Prehistoric Conditions in USA. It was long the fashion to think of the “Indians” whom Columbus found as degenerate relics of a noble civilization. Crude ruins were invested with a meaning and an antiquity that the science of to day finds ludicrous. The myths of the mound builders are the most vivid example. Thousands of these curious artificial hillocks are scattered about the United States. In some of them are found skeletons, bits of pottery, weapons, and utensils of various sort. To these were added various forgeries of inscriptions by those enthusiastic and laborious practical jokers who make the life of the antiquary one of exquisite terror.
Upon a solution of the mysterious of the mounds, scholars of wide learning, deep thoroughness and complete honesty spent years of research and printed their opinions in hundreds of volumes. An elephant of imagination is necessary to a constructive scientists, but in American archaeology it was given the free reign. Pipes and trinkets made by European traders, bartered to the Indians and found among their relics were thought to be the ancient vestiges of a civilization highly advanced in art. The famous ruined tower at new port was credited to Norse colonists ages before Columbus. Because it was said to be of an unknown style of architecture. Yet it is spoken of by Governor Arnold in 1677 as my stone built windmill and as Palfrey shows an almost exact duplicate of it, probably its original is found in Chesterton in England.
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