« AnteriorContinuar »
between the heads of streams, and in the tops of modernte hills, where no current has room to accumulate ; and especially if the sathe region be prairie, with the surface protected by the strong roots of wild grasses.
Just such a situation is this part of Wiskonsin where the geologist suddenly and unexpectedly meets with these groups of gigantic basso-relievos,
which appear to him as decidedly artificial as the head of Julius Cæsar on * an ancient coin, notwithstanding any thing which may be imagined or said lo to the contrary. 13 Antiquities, plate No. 3.- The first or left-hand figure on this plate, 1'? (marked 3,) is about one mile and a half from the bluff above described.
It appears to be solitary ; lies on a low, level, smooth ground, and seems to
have been mutilated; the parts which I have called the legs seem to have ** been partially washed away. If intended to represent an animal, the head
is evidently too large, and the altitude very stiff and rectangular. But
I have drawn it as I found it, without any inclination to make it more • like an animal than it was made in the original design, with all of the de
facements which several hundred years have imprinted. The distance
from this third figure to the next group is diminished on the plate. It is i really one-fourth to one-third of a mile, where, on our progress towards
Madison, we approach the termination of the valley in which our figures, so far, have been sketched. Ilere, upon the side of a hill sloping gently toward the road, are three figures, and an embankment; the sizes, distances, and relative positions of which have all been drawn to a uniform scale of
forty feet to the inch. er Antiquities, plate 4.--Leaving the group last described, and proceeding
still eastwardly towards the Four lakes, we ascend a ridge, and pass out of the valley containing the six figures represented on plates 2 and 3. The road for about two miles lies over broken, thinly-timbered ridges ; beyond which it crosses a small prairie, and again enters woodland. Just at the entrance of this woodland are the two figures sketched on the plate, and numbered 7 and 8. The pathway passes, with scanty space, between the nose of the one and the tail of the other. These, as appears in the drawings, are the most perfect, if we consider them as "effigies" of animals, of any of the figures here represented, and are singularly alike in their form and dimensions. A short distance (500 or 600 feet) to the west of them is a natural swell of ground, with an artificial circular tumulus on the top of it, overlooking the two figures.
If these figures were originally intended to represent aniinals, they might have been much more distinct and specific than they now are. It is obvi. ous that any minute delineations must soon be obliterated by the agency of the weather. Most of them have the upper part of the head, the ears, or antlers, apparently too large--at least it appears so in the drawings. But this part, in the originals, is not raised from the ground so high as the other parts, and appears like several small parts trodden down and blended together. In the eighth figure, especially, there is a decided notch or separation still remaining between the two horns or ears. They are the favorite resort of badgers; who, finding them raised and dry, have selected them for burrowing; and it is wonderful that they retain their outlines so perfectly. But, above all other creatures, civilized man will obliterate them the most speedily; and it is much to be regretted that the multitude of extraordinary figures raised like embossed ornaments over the whole of this part of the country, could not be accurately measured and delineated before they shall
be obliterated forever. The reader will please to observe that these observations were made, as it were, by stealth. I had other duties to perform, and was enabled to take these measurements by an enthusiasm which awoke me in my tent at midnight, assisted me to prepare my breakfast before day, and sent me into the cold bleak fields on a November morning, to finish the admeasurements of a whole group of figures, before the usual time of commencing the labors of the day. I had no time to turn aside to examine still other groups, evidently more extensive and interesting than those which we have endeavored to represent. Mr. Taylor has represented the effigies of birds, and one of the human figure, as occurring here; and I am happy, with a full conviction of the general accuracy of his representations, to call the reader's attention to his interesting paper.
On one of the hills I saw an embankment exactly in the form of the cross, as it is usually represented as the emblem of Christianity. Some of the surveyors brought in sketches of works in the form of birds with wings expanded ; and I heard of others in the form of lizards and tortoises. From what I have seen, I should think it very probable that these forms are to be found. But, in order that their existence should excite in the public that interest which, as relics of ancient history, they really possess, they should be so exactly surveyed and depicted that their representations can be relied upon with confidence. I object to the very careless and imperfect manner in which most of our antiquities have been examined, by which they have been rather guessed at than surveyed. Although I have given a pledge not to undertake to make animals of these figures, yet, to the eyes of all, except very sagacious people, they will look very like animals; and the question will arise, what kinds of animals were intended to be represented ? In the originals, the size is so great, and the outline more or less obscured by herbage and undershrubs, that the impression of an effigy is much less decided than when the same is diminished and brought into one point of view, in which all the parts are under the eye at once. A comparison of the difference of expression, form, and attitude, does not strike one at all in the originals, while it is very decided in the diminished copies. Mr. Taylor suggests that those were intended to represent the buffalo, though he acknowledges the representation to be imperfect, especially in wanting the “hump." It appears to me that the figures 1, 2, 3, and 6, might have been intended as effigies of the bear; the clumsy proportions, and want of the caudal appendage, appear like that animal. Figures 5, 7, and S, have decidedly an expression of agility and tleetness.
They may have been intended for the conger, or American tiger-an animal still existing in that region. The only general disproportion to that animal is the length of the head.
I have thus, my dear sir, laid before you, as well as circumstances would permit, the result of a few hours' very hard labor in the examinations of the antiquities of Wiskonsin, with the faint hope that, from some source or other, there may emanate an interest sufficient to cause an accurate and general survey and history of them to be imbodied and preserved. I know of no prospective volume which I should open with more interest than an accurate representation of all of our remaining earth work antiquities.
VI. TABLE OF METEOROLOGICAL OBSERVATIONS, TOGETHER WITH BA
ROMETRICAL OBSERVATIONS, MADE FOR DETERMINING ALTITUDES AND THICKNESS OF STRATA.
In the following record of observations, the external temperature is noted according to the scale of Farenheit; the barometer in French millemetres; and the attached thermometer in the centigrade scale. The number immediately preceding the particular locality, as “7th Encampment, Davenport," is the number of the station or encampment, corresponding with th numbers used for the same stations in the table of magnetical observations where the latitude and longitude of each is noted. The number succeeding any particular place, as “hotel 30 feet," is the approximate altitude in feet above the low-water mark of the nearest considerable stream.
5 30 PM 5 45.
20.0 Ferry-house. 23.5 5 feet above low water of Miss. 23.5 | Hill near the camp, 60 feet. Camp 60 feet above low water. | Flying clouds and gusty wind.
Clear until 10 o'clock, when commenced a high
wind from the souih, with some lightning.
Wind in strong gusts, breakers on the river.
| Wind nearly wesi, in interrupted breezes, clouds
"fleecy," and rolling from the west in successive
Perfectly clear, wind west, in gusts,
21 12 - 223.
12 20 P. M.