Native Cemeteries and Forms of Burial East of the Mississippi

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

and 2 ½ feet in height. It covered a stone vault "which, though only about three and one-half feet wide and of the form shown in the figure, extended from the top of the mound down a foot or more below the natural surface of the ground. This contained a single skeleton in a half-upright position. The head was southwest, the feet northeast. Near the right hip was a discoidal stone. There were no traces of coals or ashes in this mound." ( Thomas, (1), p. 72.) The ground plan is indicated in figure 10.

The hollowing out of a central space in the original surface, thus forming a resting place for the body or bodies, later to be entirely covered by a mass of earth, appears to have been a well-developed custom of the people who reared the many mounds in southern Wisconsin and the adjoining country, but seldom do such works combine this feature with the stone inclosure as discovered in the small mound mentioned above.

FIG. 10.-- Mound in Crawford County, Wisconsin.

The inclosures described are good examples of this peculiar form of tomb, but they are not confined to the country east of the Mississippi, and many have been discovered extending across the State of Missouri, up the valley of the Missouri. ( Fowke, (2).) It is one of the most distinctive forms of burial encountered in eastern United States, and likewise one of the most interesting.

The numerous small burial mounds of Wisconsin do not reveal much of interest. They often occur in irregular groups, in some instances being associated with the effigies. Entire skeletons are found in some, but in others the burials are represented by a confused mass of bones. The mounds are seldom more than 10 feet in height, often quite steep, and consequently of a relatively small diameter. Little can be added to the account prepared more than 60 years ago. ( Lapham, (1).)


BURIALS IN CAVES

The early settlers of eastern Tennessee, eastern Kentucky, and the adjoining region discovered many caves of varying sizes in the broken, mountainous country. In many instances human remains which had been deposited in the caverns, together with the garments and wrappings of tanned skins or woven fibers, were found in a

-65-

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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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