Giant Skeletons Found in Underground Tomb at Mounds State Park in Anderson Indiana

Giant Skeletons Found in Underground Tomb at Mounds State Park in Anderson Indiana


Lima Daily News, (Lima Ohio) July 27, 1892
May Buy The Mounds
Congress To Purchase Prehistoric Works
(Anderson, Ind., Letter)
The questions of converting the Indiana prehistoric mounds into a national park will be revived again this session of congress and more favorable action may be taken. As archaeologists continue the study of the mound builders they find that the Indiana mounds are most remarkable of all in the nation. Recent discoveries have added a great deal of interest to the Indiana mounds and they have again demanded the attention of the Smithsonian Institution, which was one of the prime movers some years ago in the attempt to have the grounds converted into a national park.
Henge complex at Mounds State Park

A camera cannot do the Indiana mounds justice. They are not great heaps of earth which show well in a photograph, as is the case with those in Ohio and along the Mississippi, and are not even as attractive as those in Illinois and the northwest, which follow the contour of snakes and wild beast, but they posses outlines well defined and precise Scientist are convinced that their builders possessed many of the talents of the ancients of Egypt and Asia. Like the other mounds, they are covered with forest, which show that ages have passed since the builders occupied them.
The precision of the modern surveyor and the methods of the nineteenth century builder have been combined in the Indian mounds and the result is a work of art rather than a crude heap. If it was known that the builders had surveyed Saturn through telescopic lens and beheld the circles around the inner globe, it might be claimed that they had used the planet and its girdle as their pattern for the construction of earthworks. The five great mounds lie just east of the city. The outer circle of the greatest of the five is but ten feet in height, but broad enough to allow teams to pass over its crest. It is 180 feet in diameter, and measured from any point it is identically the same distance from the center of the mound. The precision of these outer ridges is so nice they at once attract attention. With a graceful curve the ridge slopes on an angle of about 120 degrees to a great ditch fifteen feet wide and about fifteen feet deep. Like the ridge, it is perfect circle. From the ditch rises the inner, the great mound. The rise is rounded and evened off as prettily as though it had just been completed. In the very center of this mound, which is fully 100 feet across, is a prominence and this is five feet above the outer circle ridge and twenty feet higher than the inner ditch. From this a path wide enough for teams to pass runs to the outer ridge, where there is an opening. It bridges the ditch. All mounds large and small are built identically this pattern, all of the openings being to the north and on a direct line from the center mound to the North Star. These openings have been much studied, but significance of their direction has not been determined. The recent discoveries, given later, all tend to the belief that all of these mounds are buried deep under the present surface and were built on the strata of shale probably before the alluvial deposits were made.
The great mounds of the Indian group all belong to the Bronnenburg family, which is among the wealthiest and best known in the county. The Bronnenbergs, while enterprising farmers have little idea of the assistance they might give to science by allowing excavation in the mounds. They have persistently refused to allow any excavations made in any of the mounds, but recently a midnight party was organized which dug in the center of the center mound. Although the men went down twenty theyfeet found nothing but loose alluvial soil that had evidently not been used in the construction of the mounds, but had accumulated later. This strengthens the theory that the real works of primitive art lie far below the present surface of the ground, and are built upon the underlying strata of slate.
Dora Biddle of Anderson a collector of antiques has a skull, and another is on exhibition here, which has been severed just above the ears, in such a manner as to remove the crown of the head and lay the brain bare. These skulls were found with others under conditions, which would indicate that they were those of the mound builders. They are very large, show marked intellectually, and unlike skulls of the present day, or of the Indians, have a fifth skull bone in the back of the head. There can be no doubt that the purpose of removing the tops of these skulls was to remove the brain tissue. The skulls have been severed with some fine instrument, which did the work as precisely as the surgeon’s saw of today would do it.

Recently, while making an excavation near the mounds, workmen who did not appreciate the find suddenly came upon a composition, which resembled a baked cement or clay. It was round and secure. They broke into it and found they had opened a hermetically sealed cave, which resembles greatly our cisterns of the present day. It was dry as a powder-house, and the air, which came from its recesses, was sickening and tainted with great age. Here in this small receptacle, scarcely large enough to hold more, were found six skeletons in a sitting position. All six skeletons in a sitting position. All were propped up evidently when first put in. When the fresh air came rolling in they crumbled to pieces and but for a few bones which remain no trace is left of this remarkable find. The bones that are saved, however, indicate a people who were very large-decidedly larger than those of the present day. Parts of the skulls showed that the heads were very large also-the foreheads were very large.
There can be little doubt that this find is closely connected with the mounds and that the skeletons were those of mound builders. It is claimed a similar discovery was made some years ago near the mounds, and that this proves convincingly that mound builders were the occupants of the cells. This mode of burial could not have been that of the modern Indians who occupied this part of the country at the time of the landing of Columbus.
Francis Walker of this city, who has long advocated the converting of the Indian mounds into a national park, says that the mound builders of this section were far advanced in the arts and sciences. If the mounds were as supposed, built upon the shales which underlie the alluvial deposits, a reference to geological data would place the existence of these aborigines back as far as the time of the Pharaohs.

To the east of the mounds is a cave of artificial formation that leads in toward the great mound 150 feet distant, and is fully fifty feet below the present surface of the mounds. There is little doubt that here lies the solving of the great mystery. It is probable that following this would bring a person in the inner chamber of a work of primitive building that would solve the doubts now existing regarding the history of this remarkable people.
Should the movement to convert these lands into a national park be successful the Smithsonian Institute and other Institutions of learning which have been greatly interested in this group will make excavations that are now impossible. They have long regarded the builders of these mounds as those from which they would get most knowledge, owning to the superiority and advancement these people evidently held over othertribes of builders. Many minor discoveries have been made in the past few months that throw additional light upon the mounds and the builders, but they do not differ greatly from the few set out above and simply serve to further the theories, which have recently taken the place of the older ones