Copyright
D. S. (David Samuel) Margoliouth.

The Popular science monthly (Volume 19) online

. (page 76 of 110)
Online LibraryD. S. (David Samuel) MargoliouthThe Popular science monthly (Volume 19) → online text (page 76 of 110)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


change from city fumes to the woodland air of some rural retreat
whose salubriousness is ascribed to the accidental presence of a nause-
ous sulphur-spring — the one abnormal thing about the place. The
king's-evil patients, as well as the exorcists, ascribed the cure to what
Dr. Joel Brown called the charistna basilicon — the healing touch of
the Lord's anointed — in other words, they believed that the cure of a
Yorkshire man's disease depended upon the chance of the Yorkshire
man's coming in contact with a Londoner who, perhaps ten or twenty
years ago, had undergone the rites of a certain ceremony. Imagination
probably helped a little, for after the spread of skepticism " perfect
cures became much less frequent," as Dr. Brown naively remarks.
The charisma basUlcon has now fallen into utter discredit, but our



6co THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

present method is so little of an improvement that the patients of a
future century would probably prefer to resume the Whitehall pilgrim-
ages. Instead of ventilating our houses and abolishing our sauerkraut
(the long-notorious cachexia of the ill-housed and ill-fed classes having
sufficiently indicated the cause of the malady), we suppress the morbid
symptoms by sarsaparilla, iodide of potassium, or patent "medicines":
only reliable liver-pills and infallible blood-purifiers — in other words,
we believe that the cure of a common disease depends upon the acci-
dental or providentially ordained discovery of some mj'sterious com-
pound. The bottom error is the same as in the king's-evil delusion,
and can be easily traced to the radical fallacy of our speculative dog-
mas ; we still regard sin and disease as something normal, aboriginal,
and unavoidable, and expect salvation from mysterious, extra-natural
remedies, while the truth of the very contrary is becoming more and
more evident, namely, that all evil, including moral and physical un-
soundness, is due, and generally traceable, to wholly abnormal causes,
and (those causes being removed) recovery the effect of the self-acting
and self -regulating laws of Nature. The removal of the cause is a
remedy which the sufferers from almost any disease might prescribe
for themselves, and here especially : fresh air and abstinence from in-
digestible food, particularly pickles and fat meat. Pork is not the
only unwholesome kind of animal food, for Jews are not exempt from
scrofula, and were formerly subject to a still worse skin-disease ; and,
if we had not forgotten the art of interpreting the language of our in-
stincts, we would not overlook the significancy of the circumstance that
ninety-nine per cent, of all young children detest every kind of fat
meat except in the form of taste-deceiving ragouts. Farmer-boys, who
have to share the out-door labors of their parents, can eat with com-
parative impunity many things which only the hardiest of their city
comrades can digest : pork, greasy and pickled cabbages, fritters, and
salt beef. Even young Hottentots could not eat such stuff without
being sooner or later the worse for it, whenever the counteracting
hardships of a savage life alternate with a period of physical inactivity.
But children afficted with cachectic symptoms should at once be re-
stricted to a wholly vegetable and non-stimulating diet — farinaceous
preparations, boiled legumina, and, if possible, ripe, sweet fruit.

The summer diet of a scrofulous child can not be too frugal, in the
ancient sense of the word, and, where a supply of ripe tree-fruits can
be easily obtained, I should think it the best plan to dispense alto-
gether with made dishes — for a while, even with farinaceous dishes.
Parents who have no hesitation in cramming their children with salt
pork, beer, and sauerkraut, would shudder at the idea of feeding them
on fruit alone, yet the happiest of all visitors to the southern Rhine-
land are probably the patients of a Swabian Trauhen-Kiir, where dys-
peptics, etc., are fed almost exclusively — often for days together quite
exclusively — on ripe, sweet grapes. Combined with plenty of exercise



ANCIENT COPPER-MINES OF ISLE ROY ALE. 601

ill the bracing air of a higlilancl region, the efficacy of the grape-cure
surpasses all the miracles of the king's touch. It will cure children,
" too scrofulous to look out of their eyes," cheaper and quicker than
any nostrums, and has the still greater advantage of eliminating in-
stead of suppressing the virus.

Those who deny the pharmaceutic efficacy of the homoeopathic
sugar-pellets can not deny that, in this case, homoeopathy has proved
the possibility of curing diseases without any drugs at all — merely by
a change of diet and regimen. Frugality, abstinence, bathing, venti-
lation, cold water, and exercise in the open air, have already superseded
half the materia of the old medical dogmatists, and personal experi-
ence has convinced me that the following diseases of children are
amenable to a strictly hygienic treatment.



ANCIEXT COPPER-MIXES OF ISLE ROYALE.

By Professor N. H. WINCHELL.

THESE mines are rude, irregularly disposed, shallow pits in the
general surface, which, on being cleared of nxbbish, are found
rarely to exceed the depth of ten feet, but in some instances reach the
depth of twenty. They seem to have been located by the accidental
outcropping of native copper, over large areas the rock being entirely
bare. In other cases, the mining seems to have been systematically
prosecuted along the strike of a known copper-bearing belt of rock.
In this case it is a rock of marked lithological characters, being of a
rod color, and, when once its trend was established by a series of pits,
it was followed under the drift-materials, that were thrown off into
heaps, in which are found, mingled with charred wood and other relics,
a great many stone hammers. In one instance, a cross-drift ran under
a rude archway from one red belt to another, through a thin partition
(if darker rock ; but, in general, no planning for easy excavation or
skillful and prolonged effort in the operations of the miners can be
discovered. So far as can be ascertained, they resorted to the very
simplest and most laborious methods of excavation in the rock, using
their stone hammers, wielded in the hands alone, sometimes aided
perhaps by the application of heat, and by repeated blows battered and
liroke away the rock surrounding the copper masses. "When once a
mass was detached or sufficiently uncovered, it was parted into smaller
pieces by the same means. Some of the masses found, being too large
for removal from the Jiits, show the marks of long-continued pound-
ing, and about them in the pits are a great many small, thin chips of
metallic copper, of irregular shapes, with concavo-convex surfaces,
exactly such as would be produced by battering a small nugget of



6o2 THE POPULAR SCIEXCE MONTHLY.

copper to a thin layer by pounding it continuously on the same
side. The finding of these thin chips of copper is the first indication
to the present miners of the proximity of a large mass. In the sum-
mer of 1874 the first of these large masses was discovered. It was
sixteen and one half feet below the surface, and under it were poles,
as if it had been entirely detached, but it had not been much displaced.
This mass was exhibited publicly in the yard of the court-house at
Detroit, and was also on exhibition at the Centennial Exposition in
1876. It was subsequently fused and sold as commercial copper. It
weighed 5,720 pounds, and has been described by Mr. Henry Gillman,
in the annual volume of the American Association for the Advancement
of Science for 1875. In the summer of 1879 two other large masses
that had been wTought by the ancients were found at the Minong Mine,
which is at the head of McCargoe's Cove. One had a weight of 3,317
pounds, and the other 4,175 pounds, the latter being about nine feet
long. The largest mass yet found at that place was taken out the pre-
vious summer, weighing six tons, but the ancients had not discovered
it, though one of their drifts ran within two feet of it. The large
masses discovered by the ancients show the labor that has been spent
on them in their hammer-marked and pitted surfaces. They seem to
have been beaten up into ridges and points, by hammering alone, for
the easier removal of parts. One of those found in 1879 was not de-
tached from the inclosing rock, though it was wholly uncovered and
undermined. A restoration of its appearance, as represented by Cap-
tain William Jacka, is seen in Fig. 1.



I-



Fig. 1.— a, mass of coi)p(:r ; b. tl»e inclosing' rock ; <r, layer of drift excavated, twelve feet thick ;
d d, line showing surl'ace of the ancieut pit before reexcavatlon.

Various articles have been found in these old pits or in their neigh-
borhood. Several copper implements, such as a gad, a chisel, knives,
and arrow-heads, have been discovered, both on Isle Royale and in the
vicinity of similar old rnines on the south shore of Lake Superior. Mr.
Gillman rejiorts that a large part of a " wooden bowl," originally about
three feet in diameter, which had probably been used for boiling
water, was taken from one of these pits. The timber found in some



ANCIENT COPPER-MINES OF ISLE ROY ALE. 603

of these excavations bore the marks of an axe, the bit of which must
have been about two inches in width. Fragments of charcoal and
partially consumed sticks abound. The bark of the white birch is still
preserved, though the interior woody portion is wholly rotted. At
McCargoe's Cove, Captain William Jacka discovered a wooden shovel
or paddle, which showed by its worn and battered side that it had been
used in moving dirt. The blade was four and three quarters inches
wide, and about twelve inches long. The handle had been broken,
but still showed the length of about a foot. It was all perfectly
Avrought and smooth, and very true in form. A rounded ridge on the
upper and lower sides of the blade extended along its middle, tapering
off along the same sides of the shaft or handle upward. It was wet
and swollen when found, but, on drying, it shrank to a width of three
fourths of an inch, and curled out of shape. A restoration of this
ancient paddle or shovel is seen in Fig. 2, as drawn under the direc-




FiG. 2.— Ajjciekt Paddle, used by the Miners on Isle Rotale fob moving Dirt.

tion of Captain TVilliam Jacka, and a cross-section of the blade in Fig.
3 : a represents the upper side of the blade, and the ridge, evidently
designed to strengthen the instrument, extends to within an inch or
two of the end, and gradually and smoothly sinks to the level of the
surface. This shovel was found within a few feet of one of the large
masses of copper, in the summer of 1879.

Dr. G. K. Gailey also discovered a piece of string, about a foot long,
made of some raw-hide, supposed to be of the caribou, tied in the mid-



Fio. 3.— Transverse Section of the Blade op Ancient Miner's Tool, from Isle Rotale.

die by " a square knot and a half-hitcli." This lay under one corner
of the copper mass found in May last (1879), and seemed to break on
being pulled out, but the remainder could not be secured. When ex-
amined, this string seemed to possess the fiber and much of the strength
of dried raw-hide, a circumstance that will not allow the assignment of
a very great antiquity to the date of the last mining. Caribou were
on the island till a few years ago, and are now common on the shore
directly north of the island.

In regard to the main implements of the mines, the stone hammers,
they seem not to have been made for the purpose for which they were
used. Great numbers of them are found in moving the dirt which the
miners handled. They are of various sizes and forms, but generally



6o4 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

about five inches in diameter, though some are eight and even ten inches,
and of a rounded oval outline. They were certainly gathered as peb-
bles along the shore of the lake, north from the island, where there are
still others of the same shapes and sizes, and of the same varieties of




Fig. 4.— Raw-hide String and Knot op tub I?lb Kotale Ancient Miners.

rock, formed on the beach by the action of the waves. The great
profusion in which they are scattered among the debris of the pits
would itself indicate the ease with which they were obtained. They
are not grooved for the reception of a withe, like those found on the
south shore, near Ontonagon, but they were apparently used for the
most part by simply swinging them in the hand, or probably in both
hands clasped, thus by repeated blows breaking away the surrounding
rock or hammering the desired metal into such shapes as to facilitate
its separation in smaller pieces. The rock of which they are composed
does not occur as pebbles on Isle Royale, and indeed it is doubtful if it
exists at all on the island. It forms the coast of the mainland for sev-
eral miles opposite the island. It is an igneous rock, usually a dia-
base, as shown in thin sections under the microscope, consisting essen-
tially of a triclinic feldspar and augite, with magnetite. Sometimes
the grains are coarser, and the rock would more properly be styled a
dolerite or a gabbro. They belong to the formation designated by Sir
William Logan Tlie Lower Volcanic Group, but since styled Animikie
Group, by Professor T. S. Hunt.* Occasionally, however, the work-
men seem to have gathered rounded stones of other varieties of rock,
though nothing equaling the firmness of the above, and so fit for the
purpose of a rude hammer in simple mining, can be selected among all
the rocks of the region. One or two, of a granite containing red or-
thoclase, were seen at the mine, and a few of other granites are report-
ed to have been found. These other varieties are also seen mingled
sparsely with the diabase stones along the Canadian shore, and are
referable to the drift forces which transported them from farther
north and east in Canadian territory.

Although these hammers, as a rule, are not withed, it is still true
that occasionally one is found that is withed — i. e., grooved for the re-
ception of a withe handle. One seen at the time of this visit was owned
by Dr. Gailey, and was not well wrought. The groove was evidently

* Vide " Trap Dikes and Azoic Rocks of Southeastern Pennsylvania," " Second Geo-
logical Survey of Pennsylvania," pp. 68, 240.



ANCIENT COPPER-MINES OF ISLE ROY ALE. 605

made by an unskilled band, and was unfinisbed. Tbis allies tbese min-
ers witb tbose of tbe soutb sbore of tbe lake. The absence of tbese
bard, rounded stones on tbe sbores of tbe south side of Lake Superior,*
owing to tbe strike of tbe formation producing them across tbe interior
of the States of Michigan and Wisconsin, made it necessary for tbe
miners on that side to manufacture their hammers, which they did
witb greater perfection and symmetry than are seen in the beach-
wrought hammers of tbe Isle Royale miners ; and they almost inva-
riably grooved them for a withe. Tbose found on Isle Royale are
generally broken with use on one end or on both, a fact which proba-
bly caused their abandonment. Fig. 5 shows tbe imperfectly grooved




Fig. 5.— Imperfectly withed Hammer, from the Ancient Mines of Isle Royale.

hammer belonging to Dr. Gailey. Fig. 6 shows tbe outline and irreg-
ularity of three others, also found at the Minong mine. Tbese are a
fair average for form, of tbe most of those found. They are also
evidently such as would result from tbe constant attrition of angular
fragments on tbe beach, and show no evidence of designed shaping.








Pia. 6.— Stonb Hamiiebs from the Ancient Mines of Isle Rotale.

Their battered and even fractured extremities are the only sign of the
agency of man in giving them shape.

If we inquire now who were the men, and when did they live, who
did tbis work, we enter on a very interesting question, but one on
which we are not in total darkness. A single observation at the pits
at once places them later than the last glacial epoch. Tbe dirt that

* Ship-loads of these stones are transported from the north shore of Lake Superior
for paving streets in Chicago and other cities.



6o6 THE POPULAR SCIEXCE MONTHLY.

they moved lies on the drift-clay. This is shown by the subjoined
diagrammatic sketch taken on the spot (Fig. 7). It is also shown
by the fact that some of the pits are but a few feet above the present
lake-level (about thirty feet) ; since during the period of the drift, and
particularly toward its close, the interior lakes and rivers of the North
American Continent were much higher than they are now.

It has been agreed for some years, by American archaeologists, that



Fig. 7.— Explanation.
a, chips and moved earth in which the stone hammers are found ; 6, the modified drift-clay ; c,
the cupriferous rock ; d d, depressions in the surface indicating the location of the ancient
pits, sometimes refilled by the old miners.

the ancient miners of Lake Superior icere identical tcith the mysterious
race known as the mound-builders. The evidence of this, first partially
elucidated by Messrs. Squier and Davis, has multiplied by subsequent
observations, so that there is now a concurrent series of facts pointing
to that conclusion. It consists largely in the discovery of many cop-
per implements in the mounds that have been opened. These imple-
ments sometimes contain small nuggets of metallic silver closely welded
to the copper. At no other place in the United States are copper and
silver found thus naturally combined. They must have been pounded
into shape, since the melting of the copper for casting would certainly
have produced an alloy in which the appearance of the silver would be
entirely lost. This, taken in connection w4th the well-established
mining methods of the Isle Royale miners, undeniably identifies them
with the mound-builders.

If we inquire further what relation the mound-builder bore to the
aborigines found here by Columbus, we shall be compelled to admit
from the evidence that the aborigines themselves were the mound-
builders and the ancient miners. As this conclusion is at variance with
the generally accepted opinion, it will be necessary to consider some
of the characteristics of the mound-builders, as stated by the highest
authorities, and to compare them with the known peculiar habits and
customs of the Indians :

1. Squier and Davis state that "there probably existed among the
mound-builders a state of society something like that which prevailed
among the Indians ; each tribe had its separate seat, maintaining, with



ANCIENT COPPER-MINES OF ISLE ROYALE. 607

its own independence, an almost constant warfare against its neigh-
bors " (" Smithsonian Contributions," vol. i, p. 44).

2. The mound-builders occupied the entire country from Lake
Superior, at least,* on the north, to the Gulf of Mexico on the south,
and from the Alleghanies, at least, on the east, to the Sierras on the
west. This is demonstrated not so much by the distribution of the
mounds — though they are said by Lewis and Clark to occur on the
upper waters of the Missouri, and, by Mr. A. Barrandt, in the valley
of the Yellowstone — as by the existence of copper implements from
Lake Superior in the same mounds with mica from the Alleghanies,
pearls from the Gulf shores and from the Carolinas, and sharks' teeth
from the cretaceous beds of the South and West.

3. They were an agricultural people, of generally homogeneous
customs, habits, religion, and government, each tribe carrying on a
trade with surrounding tribes, and some of them with distant tribes.

4. They worked copper in a cold state, having no knowledge of
iron, nor of the methods of smelting any of the ores of the metals by
the aid of fire.

5. They built extensive earthworks and mounds, both for purposes
of warfare and for sepulture.

6. They exhibited very frequently a remarkable flattening of the
shin-bone [platt/cnemism).

7. They made a coarse kind of cloth, by twisting and weaving the
fibers and bast of various plants.

8. They made pottery of clay, which they hardened by burn-
ing, and rudely ornamented Avith figures of animals, or by simpler
lining.

9. They wrought stone, making axes, arrow and spear heads,
knives, wedges, pestles, discoidal stones, tubes, pipes, beads ; and they
had a high regard for mirrors of mica.

10. They made rude sculptures, in stone and burned clay, of ani-
mals and of the human face.

11. They had no knowledge of writing by the use of an alphabet,
nor hieroglyphics ; but sometimes resorted to pictures to convey infor-
mation.

12. They employed shells, pearls, sharks' teeth, obsidian, copper,
silver, steatite, black and mottled slate, mica, coralline limestone, the
bones of some animals, and some other minerals, especially galena and
hematite, for making articles of personal adornment.

13. Besides rude sculptures of most of the present animals of the
larger types, the elephant (or mastodon) was also known to them, as
evinced by the " elephant-mound " in western "Wisconsin, by the dis-

* Alonj^ the boundary-line between Minnesota and the Canadian territory are occa-
sional mounds. One very large one is on the Canadian side of Rainy Lake River, at the
Big Sioux Rapids (X. Butler). They are found near Grand Marais, on the north shore
of Lake Superior.



6o8 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

coveries of Dr. Koch in Missouri, and by the " elephant-pipe " lately
brought to light in Louisa County, Iowa.*

Some of these characteristics it is only necessary to name, to en-
able any one to recognize also their belonging to the red-men who
were here when Columbus discovered America, and who probably are
identical with the SkrelUngs seen by the Norse adventurer, Thorwald
Ericson, in 1002, described as having sallow-colored, ill-looking faces,
ugly heads of hair, large eyes, and broad cheeks, coming to his ship
in canoes for purposes of trade, but becoming hostile and treacherous.
The various tribes into which the red-men were, and still are, divided,
extended over the whole territory that is known to have been occupied
by the mound-builders.

That they were an agricultural peoj^le, although given to warlike
expeditions, and to long journeys for the purpose of trade and for
rice-gathering and hunting, is also abundantly attested by the journals
of the earliest explorers. Of these it is only necessary to refer to
those of Hudson and Juet in the Half-Moon, who mention in several
places the existence of extensive cultivated fields along the banks of
the Hudson, and to the historians of De Soto's expedition, who speak
frequently of Indian villages containing from fifty to six hundred
dwellings, substantially constructed of wood, in which must have
dwelt upward of ts\'o thousand persons. They frequently mention,
also, extensive fields of corn, beans, pumpkins, and other vegetables.
In one instance De Soto's army traveled two leagues thi'ough fields of
corn, and sometimes large quantities of corn and of meal were obtained
from the houses [vide Irving's " Conquest of Florida").

The fact that the aborigines worked stone, using stone axes, arrow-
heads, disks, wedges, hammers, pestles, and scrapers, is authenticated
not only by the testimony of early writers, but also by the continuance
of the same custom nearly if not quite up to the present time among
some of the most inaccessible tribes of North America, though they
have almost w^holly ceased to be used, in consequence of the metallic
implements furnished them by the whites.

The manner of making pottery among the Mandan Indians is de-
scribed in detail by Catlin, who states that " earthen dishes are made
by the Mandan women in great quantities, and modeled in a thousand
forms and tastes," and that they are nearly equal in hardness to our
own manufactured pottery, though they knew not the art of glazing.
Fragments of pottery, evidently made by these Indians, are found
about Bismarck, in Dakota, and on the Heart River, and in various parts
of northern Minnesota, where it was doubtless made by the Chip-
pewas ; and they greatly resemble the pottery taken from the mounds,
being unglazed, gray, slightly baked or unbaked, and somewhat orna-
mented by lines and figures.

The articles of cloth that have been found in the mounds are made
* John T. Short, " The North Americans of Antiquity," p. 530.



ANCIENT COPPER-MINES OF ISLE ROY ALE. 609

of the bast-fibers of certain plants, and have been preserved by " the
antiseptic action of the salts of copper," the cloth having been
wrapped about copper axes and nuggets prior to being placed in the



Online LibraryD. S. (David Samuel) MargoliouthThe Popular science monthly (Volume 19) → online text (page 76 of 110)