Warren King Moorehead.

Prehistoric relics; an illustrated catalogue describing some eight hundred and fifty different specimens online

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ment of the farmer. It is very seldom that a good specimen is to be
found on the surface, and they are not much more common in graves.
Broken, imperfect, or unfinished pieces, however, are very abundant,
and for the purposes of the student are as valuable as the more per-
fect ones — oftentimes more so, for there is less difficulty and ex-
pense in getting them. "




Pendants — This term may be applied to almost any of the ar-
ticles under discussion, but we propose to limit it here to the small,
flat, rectangular specimens usually made of slate, and having a single
perforation near one end. When found with skeletons they are



almost invariably upon the breast, and the marks of wear about the
perforation show that they were hung around the neck.

FIG. 8[.


FIG. 82.

Tablets or Gorgets — These are flat, generally four sided, but
not often rectangular, being sometimes wider at or near the end, or
having the sides curved either inwardly or the reverse. Often they
are rudely decorated with incised lines which seem to have no
special meaning.

Chapter XII

Ceremonials; continued

The most singular of all ornamental or ceremonial objects is the
butterfly or banner stone. The word banner means very little ;
butterfly is much more appropriate to their form. There are
few whole butterfly ceremonials throughout the United States.
Nearly all of them are broken. Not one uf the best-informed archae-
ologists can tell you positively regarding their use. Dr. Wilson once
gave the following explanation ; and while it is largely theoretical,
yet it is as plausible as any advanced. He said I hat in prehistoric
times he believed that each clan or tribe had a special totem or coat-
of arms, as it were. He said that as catlinite was a stone used
among the tribes in historic times in pipe-making ; and that as it did
not date back more than one hundred years before the discovery of
America some object or some material must have occupied its place ;
that at the time of La Salle's discovery of the Mississippi a large
c^-tlinite pipe was used by De Tonty as a symbol of peace and that
whenever he exhibited it in descending the Mississippi, the symbol
was both understood and respected. The authority said that this
butterfly ceremonial was possibly used in prehistoric times as an
emblem of peace, or as a mark of distinction observed by all the
tribes of the Mississippi Valley. It could not be maintained, he said,
that these ceremonials were used exclusively by a single tribe.
Those of West Virginia, of Ohio, of Kentucky, of Illinois, and of
Michigan are more or less alike, and the other village materials of
these localities are vastly different. The type is very widespread,
and therefore he would attach special significance to it. This was
his opinion : and the readers may accept or reject it.

Now the butterfly form as shown in Figs. 80 and 81 may be the
highest, but there are kindred types. Note Fig. 83 for instance.




And after the butterfly we have the curved forms, the crescents
and others.

S. 1-2.

The six objects from the collection of James Wier, Iowa, are
very rare.

a — Ornament with fluted ends.


b — Rare ceremonial (?) perforated, curved and having a broad,
sharp blade-edge.

c — Unknown ceremonial.

d — This object is of pyramid form perforated through like a
" butterfly ceremonial " and also perforated from upper to lower
surface. The archaeological wise men of the museums will have to
name it.

e — A long ornament, very nicely made.

FIG. 85. S. 1-2.

Fig. 85. From Central Canada. Reproduced from . '" Notes on
Primitive Man in Ontario," by David Boyle, Toronto. 1895.

In regard to the great number of forms that are usually denom-
inated " ceremonial" or "ornamental" objects, the descriptive name
must suffice as explanation of the purpose for which they were made.
If, at some distant future time, a person entirely ignorant of the rites
and observances that are practiced in the secret societies of the
present day, should stumble on a deposit containing all our various
badges, insignia, tokens and emblems, and should learnedly en-
deavor to construct from them a theory as to the system of religion
of which they were the tangible evidences, it is possible that his
monograph would not be much nearer the mark than some that have



appeared in explanation of what is indicated by the prevalence of
such things among the Indians or other uncivilized tribes.

FIG. 86. s. 1-2.

Fig. 86 presents two very interesting specimens from the col-
lection of Mr. Leslie W. Hills, Indiana. These are both of slate and
were found in Indiana. It is suggested that the perforated crescents
were worn upon the head in imitation of horns. This theory may be

Tubes — These are usually of slate, though many are found of
sandstone, and, very rarely, one made of quartz, or similar hard
stone. The preference seems to have been for a material that was
susceptible of a high polish. As a rule they are cylindrical, though
some have one side flattened or even grooved. They vary from an
inch to six inches in length ; the majority, however, being less than
four inches. The drilling was effected by means of a stick or cane,
with sand. Unfinished specimens occur with a small core, showing
the use of a cane or reed as a borer ; in others the hole ends in a de-
pression that proves the use of a solid stick. It is often stated that
water was supplied with the sand, but this is a mistake, as by the


action of the water the stick would soon become soft and wear
rapidly, thus clogging the cavity and retarding the work. The drill
may have been revolved between the hand or the bow may have been
employed. Of course two persons would be required to drill the
longer or thinner specimens — one to work the drill, the other to
steady the stone and direct the point of the instrument.

The banded Huronian slate was a favorite stone for this, as for
other forms of ornamental appendages. It is soft enough to be
easily worked, takes a good polish, and some of the pieces are really
beautiful in their variegated markings. Tubes were used among the
Plains Indians (according to Catlin and Schoolcraft) by the medicine
men for sucking evil spirits and disease from the bodies of the sick.
Catlin goes into considerable detail regarding such practices of the
Mandan doctors. Suppose a person ran a thorn into his foot and the
sore had festered and become so inflamed that the subject was con-
fined to his tepee. The doctor, having previously provided himself
with a grub worm, a cricket, or some other insect would visit the
patient and carry out, in the presence of the family, numerous incan-
tations and ceremonies. 4s a last resort he applied the stone tube
(which he drew from his medicine pouch at the proper moment) to
the wound, and after much gesticulation, he would spit out the grub
or cricket which he had previously concealed in his mouth. Of
course, the family supposed that the worm was the evil spirit causing
the disease.

Since the tubes found generally throughout the Mississippi
Valley are of the same form as those used among the Plains Tribes
of historic times, it is not improbable that they were put to similar
purposes. Many of them no doubt served as pipes, a stem being
made of a small reed, hollow stick, or bone from the wing or leg of
a bird. Others show at their end the marks of a cord by which they
had been suspended, presumably from the neck of the owner. They
have been called whistles, but such use is improbable, for any boy
can emit a much louder and shriller whistle through his fingers than
can be coaxed from one of these tubes.

Odd Forms — There are pick-shaped ceremonials, short stone tubes
called beads, coffin-shaped stones, plummets, and a host of other
varieties whose functions cannot even be guessed. There are broad
objects of slate, drilled through the center and sharpened at each


edge ; these have often been called double-bitted axes, although not
one of them could serve as an axe.

FIG. 87, S. I-I. FIG. 88. S. I-I.

Fig. 87. Side view of a decorated "spool". Use unknown.
Found near Ripley, Ohio.

Fig. 88. End view of a " spool "-

Fig. 89. A. Rough stone mortar. Some shell beads — disc
form — are shown in the mortar.

B. Long celt of southern type.

C. Short celt with edge abruptly bevelled off.

D. Broad cone-shaped stone (convex above, flat underneath).

E. Just above the round stone (d) and near the corner of a
celt is a typical ceremonial.

F. A rude quarry axe or digging tool, grooved around the
center. This type forms a connecting link between the notched
axes and the rougher grooved axes.

G. A typical grooved axe.

H. One of the grinding or polishing stones mentioned by Dr.
Steiner as common.

I. A good specimen of a stone cup.

J. Small, common celt, highly polished.

K. Typical southern axe. No great difference in form between
axes G and K. To the left of K is a very large spear-head The
original of this must have been nine or ten inches long.


L. Type of jar common in the South. Somewhat different
from the Missouri and Tennessee forms.

M. Peculiar wedge-shaped celt, the sides and top being

N. A discoidal stone is shown to the left of the celt, and to
the right and just below is a common form of southern pipe.

O. A peculiar flat stone, perforated.

P. A decorated jar. Below specimens O and P is a long
effigy pipe.


A. Long ornament, one perforation and grooved. Unknown.

B. Boat shaped ceremonial of granite.

C. Ornament with lines cut across each end.

D. Tube-like stone, unknown.

In the center, typical Middle South banner-stone of white and
pink quartz. Perforated. A fine object.

Chapter XIII

Shell and Bone Ornaments and Implements

These objects were small and made, more or less, of perishable
material, therefore they are seldom found except on village sites, or
ash pits or in the mounds and graves. The subject is an interesting
one, although the study of shell and bone objects has been sadly
neglected by collectors.

In the South-west, shells are used for a variety of purposes, the
natives procuring many kinds of ocean shells from the Gulf of Cali-
fornia and the Pacific Coast. It is easy to distinguish between shell
objects of one portion of the United States and of another. But the
bone awls are naturally more or less alike. Bone was not so uni-
versally used for ornamentation as was shell.

The illustrations presented, while somewhat inadequate, will
give our readers a slight idea of the extent of this class of pre-
historic reUcs.

a — Bird effigy of shell.

b — Finger ring of shell.

c — Shell ornament.

It should be observed that a (by
error) is shown twice the size of the
original. The ring and shell pendant
are full size.

FIG. 91. s. I-I.




V . . 1 f r r fr* i - f ' -''

FIG. 92. S. I-I.

a — Shell bracelet. Within it are shown two turquoise beads.

b — Pottery disc, perforated.

c — Shell ornament.

d — Slate ornament.

All from desert ruins near Phoenix, Ariz.



Fig. 93 presents three typical bone awls from village sites, two
fish-hooks, an arrow-shaped ornament of bone and two large shell
ornaments. The shell ornament to the left is a rude imitation of a
human face. In the South much more elaborately carved shells are
found. They portray the human figure, the rattle-snake and other
life-forms as well as cosmic symbols.

S. ABOUT 1-6.

a is a typical cooking bowl, 4 handles,
b' a small bowl; the bottom is pointed instead. of rounded,
c' an artificially shaped human cranium. (Some of our tribes
compressed the skulls of infants.)


d, an engraved shell.

e, an engraved shell or mask with perforations.

f, a string of large bone beads.

g, a very finely carved shell.

h, a clay ladle. A long bone awl is near it.

i, a long string of small beads.

j-d, shelf. A long bone awl, a pipe, 3 engraved shells and 2
shell pins. These latter are common in the middle South, and were

k-c, shelf. Some interesting pottery of rather old form. At k,
double bowl.

The southern heads are much larger than those of other sections.

Fig. 94 shows 24 shell beads or small ornaments from various
portions of the United States. The illustration (a composite made
up of several figures) is taken from Art in Shell of the Ancient Amer-
icans, by Prof. Holmes, Bureau of Ethnology Report, '81.

No. I. Mound, Lick Creek, Tenn. Common from the Mis-
sissippi to the Hudson.

No. 2. Santa Cruz Island, Cal.

No. 3. Mound, Prairie Du Chien, Wis.

No. 4, 9. Mound, Sevierville, Tenn.

No. s, 6. Cal., New Mex.

No. 7. Grave, Lynn, Mass.

No. 8. Northwest Coast.

No. TO. Mound, Southern Ills.

No. II to 15. Mounds, Tenn.

No. 15. Maryland.

No. 16, 20. From various localities.

No. 21. Mound, Cocke Co., Tenn.

No. 22. Pacific Coast.

No. 23. Arizona.

No. 24. A fossil used as a bead.



FIG. 94.

Fig. 95 is from the collection of Mr. James Pillars, Ohio. It
was found in a mound, Mercer Co., Ohio. There are three perfo-
rations. It was cut from a large unio shell. Mr. John N. Hodgin, of
Indiana, found some fifteen or twenty shell ornaments like this one
in a grave.



FIG. 95. S. 1-3.

Dr. William Beauchamp, an authority on Iroquois relics, both
ancient and modern, has published a series of bulletins which deal
with shell objects and bone implements. We quote from Dr.
Beauchamp as follows : —

" The use of shells for ornaments and money is so well known
that no discussion of the subject is required here.* The aborigines
of North America had the common primitive taste, but could not
fully gratify it until the white man came. Some shells they were
able to work in a simple way, but few of these have been preserved.
Under some circumstances they kept well, but they could not stand
much exposure. Pearly shells resisted best, while those in which
white lime was the principal element soon lost their polish, and
often their form.

" The Aborigines of the Pacific states had the Dentalium for

money and ornament, but used the iridescent Haliotis to a great

extent. The Indians of the Plains depended mainly on the eastern

coast for what they used. A few northern shells were available, but

the material for a large proportion of New York articles came from

the south Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico. These were most

in use in the historic period. Few from the southern coast which

are over 300 years old have been found here. Except as beads,

shells were little used as ornaments in New York before that time.

Yet this state was celebrated for the abundance of its wampum 250

years ago, partly from the stimulus given to its manufacture by the

whites, and partly from the numbers and large size of one moUusk,

by which it was supplied.

* From the BiiUe'''m of the New York State Museum. Wampum and Shell
Articles, by William M. Beauchamp, Albany, 1901.


" ' Before the Europeans came to North America the Indians
used to make their strings of wampum chiefly of small pieces of
wood of equal size, stained with black and white. Few were made
of mussels, which were esteemed very valuable and difficult to make ;
for, not having proper tools, they spent much time in finishing them,
and yet their work had a clumsy appearance. But the Europeans
soon contrived to make strings of wampum, both neat and elegant,
in abundance. These they bartered with the Indians for other
goods, and found this traffic very advantageous. The Indians imme-
diately gave up the use of the old wooden substitutes for wampum
and procured those made of mussels, which, though fallen in price,
were always accounted valuable. Formerly they used to give
sanction to their treaties by delivering a wing of some large bird,
and this custom still prevails among the more western nations in
transacting business with the Delawares. But the Delawares them-
selves, the Iroquois, and those nations in league with them, are now
sufficiently provided with handsome and well wrought strings and
belts of wampum.' " — Loskiel, page 26.

• Awls and Knives

" It is quite propable that many small bone articles commonly
called awls were really used for arrow points, and some have re-
garded the large and sometimes massive forms as daggers. In the
paucity of stone arrowheads and knives on many Iroquois sites of
the Sixteenth century, such uses seem reasonable, and have much to
support them in the notes of early discoverers. * * * * Frequent
small awls are also found which are but sharpened splinters of bone,
as well described by words as figures. The outline of the tool often
means nothing. The point of the awl is the only essential thing.
In considering the better finished articles of all kinds, it is to be re-
membered that these are but a selection of typical forms out of
thousands which have individuality, constantly varying in one way
or another.

" Then there are forms which have a rounded point, not adapted
for piercing or any other known purpose. These are usually of horn,
and are commonly classed with awls, though often termed punches.
It may be best to assign them this name here, though this places
them with cylindrical articles usually having rounded ends. While


they differ in form from these, they seem to belong nowhere else ;
and even then we do not know their use.

" While a warlike character has been contended for in the case
of some of the larger and longer forms, some persons have seen in
the more slender examples pins, either for the hair or apparel. The
latter supposition is questionable in most cases; and those of great
length and sharpness would have been neither comfortably nor
safely worn in the hair. Some may be assigned to this use. Many
combine a broad knifelike form with the sharp point of an awl, if
such they are. They seem not sharp enough for cutting, but would
have been useful in skinning an animal. Among the Iroquois stone
axes or celts were not abundant, and were probably prized. For
deer-skinning the bone knife did just as well. It was lighter, more
easily made, was sometimes distinct, but often combined the awl
point with it, as our pocket knives practically do." *

Besides awls, needles and punches in bone or horn, celts,
scrapers and club-heads have been found on village sites. As these
are so seldom obtained by collectors, it is not necessary to illustrate
them here.

* Horn ajid Boiie Implevients of the Ne^M York Indians. Wm. M. Beauchamp,
S. T. D. page 254. Albany, 1902.

isEor^i OF m^MM mm

Chapter XIV

Bicaves and Plummets

Dr. Snyder, the well-known archaeologist, prepared a paper on
bicave stones for Prehistoric Implements (pp. 163-7) ^"d as we
heartily concur in all his opinions, we reproduce it here— with a few

The urgent need of the science of archaeology at the present
time is a revision of its nomenclature ; especially in the classification
of prehistoric stone implements. Such uncouth and meaningless
names as "spuds," " bunts," " banner stones"; and the vague and in-
definite terms, " ceremonials," " discoidal stones," " amulets," etc,
should be discarded from our archaeological vocabulary, and re-
placed with names conveying some specific idea of the form, di-
mensions, or use of the objects. " Leaf-shaped", applied to certain
chipped flints, is another absurdity, and about as precise for de-
scriptive purposes as is " a chunk of rock " as a measure of magni-
tude ; for there are leaves of many diverse forms, and we are at a
loss to know what particular shape of leaf is implied.

The term " discoidal stone " is equally ambiguous and con-
fusing ; for among aboriginal stone relics, disc-like, or circular, stones
of almost every size and variety occur, differing so widely in di-
mensions and details of figure as to render their classification under
one title bewildering and misleading. Waterworn pebbles, circular
and flat, or disc-like, were abundant and ready at hand almost every-
where — by the lake shores or sand bars in every stream, and among
the gravel beds of the drift formation — requiring but little modifi-
cation by primitive savages to adapt them to use. And, we know,
they were utilized in many ways, each of the modified forms serving,
perhaps, a distinct and different purpose.








Yellow, brown ferruginous quartz, Tennessee.

Dark greenstone, from a mound, Illinois.

Quartzite, Georgia.

Argillite, Pennsylvania.

Not given.

Brown ferruginous quartz, Tennessee.

Quartzite, Ohio.

Quartzite, Ohio.

This cut is from " A Study of Prehistoric Anthropology." Dr.
Thomas Wilson, Smithsonian Report, 'Sy-'S.


In our archaeological literature the generic term " discoidal " is
applied indiscriminately to all round, non-spherical objects of stone,
shell, bone, hematite, or pottery ; including ornaments a fraction
larger than beads, spindle whorls, club heads, hammer stones, and a
host of others of unknown uses. It is lime, I think, that we should
adopt a more distinctive classification of these circular art relics of
the stone age. The best known type of so-called discoidal stones —
the type most generally referred to by that designation — is circular
in contour, varying in width, thickness and material; and has cupped,
or mortar-like depressions on each lateral surface ; in some broad
and shallow, and in others narrow and deep ; and in a few so deep
as to coalesce and perforate the stone.

As the bilateral, saucer-like cavities on each side are character-
istic of this type of disc-like stones, I would suggest, for convenience
of description, its separation from all others of the group of round,
flat, prehistoric relics now bunched together as " discoidals," and
call them bicave stones, or bicaves, from the Latin hinus, two, or
double, and the noun mvum, a concavity, or hollow ; or the verb cavo,
I hollow, or scoop. This name, in my opinion, would be far more
expressive of the shape and peculiar conformation of the object than
its present inexact appellation. To further specify that the bicave
stone is discoidal, would be superfluous, as all bicaves, with rare ex-
ceptions are round or disc-like.

When asked to what use the bicave stones were applied, the
ready answer is, for playing games. How is this known ? It is not
known ; but merely inferred from the accounts of early observers
among certain recent Indian tribes who saw them playing games in
which a round, flat stone was used. The impression that the hurling
stones employed by modern Indians in these games were the iden-
tical bicaves in question, is so general, and so stated with such posi-
tiveness by certain writers, that it has become accepted as the true
solution of the problem of the bicave stone's utility. An examination
of the facts will, however, tend to dissipate this belief, and convince
us that those strange and beautiful relics were not made for that
purpose. It is altogether probable that, in some instances, modern
Indians found prehistoric bicave stones, as we do, and adapted them
to their games, as I have seen here, in Illinois, in early days, school
boys use them as quoits for pitching, in the game of quoits.


FIG. 97. S. 1-2.

The Indian game, in which round hurling stones were an impor-
tant feature, has been seen and described by several early explorers ;
among whom was Adair, who has given us a concise, and, no doubt,
accurate account of it, as follows: "The warriors have another
favorite game called Chungke, which, with propriety of language,
may be called ' Running hard labor.' The)* have near their state

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Online LibraryWarren King MooreheadPrehistoric relics; an illustrated catalogue describing some eight hundred and fifty different specimens → online text (page 5 of 8)