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Burial in Caves – Marshall County, Alabama

Resembling the preceding (Burials in Caves) was a cave in Marshall County, Alabama, about 1 mile west of Guntersville, a short distance from the bank of the Tennessee. “Its floor is covered to the depth of four feet with fragments of human bones, earth, ashes, and broken stones. This fragmentary condition of the deposits is chiefly due to the fact that they have been repeatedly turned over by treasure hunters. Much of this deposit has been hauled away in sacks for fertilizing the land. The number of dead deposited here must have been very great, for, notwithstanding so much has been removed, there is yet a depth of four feet, chiefly of broken human bones.” Other instances are recorded where a small room or cavity within a large cave had evidently been set apart and converted into a tomb. Haywood mentioned a cave “near the confines of Smith and Wilson Counties, on the south side of Cumberland river, about 22 miles above Cairo, on the waters of Smith’s Fork of Cany Fork.” The outer portion of the cave was examined and small cavities were entered through natural passages. They reached ” another small aperture, which also they entered, and went through, when they came into a narrow room, 25 feet square. Every thing here was neat and smooth. The room seemed to have been carefully preserved for the reception and keeping of the dead. In this room, near about the centre, were found sitting in baskets made of cane, three human bodies; the flesh entire, but a little shrivelled, and not much so. The bodies were those of a...

Stone Lined Graves – Important Person

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...

Various Types of Iroquoian Burials

Many burials of special interest, either by reason of their rather unusual form or the material which they revealed, have been discovered in different parts of the present State of New York. These may be attributed to the people of the Five Nations, and seem to prove that all followed various methods of disposing of their dead. The quotations are made from Beauchamp, by whom the information was gathered from several sources. In Genesee County, the home of the Seneca, a cemetery encountered in a gravel bank some 6 miles southeast of Bergen ” has skeletons in a sitting posture, with and without early relics.” These were undoubtedly flexed, the bodies closely wrapped and then placed in pits-the early form of inhumation. Eastward from the preceding, in Seneca County, once occupied by the Cayuga, the ancient village of Kendaia stood about 4 miles southwest of the present settlement of Romulus. It was destroyed in 1779. One of the graves then standing was thus described: “The body was laid on the surface of the earth in a shroud or garment ; then a large casement made very neat with boards something larger than the body and about four foot high put over the body as it lay on the earth; and the outside and top were painted very curious with a great many colors. In each end of the casement was a small hole where the friends of the deceased or anybody might see the corpse when they pleased. Then over all was built a large shed of bark so as to prevent the rain from coming on the vault.”...

Delaware Ceremony, 1762

“I was present in the year 1762, at the funeral of a woman of the highest rank and respectability, the wife of the valiant Delaware chief Shingask; . . . all the honours were paid to her at her interment that are usual on such occasions. . . . At the moment that she died, her death was announced through the village by women especially appointed for that purpose, who went through the streets crying, ‘She is no more! She is no more!’ The place on a sudden exhibited a scene of universal mourning; cries and lamentations were heard from all quarters.” The following day the body was placed in a coffin which had been made by a carpenter employed by the Indian trader. The remains had been ” dressed and painted in the most superb Indian style. Her garments, all new, were set off with rows of silver broaches, one row joining the other. Over the sleeves of her new ruffled shirt were broad silver arm spangles from her shoulder down to her wrist, on which were bands, forming a kind of mittens, worked together of wampum, in the same manner as the belts which they use when they deliver speeches. Her long plaited hair was confined by broad bands of silver, one band joining the other, yet not of the same size, but tapering from the head downwards and running at the lower end to a point. On the neck were hanging five broad belts of wampum tied together at the ends, each of a size smaller than the other, the largest of which reached below her...

Biography of David Ives Bushnell, Jr.

Born in 1875 in St. Louis, Missouri, David Ives Bushnell, Jr. was introduced to archaeological and ethnographic material at an early age. His father, David Bushnell, Sr., served on the Advisory Committee at the Missouri Historical Society for many years, was appointed the vice-president at one time, and was a trustee from 1898-1913. Never formally trained as an anthropologist, David I. Bushnell Jr. enjoyed a wide range of interests in the field of anthropology, archaeology and ethnography. Bushnell extensively photographed his numerous expeditions, many of which resulted in the publications he produced throughout his life. Schooled in St. Louis and later in Europe, Bushnell was never a student at Harvard University, but was associated with the University from 1901-1904 as an archaeological assistant at the Peabody Museum. He was later appointed as an editor at the Smithsonian Institution’s Bureau of American Ethnology (BAE) where he remained from 1912-1921. His widespread interests and his reputation as a scholar and collector began in 1899 when Bushnell embarked on his first anthropological expedition to Northern Minnesota where he observed and recorded life among the Chippewa and Ojibwa as well as participated in an archaeological excavation at Mille Lac. In 1902, he studied saltmaking at Kimmswick in southern Missouri. In 1904, Bushnell excavated at the Cahokia Mounds. That same year, he also took a trip with his mother to Europe and documented North American ethnographic material housed in European collections and museums. While in Switzerland, he excavated and collected specimens from peat bogs. He returned to Charlottesville, Virginia in 1907 and was hired as a contributor to the Handbook of American Indians. He...

Native Cemeteries and Forms of Burial East of the Mississippi

Native burials and places of burial have been questioned my many people, David M. Bushnell, provides many answers to forms, places, and tribal customs. He does not include all the tribes but does offer an explanation on such tribes as Algonquian, Powhatan, Seneca, Huron, Natchez, Sioux, Cherokee, Creek, Seminole and Choctaw just to name a few.

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