Stone Lined Graves – Important Person

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It must have been the tomb of an important person, the burial place of some great man, highly esteemed by his companions. The mound is, as shown in the plan, surrounded by a ditch and embankment. “The mound, which covers the entire area, save a narrow strip here and there, is 115 feet long and 96 feet wide at base, with a height of 23 feet. . . . The surrounding wall and ditch are interrupted only by the gateway at the east, which is about 30 feet wide. The ditch is 3 feet deep and varies in width from 20 to 23 feet. The wall averages 20 feet in breadth and is from 1 foot to 3 feet high.” The upper 5 feet of the mound was of yellow clay, the balance of the work being formed of dark surface soil. “At the base, 30 feet front the south margin, was a bed of burnt clay, on which were coals and ashes. In the center, also at the base, were the remains of a square wooden vault. The logs of which it was built were completely decayed, but the molds and impressions were still very distinct, so that they could be easily traced. This was about 10 feet square, and the logs were of considerable size, most of them nearly or quite a foot in diameter. At each corner had been placed a stout upright, post, and the bottom, judging by the slight remains found there, had been wholly or partially covered with poles near the center was the extended skeleton of an adult, head south, with which were enough shell beads to make a string 9 yards in length.” Quite similar to the preceding was a burial discovered in Ross County, Ohio. This mound, having a height of 22 feet and a diameter of 90 feet, stood on the third terrace of the Scioto, about 5 miles below Chillicothe.

During the course of the exploration of the work a stratum of ashes and charcoal was encountered at a depth of 10 feet below the summit. This mass was from 2 to 6 inches in thickness and about,10 feet square, and ” at the depth of 22 feet, and on a level with the original surface, immediately underneath the charcoal layer was a rude timber framework now reduced to an almost impalpable powder, but the cast of which was still retained in the hard earth. This inclosure of timber, measured from outside to outside, was, 9 feet long by 7 wide, and 20 inches high. It had been constructed of logs laid one on the other, and had evidently been covered with other timbers, which had sunk under the superincum bent earth as they decayed. The bottom had also been covered with bark, matting, or thin slabs-at any rate, a whitish stratum of decomposed material remained, covering the bottom of the parallelogram. Within this rude coffin, with its head to the west, was found a human skeleton.” And associated with the human remains were many beads, again resembling the similar burial in Rocking County. Burials of a like nature have been discovered westward to the Mississippi, some very interesting examples having been found in the valley of the Illinois and the circumjacent country. A stone inclosure discovered in a mound in Rush County, Indiana, about 32 miles southwest of the village of Milroy, may be considered a typical example of this form of burial. The mound was 5 feet in height and 30 feet in diameter. It stood ” on a bluff 20 feet high, at the foot of which flows the stream Little Flat Rock. Inside of it was what might be termed a stone wall enclosing 10 feet square of the mound. Though the wall was not of perfect masonry, yet very evidently it was built for some purpose. On top was common soil 18 inches deep, then clay, next clay and ashes, with coal mixed in it 2 feet thick; then a hardpan of clay, on top of which were three human adult skeletons and the skull of an infant, all side by side, with their feet toward the east. Around the neck of one were a number of copper and bone beads, the latter of which crumbled immediately. The copper ones were made of sheet copper rolled up,”



MLA Source Citation:

Bushnell, David I. Native Cemeteries and Forms of Burial East of the Mississippi. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Volume 71. Washington: Government Printing Office. 1920. AccessGenealogy.com. Web. 23 July 2014. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/stone-lined-graves-important-person.htm - Last updated on Dec 20th, 2012


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