle of the temple. The temple abounded with beautiful garments manufactured out of the skins of various animals, and in the most splendid mantles of feathers.

Upon the route through Alabama and the neighboring States, De Soto found the temples full of human bones. The large towns contained stone houses, filled with rich and comfortable clothing, such as mantles of hemp, and feathers of every color exquisitely arranged. The dress of the men consisted of a mantle of the size of a common blanket, made

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of the various barks of trees, and a species of flax interwoven and dyed of various colors ; also, well dressed and painted skins, and garments worn with beautiful feathers. The mantle was thrown over the shoulders with the arm exposed. Great men were sometimes, after the manner of the Mexicans, borne upon litters by their subjects, while their heads were shielded from the sun by shades made of feathers or gaudily painted hides.

The important conclusion which we draw from these investigations is: That the race which erected the mounds and fortifications of Tennessee was existing and active at the time of the discovery of North America, and possessed the country with a numerous population, even as late as the exploration of De Soto. This conclusion, which is at variance with the theories propounded by various ethnologists of Europe and America, who assign a considerable period to the extinction of the mound builders, will be still farther sustained by the remarkable discovery which we have made during the progress of these investigations, of the cross, emblems of the Christian religion, and especially of the Trinity, the Saviour and the Virgin Mary in the mounds of Tennessee. We believe that the preceding conclusion is based upon incontrovertible facts and evidence.

We will proceed to consider, in the next place, the mode of burial practiced by the aborigines of Tennessee, as shown by their sacred and sacrificial mounds and stone graves.

The ancient race of Tennessee buried their dead in rude stone coffins or sarcophagi, constructed of flat pieces of limestone or slaty sandstone, which abounds in Middle Tennessee. Extensive graveyards are found in Tennessee and Kentucky along the river courses, in the valleys and around the springs, in which the stone coffins lie close to each other. These graves, although justly regarded as rude fabrics, nevertheless exhibit considerable skill in their construction, and are standing memorials of the regard in which the ancient race held the memory of the dead.

AMER. NATURALIST, VOL. III.

9

The manner of burial appeared to have been thus: An excavation of the proper size, according to that of the body of the dead, was made in the ground, and the bottom carefully paved with flat stones. Long flat stones, or slabs of limestone and slaty sandstone, were placed along the sides, and at the head and foot of the grave. The body or skeleton was then placed within the rude coffin, and the top covered with a large flat rock, or with several flat rocks. When a number of coffins were constructed together, the side rocks of the first coffin frequently constituted the side of the second, and so on. Many of the graves are quite small, only capable of containing the body of a new-born infant. Many of the short square graves, not more than eighteen inches, or two feet in length, contain the bones of adults piled together, the head being surrounded by, or resting upon the arm and leg bones. This class of graves, containing the bones of adults packed in a small space, was probably constructed at the general burying festival, or contained the remains of the dead which had been transported from a great distance.

In a small mound, about forty-five feet in diameter, and about twelve feet in height, which I opened, about ten miles from Nashville, on the banks of a small stream and spring, and which contained perhaps one hundred skeletons, the stone graves, especially towards the centre of the mound, were placed one upon the other, forming in the highest part of the mound three or four ranges. The oldest and lowest graves were of the small square variety, while those near or upon the summit, were of the natural length and width of the skeleton within.

In this mound, as in other burial places, in the small square stone graves, the bones were frequently found broken, and while some graves contained only a portion of an entire skeleton, others contained fragments of two or more skeletons mingled together. The small mound now under consideration, which was one of the most perfect in its construction, the lids of the upper sarcop'agi being so arranged as to form an even-rounded, shelving rock surface, was situated upon the western slope of a beautiful hill covered with the magnificent growth of the native forest. The remains of an old Indian fortification were still evident, surrounding an extensive encampment and several other mounds. In a large and carefully constructed stone tomb, the lid of which was formed of a flat rock, over seven feet in length, and three feet wide, I exhumed the bones of what was supposed to have been an ancient Indian chief who had passed his hundred summers. The skeleton was about seven feet in length, and the huge jaws had lost every vestige of teeth, the alveolar processes being entirely absorbed.

The hill upon which the residence of Col. Overton stands, about nine miles from Nashville, was in ancient times covered with a flourishing Indian village. The circular depressions of their wigwams are still visible. The aborigines appeared to have been attracted to this locality by the noble spring which bursts out at the foot of the hill. Thousands of bones were exhumed in excavating the cellar of the family mansion. The crest and south-eastern slope of the hill are covered with stone graves, many of which have been opened by curiosity hunters. A large number are concealed by the rank growth of weeds and grass. Those which I examined at this locality were all constructed upon the same plan. Here, as elsewhere, the graves were of various sizes, from that just sufficient to enclose the remains of a little child, up to the long stone coffin of eight feet. Some have supposed that these little graves enclosed a race of pigmies, but upon careful examination of many, at various localities, we discovered that they were simply the graves of the young; for we found the teeth in all stages of development, from the toothless child, through the period of dentition, up to the appearance of the wisdom teeth.

of the wisdom teeth. Some of the small graves contained the bones of small animals, apparently of dogs, rabbits, squirrels and wild cats, and of birds, such as the wild turkey. These animals were buried with the children. Some of the burial mounds were evidently used also for sacred and religious purposes, and were held in high veneration as the resting place of royal families. Thus, in a small mound which I explored, about one hundred feet in diameter and about ten feet high, on the eastern bank of the Cumberland River, opposite the city of Nashville, and just across from the mouth of Lick Branch, at the foot of a large mound, which had been apparently used as a residence, I discovered the following interesting remains :

In the centre of the mound, about three feet from its surface, I uncovered a large sacrificial vase, or altar, forty-three inches in diameter, composed of a mixture of clay and river shells. The rim of the vase was three inches in height. The entire vessel had been moulded in a large wicker basket, formed of split canes, and the leaves of the cane, the impressions of which were plainly visible upon the outer surface. The circle of the vase appeared to be almost mathematically correct. The surface of the altar was covered with a layer of ashes, about one inch in thickness, and these ashes bad the appearance and composition of having been derived from the burning of animal matter. The antlers and jaw bone of a deer were found resting upon the surface of the altar. The edges of the vase, which had been broken off, apparently by accident during the performances of the religious ceremonies, were carefully laid over the layer of ashes, and the whole covered with earth near three feet in thickness, and thus the ashes have been preserved to a remarkable extent from the action of the rains.

Stone sarcophagi were ranged around the central altar with the heads of the dead to the centre, and the feet to the circumference, resembling the radii of a circle. The inner circle of graves was constructed with great care, and all the Indians buried around the altar were ornamented with beads of various kinds, some of which had been cut out of large sea-shells, others out of bone, and others again, were com

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