Bancroft's Native Races, Vol. IV 1882
5 Ton Piece of Copper being raised from a mine on Lake Superior. They were not mining such large amounts of copper to make jewelry!
The ancient miners have left numerous traces of their work in the region of Lake Superior. At one place a piece of pure copper weighing over five tons was found fifteen feet below the surface, under trees at least four hundred years old. It had been raised on skids, bore marks of fire, and some stone implements were scattered about. There is no evidence that the tribes found in possession of the country by the first French missionaries ever worked these mines, or had any tradition of a people that had worked them, although both they and their ancestors had copper knives hammered from lumps of the metal, which are very commonly found on the surface. All the traditions and Indian stories of 'mines' may most consistently be referred to these natural superficial deposits. The ancient mines were for the most part in the same localities where the best modern mines are worked. Most of them have left as traces only slight depressions in the surface, the finding of which is regarded by prospectors as a tolerably sure indication of a rich vein of copper. The cut represents a section of one of the veins of copper-bearing rock worked by the ancient miners. The mass of copper at a weighed about six tons. At the top a portion of the stone had been left across the vein as a support. Copper implements, including wedges used in mining as 'gads,' are found in and about the old mines; with hammers of stone, mostly grooved for withe handles. Some weigh from thirty to forty pounds and have two 784grooves; others again are not grooved at all. In one case remains of a handle of twisted cedar-roots were found, and much-worn wooden shovels often occur. There are no enclosures, mounds, or other traces of a permanent settlement of the Mound-builders in the mining region. It is probable that the miners came each summer from the south; in fact, it would have been impossible to work the mines in winter by their methods.