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Sunday, July 31, 2011

More "Mound Builder" Notes

On this Blog there are a great many Post on American Indians. A few of those post have dealt with a Native People who have been called Mound Builders. The three post listed below were among them:
1-13-11 'Hopewell Exchange System'
3-3-11  '"Hopewell" People Continued'
4-2-11  'Hopewell System' 4-2-11

Some of the earthworks built by ancestors of casino owners might be interpreted as teaching and scientific centers. One reason for such an interpretation is the knowledge that some those earthworks accurately measure the 18.6 year lunar cycle. Perhaps you would explain that cycle to us.

There are stories that suggest that the Indian builders of mounds related to celestial activity celebrated that lunar cycle. Many of their mounds can still be used to track solstices, equinoxes, and their quarters. So, the earthworks of the 'Mound Builders' tracked and predicted solar activity as well as lunar activity.

Like many of us, those Indian builders of celestial observatories, seemed to have enjoyed art for art's sake. Examples of their sensibilities may be seen in their many stone relief carvings, the only purpose of which seems to be to please. Of course we understand that many of their arts and crafts were used as "grave goods" as a way to honor their dead. A marvelously handsome, clean-lined carving is sheet mica has made a lasting impression on me. Some of their works available to us are five or six thousand years old and their motives for making them are not easily determined.

If you would like more discussion on these or related topics, please let me know.

How the earliest European arrivals dealt with these people at the time of their arrival interests me. We have no European accounts of meetings until the 1000 AD accounts of Norsemen which suggests that their first encounter with the native inhabitants occured perhaps a hundred years earlier. Next came the 15th century accounts of Spaniards and people of some other European lands among them. There were other visitors from western Europe from very early times. Cornish, Irish, and Welsh may have come before the Norse. Kentucky may have been named by them. Portuguese fishermen may have visited before Columbus. Cherokee stories may record some of these early visits.

Those early European arrivals had few weapons with which to overwhelm  the people of the land. If they stayed in the land for a time their main technology of war were staves, bows, and spears. Perhaps well cared for swords and long knives may have been durable enough to last. The Indians had weapons of nearly equal defectiveness. European bow and arrow might have been a bit more effective that the native product. A European swordsman with a decent sword would be a difficult many to best. As near as we can tell, disease did not seriously weaken the native population until the 1600s.

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