The Untold History – Lincoln’s Mystery Mound Tour – By Geoffrey Sea

Picture of Ohio Mounds

Adena Mound in Chillicothe, Ohio, in process of destruction, 1902

Giants are buried in the Ohio mounds. Seven or eight-foot skeletons poke from ancient log-lined graves like Abe Lincoln in a short Victorian bed. That is how the nineteenth-century scuttlebutt had it, the result of Buckeye hucksterism, misidentified mastodon bones, secret-society mysticism, and amateur inability to infer height from spread skeletal remains. “Throw a couple’a horse femurs in with a worn Indian cranium,” says one of my farmer-neighbors, “and you’d have yourself a boney-fide money-making giant!”  It’s an old game in these swing-state hills, like extracting ludicrous promises from presidential candidates.

But Abe himself believed it, wrote about it, joked about being a possible descendant of the tall’uns, and in all probability, went in search of statuesque ancestors among the ancient earthworks by means of a steamboat journey up the Ohio River. I don’t think that Abraham Lincoln slew vampires, but did he sleuth out mound-builder behemoths?  That is a question I set out to answer eight years ago, when I purchased the house in which Lincoln reputedly stayed on his quest.

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Estimates of the number of prehistoric burial mounds found on Ohio territory at time of Anglo settlement range in the tens of thousands, the great number now gone to the shovel, the plow, the bulldozer, and the lyin’ politician. Heavily concentrated along the tributaries of the Ohio River in the south, we now know that their pattern of scatter demarcates an Algonquian civilization that spread through the eastern woodlands of North America for more than a thousand years, before and after the ancient rule of Rome. The archaeological “core” of that civilization is the lower Scioto Valley, a stack of five counties running downriver from Pickaway (from the Shawnee Piqua sept) to Ross, Pike, Scioto, and Greenup (the last in Kentucky). Portsmouth, Ohio, the city at the confluence of the Scioto and the Ohio rivers, once boasted the most extensive network of pre-modern earthworks on the planet.

Anglo fascination with the mounds of Ohio dates from the days when George Washington, still a loyal British citizen and an employee of the Ohio Company, planted survey markers roughly along the 39th Parallel. That venture sent him through the epicenter of mound-builder country, and Washington’s markers are still occasionally stumbled upon by backwoods hunters of Indian artifacts between the valleys of the Muskingum and the Miami. Washington acquired a tremendous amount of claimed property in Ohio, all of it eventually forfeited, and he planned to retire to the Masonic community of Marietta, built atop the largest assemblage of platform mounds on the Ohio River.

Other future-presidents took up the obsession. Jefferson actually excavated a mound near Monticello for scientific purposes around 1780[1], and William Henry Harrison, who was stationed at Fort Washington on the site of present-day Cincinnati as an ensign, became the first to attempt dating of the mounds by means of counting tree rings. Harrison, who became the first Ohioan President in no small part because of his Washingtonian credentials, also lectured on the subject of the mound-builders, and he authored the principal theory that the large earthen walls alongside the burial mounds, often in the shapes of circles and squares, had been built for purposes of defense. It was an idiotic postulate because accompanying moats are almost always inside rather than outside the embankments.

By the 1840s and 50s, Ralph Waldo Emerson was ranking “the Ohio Circles” along with Stonehenge and the Pyramids of Egypt, and his Masonic associate Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was encrypting references to Ohio’s Great Serpent Mound in his “Song of Hiawatha.” The landscape painter and architect Thomas Cole, who spent a formative year admiring the mounds in Ross County, Ohio, defined them as the foundation for a distinctive “American sublime” (note that “West” here refers to the Ohio Valley):

“He who stands on Mont Albano and looks down on ancient Rome, has his mind peopled with the gigantic associations of the storied past; but he who stands on the mounds of the West, the most venerable remains of American antiquity, may experience the emotion of the sublime, but it is the sublimity of a shoreless ocean un-islanded by the recorded deeds of man.”[2]

Unhampered by historical texts and doctrinal authority, in other words, liberated Americans can make of our ancient monuments anything we darn-well please.

As the demographic center of the country shifted towards the Ohio Valley, the American political class caught mound fever, on realization that the discovered ruins of an “inland empire” provided a formula  for excellent demagoguery. That was especially opportune since the identity of the mound-builders could be linked non-coincidentally to the ethnic identities of new swing voters, namely Scots-Irish Appalachians (see the Celtic Theory), Germanic farmers (see the Viking Theory), and proto-Evangelicals (see the Lost Tribes of Israel Theory).

Caleb Atwater, the postmaster of Circleville, Ohio, which had been platted on the foundation of an ancient earthwork circle, published a compendium of Old World authorship hypotheses in 1820[3]. Often lauded as a pioneering work on the mounds, the plagiarist study should be read as a political tract pandering to the various immigrant classes for votes—Atwater had grand ambitions for elected office. Given the demographics of enfranchised Ohio settlers, Atwater favored Anglo-Saxon Atlantic crossing theories, dismissing possible mound authorship by “Hindoos,” Jews, or Kickapoos—that is, by Asiatics, Middle Easterners, or American Indians. Ironically, though, it was Atwater’s summary of the “Hindoo” thesis that found favor in Europe, evolving into both the Indo-Aryan rigamarole of nazi racial science and the modern Bering Strait hypothesis of American settlement.

The earliest generation of mound scholars simply had assumed that even the sophisticated geometric enclosures of the Scioto Valley had been the work of American Indian ancestors. Jefferson had noted that the Monacan Indians of Virginia were still burying their dead in mounds. But Atwater, though a Jeffersonian Democrat, wouldn’t stomach it. Native Americans long-resident in mound country like the Shawnee and the Miami (who have now been genetically linked to the bones found in Ohio mounds[4]) were said to be far too “savage” (a word incorrectly attributed by folk etymology to the Sawano spelling of Shawnee) to be candidates for descent from the “civilization” of the ancient Ohio Valley.[5]

Ohio’s first and only state motto made reference to this potential archaeo-political windfall in a way that wasn’t quite cryptic enough: Imperium in Imperio, “Empire within Empire.” The motto was officially ditched (pardon the pun) but never was replaced, by politicians lodged at that oh-so-appropriately named state capital, destined forever to be the launch-pad of U.S. Presidential campaigns—Columbus.

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Abe-Lincoln-of-Pigeon-CreekPrototypically Scots-Irish, hailing from the Kentucky hills and an Indiana river community called Pigeon Creek, Abraham Lincoln could hardly avoid contracting mound fever. He was the first successful candidate for the Presidency from mound country since Harrison, and the four-time unsuccessful one had been Lincoln’s mentor, Henry Clay, himself an enthusiast of Ohio Valley archaeology. Lincoln was married to the daughter of Clay’s friend and confidant, Robert Smith Todd, a Lexington banker who was also an associate of John D. Clifford and Constantine Rafinesque, two professors at Lexington’s Transylvania University, Todd’s alma mater, who were the leading mound scholars in the nation. Rafinesque was the notorious eccentric naturalist and linguist who compiled the first scientific catalog of mounds in Kentucky and Ohio.

Lincoln was born on the same day in 1809 as Charles Darwin, an inconvenient truth for creationist Republicans, and a curiosity that confounds astrologers unaware of Lincoln’s obsession with natural history. Numerous biographies recount that he saw natural history (which included archaeology in the 19th century) a potential career alternative to law and politics, and a pastime he often turned to as an antidote to depression. Scraps of writing from throughout Lincoln’s lifetime reveal his fascination with animal life and Indian lore. In the draft of a natural history essay that Lincoln penned while serving in Congress[6], he made explicit if enigmatic reference to the mounds:

“The eyes of that extinct species of giant, whose bones fill the mounds of America, have gazed on Niagara as our eyes do now.”

At first when I read this I thought that he was talking about mastodon bones, since he mentions mastodons just a couple sentences later. A similar confusion has attended the writings of Jefferson, who took to the shorthand of describing the mastodon bones he examined as those of “giants,” meaning giant elephants. But mastodon bones do not fill the architectural “mounds of America,” and it would have been weird to describe the giant elephants as gazing with aesthetic appreciation upon Niagara Falls as we do. Lincoln’s mention of mastodons follows as a repetition, making clear that both giant mound-builders and mastodons had looked upon Niagara Falls:

“The Mammoth and Mastadon—now so long dead, that fragments of their monstrous bones, alone testify, that they ever lived, have gazed on Niagara.”

So Lincoln was showing off his naturalist acumen in distinguishing between mammoths and mastodons, and in breaking the story of giant humans, whose bones fill the mounds, and who constituted a separate and extinct species, in Darwinian terms. That would not be such an unusual reference since there were dozens if not hundreds of reports of “giant skeletons” found in the mounds, the result of aforementioned hucksterism, speculation, and ignorance.

However, that wave of “giant” hucksterism is rather precisely dated. It occurred between 1865 and 1920, with a spate of “giant” discoveries in the first decade of the 1900s. Indeed, it’s the time stamp on those reports that marks mound-giantism as an artificial phenomenon, of cultural creation. Going by newspaper reports, which are really the only so-called evidence available, nobody seems to have started discovering mound-builder giants until after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, which may say more about his larger-than-life image than about any ancient bones found in the ground.

In other words, Lincoln himself was the “giant” who made the giant-reporting business lucrative, and the fad did not spread in earnest until after the notorious Cardiff Giant hoax of central New York state in 1869. That episode made Honest Abe’s posthumous role in the duplicitous giant trade rather obvious: George Hull duped workers into fashioning a ten-foot-tall “petrified” man out of gypsum by telling them he was commissioned to make a statue of Lincoln. Both Hull and the infamous P.T. Barnum then collected small fortunes from audiences of the “unearthed petrified giant,” and from a fake copy of the fake, engraving in stone self-abasement as the great American pastime.

Nobody finds giant human bones nowadays, since DNA analysis has been available. Yet in the fertile soil of Ohio and on the Internet, shards of the crackpottery of mound-giants still surface like buried refuse after a rainstorm. Invariably, the same mangled biblical authority is cited that inspired Hull, an atheist, to exploit the gullibility of the godly in New York. “The Nephilim,” were the antediluvian giants mentioned in the Book of Genesis, it is said, and therefore they must have been the supernatural helpers of ancient architects around the world. Problem is that nephilim means “giants” only in Greek and English mistranslation. In Hebrew, the word is of dubious etymology but has no literal reference to height.

* * * *

If farmers and grave-robbers had been finding giant skeletons prior to Lincoln’s essay, we’d certainly know about it, because just a few months earlier, a massive tome was published collecting virtually all  known data about the mound-builders of America. Ephraim George Squier and Edwin Davis, from their base in the lower Scioto Valley, had spent two years traveling, surveying, and interviewing property-owners where mounds were located. (Included among their informants was the rural sage Isaac Newton Barnes of Sargents Station, Ohio, then the head of household at the residence I now own.)  The Smithsonian published Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley, by Squier and Davis, in the winter of 1848, and free copies were distributed to members of Congress, so we know that Lincoln got one.

Truth be told, Ancient Monuments does contain just two usages of the word giant. The first is a mention of “giant temples” in Georgia. The second describes a real anthropoid “giant” measuring 279 feet from head to pelvis, not including the legs. It’s a man-shaped effigy mound in Wisconsin. Not a single giant skeleton, or even an especially tall one, reported anywhere in the country by Squier and Davis—giant hucksterism had not yet come in style.

How then did Lincoln know about “giants” sufficiently to reference discoveries all over America and categorize them as a separate species in a draft essay he wrote later in 1848?

There is only one possible answer to that question. Lincoln’s consortation with naturalists and armchair mystical interpreters of the mounds must have informed him of speculations about a separate race of mound-builder giants before field reports appeared. Such hypotheses were certainly incubating among the Freemasons and fellow-travelers of northern Kentucky and southern Ohio, circles dominated by Lincoln’s father-in-law, Robert Smith Todd, and Henry Clay, who was then retired to his Lexington estate. (Clay had been appointed to his first term as U.S. Senator while serving as Grand Master and Grand Orator of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky. As founder of the Whig Party, Clay and his Ohio Valley Freemasons were the force behind the 1840 campaign and brief administration of William Henry Harrison, the first Whig President. The second and last elected Whig President was the Freemason Taylor, elected in 1848 with Lincoln’s tacit support. All of the pioneer cities of southern Ohio—Marietta, Cincinnati, Portsmouth, Chillicothe, and Worthington—had been founded as Masonic towns.) The “separate race” stupidity was a hand-me-down from Caleb Atwater and the Masonic circles of Circleville.

Lincoln was never formally inducted into an approved Masonic Lodge (he withdrew an application during his campaign for the Presidency), but now we can conclude that Lincoln did belong to that club for “sacred geometry,” which venerated the circle-square earthworks of the valley. In an essay that he never published, he let slip the secrets of a secret society.

Eighteen Forty-Eight, the year of worldwide revolutionary upheaval, was drawing to a close.[7] After the visit to Niagara Falls that inspired his literary experiment, and following Thanksgiving holiday in Springfield on his return trip to Washington, Lincoln did a very odd thing.

Instead of taking the train from Illinois through Columbus and Pittsburgh straight to DC, he went without Mary by stagecoach to St. Louis, and then boarded a steamship for the journey around Cairo and up the Ohio to Pittsburgh—a cold, unpleasant, and unnecessary diversion in November and December that made him three days late for the start of his final session in Congress.

Carl Sandburg and the other biographers of that period in Lincoln’s life mention the trip, but none hazard a guess as to motive, and apparently no documents survive to confirm where, judging by travel-time, he must have disembarked and dallied along the way. It may be the only significant gap in Lincoln’s life story that remains undissected by Lincoln scholars.

That is where the local legend of Lincoln’s visit to the Barnes Home in Sargents Station comes in. The mystery has indeed been solved. I’ll pick up the twists and turns of that story in installment 2.

 


[1] “Jefferson’s Excavation of an Indian Burial Mound,” at http://www.monticello.org/site/research-and-collections/jeffersons-excavation-indian-burial-mound. For complete treatment of the attitudes and policies of early Presidents toward the mounds, see Roger G. KennedyHidden Cities: The Discovery and Loss of Ancient North American Civilization, Putnam, 1994.

[2]     Thomas Cole, “Essay on American Scenery,” The American Magazine, Number 1 (Jan. 1836): 1-12 at http://www.fandm.edu/david-schuyler/ams280/essay-on-american-scenery

[3]     Caleb Atwater, “Description of the Antiquities Discovered in the State of Ohio and Other Western States,” Transactions of the American Antiquarian Society, Volume 1, 1820.

[4]    Shawnee and Miami are members of the core Central Algonquian linguistic group, which also includes Kickapoo and Ojibwa dialects. In 2003, a genetic analysis of bones excavated from a Ross County, Ohio, mound site concluded that the most closely related modern tribes are those of this linguistic group. See Lisa Ann Mills, Mitochondrial DNA analysis of the Ohio Hopewell of the Hopewell Mound Group, Ph.D. dissertation, Ohio State University, 2003, abstract at http://etd.ohiolink.edu/view.cgi/mills%20lisa%20ann.pdf?osu1054605467

[5]     For thorough treatment of the 19th-century mound-builder myth see Robert Silverberg, Mound Builders of Ancient America: The Archaeology of a Myth, University of Ohio Press, 1968.

[6]     Abraham Lincoln, “Fragment: Niagara Falls,” September 25-30, 1848, Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 2, at http://quod.lib.umich.edu/l/lincoln/lincoln2/1:6?rgn=div1;view=fulltext

[7]     In a speech to Congress, ushering in 1848, contemporary with publication of the Communist Manifesto, Lincoln had said: “Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable, a most sacred right, a right which we hope and believe is to liberate the world.”

About Geoffrey Sea

Geoffrey Sea is a writer and historian and the executive director of Neighbors for an Ohio Valley Alternative (NOVA). He lives in the historic Barnes Home in Sargents Station, Ohio.

Comments

  1. Geoffrey Sea says:

    In recounting the saga of the Cardiff Giant, I regret not citing the essay from Natural History, “The Creation Myths of Cooperstown: Or Why the Cardiff Giants are an Unbeatable and Appropriately Named Team” by Stephen Jay Gould, first published in 1989. It can be found at http://www.naturalhistorymag.com/picks-from-the-past/02484/the-creation-myths-of-cooperstown

    I highly recommend it to all readers interested in the motives behind such frauds. Gould observed: “since the Cardiff Giant was so crudely done, we can only attribute its fame to the deep issue, the raw nerve, touched by the subject of its fakery—human origins. Link an absurd concoction to a noble and mysterious subject and you may prevail, at least for a while. My opening reference to P. T. Barnum was not meant sarcastically; he was one of the great practical psychologists of the nineteenth century—and his motto applies with special force to the Cardiff Giant: “No humbug is great without truth at bottom.””

    While I failed to reread Gould’s essay in writing my piece on Lincoln, it was rattling around in my memory. Gould had been one of my advisors at Harvard and we likely discussed scientific frauds, a favorite subject of his, which formed the foundation for my interest in the subject. Gould even cited Lincoln in his essay, which I did not recall, in reference to an attributed quote that does afford a clue to my topic and which I shall address in a follow-up.

  2. Rephaim23 says:

    Excellent info. There was certainly a huge layer of mysticism, sensational spin, religious motives and just downright strange tales emanating from the news paper headlines of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The Cardiff Giant was simply one of many endemic endless tall tales, and side show attractions of those colorful days. In objective fairness though, it is fun to investigate these old reports from town histories, mound exploration reports, and Ethnology reports of the Smithsonian etc. to see if any skeletons truly 7 feet or taller were actually documented. For instance, the “Twelfth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution 1890 -91 by J.W. Powell Director, Washington Government Printing Office 1894″ on page 362 reports on a skeleton, “The length from the base of the skull to the bones of the toes was found to be 7 feet 3 inches. It is probable therefore that this individual when living was fully 7 1/2 feet high.” And on page 302 another skeleton is described from a different mound, “The frame was heavy and about 7 feet long. The head rested on a thin copper plate ornamented with impressed figures..” And on page 335 another skeleton is reported, “No 16 was an uninclosed squatter of unusually large size not less than 7 feet high when living.” And again, on page 117, “Excepting one which was rather more than 7 feet long, these skeletons appeared to be of medium size and many of them much decayed…” And on page 113, “Near the original surface 10 or 12 feet from the center on the lower side lying at full length upon its back was one of the largest skeletons discovered by the Bureau agents the length as proved by actual measurement being between 7 and 8 feet. It was all clearly traceable but crumbled to pieces immediately after removal from the hard earth in which it was encased. With this were three thin crescent shaped pieces of roughly hammered native copper respectively 6, 8 and 10 inches in length with small holes along the convex margin a number of elongate copper beads made by rolling together thin sheets and a chert lance head over 11 inches long. Around the neck was a series of bear teeth which doubtless formed a necklace there were also several upon the wrists.” And on page 426, “Nineteen feet from the top the bottom of this debris was reached where in the remains of a bark coffin a skeleton measuring 7 1/2 feet in length and 19 inches across the shoulders was discovered It lay on the bottom of the vault stretched horizontally on the back head east arms by the sides. Each wrist was encircled by six heavy copper bracelets similar to that shown in Fig 290 which represents one of the twelve… into shape apparently from native copper. By each hand of this giant frame were three unused black flint lance heads near the right hand a small hematite celt and part of an axe of the same material the latter bearing evidence of usage. Around the head neck and hips were about one hundred small perforated sea shells and thirty two shell beads. Upon the left shoulder one upon another were three sheets.”

    While the obvious bogus tales of wildly romantic Victorian era Cardiff style giants ten or fifteen feet high are easy to spot as fiction, it is nonetheless rather interesting to note the occasional 7 or 8 foot insitu skeletons the Bureau agents in a matter of fact way documented in their field briefings to the Smithsonian. Apparently over 7 feet tall Adena mound skeletons were reported even into the 1950’s. William Webb and Charles Snow document both Adena men and women over 6 feet tall at the Dover Mound, Kentucky in their book “The Dover Mound – 1959.” On page 22 of their book they write, “The remains of Burial 40 is one of the largest known to Adena; the skull-foot field measurement is 84 inches.” On page 72 of Don Dragoo’s book “Mounds for the Dead – Don W. Dragoo, Carnegie Museum of Natural History – 1963″ Dragoo writes, “The large male found in subfloor tomb F.28 was exceptional in height. Measurements taken of the skeleton while still in the grave indicated an individual approximately 7.2 feet tall. He would have been a splendid figure in any society and the darling of a primitive basketball team. In all respects the Cresap Mound skeletal material conforms to the physical type of the Kentucky and Ohio Adena mounds as previously described by Snow (1957, p.47-60).”

  3. Geoffrey Sea says:

    I appreciate the comment, Rephaim, but the cherry-picked data from the Bureau of Ethnology looks suspiciously like an attempt to salvage the giant hucksterism argument, as does your pseudonym, which is the true Hebrew word for giants found in the Bible, used not in Genesis but in the description of large opponents like the Goliath who battled David (i.e. the Rephaim were no angelic characters).

    So sorry, but those reports don’t cut it. First of all, the reason that reports of giants generally ended around 1920 is that professional archaeology started around then as a discipline. Before then, the “excavators,” more appropriately called looters, who dug up mounds and reported to the Bureau lacked academic training and were totally untrustworthy either to measure skeletons (which is no easy task) or to infer living height from those skeletons. Nor could they be trusted to report accurately or even truthfully, since they often were making money from the sale or display of what they unearthed. Powell was constantly riding herd on what he knew was malarkey.

    That was added to the technical problem that many “skeletons” in the mounds were not from single individuals, as the Indians most often had complex reburial and group burial practices. That is, it was typical practice to bury or otherwise store the bones of the deceased for months or years before they were retrieved and then reburied in a mound or mass grave. Interpreting the result is not easy even for modern archaeologists and often requires genetic testing for correct analysis.

    That said, there is no reason that individuals between 6 feet and 7 feet should not have been frequent.since many thousands of skeletons were unearthed, tragically, and since the average height for adult males as estimated by modern archaeologists was about 5’9″. Additionally, studies of height among various Indian tribes as judged by U.S. military records of inductees have shown that Algonquians (which would include descendants of the Ohio mound-builders) were the tallest on average, though that average (5’9″ or 5’10”) is far from gigantic. Jim Thorpe, a Sac-Fox Indian who lived for awhile in Portsmouth, himself became a professional basketball player, and he recruited others to form a winning professional team. Law of averages applies.

    Perhaps the best indication that the “giant” reports were only tall tales are the silly attempts to suggest a “racial” difference between the “Adena” and “Hopewell” mound-builders, two completely artificial and meaningless terms (as they have been used) which substituted for the equally fictional “Alligewi” and “Lenape” mound-builders of 19th century lore. (The Lenape are a real people but they were not in the Ohio Valley prehistorically.) The hokum of the Hopewellian nonsense lay in the sometime claim that the Adena were tall while the Hopewell were short, or sometimes it was the other way around. In reality, the archaeological and genetic data shows that there was no “racial” distinction, and no significant difference in average height between different mound-builder times and places.

    That’s the fundamental reality — no racial distinction. Hence no separate “race of giants,” no supernatural assistants, no angels, no Nephilim, no Raphaim, no ETs, no Bigfoot monsters. A single civilization of Algonquian Indians built the major earthwork complexes of the Ohio Valley in the early-middle Woodland period. To propagandize otherwise is to disrespect their wondrous heritage. The giant reports that followed upon the Cardiff Hoax were inextricably tied to, indeed caused by, that flimflam.

  4. Rephaim23 says:

    Thank you for the reply Geoffrey. I agree, I am attempting to salvage the giant hucksterism, only because those Hucksters who measured the skeletons were documenting their finds to the bureau of ethnology, and personally I do believe these these old mound reports are really some of the only valuable historic and scientific first and second hand works we have left of many of these mounds and the contents they contained, before they were utterly decimated (like over 90% of the mounds in the mid-west and east or gone), and I would consider them to be invaluable testimony, and not so easy to just write off in one simple all too easy excuse — The Cardiff giant did it . But to be fair, yes I did cherry pick some of the accounts of skeletons explicitly mentioned at 7 feet or more measured in the mounds, (Six that I could find which were 7 to 8 ft tall) but an equal number were reported in this Smithsonian volume as “very large” or “large” and their size not specified. Let us for the sake of argument suppose these skeletons were indeed approximately as tall as the field agents of the Smithsonian measured their assumed intact corpses to be, that is from 7 to about 8 feet tall from foot to skull. Now there is an estimated 315 million Americans in the U.S. today, and according to the CDC only 5% of American men stand 6 ft 3 or taller, and I think it is appropriate to point out that Sports Illustrated carried an article on July 4th of 2011 titled “Larger than Real life” by Pablo S. Torre, where Torre writes, “The curve shaped by the CDC’s available statistics, however, does allow one to estimate the number of American men between the ages of 20 and 40 who are 7 feet or taller: fewer than 70 in all. Which indicates, by further extrapolation, that while the probability of, say, an American between 6’6″ and 6’8″ being an NBA player today stands at a mere 0.07%, it’s a staggering 17% for someone 7 feet or taller.” The current NBA roster indicates there are only about 8 active players in 2013 listed at 7 feet or taller, and the tallest being 7 ft 2 inch Roy Hibbert. I propose that six skeletons of men standing seven to eight feet tall in the flesh is very substantial to find in burial mounds, and statistically significant and outstanding– even among tens of thousands of burials. Using the current statistics from the CDC data, these presumed agents of the Smithsonian would have had to dig through something on the order of 20 to 27 million modern American individual corpses to find 6 stalwart men of 7 feet tall or greater, with men averaging a presnet 5 ft 9 1/2 inches tall. I do believe the ring of authenticity of these old Smithsonian field measurements of 7 foot + men is echoed in the subsequent excavations of very tall stature Adena leaders and warriors, the “Sauls” and “Goliaths” being uncovered in earlier Smithsonian excavations ( more appropriately decimations) as their reports state in a matter of fact sober way and occasionally evidenced yet again in the rugged statuesque examples of the Adena examples uncovered by Webb and Snow at Dover Mound, Kentucky in 1951, i.e. women over 6 feet high, and men well above 6 feet (one burial # 40, being 7 feet tall from foot to skull) and furthermore in Don Dragoo’s Adena male measured at approx. 7.2 feet (7 feet 2- 1/2 in ) at burial # 54 at the Cresap Mound, W. Virginia in 1958. (I have a photo of this skeleton in my files). Dragoo writes about this giant and these Adena people, “In all respects the Cresap Mound skeletal material conforms to the physical type of the Kentucky and Ohio Adena mounds as previously described by Snow.” Dragoo is undoubtedly relating the large stature, massive skull and bone structure encountered in some of the Adena burials, and indeed the individual giant (burial # 40) unearthed by Webb and Snow at the Dover Site. I doubt these Smithsonian agents were any less capable of measuring an in-situ skeleton (within 2 or 3 inches accuracy) than say, William Webb, Charles Snow, or Don Dragoo, all respected archaeologists from credited Universities. I would even argue that a skeleton in natural articulate form is the best and most accurate assessment of true stature in life. It is now being discussed in some recent papers that Trotter and Gleser, and similar regression formulas for estimating height from one or several limb bones may in fact significantly underestimate the stature of tall to very tall persons, (Bosn J Basic Med Sci. 2006 Feb;6(1):62-7.Stature estimation for Bosnian male population.) These popular regression formulas used in forensic anthropology were designed to work most accurately for persons of median height between 5 and 6 feet. I was actually shocked when I entered long bone (tibia, and femur) lengths of well known historic pathological giants like Patrick Cotter Obrien, Ivan Loushkin, and several other giants from 7 ft 7 to 8 ft 11 tall whose skeletons or bones were studied by medical gentlemen in the past couple centuries and reported in medical journals. I entered their femur lengths into ForDisc 2.0 and found that the formula routinely underestimated the stature by some 7 to 13 inches! For Instance, the average length of Charles Byrne’s Femurs were 63.35 cm (about 24.94 inches) one of his femurs was (62.5 cm the other was 64.2 cm) His skeleton is 7 ft 7, and his height in life may have been an inch over that. However, using ForDisc 2.0, a commonly employed set of formulas, and entering the average femur length of Byrne, we get a stature estimate of a mere 83.66 in, or 6 ft 11-2/3 inches. — about 8 to 9 inches shorter than Byrne’s entire skeleton show him to in fact have been. I would tend to assume then, if femurs of similar size 22, 24, 26, or 27 or more inches in length were to be found in burial mounds in America the inferred height of the skeleton would also be similarly underestimated by some 7, to perhaps nearly 1 foot in height. That is rather significant. My whole point is, if it were that easy for me in my amateur armchair pass time to find references to six skeletons of men greater than 7 feet in length (comparable to the tallest top 8 NBA players of 2013) in official field reports submitted to the Smithsonian, within the space of an hour, one might ask what else did they find? And what else did farmer uncover? Apparently the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History photographed the skeletons of at least 3 over seven feet tall Native Americans from a 7,000 year old shell mound on Santa Rosa Island, California in 1959. “All shells were from middens (Figure 22) with the exception of a sample which the Indians had placed in a cemetery containing over 100 skeletons. These skeletons had been buried in sitting positions with knees drawn up under their chins. Each skull had been painted a brilliant red which gradually faded on exposure to the air. Three of the skeletons were from strong people over 7 feet tall.” Roughly 3% of the skeletons were of strong people over 7 feet tall, that is pretty significant I would say. http://content.cdlib.org/view?docId=kt738nb1zx&chunk.id=d0e1674&brand=calisphere&doc.view=entire_text

    I agree, the mound builders were likely ancestors of the Algonquians. I don’t think pointing out giant warriors buried with great copper axes, pearls, bear tooth necklaces etc is disrespecting their wondrous heritage, I think it amplifies it. But those are just my thoughts. Fun stuff.

    • Geoffrey Sea says:

      You “personally believe” in mound-builder giants why? Because you think think the Christian bible supports a notion of angelic beings who assisted ancient architects?

      We are all entitled to our personal beliefs, but that particular “theory” (I am being polite) was and remains a fraud, invented part in parody and part for commercial exploitation of the gullible. It insults indigenous people all around the world because it is premised on the notion that their ancestors were incapable of creating great works on their own, and it prevents any correct interpretation of the earthworks because it posits that they were built to serve some purpose of angelic ET god-beings — or whatever — rather than the real purposes of the ancient builders.

      And the “theory,” which its purveyors are careful never to specify in respect to P.T. Barnum’s advice on how to sucker in the masses, has been proven wrong. It’s been proven wrong by genetic testing and other techniques of modern archaeology and biology. Not a single “giant” bone can now be produced. Not one. Why? Spectacular specimens of the past were not discarded, they were preserved, and often sold at high prices. So if those 8-foot measured skeletons were real, where are they now? Where is just one of them?

      At this point in the argument, which we are now rehashing, the purveyors of “giantism” invariably retreat to conspiracy theory and slander, saying that the bones were secreted away and “hidden” in the basement of the Smithsonian by that evil conniver John Wesley Powell — in truth one of the great American heroes of science and conservation. Yet another way that the giant business distorts our heritage.

      You want to salvage the giant theory? Fine, produce a bone. Go devote your “research” talents to finding one. Until then, have the honesty to admit that the theory has no evidence base.

      Webb, Snow, and Dragoo were operating in the age before genetic testing was available. They, in fact, were victims of the giant hoax. They were educated believing that there were two different, perhaps even warring, groups of mound-builders in the Ohio Valley, and that these groups were anatomically distinct, with one being more tall and stout. They therefore described some finds as falling into these preconceived categories. They even tended to identify human remains as being “Adena” or “Hopewell” on the basis of these physical types.

      We now know better. Genetics and archaeology have showed that there were not demographic distinctions between types over the large expanse of the civilization in question. No warring tribes, indeed little or no evidence of warfare at all during the classical mound-building period. It is now understood that the population was diverse and mixed, with remarkably few signs even of social hierarchy. There were tall and short individuals as there are in any civilization that has a far reach, but there was no angelic giant race. That was only the invention of misguided Christian missionaries and con men. The so-called eight footers were mismeasured or misreported or both — you can’t take bad data and make it good by crunching numbers.

      Webb and Snow actually realized their error as they prepared publication of The Adena People, and their summary of the new evidence is included in the foreword, written in 1945. It was on the basis of that new evidence that the Adena were demoted from a “people” to a “culture,” though unfortunately their insight came too late to change the title.

      If you choose to be part of the continuing con, don’t try to pass yourself off as only open-minded. Open-minded people acknowledge when the evidence shatters their preconceived beliefs. And perhaps the most telling feature of the unscientific giant thesis is that it has been non-falsifiable. No matter how much evidence accumulates against it, its purveyors shape-shift the garbage idea, so they can going on selling their wares on the Internet.

  5. Rephaim23 says:

    Hi Geoffrey, thanks again for the response.
    Actually. I am discretely in touch via several associates with a university and several museums who do have or had some “7 to 8 feet” giant’s bones– so yes, I am in the process of attempting to produce some skeletal material, albeit this is a challenge and I am not a professional anthropologist, so it is a bit of a tight rope walk as it is against the law to display ancient Native American remains today, even photographing them or releasing details can cause a stir and breach non-disclosure forms. One museum had the remains of an over 7 foot man and one over 8 foot tall man’s femur and other bones, as listed in the 1883 catalog of relics at the museum. These remains were recently re-interred in accordance with NAGPRA law. You write, “Spectacular specimens of the past were not discarded, they were preserved, and often sold at high prices. So if those 8-foot measured skeletons were real, where are they now? Where is just one of them? “Actually are discarded, and they continue to be. Reverently discarded — and that is fine, they should be, I just want to know some few extra details about them before they are re-interred.

    “Webb, Snow, and Dragoo were operating in the age before genetic testing was available. They, in fact, were victims of the giant hoax.” That’s all fair and possible, but how are they victims of a giant hoax simply because genetic testing wasn’t as refined back then? If these university trained archaeologists were victims of a hoax, then that would mean someone planted fake 7 to 7 ft 2 inch giant skeletons in the two Adena mounds for them to later measure. So, I really doubt that happened, as I really doubt all the Smithsonian bureau agents were complete idiots who couldn’t work a tape measure or measure a skeleton to within a couple inches of living stature. I mean, honestly.

    It is true that there is a tremendous volume of religious fundamentalist extremism, conspiracy theory, ancient alien, Ufo’s and Sasquatch hog wash prevailing over the internet– we are totally agreed here. At the same time, I don’t think it is unreasonable to follow a path of curiosity in the purported remains of very tall Ancient Americans as measured by trained scientists of the time– After all, Smithsonian Ethnology reports printed and published by the U.S. government in the 1890’s, well it isn’t exactly “UFO Magazine”. I never consider field reports from surveyors, archaeologists and scientists to be bad data without looking into them further simply because it was from the era of the 19th century, or the Cretaceous 1950’s. It is incredibly silly to just chalk up all references of 7 foot plus skeletons from the 19th century into the 1950’s to the Cardiff giant, or Cardiff giant mentality… That is like tossing the baby out with the bath water.

    “Because you think think the Christian bible supports a notion of angelic beings who assisted ancient architects? That is a fun theory, but not one that I hold to be completely true–although I do believe these ancient giants were spiritual beings. Yet, the Native Americans have a tradition of shamans, great warriors and magic men, so I tend to put credence in Native American oral history and tradition when they speak of such things, and they do also speak of tall ones, great giants. Giant or Nephilim, or Rephaim they are basically synonymous to me. I use these terms interchangeably to describe great kings, warriors of physical, and spiritual power and size. When the Hebrew scholars translated their Bible into Greek in about 270 B.C. they chose to translate the term Nephilim into “Gigantes,” and Josephus also confirms this when he writes in Antiquities chapter 1, “…for the tradition is, that these men did what resembled the acts of those whom the Grecians call giants. ” Science has no problem using the term “giant” to describe huge fossil exotic and extinct mammals like “giant” cave bear, mammoth or giant ape (Giganto-pithecus for example) and these widely accepted extinct forms often were a quarter to a third taller than modern counter parts and double to triple the mass. An 8 foot tall proportionate man compared to a 5 ft 9 inch tall man is 40% taller and about 3 times the mass– and has about the same height, and body mass difference as the extinct “giant” short faced bear Arctodus would have to the modern grizzly, or the Columbian mammoth to the modern Asian elephant. So I think the term “giant” or “Nephilim” is warranted in describing persons 7 feet or more, especially if they are associated with a warrior class, i.e. venerable objects, copper axes, and intricate weapons. Again, I find evidence of very tall tribes, warrior elites, and giant chieftains as those described in the Smithsonian reports to be incredibly interesting and worthy of further research.

    • Geoffrey Sea says:

      The phrase “complete idiots who couldn’t work a tape measure” reveals the multiple levels of fallacy in your thinking. First of all, skeletons are comprised of bones which are NOT connected. When disinterred in a mound those bones are typically spread all over the place — you don’t find tinker-toy anatomy-lab skeletons wired together. Taking a tape measure to the remains as found yields absolutely nothing of relevance. They may well have measured 7 or 8 or 25 feet in length given the tendency of disconnected bones to scatter. Skeletons have to be carefully reconstructed using standardized spacing techniques that simply were not available to the people making the reports you so worship.

      But the larger question is that of motive. You tenaciously assume that all the reporters of measurements wanted to make accurate reports. However, we know they didn’t. They were, by and large, looters and black-marketeers who specifically wanted to exaggerate their finds both for the prestige of discovering “giants” and/or for the money that sale of the bones would bring. That is fact. Powell fought constantly against the artifact trade and outright fraudulence that perverted the science of the Bureau. So to ignore all that and take the reported numbers as genuine in all cases is willful ignorance and deception. Again, junk data cannot be rectified by crunching numbers.

      How nice that you separate yourself from the UFOlogists and conspiracy theorists, yet you use a pseudonym to reveal that you are about to disclose empirical discoveries that will demonstrate the reality of giants, who you posit as “spiritual beings.” Hmmmm. Make sure you get DNA samples on those bones, because photos ain’t gonna cut it. How precious that the giant bones that have been the holy grail of worldwide pseudoscience waited two centuries just for you!

      No, Native American had no documentable oral tradition of the mound-builders being giants, though that has been claimed ad nauseum. The single source for that claim is the 1819 work of Heckewelder, who said, without citing his source, that the Lenape reported seeing “very tall” men among the mound-builders of Ohio as their tribe migrated across the Ohio Valley. All later claims derive from that one, even among American Indians. However, we now know that the Lenape never migrated across Ohio. Rather, they came to their homeland in the area of New Jersey from the northeast. The Lenape acknowledged the Heckewelder story, which was repeated by Constantine Rafinesque, as fraudulent in 1997. Therefore the entire basis for any Indian “tradition” of mound-builder giants has crumbled.

      So too has it crumbled in the Old World. Contrary to your wishful history, Jewish sources have made plain that when they used the Greek word for giants in translating “Nephilim” they did so meaning “giants of knowledge” not physical giants, as is made plain in the Genesis text, the way it is translated from Hebrew to English today, with no reference to physical giants (See the Jewish Publication Society Tanakh, Genesis 6:4).

      Look, you’re entitled to your spiritual beliefs, but when you try to sell spiritual beliefs as science you run into adamant facts that won’t so graciously accommodate you. My mentor Stephen Jay Gould crusaded against the conflation of religion and science, and that was a righteous cause. Let the facts speak for themselves, as Lincoln did.

  6. Rephaim23 says:

    Geoffrey, thanks again for the reply. I do enjoy this dialogue even though we may hold slightly different views. Yes, I am making the assumption that an intact skeleton can be measured accurately, as Dragoo, and as Webb & Snow have done in the 1950’s.. I think the idea that Lincoln or the Cardiff giant inspired all of these giant skeleton reports not only in the U.S. but around the world (thousands of them) is pretty weak, because we have giant skeletons found and documented by modern trained archaeologists in Adena mounds 100 years later (Dover Mound 7 ft, Cresap Mound 7 ft 2) , and we also have reports of giant skeletons in Ohio as early as the late 1790’s, 1820’s, 1840’s etc. “The Conneaut Giants” etc. Also, when reading these Smithsonian Ethnology reports, I am struck with the extreme detail and precision,descriptions of objects, illustrations of skeletons, and precise measurements of earthworks etc. If these agents of the Smithsonian were “hucksters” fraudsters and “totally untrustworthy” , lacked training and compiled nothing but “junk data” for years of survey and excavation work to the Smithsonian, gee they sure did it in a meticulous and convincing manner! If 19th century agents of the Smithsonian were that bad, I think Squire and Davis also potentially deserve the title of “junk data” …oh, but never mind, Squire and Davis didn’t report 7 foot skeletons in their works so they can be forgiven…

    The late Native American scholar and honored pseudo scientist Vine Deloria Jr. was compelled to document many of these reports and tales of giant skeletons. He also met with several Indian elders from different tribes up at Franks Landing in Washington state in 2002. They discussed the traditions and oral histories of giants and little people in America. I do believe with enough research one could uncover more information about what the tribes knew or did not know about the mounds, and if giants were buried in them — but Native American oral history, well it might as well be classed as junk data as well.

    As for the Biblical “Nephilim” it is true the word is obscure in meaning and origin, however I would argue the term does have a subtle inference to size, strength and power. In the Book of Numbers chapter 13, is made mention of the spies of Israel scouting out the land of Canaan, and they saw men of great stature, and the sons of Anak “who came of the Nephilim” were in their sight, and the Israelites seemed as “grasshoppers” to them (verse 33). The Anakim, being connected to the Nephilim, also connects the Nephilim to the Rephaim, Emim, and Zamzummim — who were all accounted as Anakim (Deut: chapter 2). This suggests power and physical stature are associated with the Nephilim, or were a later attribution. The Rephaim king Og of Bashan with his 9 cubit (14 foot bed) or the Anakite Goliath of Gath and his brothers 9 feet tall (the Anak were wiped out by Caleb and Joshua bought sought refuge in Gaza, Gath and Ekron), also illustrate that physical size and power was intended, not simply “giants of knowledge.” The Hebrew scholars using “Gigantes” as their translation for Nephilim is plainly obvious these were interpreted as mortals of immense power, born of the union of heaven and earth, or minor gods and women and were supernatural heroes, giants of old. That seems to be evident throughout the legends and stories in the old testament.

    • Geoffrey Sea says:

      What the heck is an “intact skeleton” when Indians routinely practiced reburial? A principal feature of the early-middle Woodland “mortuary cult” in Ohio was elaborate funerary processing that moved and altered human bones before burial in mounds. “Intact skeleton” has no meaning in this context, and the assumption that unearthed mound remains could be interpreted like the coffin contents at Forest Lawn is part of what facilitated the giant hucksterism of the 19th century. Not every mound burial was a reburial or composite skeleton, but the misidentified “giants” are the ones that most likely were.

      Ephraim Squier deserves the credit as one of the first to recognize the elaborate mortuary practices employed, and that is what enabled him to see the giant claims as fraudulent, or simply wrong. There are no giants reported by Squier and Davis precisely because they were good scientists, investigated claims, and reported on them with intelligence.

      You resort to the Conneaut Giants with some large degree of embarrassment, right? In 1844, Harvey Nettleson reported on the Giants of Conneaut, Ohio, as follows: “specimens belonging to men of large stature, and who must have been nearly allied to a race of giants. Skulls were taken from these mounds, the cavities of which were of sufficient capacity to admit the head of an ordinary man, and jaw-bones that might be fitted on over the face with equal facility.”

      This was the clearest case of confusion with mastodon skulls and bones, as early finds of mastodon skeletons were coincident with the finds of these “giants.” It is also the origin of the “Nephilim” nonsense in America, as the Conneaut Giants were immediately interpreted biblically, that is by CHRISTIANS. It’s also recognized that Joseph Smith incorporated this interpretation from Conneaut into the Book of Mormon, which converted Nephilim into the lightly-encrypted “Nephite” mound-building Indians who were a “Lost Tribe of Israel.” And the Indians who repeated these tall tales were precisely those who had been converted to Christianity in the area, or to Mormonism.

      I suppose I should thank you because it is clear that this is where Abraham Lincoln picked up his “mounds and mastodons” theme, especially since he passed through the Conneaut area on his way from Niagara Falls to Springfield in September of 1848 — not from actual excavation reports or books about earthworks, but from the speculative spiritualism emanating out of Conneaut, and then reverberated by the Masons and the Mormons. And that sheds light on what motivated Lincoln to investigate the matter for himself by taking a trip up the Ohio Valley, the story I shall take up in future installments.

      Not to give away the ending, but Lincoln did make clear his conclusion by his rather extraordinary alliance with Ephraim Squier, the man he would appoint as U.S. Commissioner to Peru. Lincoln got his facts straight about giants.

      The reference to “thousands” of international reports of giants greatly weakens to giant case. There isn’t a single genetically-verified member of any “race of giants” from anywhere in the world. The more reports there are without a single testable specimen, the clearer it becomes that we are talking about Photoshop fetishism, cult commercialism, and simple delusional fantasy.

      Beyond that, I must say that the mention of Vine Deloria Jr. is rather scurrilous. Deloria defended the literalism of American Indian oral tradition as a debating counterpoint to modern science. Most Indians themselves realize that this led to some regrettable positions, such as Deloria’s defense of creationism, his refusal to accept trans-Bering migration, and his denial of radiocarbon dating. But nothing was more refuted by ensuing developments than the giant business.

      Deloria published his most ardent attack on scientific facts in the 1995 book Red Earth, White Lies, including a defense of “Indian” creation stories, and principally the Walam Olum (sometimes translated as Red Earth). He also there denied that mastodons were hunted to extinction. No sooner did Deloria’s book appear than the Walam Olum was exposed as the fraudulent if satirical product of a white man, and the Lenape Tribe officially repudiated it in 1997. It was the Walam Olum that amplified the false idea that “mound giants” were some Indian legend. They weren’t. We also now know that mastodons were hunted to extinction.

  7. Rephaim23 says:

    Well, I think you stumped me there. If the spinal column is separated, and by centuries a cm seperates each column, and the other limb bones etc shift from their natural positions, I concede a skeleton could grow some good inches over time. Excellent point. Quoting exotic historical reports from the Smithsonian annals, news clippings from the New York Times, old county journals, and a few archaeologists from the 1950’s unearthing a several Dennis Rodman to Shaquill’e O’Neal sized Adena men, I confess, does not make a race of giants. If anything it’s evidence of a tall family, or ancient basketball team. lol

    But hey, in the off chance I do come across hard evidence of some giants from burial mounds any where in the U.S. , I’ll be sure and fill you in on the details!

    Walam Olum…“Foreskin World.” Wow, that cracked me up. haha some old pioneers had a real sense of humor. Good research there. I would have never figured that one out!

    • Geoffrey Sea says:

      “Natural position” does not exist for bones that were defleshed, carved, moved, and/or reburied prior to interment, as was the case for many of the burials in question. The 19th century “giant” looters simply did not understand that — the measurements they took simply have no meaning. Some of these burials even had bones from the body parts of other individuals in the grave.

      Thank you for the compliment on my prior writing. For those unfamiliar with it, the Walam Olum was claimed to be a Lenape text that gave a concise history of the world, including construction of the Ohio mounds by giants. Thanks to David Oestreicher and others we now know that it was a hoax, composed in an invented pictographic script by Constantine Rafinesque. The title had remained a mystery because it has no meaning in Lenape or any other Algonquian language. I immediately recognized that the title is Hebrew — a language in which Rafinesque was expert — and it plainly means “Foreskin World.” It was an inside joke intended to parody the Book of Mormon and other sources claiming that American Indians are wandering Jews, a role they were not cut out for, so to speak.

      The totally disingenuous Walam Olum has been a major force behind persistence of the “giants” fable. Much of the whole rigamarole is the residue of not getting Rafinesque’s joke.

  8. I believe the sons of God slept with the daughters of men : )

    Don’t know if they were in the Ohio valley though…

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  13. E.P. Grondine says:

    Hi geoffrey –

    Nice summary of earlier confusion.

    No question people keep trying to run scams.

    There are also constant efforts to build imaginary European empires in North America, or to confirm religious beliefs of one type or another.

    As well as constant attempts to steal land by re-writing history.

    There are three problems.

    First is the extra-ordinary height of a few scientifically excavated skeletons. Dragoo spends a good amount of “Mounds For the Dead” trying to explain what he saw before his eyes.

    Second, Native American accounts of “the giants”, generally dismissed as imaginary nonsense, even when given in proto-historical contexts in their Traditional Histories.

    Third, the eye witness accounts of the Andaste, including not only Smith, et al, but others, including George Alsop, who lived with them before the genocide committed by Bacon and his associates 1676.

    Finally, you have the continuity of Adena culture into late times at the head of the Chesapeake Bay, well known from Dover and other places.

    IMO, The confusion is a result of the continuing cultural genocide of the First Nations, and trying to understand a Native American people in a European perspective.

    Also, simple greed plays a role.

    I’ve had a stroke, and can not type enough to provide you personally with full references to the materials. May I suggest you buy a second hand copy of my book “Man and Impact in the Americas” for most of it?

    The best I can figure out is that the large height was due to the expression a recessive gene among the X mt DNA haplogroup. It still happens today among the descendants of some of the First Peoples.

  14. E.P. Grondine says:

    ” A single civilization of Algonquian Indians built the major earthwork complexes of the Ohio Valley in the early-middle Woodland period. To propagandize otherwise is to disrespect their wondrous heritage.”

    Wrong.
    “Algonquian Indians” – actually, A mt DNA is both “Algonquian” and “Siouxian”.

    But C mt DNA (Iroquoian), B and D mt DNA (SE Asia via water routes) and XMT DNA are all documented.

    I have pretty well demonstrated that the Shawnee were one late survival of the “Hopewell”, and I believe that at least one division of the Cherokee were as well, though that demonstration will have to be undertaken by Cherokee with better knowledge of their language and culture.

    The construction of structures using earth continued into the contact period. For example, “Ft Ancient” material culture continues at known Shawnee sites.

    To propagandize otherwise is exactly the behavior I mentioned before.

    PS – Take a look at Cherokee “Tsughul” and “Tsunighul” (sp?) “tales”

    PS2 – I am still looking for the “Hopewell” Casino and “Hopewell” cigarettes.
    If you find them, please let me know

  15. E.P. Grondine says:

    “Thanks to David Oestreicher and others we now know that it was a hoax, composed in an invented pictographic script by Constantine Rafinesque. ”

    The creation of the imaginary “allegewi” by Heckewelder is not well known, nor its continuation by Schoolcraft. So much for Alleghenny – “Beautiful River” in Lenape.

    Yes, there are a lot of confused people around.

    See the discussion of Oestreicher at wikipedia, and at New Age Frauds and Plastic Shamans.

    Oestreicher has demonstrated no competence with the sequences from Western Maryland, SW PA.
    Or with Marksville in Ohio.

    His knowledge of the Shawnee is nil.
    He and his colleagues also make no mention of the three divisions of the Lenape.
    Period.

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