Native Cemeteries and Forms of Burial East of the Mississippi

By David I. Bushnell Jr. | Go to book overview

along the Tennessee from its mouth to the mountains, and a few scattered examples have been discovered in northern Georgia. Naturally the kind of stone with which they were lined differed in widely separated localities, but graves so formed appear to have been constructed wherever suitable material was available, irrespective of the tribe who may have claimed or occupied the region.

An interesting fact was revealed as a result of the exploration of the small groups of graves on the right bank of the Missssippi, already mentioned. In one of the four graves discovered on the ridge just below the mouth of the Saline were two small bowls, each about 4 inches in diameter and somewhat less in depth. They were made of clay without the admixture of crushed shell or sand. Both were very thin and fragile and would have been of no practical use to the living, and differed materially from all vessels apparently made for actual use in the wigwam. Many similar pieces, of the same size and material, were recovered from the graves farther north near Kimmswick, and the near-by burial places. The dicovery of so many such bowls associated with burials leads to the belief that they were made solely for use in connection with burial ceremonies, and the finding of these small mortuary vessels in different localities proved the connection of the people by whom the sites were occupied. The bowl found in Grave III is shown in figure 5.


INCLOSURES IN MOUNDS

No attempt will be made at the present time to refer in detail to the many forms and variations of burials discovered in mounds north of the Ohio. Many reveal the bodies in an extended position, others in different degrees of folding, and in numerous instances the remains had been cremated and only the ashes placed in the tombs. In some mounds, evidently in some way associated with the human remains, are quantities of scattered animal bones often intermingled with wood ashes and charcoal, suggesting a feast or sacrifice at the time of burial of the dead. Again, many small masses of ashes discovered in mounds containing other forms of burials may be the cremated remains of some who had died away from their home village, and whose bodies had been burned by their companions, the ashes gathered up, and so carried to their homes. This, as told elsewhere in this sketch, was a recognized custom of the tribes of this region. But among the innumerable burials thus revealed are several distinct types, and the most interesting, excepting only the great structures encountered in southern Ohio, are the works in which the human remains had first been inclosed, or surrounded by walls of stones or logs, and in some instances of both stones and logs.

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Native Cemeteries and Forms of Burial East of the Mississippi
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 1
  • Preface 5
  • Contents 7
  • Illustrations 9
  • Algonquian Groups 11
  • Stone-Lined Graves 44
  • Burials in Caves 58
  • Iroquoian Groups 65
  • Muskhogean Groups 70
  • Siouan Groups 93
  • Conclusion 122
  • Bibliography 149
  • Index 157
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