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Vestiges of an Ancient Elliptical Work at Canandaigua

Chapter 27
Page 109

The Senecas deduce their descent from a noted eminence, bearing the title of "Fort Hill" at the head of the sylvan expanse of Canandaigua Lake. The term of Fort Hill, is however, not confined to that spot, but is, as in the work under consideration, one of common occurrence, in sundry parts of the ancient and extended area of the Six Nations. The subjoined sketch denotes the vestiges of an ancient stronghold of the Senecas, of an elliptical form, on elevated lands about a mile northerly from the village.

This work has been nearly obliterated by the plough. The only portions of the ancient wall yet remaining, are indicated by the letters B. B. At A, a dwelling house has been erected, flanked by gardens.

C, is a turnpike or rectangular town road, passing over the apex of the elevation. The dotted ellipses, through these grounds, are laid down from tradition

Vestiges of an Ancient Elliptical Work at Canandaigua
Page 110

rather than from any well defined vestiges in these fields of the original wall yet visible. D,D, represents a native forest. Judging from the curves of the portions of wall entire at B, B, in connection with the era pointed out by the occupant, this work may have had a circumference of one thousand feet. It occupied a commanding site. The sections of the wall remaining, denote the labor of many hands, and if this rampart was crowned with palisades, and secured in the usual manner with gates, it must not only have furnished a garrison to a large body of warriors, but have been a work of much strength.

In excavating the grounds for the road, in the approach to the village, human bones were found, in considerable quantities, on the descent of the hill, together with some of the usual vestiges of ancient Indian art, as evinced in the manufacture of stone and clay pipes and implements. Nothing of this kind had, however, been preserved, which appeared worthy of particular description.

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Iroquois General Ethnology - Table of Contents
Iroquois General Ethnology of Western New York

Notes About the Book:

Source: Notes on the Iroquois or, Contributions to the Statistics, Aboriginal History, Antiquities and General Ethnology of Western New York, By Henry R. Schoolcraft, 1846, Senate Document, Twenty-Four.

Online Publication: The manuscript was scanned and then ocr'd. Minimal editing has been done, and readers can and should expect some errors in the textual output.

This site includes some historical materials that may imply negative stereotypes reflecting the culture or language of a particular period or place. These items are presented as part of the historical record and should not be interpreted to mean that the WebMasters in any way endorse the stereotypes implied.


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