Monday, January 12, 2015

Nephilim Tomb Uncovered Across from the Marietta Mounds

The group of burial mounds across the Muskinghum river was the site of the dig and find of the giant skeleton.

Travels in America, 1806
       Directly across the Muskinghum could be seen Marietta; her gardens, poplar trees, ship yards, public buildings, and her highly cultivated plains ; extending in a narrow breadth along the Ohio many interesting miles. After a very short inspection, and cursory examination, it was very evident that the spot on which I stood, had been occupied by the Indians, either as a place of observation or a strong hold. The exact summit of the hill I found to be artificial : it expressed an oval (agreeing with the natural form of the foundation) forty-five feet by twenty-three, and was composed apparently of earth and stone, though no stone of a similar character appeared near. The base of the oval was girded by a wall in a state of too great decay to justify any calculation; and the whole was so covered with heavy timber, and a bed of such thick bars, that I despaired of gaining any farther knowledge, and would have instantly left the place, had I not been detained by Cuff, whom I saw occupied in endeavouring to introduce a pole in a small opening between two flags near the root of a tree which grew on the crown of the oval or summit of the hill. The flags were too heavy to be removed by the mere power of hands. Two good oak poles were cut in lieu of leavers and crows. Clapping these into the orifice first discovered, we weighed a large flagstone, and on tilting it over, we each assumed a guard, and waited a few moments, in silent expectation of hearing the hissing of vermin, or the rustling of beasts. Nothing was heard. We resumed our labour, cast out a number of stones, leaves, and earth; and cleared a surface seven feet by five which had been covered upwards of fifteen inches deep, with flat stones, principally, lying on each other with their edges pointing 'above the horizon. The surface we had cleared offered in superable difficulties. It was a plain superficies composed of but three stones of such apparent magnitude, that Cuft' began to think we should find under them.  The manner the stones were placed led me to conceive the existence of a vault filled with the riches of antiquity, or crowded with the treasures of the most ancient world. A bed of sand was all that appeared under the flags I cast off, and as I knew sand not to be nearer than the bed of the Muskingum, a design was again so manifest as to encourage my proceeding, and the sand, which was about a foot deep, was soon re moved. The design and labour of man was now unequivocal. The space out of which these materials were taken, left a hollow in an oblong square, lined with stone on the ends and sides ; and paved with square stones, on the apparent bottom or upper surface, exactly fitting together, in diameter about nine inches. I picked these up with the nicest care, and again came to a bed of sand, the removal of which left my vault, as it now evidently showed itself, near three feet deep, presenting another bottom or surface composed of small square cut stones,fitted with such art, that I had much difficulty in discovering many of the places where they met. These displaced, I came to a substance, which, on the most critical examination, I judged to be a mat or mats in a state of entire decomposition and decay. Reverence and care, increasing with this impalpable powder with my hands, and fanned off the remaining dust with my hat. Great indeed was my recom- pence for this industry! Grand was the reward of my persevering labor and strengthened hopes! There appeared before me; there existed under my feet, a beautiful  pavement of small coloured stones; the colors and stones arranged in such a manner as to express harmony and shades, and to portray the full-length figure of a warrior, under whose feet a snake was exhibited in ample folds. To tread on such exquisite beauty and workmanship, formed by hands centuries ago, and by the ancestors of a race of people now rejected and despised, could not be done without an awful emotion.       
   Like a miser, I was uninterrupshed, led to examine my treasure. I again descended into the vault, occupied with the desire of being able to separate the pavement in such a manner, and to imprint on every stone such marks as would enable me to put it together at any future period, and bring it home for the advantage and delight of the curious world. I had made but very little progress before I discovered the impracticability of my intention. No part of the pavement was exactly of the same character except the space between the outlines of the figures and the sides and ends of the entire space. The body of the figures was composed of dyed woods, bone., Little more than the actual pavement could be preserved; it is composed of flat stones one inch deep, two inches square, and the prevailing colours are white, green, dark-blue, and pale spotted red : all of which are peculiar to the lakes and not to be had nearer. They are evidently known and filled with a precision which proves them to have been but from one common example. The whole was affixed in a thin layer of sand which covered a large piece of beech- bark in great decay, whose removal exposed what I was fully prepared to dis cover from all the previous indications, the remains of a human skeleton of uncommon magnitude, extended in a bark shell, which also contained,  an earthen urn, or rather pot of earthen ware, which were several small broken bones and some white sediment. The vitrified, rings like a rummer glass, holds about two gallons, has a top or cover of the same material, and. resists fire as completely as iron or brass; 2. A stone hatchet with a groove round the pole by which it was fastened with a withe to the handle. 3. Twenty-four arrow points made of flint and bone, and lying in a position which betrayed their having belonged to a quiver. 4. A quantity of beads, round, oval and square ; colour ed green, black, white, blue and yellow. 5. A conch shell decomposed into a substance like chalk. This shell is fourteen inches long and twenty-three in circumference: 6. Under a heap of dust, and tenuous shreds of feathered cloth and hair, a parcel of brass rings cut, by an art unknown to me, out of a solid piece of that metal.  Each ring is three inches in diameter, and has a horizontal circumference half an inch wide, on both sides of which are strongly etched, a variety of characters resembling Chinese, the decyphering of which my scanty erudition has no pretentions to reach. Of the skeleton I have preserved a small part of the vertebral column ; a portion of the skull ; a part of the under jaw inclosing two grinders of great size ; the bones of the thighs and legs, and some mtacarpels of the hands and feet. The ribs, clavicles, vertebras of the neck and spine, & were nearly an impalpable powder.  Judging from comparison and analogy, the being to whom these remains belonged could not have been less than seven foot high. That he was a king, sachem or chief of a very remote period there can be no manner of doubt. The distinction, ingenuity, labor, and care, with which he was buried, and the mausoleum constructed for him alone, on an eminence above the multitude, and its disregarded dead, proclaims this beyond dispute; and, from the subjects found in the interments, the following (at least, and perhaps many more) useful conclusions may be drawn. That they knew the use and properties of brass is very clear, and that they could work it with skill, is equally evident. 7- If the characters on the rings be in fact Chinese, or if they bear a strong and significant analogy to them, it again justifies a suspicion which formerly prevailed, that a communication early existed between Asia and America, since destroy ed by some violent agitation of the earth at the Straits of Bearing, or by a reverse of climate which renders that passage inaccessible, and too difficult and cold for the powers and temperament now accorded to man. 8. If the characters on the rings be original and unknown to any other of the nations of the earth, it must show that the use of letters and the art of engraving were known to American tribes many ages since, and also prove that when we speak of America as a new country, on which science never shone, and in which social arts, agriculture and commerce, never flourished, we arrogate to ourselves more information than we are entitled to, and betray a presumption and ignorance for which we ought to blush. The remarkable size of the skeleton would signify that the Indians of every time were fond of associating in their chiefs, physical as well as mental endowments. That this king should unite a gigantic form to wisdom and intrepidity of heart appears to have been ever their favourite principle. Even the few scattered nations which still remain, and whose monarchs are elective, betray this passion in their choice, and pay much more deference to a prince of inordinate stature than to one of common magnitude