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Rafinesque, C. S. (Constantine Samuel) / The Ancient Monuments of North and South America, 2nd ed
(This file was
produced from scans of public domain material produced by
Microsoft for their Live Search Books site.)

Transcriber's Note

A number of typographical errors have been maintained in this version of
this book. They have been marked with a [TN-#], which refers to a
description in the complete list found at the end of the text.
Inconsistencies in spelling and hyphenation have been maintained. A list
of inconsistently spelled and hyphenated words is found at the end of
the text.

Oe ligatures have been expanded.





Corrected, enlarged and with some additions,


_Professor of Historical and Natural Sciences, Member of many Learned
Societies in Philadelphia, New York, Lexington, Cincinnatti,[TN-1]
Nashville, Paris, Bordeaux, Brussels, Bonn, Vienna, Zurich, Naples &c,
the American Antiquarian Society, the Northern Antiquarian Society of
Copenhagen &c._

The massive ruins the arts and skill unfold
Of busy workers, and their styles reveal,
The objects and designs of such devisers:
In silent voices they speak, to thinking minds
They teach, who were the human throngs that left
Uplifted marks for witness of past ages.



Printed for the Author.


This Essay or Introduction to my Researches on the Antiquities and
Monuments of North and South America, was printed in September 1838 in
the first Number of the American Museum of Baltimore, a literary monthly
periodical undertaken by Messrs. Brooks and Snodgrass, as a new series
of the North American Quarterly Magazine. Being printed in a hurry and
at a distance several material errors occured,[TN-2] which are now
rectified, and this second edition will form thereby the Introduction to
my long contemplated Work on the Ancient Monuments of this continent: to
which I alluded in my work on the Ancient Nations of America published
in 1836. I will add some notes or additions thereto, and may
gradualy[TN-3] publish my original descriptions and views, plans, maps
&c, of such as I have surveyed, examined and studied between 1818 and
this time; comparing them with those observed by others in America or
elsewhere of the same character--such works are of a national importance
or interest, and ought to be patronized by the States or Learned
Societies, or wealthy patriots; but if there is little prospect of their
doing so, I must either delay or curtail the publication of the
interesting materials collected for 20 years past.


The feelings that lead some men to investigate remains of antiquity and
search into their origin, dates and purposes, are similar to those
actuating lofty minds, when not satisfied with the surface of things,
they inquire into the source and origin of every thing accessible to
human ken, and scrutinize or analize[TN-4] every tangible object. Such
feelings lead us to trace events and principles, to ascend rivers to
their sources, to climb the rugged sides of mountains and reach their
lofty summits, to plough the waves and dive into the sea, or even soar
into the air, to scan and measure the heavenly bodies, and at last to
lift our eyes and souls to the _Supreme Being_, the source of
all.--Applied to mankind the same feelings invite us to seek for the
origin of arts and sciences, the steps of civilization on earth, the
rise of nations, states and empires, tracing their cradles, dispersions
and migrations by the dim records of traditional tales, or the more
certain monumental evidence of human structures.

This last evidence is but a branch of the archeological science,
embracing besides the study of documents, records, medals, coins,
inscriptions, implements, &c., buried in the earth or hidden in
recesses: while the ruins of cities, palaces and temples, altars and
graves, pyramids and towers, walls and roads, sculptures and
idols--reveal to our inquiries not only the existence of their devisers
and framers at their locations, but give us a view of their
civilization, religions, manners and abilities.

If the annals of the Greeks and Romans had been lost, as have been those
of Egypt, of Assyria and many other early empires, we should still have
in the ruins and monuments of Italy, and Greece, complete evidence of
the existence of those nations, their location, power and skill; nay,
even of the extent of their dominion by their colonial monuments,
scattered from Syria to Spain, from Lybia to Britain. If the British
annals should ever be lost hereafter by neglect or revolutions, the
ruins of dwellings, churches, monuments &c., built in the British style,
will reveal the existence or preserve the memory of the wide extent of
British power by colonies sent from North America to Guyana, from
Hindustan to Ceylon, South Africa and Australia.

And thus it is in both Americas where many nations and empires have
dwelt and passed away, risen and fallen by turns, leaving few or no
records, except the traces of their existence, and widely spread
colonies by the ruins of their cities and monuments, standing yet as
silent witnesses of past dominion and great power. It is only of late
that they have begun to deserve the attention of learned men and
historians--what had been stated by Ulloa, Humboldt, Juarros, Delrio,
&c., of some of them, chiefly found in the Spanish part of America, as
well as the scattered accounts of the many fragments found in North
America, from the lakes of Canada to Louisiana, although confined to a
few places or widely remote localities, have begun to excite the
curiosity of all inquiring men, and are soon likely to deserve as much
interest as the famed ruins of Palmyra and Thebes, Babylon and
Persepolis; when the future historians of America shall make known the
wonderful and astonishing results that they have suggested, or will
soon unfold, particularly when accurately surveyed and explored, drawn
and engraved; instead of being hidden and veiled, or hardly noticed by
the detractors of the Americans, the false historians of the school of
Depaw and Robertson, who have perverted or omitted the most striking
features of American history.

The most erroneous conceptions prevail as yet concerning them, and the
most rude or absurd ideas are entertained in our country of their
objects and nature. As in modern Greece, every ruin is now a
_Paleo-castro_ or old castle for the vulgar peasant or herdsman, thus
all our ruins of the West are _Indian forts_ for the settlers of the
Western states; and every traveller gazing at random at a few, exclaims
that _nothing is known about them, nor their builders_. The more refined
writers can be very sentimental on their veiled origin, but scarcely any
one takes the trouble to compare them with others elsewhere, in or out
of America, which would be, however, the only means to attain the object
they seem desirous of, or to unravel their historical riddle. Some
writers speak of them as if they were only a few mounds and graves,
scarcely worthy of notice; yet they are such mounds as are found yet in
the Trojan plains, sung by Homer, dating at least three thousand years
ago, and even by many deemed earlier than the Trojan war, and still
existing to this day to baffle our inquiries: while similar monuments
existing by thousands in the plains of Scythia and Tartary, Persia and
Arabia, as well as the forests and prairies of North America, evince a
striking connexion of purpose and skill by remote ancient nations of
both hemispheres.

But our monuments do not merely consist in such mounds or tumuli, since
we find besides in North America, ruins of cities, some of which were
walled with earth or even stones, real forts or citadels, temples and
altars of all shapes, but chiefly circular, square or polygonal, some
elliptical, hexagonal, octagonal, _&_c., quite regularly pointing to the
cardinal points. We have also traces of buildings, foundations, roads,
avenues, causeways, canals, bridges, dromes, or racecourses, pillars and
pyramids, wells, pits, arenas, _&_c. And of these not a few, but
hundreds of them, many of which are unsurveyed and undescribed as yet.
These, it must be recollected, are all north of Mexico, or the region of
the more perfect monuments of Mexican and Central America, although
often in the same style. There, as in South America, structures are met
of the most elaborate workmanship, of cut and carved stones, with hard
cement, vaulted arches, fine sculptures and even inscriptions. The
materials of our Northern monuments are often ruder, chiefly of earth,
clay, gravel, small stones, or even _shells_ near the sea-shores,
sometimes of _pizé_ or beaten and rammed clay, (as in Peru,) unbaked
bricks and rough stones. These facts may confirm the Mexican traditions,
stating that the nations of Anahuac (now Mexico) once dwelt further
north, in our fruitful Western plains, where wood abounded and stones
were scarce, wherefore they built their cities and _t_emples[TN-5] of
wood, raising altars, platforms, walls and entrenchments of earth or

The dreams and false hypotheses upon America have amused the learned for
ages: in attempting to account for the origin of the Americans and
their monuments, they have generally neglected to compare them with the
monuments and languages of all the other nations scattered over the
whole earth, or else only taking a partial view of them, comparing a few
fragments of two or three nations or regions, a few words of a
centesimal part of the actual languages, the writers or historians have
fallen into egregious mistakes; more fond of systematic errors than
hidden truth, they have indulged, without due consideration, in mere
dreams or systems, based on a few facts, that are overruled by hundreds
of other facts, unknown to them, or neglected when known. It would be
useless and tedious to refute again such false systems, that have been
refuted and upset by each other. It may, however, be needful, perhaps,
to mention three of the most absurd, in order to warn against them, or
show their improbability and impossibility. They may be called for
distinction sake, the _Jewish_ system, the _Mongolic_ system, and the
_American_ system.

Among these the first named is one of the oldest, and at the same time,
has yet a powerful hold upon many minds; it ascribes the whole American
population with one hundred languages and one thousand dialects, myriads
of ruins and monuments, _to the Jews_! either of the ten dispersed
tribes, who were not Jews but Israelites--or of Solomon's time and
voyages, while the Jews only began to exist as such after his death--or
of patriarchal times antecedent to their existence, when they were only
OBRIM, whom we miscall _Hebrews_, or going still further back to the
times of Noah and Peleg, when not even the Obrim had any existence. It
has been proved that the American nations did not possess the use of
the plough, iron, alphabets, or week of seven days, which no Jewish nor
Hebrew descendants could have forgotten. The American languages have as
much, or more affinities with the Sanscrit, Greek, Latin, Celtic,
Persian, Berber, Turkish, &c., languages, than with the old and modern
Hebrew and Arabic. The Jews or IEUDI, who only began two thousand four
hundred years ago were not navigators; therefore it is evident that they
cannot have come to America and produced here the two thousand nations
and tribes of this vast continent: nay, not even a single one of them

The Mongolic opinion, lately revived by Ranking, is the most extravagant
of all, since it ventures to assert seriously, and derive all these
nations and languages from late colonies of Mongols within less than one
thousand years ago, who came to America over the ice, bringing with them
tame elephants for sport, that are since become the fossil elephants and
mammoths buried in our diluvial or alluvial soil--to state these
absurdities is a sufficient refutation, every man of any reading and
scientific knowledge will perceive the impossibility.

Galindo and Josiah Priest have quite lately revived also the opinion of
some dreaming philosophers who had asserted that America was the _cradle
of mankind_ or one of them, instead of Central Asia. Galindo allows,
however, the Caucasian race of men to be distinct; but he says--"_The
hum_a_n[TN-6] race of America I must assert to be the most ancient on
the globe_;[TN-7]"[8-*]

He goes on to state that to the primæval civilization of America must be
assigned a great and indefinite antiquity, leaving however no palpable
monuments; but sending colonies to civilize China and Japan! is not this
preposterous? where are the proofs either from traditions, languages,
monuments or other sources?

Meantime Josiah Priest, in his compilation on American antiquities, has
boldly asserted that Noah's ark rested in America, (whereabout?) and
that he had three sons, one white, one red and one black! (what was the
color of their wives?) from whom are descended the three races of
mankind, who colonized the whole earth, leaving, however, neither white
nor black in America[TN-8] The glaring incongruity, of these bold
assertions, or of the indefinite origin of Galindo are equally palpable;
but nevertheless it is not improbable that they will find now and
hereafter other advocates, since the absurd Jewish origin of all the
Americans has still many believers, and even Ranking has perhaps some

To admit that America was the only cradle of mankind, is based on no
evidence whatever, either historical or philological or monumental:
while on the contrary all the monuments and records of the eastern
oontinent[TN-9] trace this cradle to Central Asia. To suppose that
America was one of the human cradles, is certainly worthy of inquiry;
but such a cradle must be sought for and located somewhere, and neither
the volcanic mountains, nor swampy plains of South America, nor the
frigid wilds of North America, appear calculated to offer it. Others
have been thought of in Africa and Australia; but seldom in the spirit
of seeking truth, rather in that of supporting some favorite doctrine.
Such speculations ought at least to be based on better foundations than
mere assertions, evident philological proofs are required before they
can be listened to, and no total and complete diversity of mankind in
every aspect has been found any where to support the theory of a
plurality of human species and Cradles. Europe and Africa have been
repeatedly invaded by migrations from Asia. In America such migrations
can be traced north and east by the Atlantic ocean, or north west from
Berhring's[TN-10] strait, while we have not the faintest indication of
invasions of Asia from America. The only traditional account of the
invasion of Europe, and North Africa by the _Atlantes_ (probably
Americans, for the great _Atlantis_ was this continent) is involved in
doubt, and besides these very Atlantes were deemed Neptunian colonies;
although it must be confessed that in almost every instance the
colonists to America appear to have found previous inhabitants, who must
have been still earlier and remote colonies, if they were not
indigenous. But the sea-shores of North America from Labrador to
Carolina were desert at a very late period comparatively, when the
Western tribes came there.

The actual purpose does not extend to all the details of these deep
inquiries, but is chiefly confined to ascertain and prove the similarity
of the oldest primitive monuments of both hemispheres, and whereby a
connection of coeval and similar civilization is evinced in the earliest
times before the records of history. This evidence, which may be called
_monumental_, dives into the gloom of past ages, and hence descends to
ours, reaching our understanding by gradual links: while the
_philological_ evidence of spoken modern languages, fragments or
children of older primitive languages, ascends by their means to equal
antiquity; both combining, therefore, to complete the history of
mankind, where annals and traditions cease to lead us or are quite
obscure: these combined bring more certainty to the scrutinising mind
than the mere physical features of men, and their complexions, so
fluctuating and mingled. But neither of them solve the question of the
actual original Cradle or Cradles of mankind. If indeed monuments and
languages of various parts of the earth were quite different, and the
features or colors of men likewise distinct there, we might suppose
there could have been several species and cradles of men: but it is not
so, features and languages are so variable and mingling in our own
times, and so diversified every where, as to baffle and preclude
complete insulation. Monuments are also after all so much alike in many
remote parts, that although divisible into styles of various ages and
stages of improvement, they do evince a great similarity in coeval ages
or stages of civilization.

To prove this great fact and the important results, might be the subject
of a large work, and we have heard that Mr. Warden has been engaged in
Paris in something of this kind. His work has not yet reached us; but
whenever it will be completed, it shall be only one step towards the
elucidation of this deep theme. Many facts are yearly evolved in
America, new researches undertaken and discoveries made: while in
Africa, Lybia, Arabia, Persia, India and even the Oceanic world of
Australia and Polynesia, similar discoveries are progressing and new
facts made known, that will unfold many new and unexpected analogies
with American inquiries. Of the early Monuments of China, Tartary and
Thibet, we know little or nothing, and in the very heart of Asia, the
real Cradle of Arts and Sciences, if not mankind itself, our learned
travellers have not yet penetrated, and the most interesting region of
the globe is thus almost unknown to us. This subject is therefore in a
progressive state of inquiries, and future ages will yet add thereto:
although a number of Ruins and Monuments crumble or disappear under the
plough or the leveling energy of men, little respecting these structures
of antiquity, enough of unexplored sites will be discovered and
surveyed: some of our rudest monuments appear indestructible, the lofty
mounds of earth have withstood like the heavy pyramids of Egypt, the
lapse of countless ages, some even appear now covered with a dress of
new soil, or even diluvial coat, as if they were antediluvian!

Meantime we may endeavor to collect and compare the facts already known,
and deduce therefrom some useful instruction to satisfy curiosity or
gratify the greedy wish to ascend to the origin of every thing, and of
mankind above all. The most proper and obvious way to elucidate American
Antiquities and Monuments, would be by classifying them, which has
however never been attempted, having always been noticed or elucidated
loosely at random, or in a kind of geographical arrangement of the
regions where found. Such classification might be based either on their
styles, forms and materials, or ultimately their ascertained scopes of
purposes which are even now often doubtful or doubted. They might thus
be divided into classes or series easily distinguished between
themselves, but all finding their equivalents or similar structures in
the Eastern Continent, _an important fact_ to be kept in mind. There are
out of America some structures not found in it, but there are none in it
that cannot be detected somewhere else, either in Europe, North Africa
or Asia, Polynesia, &c, among the earliest Monuments or Ruins, or the
rudest structures. None of the latest styles and improved Architecture,
such as Colonnades, roofed temples, Budhist and Mahometan temples,
Gothic or Modern Churches, fortifications with large towers or
bastions--are met in America, being a convincing proof that all the
American structures were of a previous date, or of an earlier style,
than these later.

But even some very ancient Eastern structures are lacking in America, or
only found in a modified form. Thus although the Cyclopian structures
had been denied to America, they are not quite lacking; although their
Tyrinthian style, the rudest of huge unshapen blocks of stone put
together, has not yet been met with, the other Cyclopian styles are
found of rough polygones or irregular squared stones: the most common
however is of rough flat stones put together pretty much as our dry
walls are to this day by us.

If we do not exactly find in this Continent, the Celtic style of
Stonehenge and circles of stones scattered from Persia to Scotland, we
meet several other branches of the Celtic style, standing rough pillars,
massive altars, circles of earth, fortified villages similar to those of
Britain, miscalled _Roman Camps_, although no such camps are found
where the Romans went out of Celtica, and the American camps or forts
are certainly not Roman! Whether the Celtic race ever came to America
has been doubted, and maybe deemed doubtful yet: there are two strong
arguments against it at least, the lack of Monuments like the Stonehenge
temples, and the Celtic structure of Language, or regular series of
interposed ideas not being widely spread in America, and chiefly found
in Brazil and Florida, where nations of another lineage dwelt. Yet it is
pretty certain, notwithstanding that nearly all the writers, omit it or
deny it, that the old Celts had an intercourse of trade in America once,
even from Gaul. It has lately been discovered by Sir A. Brooke, that
there are Celtic monuments in Morocco, he describes a large mound with a
circle of stones around. The N. W. of Africa must in very early time
have been one of the regions whence the _Atlantes_ went or came; this is
an historical fact, and their posterity yet live in Africa from Mount
Atlas to Nubia, their language[TN-11] have the Celtic and Semetic

They gave name to the Atlantic Ocean, and this name is one of the few
that have reached our times, Africa and Spain once joined, even the
Berbers have a tradition of it. The same Nations filled Lybia and Spain,
the _Bas-Tules_, _As-Tures_ of Spain were _Tulas_, _Turas_, as in
Central Asia and Central America; so were also the _Tur-tules_ or
_Tur-detani_, &c. while the _Cantes_ of Spain were akin to the _Antes_
of Lybia, _Hyantes_ of Greece. The Greeks have stated that their
Atlantes or _Atalantoi_ were formed of the united nations of Atlas and
Antoi or Anteus.

Pyramids exactly similar to those of Egypt, and pillared temples similar
to those of Thebes, are not met with in America; but we have their
equivalent in the pyramidal Teocalis of Anahuac, and the temples of
Peru, similar to the pyramidal temples of Assyria and India, towers in
stages like those of Lybia, Syria and China. In all cases the materials
depend pretty much on the localities, and the kind of stones or proper
materials at hand, although often carried from a distance, and requiring
the joint labors of many thousand men during several years.

But it has been ascertained that there were older inhabitants in the west
of Europe, than these very Celts, Cantes and Atlantes. The _Creons_ a
superior race that erected the annual monumental pillars of Carnac in
Brittany, the Cunis or Cynetes, that dwelt at the S. W. of Spain and
Portugal, the degraded Vassals or outcasts of the Celts called _Cacoux_,
_Cahets_, _Cunigos_, whose posterity is not yet quite extinct. The
Eskuaras now called Basks and Gascons, but formerly Cantabrians were the
Cantas of the river Ebro, they had great affinities of Language with
many American nations. The Atlantic monuments may be distinctly traced
from Syria and Greece to Lybia, Morocco, _&_c. Immense mounds have been
found as far South as the river Nun. Of these Atlantes their countries,
deeds of yore, &c. much has been written, and much more remains to be
elucidated: they can be traced Eastward as far as the very Centre of
Asia, once called Turan, through Scythia, in the North and Persia in
the South, to the utmost verge of Africa and Europe Westwards. Next to
the famed Island Atlantis, or rather _Megatlantides_ which was America!
the smaller Atlantis seated midway between the two continents, has been
supposed to have sunk when the Volcanos of the Azores, Canaries and
other African Islands did explode.

The American Nations connected with these were widely scattered in
America, and chiefly wherever the earliest monuments were spread, even
as far as Chili to the South, in Guyana to the East under the name of
_Atures_ or _Atules_, and Northwards as far as Ohio and Illinois. It is
easy to trace surprising analogies of Languages between the early
languages of South Europe and North Africa, with the Chilians,
Peruvians, Muyzcas, Haytians, Tulans or Tol-tecas, &c., and many other
pre-eminent Nations of this Continent.

By the useful process of generalization we may collect the following
important results concerning our monuments: 1. They are scattered all
over Amer. from lat. 45d. N. to 45d. S. of the Equator, thus occupying
90d. of latitude, which is no where else the case.--2. They chiefly
occupy a flexuose belt from our great Lakes to Mexico, Guatemala,
Panama, Quito, Peru and Chili.--3. There are few or none in Boreal
America, the Eastern Shores of it as far as Virginia, the Western as far
as California, nor in the Antilles, Guyana, Orinoco, Maragnon, Brazil,
Paraguay and Patagonia; although some of these regions not having yet
been properly explored may hereafter offer some likewise.--4. Those
known from our Eastern Shores, the Antilles and Brazil are few, and of a
peculiar character, distinct from the general style of the others. In
New Hampshire concentric castramations have been found as in Peru, but
not of stone nor shaped like stars. In Massachusetts inscribed rocks are
met with, those of Pennsylvania East of the mountains are rude and
small, and such they are as far as Virginia and Carolina. In the
Antilles or West Indies, they are chiefly caves, temples and tombs. In
Brazil we know of but few, but they are of stone and peculiar style.--5.
Therefore the main monuments and structures occupy only one half of
America or even less, they are mostly thickly scattered in the fertile
regions near rivers, from Ohio to Florida, from Missouri to Texas, from
Sonora to Honduras, from Bogota to Chili, &c. being often on high
grounds and mountains, table lands and valleys, seldom in the low

Such are the most interesting by number and extensive spreading
locations. Yet there are among them various ages and styles, the
Floridan or North American, the Mexican or Anahuac, the Guatimalan or
Tulan, the Peruvian or Inca--Series, are all somewhat different, mingled
with others of earlier or various ages--in Peru the _Pucaras_ or oldest
fortified cities in a stellate form are of earliest ages, the ruins of
Tiahuanaco with sculptures of a remote period, the ruins of Chimu of
another style yet, all different from the style of the Incas. In central
America, the Cave-temples--the fortified cities and Palaces--and the
_Teocalis_ or Pyramids and Towers, offer as many eras and styles.

In North America we have also at least three great Eras and styles of
monuments, the first or most rude, somewhat similar to that of the
Antilles; excavations, small houses &c. and this, although so rude, is
found to have lasted till very lately, as our log-house style is lasting
with us along with large stone buildings. 2. A primitive style using
earth and wood or rough stones for large and fine structures, temples,
_&_c. 3. The most refined employing cut stones and ornaments, &c., rare in
the North, but becoming more common towards Mexico.

We may assert in ultimate result that America had no Monuments of
Grecian or Roman structures, except such as belong to primitive Italy
and Greece, ascribed to their ancestors as a different race the Pelagic,
Curetes, Hyantes, Taulantes, Aones, and other similar old tribes or
nations, long previous to Roman power and Grecian refinement, above all
no colonnades and no baked bricks. None of our monuments were like the
best Celtic structures, but rather similar to the earliest or ruder
Celtic style, if not perhaps previous, such as standing or rocking
stones, rough pillars and pilasters, tumuli and mounds, circular and
angular areas and temples. None were like the Egyptian temples and
pyramids, our American pyramids being rather in stages, as iu[TN-12]
Ethiopia, Assyria, India, &c., or in huge platforms bearing temples and
palaces, as in Balbec and Persepolis, but by no means so ornamented, nor
with such huge stones. None were like the Tyrinthian or Titanic style,
but rather a modification of it. None like the slender pillars and round
towers of India, Persia, Ireland. None like the modern structure of the
Christians, Mahometans, Budhists, Chinese &c., no Gothic or Arabic
style, nor domes were found. The inference cannot trace any of these
religions to America by their peculiar structures.

While on the other side, we can assert and prove that the American
monuments were more or less alike to. 1. The oldest monuments, square
and circular platforms of all shapes and sizes, some as large as hills
or even natural hills cut to shapes for altars, or support of temples
and staged pyramids, _&_c., as are found from Celtica and Ireland to
France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Russia, &c., from Morocco to Senegal,
Lybia and Abyssinia; in Asia, from Natolia and the Trojan plain, to
Syria and Arabia, Persia, Media around the Caspian, and even in India,
Tartary and China; also, the _Morais_ of Polynesia. All of which were
the primitive altars of early men or their imitation, in later times as
in China.--2. Or like the Cave temples, scattered also from Ireland to
India, found in Greece, Syria, Egypt, Persia, &c., sometimes like the
excavated cities of the Troglodyte nations, found in Sicily, Crete,
Cyprus, Syria, Arabia, Cabul at Bamiyan, &c.--3d. Or like the massive
structures of stones of earliest ages, the _Norajes_ or Conical towers
of Sardinia and the Balearic Islands, the angular towers of Lybia, &c.
imitated in Peru, Brazil, Guatimala, Chiapa &c.--4th. Or like the
fortified cities of oldest ages in Persia, India, Arabia, Turan, _&_c.
imitated in Peru, and Central America, often with concentric inclosures
or curious shapes, sometimes with arks or citadels or acropolis, as in
Persia, Greece, Etruria &c.--5th. Or like the vast inclosures and sacred
areas of temples, with peculiar cells or holy recesses, shrines,
oracles, &c., as in India, China, Thibet, formerly in Syria, Egypt,
Assyria, even like the old temples of Mecca and Solomon; such are found
in Peru Tunca, Mexico, North America as far as Missouri, where most
were of wood as were the first temples of Solomon, Tyre, Delphos, and
are yet in China very often.

Then it is evident that the American Monuments are similar to the oldest
and earliest of the Eastern Continent, or the modern ones that are yet
built there on the primitive models. We have some late instances of it
even in Europe, when the huge mound of Waterloo was erected after the
battle of that name. Grecian buildings are often built now in Europe and
America, the Gothic style has travelled from Arabia to Europe and is not
yet quite out of use. The national altars of the Celestial Empire at
Pekin in China are yet exactly similar to those of earliest times, and
found in America.

Architecture and the various styles it has employed for monuments,
temples, cities &c. have undergone several changes and improvements,
from the rude imitations of a tent, or cottage, or hill, to that of
pyramids, towers, pillars, colonnades, caves, _norajes_, _teocalis_,
&c., from irregular inclosures to square, circular, octagon forms, from
heaps of earth forming ditches, canals, to regular walled excavations.
Styles of building are fluctuating with the Nations and times, taste and
religion: some are occasionally revived or improved; yet they have a
certain duration, location, or age, and origin somewhere. Nevertheless
they may happen to be blended by the same people; our own modern
civilization admits yet of the tents in camps, the loghouse, the shed,
the hut, the cottage, the houses of wood, brick or stone, palaces and
temples, theatres, Capitols, and negro huts! We must not be surprised to
see the same incongruity and admixture in various parts of America in
former times. Many tribes followed 300 years ago the style of 3000 years
before, as yet partly done in China.

Every thing on earth follows the universal law of terrestrial mutations,
monuments and arts, as well as languages and human features! they rise
and fall like the nations, mingle or blend as our modern English nation
and language formed out of many others. What diversity in any one of our
cities in complexions, statures and features of men! there are more
differences between some men of our own race, than between negroes, red
or white men. White, black and bay horses, are not peculiar species, nor
are men of different hues, hairs, eyes, noses, &c.

Inscriptions are monuments also, and of the highest value, even when we
cannot read them. Some of these will be hereafter, since those of Egypt
so long deemed inexplicable, have at last found interpreters. So it will
be at a future day, with those of America. Few have been made known as
yet, but there are many all over the range of the monumental regions.
Those sculptured in the temples and palaces of _Otolum_ near Palenque,
are not the only ones. Several in caves, or upon rocks, involve in rude
painting, a symbolic meaning, to which we are obtaining a clue. Several
nations of North America had a language of signs made or written;
although known sometimes to but few, these signs or symbols prevailed
from Origon[TN-13] to Chili--or else _Quipos_ as in China, were used as
records, in coloured strings or knots, wampums, belts, collars. All
these however, appear to belong to the first attempt of mankind to
perpetuate ideas, they seem to have preceded the alphabets of India,
Persia and Europe, or the vocal signs of China, although some of these
date of the earliest ages. Tula, Oaxaca, Otolum, &c., had glyphs or a
kind of combined alphabet, where the letters or syllables were blended
into words, as in our anagrams, and not in serial order. A few traces of
Alphabets have, however, been found in South America on the R. Cauca and
elsewhere, which have not yet obtained sufficient atteution:[TN-14] that
of Cauca given by Humboldt, is nearly Pelagic or Etruscan; traces of
Runic signs were found in Carolina--other signs have occasionally been
met in North America, but neglected.

Painted symbols or hieroglyphies,[TN-15] or sometimes abridged outlines
of them, were used chiefly in Anahuac, from Panuco to Panama; in North
America, from Florida to New Mexico, also in Cuba, Hayti, Yucatan,
Bogota, Peru, by the Panos, Muyzcas and other nations. Those without any
means to convey ideas could even in America, as in Scythia and Africa,
use emblems or objects to which a peculiar meaning was applied, and
trace rude pictures of them on trees or rocks.

The monuments connected with pictures, emblems, hieroglyphics, scattered
in caves, on rocks, on cliffs above human reach--are very curious, and
ought to be collected, sought for, and explained; they will all impart
historical events. The rock of Taunton and a few others, have alone
exercised the ingenuity of antiquarians, and perhaps to little purpose
at yet, since the inscription has been ascribed by turns to the
Phenicians, the Jews, the Atlantes, Norwegians or even to our modern
tribes. It may not be properly understood until all the graphic systems
of America are studied and explained. The late successful attempt of the
Cherokis to obtain a syllabic alphabet for their language, proves that
the Americans were not devoid of graphic ingenuity.

But the contents of mounds, graves, caves, &c., are also very
interesting, affording us a clue to their purpose, and the arts of times
when raised or inhabited. Many kinds of implements, ornaments, tools,
weapons, vases, &c., have been found every where, displaying skill and
taste. Idols and sculptures have given us the features and religious
ideas of some nations. Astronomical stones and calendars have been
found, recovered, and lost again, revealing peculiar systems of
astronomy and chronology. We possess the oomplex[TN-16] calendars of the
Tulans, Mexicans, Chiapans, Muyzcas, Peruvians, &c, that of the Talegas
of North America, a dodecagone with one hundred and forty-four parts and
hieroglyphics, was found on the banks of the Ohio, and has since been
lost or hidden.

Humboldt's labors on American astronomy and his results coincide with
those on antiquity to make the American systems quite different from the
oriental, Hindu, Jewish, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Celtic systems of
days, months, zodiac, and cycles; while they are more like those of
Thibet, China, Japan, Lybia, Etruria, &c. At any rate the American
systems were anterior to the admission of the week of seven days, being
the fourth of a lunation, each day dedicated to a planet, and the
Sabatical[TN-17] observance of the Jews based thereon. The American weeks
were of three, five, nine, and even thirteen days, as in some parts of
Asia and Africa, in Java, Thibet, China, Guinea. The week of five days
appears the most ancient of all and the most natural, including exactly
seventy-three weeks in the solar year, and sixty-nine in the lunar year;
that of the three days is only the decimal part of a month; in China the
long week of fifteen days prevails as yet being half a lunation or

Accounts of monuments with dry descriptions and measures, are often
uninteresting, unless with figures and explanations to illustrate their
nature and designs. The writer having himself surveyed many American
sites of ancient cities, may hereafter describe and explain some of
them, with or without figures. He has also collected accounts of similar
monuments all over the earth, and will be able to elucidate thereby our
own monuments. Meantime whoever wishes to become acquainted with such as
have been made known in the United States alone, must consult a host of
writers who have described a few, such as Soto, Charlevoix, Barton,
Belknap, Lewis, Crevecoeur,[TN-18] Clinton, Atwater, Brekenridge,
Nuttal, McCulloh, Bartram, Priest, Beck, Madison, James, Schoolcraft,
Keating, &c.; and in the appendix to the Ancient History of Kentucky
will be found my catalogue made in 1824. Such study in[TN-19] then a task,
and requires the amending hand of a careful compiler at least, before we
can even obtain the complete knowledge of what has been done with us
already on this historical subject.

_Philadelphia, September, 1838._


[8-*] Letter to Col. Winthrop, in 2d vol. Archeologia Americana.


1. The Mexican Antiquities have lately been illustrated in many splendid
works, by Aglio, Kingsborough, Dupaix, Baraden, St. Priest, Nebel,
Icaza, Gondra, Waldeck &c. In a clever review of these works (in the
foreign review) it is distinctly asserted that the _Tul-tecas_ (people
of Tul,) or American Atlantes, were quite a different people from the
Later Mexican tribes, that their monuments are equal in interest to
those of Egypt and Syria, with colossal and even Cyclopian
structures--which agrees with my former statements, and I have traced
them in America from Missouri to Chili, but their central seats and
empires were from Mexico to Quito. Their great temple at Otolum near
Palenque was equal to Solomon's temple. Their mythology was quite
peculiar and Asiatic, their maindeity[TN-20] was _Hun-aku_ (first cause)
comparable to _Anuki_ the Syrian Cybele, their Astronomy was
antediluvian, the year of 360 days or 18 months of 20 days.

2. The first monuments of the United States may be ascribed to the
_Talegas_, a northern branch of these Atlantes. The oldest monuments of
Peru long before the Incas with those of Brazil and Oronoco are related
thereto, and were erected by their Southern tribes, the _Atules_ and

3. In a late work of Harcourt (1838) all these ancient monuments of
America, Africa, Europe and Asia, are ascribed to the _Arkites_ saved at
the flood of Noah; which was also the previous opinion of M'culloh in
his American researches.

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