The Ancient Monuments of North and South America, 2nd ed.
by C. S. Rafinesque
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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 pize 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 temples[TN-5] of wood, raising altars, platforms, walls and entrenchments of earth or clay.

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 perhaps.

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 human[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 primaeval 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 supporters.

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 structure.

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 plains.

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 month.

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 Talahets.

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. But some Antiquaries are yet seeking in America traces of the Adamites.

4. The Tulawas and Telingas nations and languages of Decan of Southern India, are probably of Atlantic or Tulanic (Syn. of Turan or Tartary) descent; and these nations sent colonies furher[TN-21] east in early times to Polynesia and perhaps as far as America! yet the bulk of Oceanic population from Madagascar to Japan and Australia is of Hamite descent, by the regular structure of all the languages; while this seldom happens in America as in China and Tartary.

5. The late attempts of tracing analogies of origin and descent between the Chinese and Polynesian Nations, are quite vain. The Chinese Nations are evidently Asiatic and primitive akin to the Tartars and Turks (the modern Turans,) their language have the same inverse position, and monosylabic[TN-22] structure. The idea of Harcourt to deem the Chinese the real Semetic stock of Languages, is worthy of enquiry. He has proved that the Obri (Hebrew) was in reality a Hamite language, the posterity of Abraham having adopted a dialect of the Acuri (Assyrian) and Xnoni (Canaanit;)[TN-23] but the Arabic languages and nations, so akin thereto must then also be Hamites! and the old Arabians alone were Semites.

5.[TN-24] Meantime the Turanic or Japhetic nations and languages (IFH meaning widely spread is our Japhet) should be the real Turans and Atlantes, including the Medians, Caucasians, Hindus, Pelagians, Thracians, Slavonians, Goths, and nearly two thirds of the American Nations, the most civilized and powerful of them. But it appears to me that the Celts and Cantabrians were like the Etruscans and Phenicians of Hamite Origin. It is strange that all the brown or black nations of Africa, Asia and Oceania are also of similar descent.

7. In my work on the Ancient American Nations, may be seen which were the oldest or earliest in America, and to which other nations elsewhere they are most intimately connected. I have proved that two great nations of America the Aruac including the Haytians and tribes from Florida to Patagonia, with the Sekeh or old Chilians, having branches from Chili to Brazil; were certainly very akin in language with the ancient Greeks and Italians and Spaniards, or rather their ancestors the Pelagic, Oscan and Cantabrian Nations.

8. The American Atlantes of North America (Talegas)[TN-25] the Tols and Chontals of Anahuac and Central America, the Muyzcas of Tunca and Peru; with the ancient Peruvians of mixt origin, were certainly the most civilized nations of this continent, as their monuments prove it, and their languages are of Japhetic or Turanic structure, having their major affinities in Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Illyrians, Slavonians &c; but some also with the African Atlantes or ancient and modern Lybians, Getulians, Shellus &c.

9. The Guarani group of languages and nations in South America was most widely spread from Guyana to Paraguay, and all over Brazil. It is quite monosyllabic, with the Hamite or African structure, having its affinities all over Africa, where hardly any except the Qua or Hottentot nation are of Chinese? or Turanic descent by structure of speech.

10. In North America, 4 widely different stocks of nations had the Hamite structure, the Floridian including Chactas, the Wakons or Missourians, the Ongwis or Iroquois, and the Uskimas or Esquimaux spread across the whole or[TN-26] Boreal America. This last stock is evidently akin to the Northern Asiatic Hamites such as the Fins, Slaves, Chudis, Ostiaks &c. The Wakons and Ongwis appear also Asiatic, akin to the Tonguz and other Northern Tartars; but the Chactas with the Natchez, Seminoles and akin tribes appear of Eastern descent, and find their parents in North Africa.

11. In my work on Historical Palingenesy or the restoration of ancient nations and languages presumed lost, I have been able to restore many of all the parts of the world (but chiefly America and Europe) in the same manner as I once did for the Haytian nation and language, whereby many historical links will be evolved and traced. My process is similar to that of Cuvier and the modern Paleontologists, who restore extinct animals by fragments of their bones. I do the same with extinct languages by fragments of their words and elements, discovered and put together.

12. In result the monumental evidences combine with the philological to descry and ascertain whatever is obscure in Ancient History. By their mutual help and accordance, with the use of acurate[TN-27] comparisons in both Hemispheres, we shall certainly be enabled to advance the Archeological and Historical knowledge of Yore, beyond our most sanguine expectation. The path is open and becoming easy to pursue; much therefore will be achieved by following the comparative process and discarding all the conjectural systems.


Transcriber's Note

The following typographical errors were maintained in this version of the book.

Page Error TN-1 1 Cincinnatti should read Cincinnati TN-2 2 occured should read occurred TN-3 2 gradualy should read gradually TN-4 3 analize should read analyze TN-5 6 temples should read temples TN-6 8 human should read human TN-7 8 globe; should read globe. TN-8 9 America should read America. TN-9 9 oontinent should read continent TN-10 10 Berhring's should read Behring's TN-11 14 language should read languages TN-12 18 iu should read in TN-13 21 Origon should read Oregon TN-14 22 atteution should read attention TN-15 22 hieroglyphies should read hieroglyphics TN-16 23 oomplex should read complex TN-17 23 Sabatical should read Sabbatical TN-18 24 CrevecOEur should read Crevecoeur TN-19 24 study in should read study is TN-20 25 maindeity should read main deity TN-21 26 furher should read further TN-22 26 monosylabic should read monosyllabic TN-23 26 Canaanit should read Canaanite TN-24 26 5. should read 6. TN-25 27 (Talegas) should read (Talegas), TN-26 28 or should read of TN-27 28 acurate should read accurate

The following words were inconsistently spelled or hyphenated.

Guatemala / Guatimala log-house / loghouse Tol-tecas / Tul-tecas &c / &c. / &c.


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