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Sacred Graves

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 6 months ago





American-Indian Stone Tubes and Tobacco-Pipes

Chas. C. Abbott
Trenton, N.J., U.S.A., May 6, 1876             


             During the summer of 1873, I found a single specimen of a stone tube, that had been split throughout its entire length, as seen in Fig. I.  Since then, I have had an opportunity of examining several specimens found in New Jersey*, and fortunately found two in the locality of my principal labours (sic), in gathering up the scattered* relics* of the aborigines*.                                                                                                                                            

            Fig. I is made of beautiful veined green and black slate*, is six and one-eighth inches in length, slightly oval, and has been highly polished*.  The bore, which is exactly half-an-inch in diameter, is circular, uniform and direct.  The drilling has evidently been accomplished by the use of a reed* with sand and water, and the circular striae* are visible throughout the length of the perforation.  This drilling is the more interesting from the fact, that the work, commenced at one end, has been continued to the other, and not from either end to the middle, which latter method (and much the more common one) produces an hour-glass contraction at the point of juncture of the two drillings.  Six or seven inches, however, was not the maximum depth attempted at drilling in one direction.  Prof. Wyman, in “Fifth Report of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology,” p. 13, describes “a cylindrical tube of soap-stone*, twenty-two inches long and two inches in diameter, tapering somewhat at either end.  This had been drilled from opposite ends, but the two perforations not coinciding, they passed by each other, the bores communicating laterally.”  We have in this implement, therefore, a single bore at least twelve inches long; which is probably the maximum length, for it is difficult to conceive of a stone to be of greater length than two feet, being of any use.[1]  This is about the maximum of the non-perforated cylindrical stones called pestles*; but which probably had other uses than that name implies.

            Fig. 2, represents a quite common form of ornamental stone implement, but which, unfortunately, are seldom found except in very fragmentary condition*.  This specimen measures six and seven-eighths inches in length, by eight inches, lacking three-sixteenths, in breadth*.  The mineral is a soft sandstone*, smoothed but not polished*, and free from all attempt at ornamentation.  Such specimens, when of less dimensions, have ordinarily been classed as badges of authority, gorgets*, or if narrower, as double-edged axes, which could never have been their use, considering the soft material of which they are invariably made.  As the perforation of this specimen exceeds in length that of the preceding, I am led to consider this simply as a “winged” tube*, and to have had a use identical with such as above described (Fig. I).  While cylindrical tubes, plain or onamented (sic), are quite abundant in the southern and western states, these winged tubes* appear to replace them in the northern and middle states.

Figs. 3 and 4 represent two specimens of tubes, that are of much interest, in that, while of the same general character as the preceding, they have not been bored; but are made of clay which has been moulded (sic) when soft, about a straight cylinder, presumably of wood, and then baked very hard.  The exposure to fire would necessarily char, if not consume, the encased wood, and so leave a perforation in the clay when baked.  This tube has then been brought to its present shape by scraping, and the ornamentation lastly carved upon it.  In both specimens, the projective figure has been broken off, but the remaining fragment in Fig. 3 suggests the figure of a mammal, and that of Fig. 4 possibly a human head*.  On the tube, Fig. 3, will be noticed five short parallel lines.  Such rows of short deeply engraved lines are very characteristic of the relics found in New Jersey (see figure of Marriage Emblem in NATURE, vol. xi., p. 436), and are probably record marks, but of what, on an implement like this, it is difficult to conjecture.  The general shape of these tubes, and their diameters render it quite certain that they are not simply the stems of clay smoking-pipes.

            These two specimens were found in the same grave*, associated with the ordinary weapons of the aborigines; axes, spears, and arrow-points*.

            Fig. 5 represents a stone tube of a pattern quite different from any of the preceding.  It is made of very soft soap-stone*, is quite smooth, and accurately outlined.  It is four and three-fourths inches in length; one and one-fourth inches in width at the broad, trumpet-mouthed end, and half- an-inch in diameter, where broken.  The perforation is one-fourth of an inch in diameter, and of uniform size throughout.  Such trumpet-shaped specimens occur elsewhere.  Prof. Jeffries Wyman describes one in the Report above quoted, same page.  He writes: “A fragment of another tubular instrument of the same material (soap-stone*) appears to have had a long cylindrical body, and ends in an enlarged and trumpet-shaped mouth, and possibly was used as a horn*.”

            Fig. 5 has faintly engraved upon it a serpent*, or what appears to have been one.  This representation of a serpent*, and the figures on the specimens, Nos. 3 and 4, have probably the same object.  Either they represent the owner, the name of the object being that of the possessor of the tube; or, if they were used solely by the sorcerers* as “medicine tubes,”[2] wherewith they blew away disease*, then the serpent* in the one case, and the figures, now undeterminable, on Figs. 3 and 4, were the “gods” or “devils,” through whose inspiration the “doctors” effected their cures*.  How to explain the meaning of the “wings*” of Fig. 2, is certainly difficult, if I am correct in my surmises concerning the other specimens; but these may simply be meaningless ornamentation*, just as the broken specimen, Fig. 1, when entire, was just as effectual as any in blowing away disease, provided the suffering patient was made to believe so, by entertaining faith in his physician.

            A few words in conclusion upon the use of stone drills in boring through stone.  There is, in the museum of the Peabody Academy at Salem, Massachusetts, several hundred specimens of stone-drills, all of jasper*, and varying greatly in length.  These specimens, collected by the writer*, have been frequently experimented with, and they are found capable of very rapidly drilling in the minerals of which these tubes and “gorgets*” usually are made.  And when sand and water are used in addition, it is not extremely difficult to drill in mineral of like or greater density*.  Stone-drills, such as here referred to, are not flat, like a slender arrow-point, but quadrangular (diamond-shaped) when viewed in section.  The points of the few perfect specimens I have found*, were mostly very highly polished*, and the sides showed clearly, in some specimens, the action of sand.  These drills vary from one to seven inches in length, and from three-sixteenths to over an inch in diameter; or rather the bores they made, had these measurements.  Figures of such drills are given in vol. vi. of “American Naturalist,” pp. 205-214; also by Mr. Evans, in “Ancient Stone Implements of Great Britian,” p. 290, Fig. 230.  None of the drills, however, mentioned by Mr. Evans, are large, and are capable only of perforating thin plates of stone.  While convinced that a reed, with sand and water was most frequently used in deep bores, I can see no reason for doubting that stone-drills were also used; for such specimens are by no means rare, and no other use can be suggested for them.

            The various forms of stone implements found in New Jersey, however, specialized, appear to be all traceable to others, far less elaborate, and these ruder patterns, as I have endeavored to show, are now found at such depths, as a mile, that they may safely be considered as of greater antiquity and the forerunners of the more finished types, the true surface-found specimens.  From this fact I have concluded that the red man* of the Atlantic coast of North America reached our shores* a Paleolithic* savage, and when discovered by the Europeans* had attained to the Neolithic* stage of culture.

            There is one form of stone implement (and only one) that offers an exception to the assumed rule that the ruder antedate the more finished specimens; that is, the smoking pipes.  There are no rude or Paleolithic* pipes occurring in New Jersey, nor, I believe, in any portion of the country.  They are all more or less polished and so wrought that they must be classed as a Neolithic* form of stone implement.  Among the chipped unpolished implements of the river gravels I have been unable to find any specimen that could be imagined even to be connected with the custom of smoking.  There is, however, abundant evidence of improvement in the flint-chipping art having been attained by the red man* while an occupant of this country*, readily traced in the axes, arrowpoints, and other forms of weapons and domestic implements; and such advance is not seen in the fashioning of pipes*. 

            For the reasons already stated, I conclude that the custom of tobacco smoking was introduced or established after the red man* had attained to the higher division of the Stone age; and that the first pipes were of perishable materials.  Such pipes must, I think, have been of wood.  Succeeding the use of this, which was necessarily inconvenient, there is reason to believe that a rude clay bowl was attached to the stem, a mere shapeless lump of clay that they would soon learn was rendered somewhat more durable by the exposure to heat.  The use of clay bowls might have arisen, too, by the hardening of the earth simply, if the first receptacle for the tobacco was simply a depression in the ground, to the bottom of which was placed one end of the reed, through which the smoke was drawn to the mouth.  However this might have been, I believe I have found fragments of pipes so rude in their shape and coarse in their composition as to warrant the belief that such specimens were the forerunners of the durable stone pipes that now occur in scanty numbers among the relics of the red men* of New Jersey*. 

            Inasmuch as the use of clay for pipe bowls was not abandoned, there of course existed a vast range of excellence in the workmanship displayed in their manufacture, and many of the fragments that I have found were as artistically ornamented and made of as carefully prepared clay as others were rude and of the coarsest material.  These rudest specimens are never found in graves, and seldom met with except when deeply embedded in the soil, suggesting that they were in use before the custom of burying the smoking pipes of the dead with them was established*, and therefore that they antedate the more elaborately finished specimens, which are occasionally found among the deposited relics of “grave-finds*;” but such an occurrence is rare in comparison with the presence of stone pipes under similar circumstances.

            While the pipe bowls of stone exhibit a considerable range in the excellence of their finish, there is not sufficient variation to warrant one in considering the more rudely finished specimens as the older.  They are all well made and admirably adapted to their peculiar use*.  Ornamentation was confined, in the vast majority of cases, to the natural markings of the mineral, and not derived from any carving as is so marked a characteristic of the pipes of the mound-builders*.  Fig. 6 represents a perfect specimen of such plain pipe bowls as I have described.  There is no line, straight, curved, or zigzag upon it*.  The red man* who made this specimen had utility solely in view; unless the choice of mineral was considered, as giving beauty to the finished pipe.  The material of the specimen figured is a pale green slaty rock, veined with black*.  The variation in shape of such pipe bowls is of course considerable; and supposing each individual to have made his own pipe, the shape was in each case decided by the maker’s fancy solely.  As in the case of arrowpoints, of which a score of patterns occur, so with pipe bowls.  One will scarcely find two precisely alike; yet the “family likeness” is very strongly marked. 

            There does occur, however, a second form of smoking pipe, but much more sparingly than the preceding, differing greatly, both in size and shape.  While the two patterns occasionally approach in general outline, they do not do so sufficiently to warrant our considering the one to pass into the other form.

            This variety of pipe, of which Fig. 7 is an example, is well known as the calumet* or “peace pipe.”  The bowl in this case, as a rule, is much smaller, and the labour (sic) of the maker has been expended upon the stem-like base, which in every specimen I have seen has been quite elaborately ornamented.  The specimen figured is not as much carved as many, but being quite perfect, is represented in preference to fragments of others.

            I believe no specimens of “animal pipes*,” such as are found in the Mississippi valley*, have been found in New Jersey, which fact is interesting, as there is much reason for believing that when the mound-builders* occupied the western valleys the red man* was already occupying the Atlantic coast; and doubtless some trading was carried on between the two peoples.  Therefore, it would be natural to expect that such pipes should occur among our Indian relics; or at least that there was sufficient knowledge concerning them to suggest to the coast Indians the idea of imitating them*; but there is not trace of such imitation I believe.  It is their smoking pipes alone, of all their productions in the flint-chipping art, that are dissimilar.

            Through the writings of the earlier missionaries we learn of the peculiar uses and significance of these calumets*, which formed so prominent a feature on all important occasions; but whether they were introduced by some other race with whom the red man* came in contact, or originated de novo, it is impossible to determine; but it is quite certain that the specimens so far brought to light do not enable us to trace the evolution of the calumet* from the simpler form of pipe*.


[1] Mr. Evans, in his “Ancient Stone Implements of Great Britain,” remarks that “the tubes of steatite one foot in length found in some of the minor mounds of the Ohio Valley, must probably have been bored with metal.”  This depends altogether upon their age.  New Jersey specimens of tubes have been found of nearly that length, which undoubtedly were made before the introduction of metal.

[2] Venegas (Nat. and Civil Hist. Of California, vol. i, p. 97, London, 1759) states: “They (medicine men) applied to the suffering part of the patient’s body the chacuaco, or a tube of a very hard black stone; and through this they sometimes sucked, and other times blew.”  Quoted by C. C. Jones, junr., in “Antiquities of Southern Indians.” p. 363.






               Notes on the Text

These annotations generally follow the order in which they appear in the text and they are color-coded. 


Red- refers to rocks and other items of nature that are used to create the items described in this article.


Pink- refers to the items that were created out of rock or clay by the Native Americans


Purple- refers to references of pipes


Blue- refers to references of Native Americans made by the author


Orange- refers to references the author makes to himself


Green- indicates any reference to a grave


Yellow- indicates items that need a Native context


Black- refers to general definitions




New Jersey*- although this author mentions that he is in New Jersey there is no specific location mentioned.  At the very end of this document, it lists the publication to be Trenton, N.J.  This, however, does not mean that Mr. Abbott was conducting his research there.  “In 1784 and 1799, Trenton served as the temporary capital of the United States.  It became the capital of New Jersey in 1790 and was incorporated as a city in 1792” (Microsoft Encarta).  Trenton was probably were Chas Abbott sent the article from, to be published.  If I had to make a guess, I would say that he was in the northwest corner of the state.  Sandstone is highly prevalent there as part of a prominent ridge now named Kittatinny Mountain and the Delaware River also cuts into this ridge.  Since the Delaware River originates on the western slopes of the Catskill Mountains in eastern New York and mountainous regions are the only areas that could have produced metamorphic rock, such as the green and black one described in Fig. 6, it is highly likely that the stone was obtained from the Delaware River close to the mountainous region of New York.  However, it is also of importance to note that these rocks could also have been obtained through trade between tribes of the Native Americans so although they could have been located anywhere within the state it is still important to note the place of origin. 


scattered*- these items were not in fact scattered but found in graves that were in specific locations, as all Native grave sites are.


relics*- these items were not seen as relics to the Natives but as items that allow their ancestors to travel pleasantly to their next life.  Disrupting the bones, and the items they are buried with, disrupts the journey of the once living.  Many believe that the spirits of the dead wait in limbo until they are reburied properly.

aborigines*- the Delaware people are the first known inhabitants of present day New Jersey.  Delaware (people), Native North American tribe of the Algonquian linguistic family and of the Eastern Woodlands culture area, originally residing in what are now the states of New Jersey, New York (Staten Island, Manhattan, and western Long Island), Delaware, and eastern Pennsylvania. The Delaware called themselves Lenape or Lenni Lenape, meaning ‘original people.’  Europeans named them Delaware because they lived along the Delaware River and its tributaries. The Delaware confederacy included the Munsee, Unalachtigo, and Unami divisions. Members of other Algonquin tribes held the Delaware in esteem and respectfully addressed them as ‘grandfather.’  In 1990 Delaware descendants numbered 9,321. Many of them live on reservations and in towns in Oklahoma and in Ontario, Canada.”[1]

slate*- is a layered or “microcrystalline metamorphic rock that has rock cleavage—that is, it splits readily into slabs” (Dietrich 132).  This rock, although easy to split and chip away at, does not always break predictably.  The fact that this tube has split in half, length wise, is not surprising, slate often breaks exactly where it is most detrimental.  I could not locate where exactly slate is on the hardness scale.  However, from personal experience with the substance I would rank it a 5.

The hardness scale was established by Friedrich Mohs, a German mineralogist, early in the 1800’s.  He created this scale based on ten minerals that are fairly common.  Although this scale would have been only have been around for a generation or so when this periodical was published, the field of archeology, it seems, would be aware of this scale.  Why it was not used in identifying these various stone items is a mystery.  This would have been very helpful, especially in identifying the rock described in Fig. 6.


polished*- there are many different ways that Native Americans polished different stone items, there are also many different substances used in these processes.  It is highly likely that simply the hands of a person polished this stone tube.  Hands have many natural oils that penetrate porous things, rocks being one of them.  For more details on the “use- ware analysis” of the polishing of stone tools look at Michael L. Carmody’s “Tools of Contact: A Functional Analysis of the Cameron Site Chipped-Stone Assemblage.”


reed*- a type of tall, slender grass growing in a wet or marshy land.  Although it seems like this would take an enormous amount of time, this was in fact a process that occurred.


striae*- narrow grooves or channels often occurring in parallel lines.


soap-stone*- “a metamorphic rock made up largely or wholly of talc that does not have a preferred orientation” (Dietrich 132).  Talc is a soft mineral used to make many lubricants.  Thus, talc is the very first item on the hardness scale with a hardness of 1, a diamond is the hardest which ranks a 10 on the scale. 


pestles*- cylindrical shaped stones used mainly for pounding.  Archeologists saw these, as the women form of pipe making because they were prevalent in the graves of women and basically never found with men.  Women prepared all their food with the aid of these tools.   For a more detailed discussion of this topic look at Michael S. Nassaney and Michael Volmar’s “Lithic Artifacts in Seventeenth-Century Native New England.”


seldom found except in very fragmentary condition*- this shows how much use these items incurred.  With mostly all of them broken in some way, we can infer that it was an item used on an almost daily basis and therefore broken frequently.


in breadth*- this is assuming that both sides were to be congruent.


sandstone*- is just what it sounds like, a bunch of sand compressed together.  It comes in a variety of colors, absorbs water rather quickly, and has a hardness of 7.

gorgets*- “Gorgets are ornaments of stone, bone, shell, and metal found at many archeological sites. Gorgets were varied in design and seem to have been made in most prehistoric periods. Some were worn suspended from the neck like pendants, while others were probably attached to clothing” ("Gorget," Microsoft® Encarta®)

“winged” tube*- although they can be called wings, I prefer to think of them as handles.  If you held one wing with each hand and held to implement up to your mouth, you would have a fantastic blowing weapon.  This is just my own personal speculation, on which I will later comment further, not backed by any real research but my own into the culture.


In both specimens, the projective figure has been broken off, but the remaining fragment in Fig. 3 suggests the figure of a mammal, and that of Fig. 4 possibly a human head*- he is speculating on the projective figures based on many other stone tubes’ decoration.  Many have effigies that are either animal or human in form so this is not far fetched at all.


grave*- finally he says the word that has been on all of our tongues since we started reading this article.  Yes, this study is now known as a form of grave robbing.  Only recently, in 1990 was an act passed prohibiting digging up Native American graves.  As this article demonstrates, much of the damage to the grave sites of the Natives was done before this act was even thought of. 


These two specimens were found in the same grave, associated with the ordinary weapons of the aborigines; axes, spears, and arrow-points*- upon reading this for the umpteenth time, I finally came up with an idea about why these stone tubes would be in a grave with other weapons, it is also a weapon.  Although they look more harmless than the aforementioned weapons, it would seem that since they are located together they would do about the same amount of damage.  Then like a spitball, it hit me.  What if they had sharp projectiles inside the boreholes that they blew out?  This would be a great weapon. 


possibly was used as a horn*- I have never heard of Natives playing horns before the encroachment of whites, only that of the flute in the southwest and drums throughout the continent.  As for why this tube is wider on one end, I have no definite answer.


serpent*- snakes were seen to have vital connections to the Earth and to be able to read the Earth and stone since they live underground.  Snakes are traditionally viewed as holds the ends of the Earth together.  One of the best quotes I know about snakes occurs in a novel by Louise Erdrich; “the snake was a deeply intelligent secretive being, and knew all the cold and blessed spirits who lived under stone and deep in the earth.  And it was the great snake, wrapped around the center of the earth, who kept things from flying apart” (220).  The serpent could also have been the totem, animal helper, of the person to whom it belonged. 


sorcerers*- he refers to Native American medicine men as sorcerers not as doctors as he would his own medicine man. 


blew away disease*- this could have actually been used for blowing and sucking.  Blowing smoke over others was a frequent activity in Native culture as smoke from certain plants—sage, cedar, sweet grass, and tobacco—was seen to have healing powers.  It could have also been used to suck out poisons or other liquids associated with wounds.  Read in this context, it could be that the tube was wide on one end to help with balancing on the site of a wound.  A skinnier tube like that of Figs. 3 and 4 could also probably puncture the wound and apply unwanted pressure to the site that would need healing.


the figures, now undeterminable, on Figs. 3 and 4, were the “gods” or “devils,” through whose inspiration the “doctors” effected their cures*- Natives did not think of gods and devils as westerns.  They saw, before being forced fed Christianity, all beings as a combination of good and evil, having no purely good or bad figures in their consciousness.  Medicine men would have, and still do, called upon their spirit helper to assist them in healing the sick. 



meaningless ornamentation*- I have yet to come across any meaningless ornamentation in Native, or western culture for that matter.  Although unknown to the author, and perhaps us, I do not think it can be established as meaningless.


jasper*- “Jasper is quartz with enough iron to give it an attractive red or yellow color” (Mueller 50).  It has a hardness of 7. 


collected by the writer*- it seems that his only real reason for including this section on jasper drills is because he has “found” them himself and wants us to know he is accomplished in “finding” stone implements.  This referral is in third person.


mineral of like or greater density*- all of the minerals that are in this article, besides soapstone, have around the same hardness.  They are all on the scale between 5 and 7.


specimens I have found*- he again lets us know that he is accomplished, this time in first person.


very highly polished*- this would be exactly right due to the abrasive quality of the stone, sand, and water with applied pressure.


red man*- he is referring to the Delaware people in the term most readily used for Native Americans by the British.  He has previously used the word aborigine.  This shift occurs after we are more than halfway through the article and after he mentions his accomplishments.  It seems that he becomes more comfortable and more ethnocentric as the article progresses. 


our shores*- he seems to be designating the land in North America as European even before Europeans knew of it. 


Paleolithic*- refers to the middle part of the early Stone Age, during which stone and bone tools were used.


when discovered by the Europeans*- this fact is to be argued from any Native standpoint but at least he did not refer to Columbus.


Neolithic*-refers to the later part of the Stone Age, during which polished stone tools and metal tools were first used.


while an occupant of this country*- he speaks as though the Natives were only occupying the continent, not the original or rightful owners.  This also seems to imply that the Natives are from somewhere else and are to be going somewhere else.  I have no idea if this ideology was prevalent and/or perpetuated but he speaks it as though it were the truth.  I do know that the idea of the Natives deriving from Asia and during the Ice Age crossing the Bering Land Bridge is still perpetuated, but I am not sure when this “knowledge” was revealed.


such advance is not seen in the fashioning of pipes*- traditionally, pipes were only used in ceremonies.  This would mean that they were not used frequently.  Thus, they would not have been broken as easily as the weapons that were used frequently.  The pipes are also revered and sacred, therefore, handled more carefully than weapons that were used to provide daily sustenance. 


now occur in scanty numbers among the relics of the red men*- pipes are generally passed down through a family like an heirloom or at least that is how the tradition works in our current era.  I do not know, however, if perhaps it was changed because of the pipes being dug up out of graves.  This would account for there being a plethora of them and then later a “scanty” amount. Also, from all accounts that I have read, it seems as though the Deleware people were forced off their land, west into the Ohio Valley during the period between 1600-1760.  They were then again relocated by the encroachment of the settlers and this time it was to Okalahoma.  This would seem to explain why a plethora of pipes seem absent.  If they have been buried, it would almost seem impossible to locate them or if they were found to correctly identify them as of the Deleware.


These rudest specimens are never found in graves, and seldom met with except when deeply embedded in the soil, suggesting that they were in use before the custom of burying the smoking pipes of the dead with them was established*- it could simply be that the stone intended to be a pipe bowl or pipe somehow broke during its fashioning.  Natural stone is unpredictable and it would seem that some of them must break now and then even when worked on by the elite. 


They are all well made and admirably adapted to their peculiar use*- it seems that this also shows that more time was taken with the making of pipe bowls and pipes than was allowed for weapons.  This would also seem to correlate with its use.  Weapons could be broken or lost while in use.  Pipes, however, were always handled carefully and not used in any way that would make destruction foreseeable.  Hence, time spent on a pipe was time well spent; whereas, time spent on weapons was generally wasted.


mound-builders*- “The pioneer Mound Builders were the Adena (about 1000 B.C. to A.D. 400), a people who lived chiefly in the Ohio Valley.  Their name derives from the Ohio estate where their distinctive remains were first uncovered.  Carbon-14 tests show that their culture took form around 3,000 years ago and endured for some 15 centuries. . . .  The Adena, like many primitive [sic] people, placed great emphasis on honoring their dead.  In their earlier stages they built low earthen mounds over burial pits.  But as the centuries unfolded, they began to erect gigantic funeral mounds that must have required many workers and a good deal of social organization and leadership. . . .  Some of the mounds were many-layered and contained numerous dead.  This, and the richness and abundance of the artifacts placed in the graves, seems clear evidence that the Adena were a settled people with a complex sense of ritual.  Certainly, only a well-organized, ritualistic group could have created the spectacular Great Serpent Mound in Ohio, one of the most impressive of the Adenas’ accomplishments.  This low, rounded embankment is shaped like a gigantic snake in the act of uncoiling, and it extends more than 1,200 feet from its tail to the tip of its upper jaw.  A conical burial mound was built 400 feet away” (Maxwell 34-35).  A little later, the Hopewell (about 400 B.C to A.D. 500), who occupied a much larger area than the Adena, also built mounds for their dead.  About two hundred years past the decline of the Adenas and the Hopewells, the Mississippian culture was the next to construct the elaborate mounds.  Their mounds are known as Temple Mounds and the area that they spanned was about that of the Hopewells.  All of these peoples were known for their elaborate ornamentation and carving.  Much of the elaborateness displayed by these cultures is associated with their wealth, they had the leisure time to spend on pipes. 


There is no line, straight, curved, or zigzag upon it*- these were general adornments that stood for different things among different tribes.  Most recognizably, the zigzag line stood for lightning.


pale green slaty rock, veined with black*- due to the veining, this rock would seem to be associated with groups that have incurred a regional metamorphism, the bending or buckling of continental plates in mountain ranges, including greenstone, greenschist, amphibolite, granulite, and eclogitefacies.  With no other information, such as hardness, we can realistically infer no more than this. 


calumet*- this word originated through encounters with French missionaries.  “Because the stems attached to pipes look somewhat like reeds, the French missionaries—who were the first foreigners to see them—called them chalumeaux, meaning ‘flutes,’ ‘tubes,’ or ‘reeds.’  Initially, the word refereed only to the stem, but in common parlance it came to mean the whole pipe, including the bowl” (Maxwell 142). 


animal pipes*- these were pipes that were fashioned to look like animals.  There were also ones that were fashioned to look like people.


Mississippi valley*- now we get specific reference to the mound builders either of Hopewell or Mississippian culture.  These were the only two mound builders that inhabited the area of the Mississippi Valley. 


Therefore, it would be natural to expect that such pipes should occur among our Indian relics; or at least that there was sufficient knowledge concerning them to suggest to the coast Indians the idea of imitating them*- just because they would have seen them does not mean that they would have had the means to produce them.  There are only three civilizations throughout the North American continent that were known to create such elaborate pipes, thus it is not reasonable to think that they should have imitated them. 


but it is quite certain that the specimens so far brought to light do not enable us to trace the evolution of the calumet* from the simpler form of pipe*- it is now theorized that this is reversed.  It is thought that the calumet, peace pipe, or sacred pipe, came first and then, coinciding with contact with the Europeans, the smaller pipe was fashioned.  It is not known whether tobacco became more widely used because it was more readily available or if the Natives started smoking more of it to try and figure out ways to ward off Europeans.  Natives viewed the smoking of tobacco as a way of communicating with spirits.  Many answers were reached while smoking tobacco, within a circle, because it was seen to help people view complicated matters more clearly and with increased intelligence.  (Carmody, Cobb, Hughes, Paper, Wagner, and many Pow-Wow programs)

[1]"Delaware (people)," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 2000. © 1993-1999 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.










                Commentary on the Text


 Lindsey Randall  25 February 2008


This article hits on several points that continue to be topics of discussion in modern life.  First, and foremost, we need to establish that what is occurring in this article is a form of grave robbing.  Archeologist or not, he is speaking of digging up the graves of the Delaware people and studying the tubular stone objects that are buried with them.    To date, there have been many victories for the Native American tribes in successfully obtaining bones and other grave objects back from museums for ceremonies entitled “reburials.” These have been long awaited victories that were predicated by two separate Congressional Acts; Public Law 95-341-11 August 1978 legitimizing Native traditional religions was passed on August 11, 1978 and in 1990, Congress enacted The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriations Act (NAGPRA).  Federal law now prohibits the sale of illegally obtained burial artifacts and remains.  Shortly after NAGPRA was enacted

Indian remains in the states of Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, and Kansas have already been removed from public display.  Indian leaders and their supporters have long criticized the ‘specimen collecting complex’ of the dominant culture as sacrilegious, racist, and demeaning.  One of the most infamous sites, the Dickson Mounds Museum in Illinois, displayed 200 skeletons from a 900-year-old burial mound.  It was closed in April 1992 with an Indian Sacred Pipe Ceremony. (Champagne 509)

Gerald Vizenor wrote, in his book Crossbloods: Bone Courts, Bingo, and Other Reports, a great article that speaks to this issue.  He argues that we need to establish “federal judicial power to hear and decide disputes over burial sites, research on bones, reburial, and to protect the rights of tribal bones” (63).  Many other contemporary Native American authors, Louise Erdrich, Winona LaDuke, Leslie Marmon Silko, D’Arcy McNickle, also speak of grave robbing and reburial within their novels.  This is an issue that pervades all of Native life since as Suzan Shown Harjo puts it; “our dead stored in museums, federal agencies, historical societies and private collections” (Vizenor 62) probably outnumbers living tribal people today. 

This article does however show us the point of view that science had of the Native Americans and their stone tools in the late nineteenth century that allowed many of the “relics” to be proudly “found” and put on display in museums.  Without periodicals such as these available to us, we would not know or understand how the majority of our museums were filled with such splendid and exceptional items of cultures. 

This article also brings up the issue of collecting utilitarian items of a culture and displaying them as art.  Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain, a urinal with the signature R. Mutt, is a perfect example of artists challenging these definitions that were generally accepted by European culture.  Natives have started “taking back” items of their culture for display by creating museums of their own.  These museums, like the Museum of Ojibwa Culture in St. Ignace, MI, display items of the culture made in the past and present.  Places like this, pride themselves on being able to display their culture in a way that promotes education, not spectacle. 

America has come a long way in recognizing the rights of Native Americans since this article was published.  However, we have all learned from an early age what Indians look like, dress like, and act like from the stereotypical depictions of the Plains Indians.  Debra Merskin states that “[f]rom early childhood on we have all learned about ‘Indianness’ from textbooks, movies, television programs, cartoons, songs, commercials, fanciful paintings, and product logos” (159).  We sit “Indian style” in school, celebrate Thanksgiving by dressing like Pilgrims and Indians (complete with feathers in our hair), and call those who want something back “Indian givers.”  This seems as though it has always occurred and in a way, as Gretchen Bataille points out, it has.  She asserts that, “[t]he misrepresentation, commodification, and distortion of indigenous identities have [sic] existed from the moment of first contact” (1).  Realistically, this romanticized view places and accounts for Indians in and of the past.  As Barbara Kingsolver points out, “[m]ovies and storybooks say that Indians lived long ago, period” (147).  But what about the Indians of today?  Where do they fit into society?  Since they aren’t the “real Indians” of the past with buckskin, moccasins, and bow and arrows, what kind of Indians are they?  Mary Ann Weston points out that,

[i]n America, “the Indian” is ubiquitous, but Native Americans are virtually invisible.  That is, mass culture images of Indians, noble or degraded, strange or ancient, resonate widely.  But real Native Americans, because of their small numbers and relative lack of political and economic influence, are often unseen and unheard (16). 

So just how are Indians to define themselves, when almost all of their heritage has been destroyed by those who now govern the land and ignore the existence of modern Indians?  These are the real questions that articles like this pose to audiences of today. 





Naseera A.  18 March 2008


    I found this to be a very interesting article and I found Lindsey's insights into the text to be especially informative.  What stood out a lot to me in this article, and what Lindsey points to in her commentary to the text, is how the author ascribes “Otherness” onto the Native American cultures he is describing by referring to them as the “red man” who are only “occupant[s] of this country,” implying as the editor points out that they do not belong to [t]his country.  He also distances Native Americans from Europeans when he describes them as “savages” whose contact with the Europeans is what he claims made them more “sophisticated.”  As Lindsey has pointed out, the ethnocentrism by the author is very apparent in this article, although I did not notice before I read her commentary that the shift from referring to Native Americans as “aborigines” to “red man” occurs after he mentions all his accomplishments on digging up Native American “relics.”  I thought this was a very insightful observation.  I also think it makes a lot of sense because as the author of the article distances himself from Native American cultures, this would affirm his ties to the European culture and thus bring his ethnocentrism out which would in turn make Native Americans “Others” from his perspective, which would translate, as it clearly does, into the article.  Finally, the issue of grave-robbing that is brought up by this article, as Lindsey points out, can be related to the ideas that are found in Wilkie Collin’s The Moonstone, that is, the problem with one culture taking items without permission from a culture that it has colonized and whether these items should be returned or not to that culture.  The fact that this issue has relevance to this day I think is interesting and makes this article worth reading in order to get us thinking about how much, or how little, progress we have made on this issue.




                Works Cited


            Article that is transcribed and under analysis


Abbott, Chas C. “American-Indian Stone Tubes and Tobacco-Pipes.” Nature: A Weekly


 Illustrated Journal of Science 14 (1876): 154-156.


The rest of the sources

Bataille, Gretchen M., ed. Native American Representations: First Encounters, Distorted             Images, and Literary Appropriations. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 2001.



Carmody, Michael L. “Tools of Contact: A Functional Analysis of the Cameron Site

Chipped-Stone Assemblage.” Stone Tool Traditions in the Contact Era. Ed.

Charles R. Cobb. Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama P, 2003. 59-77.


Champagne, Duane, ed. Native America: Portrait of the Peoples. Detroit: Visible Ink,


Cobb, Charles R. “Introduction: Framing Stone Tool Traditions after Contact.” Stone


Tool Traditions in the Contact Era. Ed. Charles R. Cobb. Tuscaloosa: U of

Alabama P, 2003. 1-12.


Dietrich, R.V. Stones: Their Collection, Identification, and Uses. San Francisco: W.H.

Freeman and Company, 1980.


Erdrich, Louise. The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse. New York:

Perennial, 2001.


Hughes, Jason. Learning to Smoke: Tobacco Use in the West. Chicago: U of Chicago P,



Kingsolver, Barbara. High Tide in Tucson: Essays From Now or Never. New York:

Harper Collins, 1995.


Paper, Jordan. Offering Smoke: The Sacred Pipe and Native American Religion.

Moscow, Idaho: U of Idaho P, 1988.


Maxwell, James A., et al., eds. America’s Fascinating Indian Heritage. Pleasantville,

New York: The Reader’s Digest Association, 1978.


Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 2000. © 1993-1999 Microsoft Corporation. All


rights reserved.


Merskin, Debra. “Winnebagos, Cherokees, Apaches, and Dakotas: The Persistence of

Stereotyping of American Indians in American Advertising Brands.” The Howard


 Journal of Communications 12 (2001): 159-169.


Mueller, Bruce and Kevin Gauthier. Lake Michigan Rock Picker’s Guide. Ann Arbor: U

of Michigan P, 2006.


Nassaney, Michael S. and Michael Volmar. “Lithic Artifacts in Seventeenth-Century

Native New England.” Stone Tool Traditions in the Contact Era. Ed. Charles R.

Cobb. Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama P, 2003. 78-93.


Vizenor, Gerald. Cross Bloods: Bone Courts, Bingo, and Other Reports. Minneapolis: U

of Minnesota P, 1990.


Wagner, Mark J. “In All the Solemnity of Profound Smoking: Tobacco Smoking and

Pipe Manufacture and Use among the Potawatomi of Illinois.” Stone Tool Traditions in the Contact Era. Ed. Charles R. Cobb. Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama P,


2003. 109-126.


Weston, Mary Ann. Native Americans in the News: Images of Indians in the Twentieth                                           



*Note from Lindsey*

Some of this information I have not referenced because I cannot remember how or from whom I came to know it.  If not referenced the words are from my own thoughts; if they correspond with some of the texts referenced in my Works Cited the ideas may have come from my previous readings of them.  My thesis centers somewhat on this topic, which means I have been focusing my reading in this area for about five months now.  If there are areas that anyone would like more information on, please contact me.


Please be sure to cite reference works, including dictionaries, encyclopedias, scholarly articles, other 19th century sources, and other websites that you used in preparing this page.  In particular, it is extremely important to use quotation marks when copying material directly from another source, to provide a parenthetical citation to the source and relevant page number, and to include that source here.  If you do not know how/when to decide what to cite or how to format citations in MLA Style, please consult your instructor. [Please retain these directions.]






                For Additional Reading


All of the above texts were very helpful in this analysis.  So much so, that I think I quoted from every one of them.  Therefore, please feel free to use

the list above. 


This is the place to add bibliographic information for print OR online sources that usefully supplement your chosen text.  Please format entries for print sources in MLA style.  Please format links to websites using brief titles (e.g. The Charles Dickens Page) followed by a one-two sentence description of the contents of the site.  [For the benefit of future users, please do not delete these directions.]





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