Archeological Investigations - Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 76
by Gerard Fowke
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Transcriber's Note: Inconsistent hyphenation matches the original document. This e-text contains characters with less common diacritics, non-ascii diacritical marks represented as follows: č = c with a caron above [VC] = C with a caron above [VS] = S with a caron above ĕ = e with an accent breve above ō = o with a macron above Obvious typographical errors have been corrected in this text. For a complete list, please see the bottom of this document.

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SIR: I have the honor to transmit the accompanying manuscript, entitled "Archeological Investigations," by Gerard Fowke, and to recommend its publication, subject to your approval, as a bulletin of this bureau.

Very respectfully, J. WALTER FEWKES, Chief.

DR. CHARLES D. WALCOTT, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.


I. Cave Explorations in the Ozark Region of Central Missouri

Page Introduction 13 The Upper Current River 18 Shannon County 18 Bat Cave 18 Blue Spring, or Fishing Cave 18 Welch's Cave 18 Big Creek Cave 18 Texas County 19 Smith Caves 19 Saltpeter Cave 19 Dent County 20 Mammoth Cave 20 Guthoerl Cave 20 Short Bend Cave 20 Money Cave 21 Saltpeter Cave 21 Watson, Twin, or Onyx Caves 22 House mounds 22 Phelps County 22 Bates Cave 22 Another "Bates Cave" 23 Renaud Cave 23 Marsh Caves 23 Wild-hog Cave 23 Shelters 24 Phelps Cave 24 "Key Rocks" 24 Jones Cave 24 Yancy Mills Cave 24 Lane Mound 24 Cairns on Lost Hill, at mouth of Gourd Creek 24 Exploration of the Gourd Creek Cave 28 Onyx Cave 34 Goat Bluff Cave 35 Cairns at Sugar Tree Camp 40 Tick Creek Cave 41 Cave in Pool Hollow 41 House mounds near Rolla 41 House mounds near Dillon 42 House mounds near St. James 42 Pulaski County 42 McWilliams Cave 42 Davis Caves 42 Berry Cave 43 Maxey Cave 43 Yoark Cave 43 Graves at Laughlin's 44 Kerr Cave 44 Sell Cave 45 Phillips Cave 51 Bell's Cave 51 Camp-ground Cave 51 Bucher Cave 51 Graves near McKennan's 52 Roubidoux Cave 52 Richland Cave 52 Rollins Caves 52 Mix Cave 53 Double Cave 54 Railroad Cave 55 Bat, or Page, Cave 55 Tunnel Cave 56 Brooks Cave 56 Riddle Cave 56 Lane's Cave 56 Dry Creek Cave 56 House mounds 56 Riden's Cave 57 Saltpeter Cave 57 Miller's Cave 57 Ramsey's Cave 81 Graham Cave 83 Pillman's, or Spring Creek, Cave 83 Woodland Hollow Cave 84 Walled graves at Devil's Elbow 84 Cairns on Helm's farm 87 Ash Cave 89 Clemmens Creek Cave 89 Camden County 89 Along the Niangua River 89 A fossil cave 91 Miller County 91 Wright Cave 92 Wilson Cave 94 Bagnell Cave 94 Bode Cave 94 Luckenhoff Cave 94 Jurggenmeyer Cave 94 Daerhoff Cave 95 Cave near mouth of Tavern Creek 95 Bat Cave 95 Grave at mouth of Saline Creek 95 Stark's Cave 96 House mounds 96 Cairns 96 Maries County 96 Indian Ford Cave 96 Lackaye's Bluff Cave 97 Hurricane Bluff Cave 97 Stratman Cave 98 Osage County 98 River Cave 98 Rock-shelter 98 Steuffer Cave 99 Cairns 99 House mounds 99 "Indian Fort" 99 Cole County 100 Natural Bridge Cave 100 Morgan County 100 Speers Cave 100 House mounds 100


Introduction 101 Indiana 102 Lawrence County 102 Martin County 102 Orange County 106 Crawford County 107 Harrison County 111 Illinois 111 Monroe County 111 Kentucky 112 Hardin County 112 Hart County 112 Edmonson County 115 Warren County 118 Barren County 119 Monroe County 120 Logan County 122 Todd County 122 Tennessee 123 Montgomery County 123 Sullivan County 124 Bledsoe County 128 Sequatchie County 130 Grundy County 131 Franklin County 131 Marion County 132 Hamilton County 133 Alabama 133 Lauderdale County 133 Colbert County 134 Jackson County 135 Dekalb County 137 Marshall County 139


Vicinity of White Cloud, Kansas 151 Iowa Point 152 Near the mouth of the Nemaha River 152 Vicinity of Troy, Kansas 153 Mouth of Mosquito Creek 153 Rulo, Nebraska 154 Near Howe, Nebraska 155 Peru, Nebraska 156 Papillion, Nebraska 156 Vicinity of Omaha, Nebraska 156 Long's Hill 157


New Madrid County 166 St. Francois County 166


Introduction 178 Molokai Island 179 The Rain Heiau 180 The sacrifice stones 181 Hawaii Island 182 Kilauea 183 Waimea 183 Quarry on Mauna Kea 183 Kawaihae 183 East Point district 184 Napoopoo 184 Honaunau 184 Keauhou 185 Mookini 185 Laupahoehoe 187 Maui Island 188 Kaupo, or Mokulau 188 Wailuku 188 Waihee 189 Burial places 190 In the Iao Valley 191 Kauai Island 191 Lihue 192 Wailua 192 Dune burials 193 Waimea 194 Conclusions 194 Index 197



1. a, Cave on Big Piney River, Pulaski County, Mo. b, Cave on Big Piney River, Texas County, Mo. 12

2. a, Bluff at Mouth of Spring Creek, Pulaski County, Mo. b, Pillman's, or Spring Creek, Cave, Pulaski County, Mo. 12

3. Map of area examined 18

4. Bone and antler implements from Gourd Creek Cave, Phelps County, Mo. 34

5. Shell and flint objects from Gourd Creek Cave 34

6. Skull from Goat Bluff Cave, Phelps County, Mo. 38

7. Skull from Goat Bluff Cave 38

8. Skull from Goat Bluff Cave 38

9. Skull of child from Goat Bluff Cave 38

10. Flints from Goat Bluff Cave 38

11. Bone and antler implements from Goat Bluff Cave 38

12. Bone and antler implements from Goat Bluff Cave 38

13. a, Cairn 6 miles north of Arlington, Mo. b, Walled grave 6 miles north of Arlington, Mo. 38

14. Cairns on Roubidoux Creek, 6 miles from Waynesville, Mo. 46

15. Flints from Sell Cave, near Waynesville, Mo. 46

16. Objects from Sell Cave. a, Pestles or grinding stones; b, celt, pottery disks, paint stones, and skiver 46

17. Three skulls from Pulaski County, Mo. a, b, Skull from Sell Cave; c, d, skull from Bell's Cave, near Waynesville; e, f, skull from Miller's Cave 46

18. Teeth from Sell Cave and other caves, showing manner and amount of wear 48

19. Teeth from Sell Cave and other caves, showing manner and amount of wear 48

20. a, b, Skull from Miller's Cave, Pulaski County, Mo.; c, part of skull of child from Miller's Cave 68

21. Skull of young woman from Miller's Cave 68

22. Skull of child from Miller's Cave 72

23. Diseased tibia of adult and diseased bones of child from Miller's Cave 72

24. Skull of child from Miller's Cave 72

25. Cache of flints from ash bed in Miller's Cave 72

26. Flints from Miller's Cave 76

27. Flints from Miller's Cave 76

28. Flints from Miller's Cave 76

29. Axes and pestles from Miller's Cave 76

30. Bone implements from Miller's Cave 78

31. Bone implements from Miller's Cave 78

32. Bone implements from Miller's Cave 78

33. Bone implements from Miller's Cave 78

34. Bone and antler implements from Miller's Cave 78

35. Antler implements from Miller's Cave 78

36. Skivers, showing stages of manufacture, from Miller's Cave 78

37. Shell spoons, pottery disks, and broken spoon made of a deer's skull, from Miller's Cave 78

38. a, Heiaus A and B, on Molokai Island, looking west; b, Heiau A, on Molokai Island, looking north; c, Heiaus A and B, on Molokai Island, looking south 180

39. a, Heiau A, on Molokai Island, looking south; b, platform in Heiau A, looking southeast; c, paved way in Heiau A, looking southwest 180

40. a, Paved way in Heiau A, looking north; b, fireplace in Heiau A 180

41. a, Heiau B, on Molokai Island, looking northwest; b, Heiau B, showing stone-paved interior, looking northeast 180

42. a, The "Rain Heiau," Molokai Island, looking west; b, The "Rain Heiau," looking south 180

43. a, The "Rain Heiau," looking north; b, The "Rain Heiau," looking southwest 180

44. a, The "Sacrifice Stones," on Molokai Island, looking southwest; b, The "Sacrifice Stones," looking west 180

45. a, The "Sacrifice Stones," looking northwest; b, the "Sacrifice Stones," looking south 180


1. Outline of Cairn (1), at Lost Hill, Phelps County, Mo. 26

2. Outline of Cairn (2), at Lost Hill, Phelps County, Mo. 26

3. Pipe from Cairn (2) 27

4. Outline of Cairn (3), Lost Hill 28

5. Fragment of glass bottle from Goat Bluff Cave 37

6. Pot from Goat Bluff Cave 39

7. Grooved ax from Goat Bluff Cave 40

8. Perforated object of antler from Sell Cave 48

9. Rubbing or polishing stone from Sell Cave 48

10. Flints from Sell Cave 49

11. Incised figure in sandstone near Miller's Cave 61

12. Incised figures in sandstone near Miller's Cave 61

13. Plan of Miller's Cave 62

14. Clay pipe from Miller's Cave 69

15. Perforated bone object from Miller's Cave 79

16. Adz or gouge of chert from Miller's Cave 79

17. Clay pipe from Miller's Cave 80

18. Columella bead from Cairn (4), Devil's Elbow 87

19. Columella bead from Cairn (5), Devil's Elbow 87

20. Plan of Fossil Cave 92

21. Section of Fossil Cave 92

22. Perforator and knife from Wright Cave 93

23. Cross section of Fort Deposit Cave at 18 feet 144

24. Cross section of Fort Deposit Cave at 20 feet 144

25. Cross section of Fort Deposit Cave at 22 feet 144

26. Cross section of Fort Deposit Cave at 26 feet 145

27. Cross section of Fort Deposit Cave at 28 feet 145

28. Cross section of Fort Deposit Cave at 30 feet 145

29. Cross section of Fort Deposit Cave at 351/2 feet 146

30. Cross section of Fort Deposit Cave at 471/2 feet 146

31. Cross section of Fort Deposit Cave at 60 feet 146

32. Cross section of Fort Deposit Cave at 70 feet 147

33. Cross section of Fort Deposit Cave at 90 feet 147

34. Cross section of Fort Deposit Cave at 93 feet 148

35. Cross section of Fort Deposit Cave at 175 feet 149

36. Cross section of Fort Deposit Cave at 180 feet 149

37. Plan of House Mound in St. Francois County, Mo. 168

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The geological structure of that portion of southern Missouri which lies to the westward of the Archean rocks near the Mississippi River is peculiarly suitable for the development of caverns. The Ozark uplift produced far-reaching undulations, and there seem to have been no violent disturbances which would result in extensive faults, considerable displacements, or a pronounced inclination of the strata. Jointing and pressure cleavage, however, gave rise to innumerable crevices in the limestone, through which percolating surface water found its way into all parts of the formations. By its solvent power this water gradually enlarged the crevices into passages which, multiplying and uniting, drained constantly increasing areas until they formed subterranean streams with a perpetual flow. Thus began caverns; and these grew in depth, width, and height as the rock was eroded and dissolved. Tributary crevices were subject to the same action; and there was finally created by each of these water systems a network of cavities whose ramifications sometimes extend throughout several townships. In time, sections of the roof, here and there, became so thin from the combined erosion taking place both above and below as to be unable to sustain their own weight; the overlying strata fell into the cave, and the volume of water flowing through it was augmented by drainage which had previously been disposed of on the surface. All this had to seek an outlet somewhere, except in those rare instances where it maintains its downward course until, below the level of any open stream it can reach, it encounters an impervious stratum and must lose itself in the deep rocks. Usually, however, it emerges in the face of a bluff or on the side of a hill; and the opening becomes "the mouth of a cave." Occasionally, in such situations, the water continues to flow out; but usually it finds a way to reach a lower level, and so the cave in time becomes dry except for such water as seeps through from the earth immediately above. Sometimes, too, the point of discharge is at or perhaps somewhat below the level of a stream into which it passes; in the Ozarks are numerous very large springs or fountains which by inverted siphon or artesian action are forced up from subterranean streams lying at a greater depth.

Few large caverns have the floor entirely dry, even when they are well above the bottom of the valley. Deposits in the front portion may be dry, perhaps dusty on the surface; but toward the interior moisture usually accumulates until they are muddy or until the water stands in pools or puddles. When this is the case there is sometimes a little stream making its way to the front through a channel which it has cut; or seepage may dampen, possibly saturate, the lowermost portions of the otherwise dry earth. These details are controlled principally by the direction and degree of slopes and by side openings which allow more or less of the water to escape at some part of its journey.

When a cavern is fairly lighted and has a dry floor, whether of rock or earth, it forms an excellent abode for a small community unable or not disposed to construct shelters more comfortable or convenient; and there is abundant evidence that many caves in the Ozarks were utilized as habitations by the aborigines. It must be remembered, however, that in the centuries which have elapsed since hunters or permanent occupants first entered this region, many superficial changes have taken place, not only about the entrances but within the caverns as well. Very probably these alterations have converted caves once occupied into places which at present are quite unfit for such purposes. Talus has accumulated in front of the openings or partially filled the front chambers; it may well be the case that this conceals much refuse. Caves which, from similar deposits, are now difficult to enter and dark to the doorway, may have been open and convenient. Furthermore, caves with wet or muddy bottoms may owe such condition to causes which have recently come into operation; or if they always contained more or less water, the primitive dwellers could in many cases have overcome such disadvantages by digging drains which have since become choked and obliterated. Very small cavities, such as deep rock-shelters; or caverns with a great thickness of earth on the floors, now showing no trace of remains; or those with entrances so small that it is necessary to crawl through—any of these, if cleared out to the bottoms, might disclose material dating back to very early times.

It might seem that the air in a cave constantly occupied would grow stale and close; while smoke from the fires would in time become annoying. But Indians used for fuel only dry wood and bark, the smoke from which would be a negligible factor. The varying pressure of the atmosphere outside creates a current of air in or out which is usually imperceptible but which penetrates to the deepest recesses and insures ventilation.

In view of the very primitive conditions under which cave dwellers lived, as denoted by the artificial objects which they left, and the low mentality indicated by the skulls, Mr. W.H. Holmes suggests that a careful and extended study of these abodes may disclose a culture lower than that prevailing among out-door dwellers in the same localities. As no effort would be required to secure warmth and shelter, and as food was abundant and easily procured, the people may never have advanced from savagery, or may have retrograded.

None of these possibilities are taken into account when reporting upon the caves described in the following pages; the information offered is based entirely upon the present appearance of the places mentioned. To attempt more would be merely offering guesses.

If "Cave Man"—using this term to designate the predecessor of any race or tribe known to history—ever existed in the Mississippi Valley he would not find in any part of it natural features better adapted for his requirements than in the Ozark hills. But, so far, not the slightest trace of his presence has been revealed. Products of human industry have been reported as occurring at great depths under other conditions, even at the bottom of the loess; though in all such cases there is some uncertainty as to the correctness of the observations. No similar reports have been made in regard to any cave yet explored. On the contrary, whatever may be the depth of the deposit containing them, the artificial objects exhumed are uniform in character from top to bottom; the specimens found on the clay or solid rock floor are of the same class as those barely covered by the surface earth. Moreover, when they cease to appear they cease absolutely; the rock was swept bare, or the clay was deposited, by the stream to which the cave owes its existence, and each is a part of the original formation. In these circumstances habitation would be out of the question.

By careful search in the caves and rock-shelters of which the Indian known to history availed himself, extensive and interesting museum collections can be made. To find an earlier man it will be necessary to investigate caverns which he found suitable for occupancy and in which the accumulation of detritus, from whatever source, has been sufficient to cover his remains so deeply that they can not be confused with those of a later period; and it may be necessary, also, to discover with them bones of extinct animals. Should such a place exist, it is extremely probable that there will be no outward indication of the fact.

No examination of a cavern is complete or is to be deemed satisfactory unless a depth is reached where the geological deposits are undeniably of such age as to antedate the possible appearance of man upon the scene. This is not assured until the excavation has reached the original floor, which may be either the bed-rock or the clay left by the eroding stream when its volume had become so diminished from any cause that it was no longer able to keep its channel cleared out. Unless a cave is almost perfectly dry—and few of them are—the bottom can not be reached until all standing or soil water has been drained off.

Notwithstanding the most explicit directions, a stranger without a guide is frequently unable to find a cave unless its position is plainly visible from some well-defined spot. The winding valleys and the multitude of ravines sometimes bewilder even those living among them.

A few definitions of terms, or explanations of statements in the report, may prevent misunderstanding.

"Refuse," "signs," "indications," "evidence," referring to habitation or occupancy, mean mussel shells; animal bones; burned or worked stones; broken pottery; wrought objects of bone or shell; flint implements, chips, or spalls; ashes; charcoal; in short, the material ordinarily found on the site of an Indian village, some or all of which are to be seen where the caverns have been used for shelter.

"Daylight" or "in daylight" is the greatest distance within the entrance to a cavern at which common print may be easily read or the nature of small objects lying on the floor determined with certainty.

"Drip rock," "cave rock," or "cave formation" are general terms including stalactite or stalagmite; also deposits of similar origin coating the walls. Not all of these may be present in the same cavern.

"Roof dust" is a substance, literally "lime sand," produced by the superficial disintegration of the roof or walls. This process is greatly accelerated where lichen or rock moss has gained a root hold on the stone. Roof dust in a dry cavern is the equivalent of stalagmite in a wet one.

"Cave earth" is the loose, loamy material usually found in the front chambers of large caverns. It is made up of roof dust, sand, and silt washed from the interior, outside dust and vegetable matter blown in by the wind, with minute amounts of clay or soil carried in by animals.

"Gravel" in a cavern is seldom noticeably water-worn, but is the angular debris resulting from the continued fragmentation of chert nodules released by erosion of the limestone.

A "rock shelter," or "shelter cave," is a room or recess formed by atmospheric erosion in the face, usually at the base, of a cliff. The depth from front to back, under the projecting or overhanging unremoved bedrock above, is generally much less than the length as measured along the face of the bluff. They are nearly always dry, more or less protected from storms, and when of suitable size and in a favorable location were much used as camping places. They are rather rare in limestone formations but frequent in massive sandstone.

"House mounds" are small, low piles of earth, similar in all respects to those so numerous in southeastern Missouri and southward. Although they are usually described as "standing in regular rows," they are in fact irregularly placed, though seldom as much as 100 feet apart in the same group.

Measurements of caverns explored were made with a tape line; others were estimated by stepping, or in the case of elevations, by sighting, consequently are only approximate, but the figures given will in no case exceed the actual distance.

Specimens reported from caves not excavated were found on the floor, sometimes in situations where no addition of cave earth had taken place since the objects were left there; at other times where they were brought from below by burrowing animals; and, again, where they are exposed in the bed or banks of a drainage channel.

In no cave so far examined has any evidence been found to show that the aborigines occupied any part of it beyond such point as was adequately illuminated from the entrance. No doubt they may, at times, have retreated beyond the reach of daylight and been compelled to dispel the darkness by means of fires; but such instances were rare and of short duration. Statements are sometimes made that specimens, usually flint implements, have been found far, possibly several hundred yards, within the cavern. Such objects do not predicate habitation at that distance; primitive explorers may have lost them. It has been pointed out, too, by Mr. De Lancey Gill, that a wounded animal, taking refuge in a cave and instinctively seeking its dark recesses, may carry in an arrow or spear whose point remains when the shaft has decayed. In the case of a large mammal, such as a bear or a panther, a number of arrow or spear heads might be carried in and be found close together long after the death of the victim.

Cairns or stone-covered graves are of common occurrence; but with a single exception the rocks in all those visited or reported are more or less displaced. This is due to hunters digging out small wild animals making a den in them; to treasure seekers who believe that "money" is concealed in them; and most of all to persons who are curious to know "what there is in there."

The record of the investigations will be given by counties, beginning at the south and proceeding northward. Descriptions and notes of the sites mentioned will follow as closely as possible the same arrangement. A number following the name of a cave refers to its position as denoted by a corresponding number on the map (pl. 3).


A number of well-known caverns, some of them quite extensive, exist along the head streams forming the Current River. As originally planned, the work included a thorough survey of this region, but owing to various causes it was only partially examined. Several large caves were reported as being along the river and its tributaries farther down than these researches were carried. Notable is one opposite the mouth of Sinkin Creek, which was described as dry and very large within; but it was also stated that it can only be entered through a sink hole with the aid of a ladder or pole 30 feet long. Such a cave is not likely to have been used for shelter. Others, as they were described, seemed equally unfitted for this purpose. The only exception to this general rule is one in Spring Valley south of the Current and east of Sinkin.

Such as were visited will be described in their geographical order.

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This cavern is 6 miles above the mouth of Sinkin. It is near the top of a cliff, fully 300 feet above the river. The entrance is 30 feet wide and 10 feet high; within is a level earth-covered floor. Being very difficult of access, it was probably never inhabited.


This is situated on the Terrell land, 4 miles below Akers post office. The entrance, 10 feet high and 20 feet wide, is almost at low-water level; the river at flood height rises fully 20 feet above its top. Fifty feet within is a spring or well, 20 feet across, whose bottom is beyond the reach of a line 60 feet long. It is said that eyeless fish of 3 pounds weight have been caught in this "Blue Spring."


This is 4 miles below Cedar Grove. It can be entered only in a boat, and the entire floor is deeply covered with soft mud.


There is a cave at the mouth of Big Creek which is often used as a temporary camping place by hunters and fishermen. The water enters it whenever there is a freshet in either the creek or the river; so it could never have served as a place of permanent abode.

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On James I. Smith's land, on Big Creek, a mile above Niles, are three caves. One is merely a round opening 5 feet in width and height, soon narrowing to a crevice; it would not be mentioned except that in it was a sandstone slab such as mortars are made of. This bore no marks of use; but it had been carried in for some purpose—possibly by white men.

The second cave, 50 feet from the first, has an entrance 20 feet wide and 4 to 5 feet high. Dry earth extends back for 40 feet; then come clay and fallen rocks, sloping downward toward the rear. The roof maintains its level as far as followed. No trace of occupation could be found.

The third cave, 150 yards from the second, has an entrance 35 feet wide and 20 feet high. Dry cave earth appears for 20 feet, at which distance it merges with mud containing large rocks. The cavern extends for 50 feet in daylight; water from the interior spreads over the whole floor to the inner margin of dry earth, where it collects in a little stream which passes out along the foot of one wall. The earth deposit seems to be thin. The only objects that could be found in the cave or about the entrance were a small sandstone slab, unmarked; a small piece of deer bone; and one fragment of shell-tempered pottery. Not a flake of flint was seen.

These caves are not worth working.

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A fourth of a mile from the cave last mentioned is a rock grave on a ledge which projects at about 40 feet (vertically) below the top of the hill. As near as can be judged, in its present torn-up condition, the cairn was originally about 10 by 20 feet in dimensions; so there were probably two graves covered by the ordinary conical heaps of stone, the depression between them being filled up to form a single cairn.


Five miles west of Montauk, on Ashley Creek, is a cave noted for having two entrances which are separated by a triangular mass of rock, part of the original formation. This partition measures 30 feet across at the face of the bluff and terminates within 20 feet. The principal opening is 90 feet wide and 15 feet high. Dry cave earth extends back 90 feet, at which distance water constantly falls from the roof and flows along the foot of one wall through the minor entrance. The latter is 30 feet wide, 10 feet high, and its bottom is 10 feet lower than that of the main opening. The volume of water passing out varies with the seasons, but is sufficient at times to cover the entire floor of the side chamber and keep it swept free of earth and small gravel.

In the front portion of the main cavern the dry earth is 5 feet deep in its thickest part; but as it has all been leached for obtaining the saltpeter or niter diffused through it, none of it is in the original position. Some earth has also been brought from farther back, leached, and added to the pile in front; and much of this has been hauled out for fertilizer.

Near the main entrance is a large mass of breccia made up of small angular limestone fragments cemented throughout with stalagmite material; it projects several feet above the present level of the earth floor, so the character of the cavern must have changed greatly since this deposit was formed.

The only artificial object found was a fragment, about an inch across, of dark, sand-tempered pottery.

Owing to the extensive changes resulting from collecting the saltpeter, the cavern would not repay investigation.

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The statement has been made that a large dry cavern, known as the "Mammoth Cave," is in a bluff facing Current River, opposite the mouth of Ashley Creek. It could not be located; and residents in the vicinity assert that not only is there no cave near this site, but there is none known as "Mammoth" anywhere in the region. Some of them, however, had a vague idea that a cavern bearing the same name exists "away down toward Eminence; it may be on Jack's Fork."


There is a cave on the farm of Peter Guthoerl, 6 miles east of Salem. It is small, with very little level space in front of it, and water from the interior runs or seeps out of it, keeping the floor muddy throughout the year.


Short Bend post office is 12 miles northeast of Salem. Half a mile east of it, in a bluff on the opposite side of the Meramec River, is a cave with an entrance 25 feet wide and about the same in height; the roof forming a fairly symmetrical Gothic arch. Were it not for the pile of talus in front, water from the river would pour into the cavern in extreme floods; these subside very rapidly, however, and have never percolated through the barrier.

It is said that persons digging in a desultory way have unearthed bones which were assumed to be those of Indians because they were "red." No description of them could be obtained, and they may not have been human bones at all.

The floor is level and dry for about 80 feet back from the entrance, but no refuse of any kind appeared, except in the pile of talus outside, which showed a small quantity of flint chips such as would be left by hunting parties in repairing their weapons.


This is a fourth of a mile down the river from Short Bend Cave. It takes its name from the customary tradition that Indians concealed a large treasure here; the legend being authenticated by an "Indian chief" who told a white man that his people had buried much gold in a cave in this bluff, built a fire over the money, then filled the mouth of the cave with earth and rock. Some of the persons who opened many small holes in searching for the hidden wealth claim to have found ashes in this cave, behind the barrier, which is only ordinary talus. The floor is of tough clay, fallen rocks, and stalagmite, all of which, as well as the walls and ledges, were industriously dug and hammered for months by the treasure seekers.

A cave with an entrance 15 feet wide, the same in height, and having a depth of 45 feet in daylight, lies between Money Cave and Short Bend Cave. In very wet seasons water runs through it from the interior; and high water backs into it from the Meramec River.


This is three-fourths of a mile north of Short Bend post office, on the opposite side of the river. The arched entrance is 25 feet wide and 20 feet high. Fifteen feet from the front the cave divides into two branches about equal in size; they have never been explored to the end. One branch continues straight back for about 100 feet, then turns abruptly to the right for 50 or 60 feet, at which distance it resumes its original direction. The other branch turns directly to the right and is in daylight for 50 feet. Much of the cave earth has been hauled away for fertilizer, or leached for obtaining saltpeter, so that only a small quantity remains in front. Farther back, in both chambers, the dry earth where not disturbed is 8 to 10 feet thick.

The cavern is easily accessible, close to the river, and otherwise well adapted for habitation; but careful search failed to reveal any indication that it had ever been thus used.


The two caverns thus variously designated are on the Meramec River, 14 miles north of Salem. They are parallel to a depth of about 100 feet, being separated by only 10 or 12 feet of solid wall. The floors of both slope downward from front to rear, but not so rapidly as the roof, so that at this distance the caves apparently come to an end. But that they continue back into the hill is manifest from the appearance of the roofs. In some manner the rear portion of each has become entirely filled with earth. Probably they unite somewhere beyond this point.

Either of these caves is of ample size to make an excellent shelter for a large number of people; but they are difficult of access, and no evidence whatever could be discovered indicating occupancy.

In fact, this part of the Meramec Valley does not seem to have ever been permanently inhabited. Residents say that relics, even flint implements, are seldom found in the bottom lands; and this fact was commented on by persons who have learned how common such things are in other localities. Small, rough hematite axes, however, occur in considerable quantities throughout the region. The ore outcrops at various places and solid nodules or fragments are plentiful. Chert knives or spearheads are found scattered promiscuously; and, rarely, an object made of other stone may be picked up. Very few specimens of any description are symmetrical or carefully finished.


On the Dent County infirmary farm, in Spring Creek Valley, a mile and a half south of Salem, is a group of house mounds, about 50 in number. They have not been much disturbed by cultivation; the creek and a drainage ditch have cut through several of them, but, as usual, there is nothing in the construction to show their purpose.

Two similar groups are on the Short Bend road, not far from Salem; another group on Peter Guthoerl's farm 6 miles east of Salem; and a fourth group, partly within the corporate limits of Salem, on the road to Rolla.

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On the farm of J.W. Riden, 6 miles southeast of Big Piney post office, is Bates Cave, of which every visitor to the region is speedily informed. It is entered with difficulty by sliding feet first down the inner slope of a pile of debris which fills the entrance almost to the roof. Once beyond this, there is ample space. On the hillside, above the mouth, is a vertical shaft, like a well, due to the widening of a crevice; access to the interior of the cave may also be had through this by means of a long rope. Under present conditions, it would not be used except as a temporary shelter or hiding place; for which purposes bushwhackers availed themselves of its advantages during the Civil War.

This cavern is renowned far beyond its merits on account of its famous "ballroom," where dances and picnics are held; artificial lights being placed on the walls. Possibly the manner in which it must be entered has something to do with its popularity.


Within a few rods of the cave above described is another, with an entrance 60 feet wide and 10 feet high. Cave earth, which is 5 feet thick above the bottom of a small stream coming from the interior, extends back to large rocks covering the floor; beyond these are rocks, wet clay, and gravel. The cave earth seems to run for some distance under the receding walls. A milk house has been constructed in it, so that excavations are not permitted.


Four miles east of Edgar Springs, facing Little Piney, is Renaud (Rĕn'nō) Cave, on the farm of Charles E. Widener. The entrance is 50 feet wide and 10 feet high. Dry cave earth extends back for 65 feet, then comes fallen rock for 100 feet or more. A little stream runs close to the north wall. Cave earth is 5 feet deep on the bedrock at the entrance and rises toward the interior. There is much refuse within and also on the slope in front of the entrance.


A shelter cave on Henry Marsh's farm, facing Little Piney, 2 miles south of Yancy Mills, has a front 35 feet wide, 15 feet high, and runs back 60 feet. There is a wet-weather stream bed through the center. Bedrock shows at the entrance, rising toward the rear for a few feet, then becoming covered with cave earth, which probably has a maximum thickness of 2 feet. There is considerable refuse scattered about, but it is doubtful whether the shallow deposit would repay investigation.


A fourth of a mile from the above cave is one known as "Wild-hog Cave," because in pioneer days these animals gathered here for shelter and protection. It is a small, tunnel-like affair, with a solid rock floor, and extends farther into the hill than anyone has ever dared to venture.


Two small rock shelters near the Wild-hog Cave may have been resorted to as temporary camping places.


A cave on the farm of James Phelps, 2 miles south of Yancy Mills, is described as small, with a narrow entrance.


Near Yancy Mills there is something known as "the Key Rocks." It can not be found by a stranger and no guide was available at the time the place was sought. It is described as a small, deep, circular hole in solid rock, in which were many stone covers or lids, one above another, gradually diminishing in size and "cut to fit down on each other." It is probably due to stream erosion.


On Little Piney, half a mile south from Yancy Mills, is a large cave on the Jones farm. It is said to have a large entrance and much earth on the floor. As the owner uses it for a warehouse in which to store fruits and vegetables and utilizes the stream flowing through it for preserving milk and butter, no examination could be made.


There is a small, shallow cave near the top of the bluff, half a mile north of Yancy Mills. It contains no evidence of occupation, except that walls and ceiling are blackened with smoke, due, probably, to modern refugees or hunters.


It was reported, too late to visit the site, that on George Lane's farm, on Little Piney, a mile north of Yancy Mills, is a mound "8 feet high, built of earth," and surrounded with the usual evidences of a village site, scattered over the level bottom on which it stands.


Gourd Creek flows into the east side of Little Piney River 12 miles southwest of Rolla. It is less than 4 miles long, and but for three or four large springs near its source, which keep its volume fairly uniform, would be dry most of the year.

Parallel with it, a short distance to the southward, is a ravine several miles in length, known as Coal Pit Hollow. This originally discharged its drainage into Little Piney about half a mile above the mouth of Gourd Creek. A ravine tributary to the latter, near its mouth, has worked back until it has captured the flow of Coal Pit. The lower end of the stream bed thus abandoned now forms a gap or depression with a slight incline from the center in both directions. The crest of the deserted portion is about 50 to 60 feet above the present level of Little Piney. The hill inclosed by this quadrilateral drainage is about a fourth of a mile in length along its top, has a direction almost north and south, with a nearly uniform slope along the summit, the southern point being somewhat higher than that at the north, and terminates abruptly at each end. The sides descend at once from the center line of the ridge, like a roof with a slightly rounded comb.

On account of its isolated position the eminence is locally known as "Lost Hill." It is not to be confused, however, with several similar formations in this region, to which the same term is applied and which may owe their existence to a like cause, or may be due to cut-offs by streams.

On the top of this particular Lost Hill are six cairns, five of them near the northern end, the sixth just where the ridge breaks off to the south. The margins are uncertain owing to the upper stones being scattered by hunters as well as by credulous individuals who are firmly fixed in the belief that all such "rock piles" contain gold hidden by Indians.

So far as can now be determined the five at the northern end were 16 to 18 feet across as left by the builders, the southernmost one being somewhat smaller. All are in uncleared land, and crevices between the stones are filled with a tangled mass of roots from the trees and bushes growing on and around them.

The relative positions are about thus, measurements being made on the earth between the scattered stones: (1) 10 feet, (2) 10 feet, (3) 50 feet, (4) 10 feet, (5) 1,000 feet, (6). The distance from (5) to (6) is estimated by stepping and may vary considerably either way from the measure given.

Cairns (1), (2), and (3) were thoroughly excavated.


This, the farthest north, was about 16 by 17 feet within the original limits. When the outer loose rocks were removed there was disclosed a wall of flat stones on the natural surface, so laid as to form an inclosure apparently intended to be practically square. It measured, across the center, from outside to outside, about 14 feet from north to south by 12 feet from east to west. The north and south walls were straight, the others outwardly curved. The approximate outline is shown in figure 1. In most parts the wall was only one stone high; in a few places there was another rock laid up. Over and within this wall had been piled loose stones, ranging in size from small pebbles to fragments of 150 pounds in weight, to form a heap whose original height was about 2 feet.

When all these were cleared away the space within the wall was found to measure 9 feet in each direction. Three feet from the middle of the west wall was a fragment of a child's skull lying on the undisturbed angular gravel which forms the natural surface on this ridge except where a small amount of recently decayed humus may be held by rocks and roots. Halfway between the center and the north wall was the top of an adult skull, with three fragments of long bones. These, which were much gnawed by rodents, were in black earth, evidently the former home of some burrowing animal.

A foot north of the infant's skull were small remnants of an adult's skull, probably belonging with the piece first found. There were also some scraps of animal bones, much gnawed.


This measured from 16 to 18 feet across to the outer edge of the loose stones, and about 30 inches high. Under the top rocks was a rough wall similar to that in Cairn (1), but all the sides were nearly straight. The outline is given in figure 2. The outside measurements, across the center, were 15 feet each way. There were more stones in this wall than in the first; mostly there were two, and in some places three, superposed.

Extending from north to south across the middle of the vault was a row of large slabs standing on edge with their tops leaning toward the east. Their inclination varied from nearly horizontal to nearly vertical; so it would appear that they were not placed thus intentionally but had settled irregularly. Probably they had formed the covering of a pen or vault, of poles or timbers, in which a body had been placed.

Close to these inclined slabs, near the north wall of the vault, was the effigy pipe shown in figure 3. It is made of a fine-grained sandstone and seems intended to represent a buzzard with an exaggerated tail, though the beak is more like that of a crow. This specimen lay between two flat rocks which were separated by a little earth and gravel, but there were no traces of bone with it or near it.

At a slightly lower level than the pipe were several flat stones standing at various angles. When these were removed there were found fragmentary remains of at least three adults, lying in confusion, as if only the folded dismembered skeletons had been placed here. They lay on a floor of slabs which, in turn, rested upon undisturbed gravel.

The facts observed are difficult to interpret, as the original order was so broken up; but it would seem that as a preliminary to the burial of bodies or skeletons, the superficial earth had been scraped away and a rough stone floor laid, on which the bundled or folded remains were placed and at least partially covered with earth and gravel. Other flat rocks were then laid over them, either directly on the earth or more probably supported by poles placed across, whose decay had allowed them to fall into the confusion in which they were found.

A small flint knife was among the remains.

The pipe, being at a little distance from these bones, would suggest another interment; but as no trace of such remained it may have been placed as an afterthought or a separate deposit.

From these skeletons row after row of the slanting rocks continued to the inner side of the eastern wall. Two feet east of the pipe was a skull on its right side, the back against a small flat rock. It was crushed flat, and only a small part of it remained. Possibly it had turned after burial, as fragments of other bones were found here and there toward the south from it, indicating an extended burial. The teeth were hard, solid, and much worn. The bones found were more or less gnawed, and among them were scraps, probably of food animals, burned into charcoal. No bones found could be saved, as they were very soft.


This was similar in construction to (1) and (2), as is shown in figure 4. The wall, along the outside, measured 14 feet on the south, 13 feet on the north, 15 feet on the west, and 14 feet on the east. The inclosed space was 10 feet across each way. Some one had dug out much of the south end; the northern end was undisturbed.

The prior excavation had barely missed, near the west wall, a few fragments of an adult skull and three teeth. About even with the middle point of the west wall, 2 feet from it, was evidence of the burial of an adult—pieces of bone and skull, and some teeth. North of these, near the northwest corner, were fragments of two adult skulls, with one of which were some beads made of shells of water snails; 18 of these were recovered, all more or less decayed. Between these two skulls were parts of a child's skull, the teeth not yet through the bone.

Inclined flat stones in the eastern half of the grave, the tops leaning eastward, denoted other burials; but nothing was found under them, although small flat stones laid on the original surface indicated the bottom of a grave.

Evidently several burials, of which all traces have disappeared, were made in this vault.

Owing to the practical identity of these three graves, the poor returns, and the difficulty of working in a tangled mass of tough roots without displacing the stones so greatly that their proper position became a perplexing question, the remaining three were not excavated.


Near the mouth of Gourd Creek, on the north side, is a cave which has acquired much local reputation from its size and also from the evidence it affords of a long-continued occupation by the aborigines. It is easily reached from the road which passes in front; wagons can be driven into it and there is ample space for them to turn and pass out. Formerly it was much resorted to as a pleasant place for social gatherings; but in recent years it has been used as a barn and storehouse. The owner, Mr. Valentine Allen, gave cheerful permission for all the excavation that was desired, subject only to the proviso that the floor be put back in condition suitable for the purposes for which he needed it. And it is only fair to state that he was not at all difficult to satisfy in this respect.

A stream coming from the interior had a flow at the close of the long drought in 1918 sufficient to fill a 2-inch pipe with a rapid fall; in wet seasons the water spreads from wall to wall until it comes to within 100 feet of the mouth.

Back in the cave, where the slope is greater, it has sufficient volume and force to carry away all pebbles smaller than coarse gravel and the material that finds lodgment among the stones.

The cave is easily traversed for almost 600 feet; beyond this are narrow crevices and tortuous passages, where explorers must frequently crawl or clamber. One adventurous party proceeded until they reached an opening on the other side of the hill; but this was so choked by fallen rock and debris from the hillside as to be impassable. In storms a strong breeze passes through the main entrance, in or out in accordance with the direction of the wind.

Owing to the irregular outline of the cliffs, the width of the entrance can not be accurately given. From side to side, well under the front of the ceiling the distance is 110 feet. Two hundred feet toward the interior it contracts to 50 feet. At the entrance the walls are vertical to a height of 25 feet; a short curve at the top on either side, due to the breaking away of the ledges, connects them with the roof, which is somewhat higher. Being a single massive stratum, the top is practically horizontal, but the floor constantly rises from the front with a slight and fairly uniform grade. The front chamber is straight and well lighted for 300 feet, where it turns abruptly westward; from this point the floor is solid rock which the water keeps comparatively free from any loose matter except heavy blocks from the walls or top.

Beginning at the entrance is a deposit whose farthest extension reaches 100 feet into the cavern. It is composed to a small extent of sand and clay carried by the stream, and of earth blown or washed in from the outside; but, as investigation proved, it is mainly ashes from prehistoric fires. The surface of this deposit, especially toward the inner end, is very uneven, being higher near the walls than through the central portion. This is due to two causes: In very wet seasons water has carried away much of it, and a large amount has been hauled out by the owner to scatter over his fields as a fertilizer. He reports that in the course of this work he found quantities of pottery fragments, broken bones, flints, and "two or three" human skeletons, with fragments of others. This is the basis for the assertion, frequently heard, that "many" or "very many" burials had been made here. The only human remains which he saved are the complete skull of an adult, remarkably preserved and apparently that of a white woman; a rather large lower jaw, of a man; a few long bones; and parts of skulls and jaws of three or four children.

From comments made and questions asked by visitors while the investigation was in progress, it seems that bones and teeth of deer and other animals are mistaken for those of people. No human bones were uncovered in this work, except as noted below.

There is a firm belief in the community that somewhere in this cave is concealed $100,000 in gold, seven "pony loads" in all, which was put here by an old squaw, sole survivor of a massacre by which her tribe was exterminated. Much of the irregularity of surface noted in the deposits is due to the efforts of persons trying to find this money.

Before starting the work it was necessary to deepen the little stream, which had cut its way through the accumulation much nearer to the western than to the eastern wall of the cavern, in order to allow the water to run out of the lower end of the deposit. Thorough drainage of the whole mass was impossible, as water continually seeped in from the gravel bed farther up, a condition which could not be remedied.

Bedrock was reached at a depth of 3 feet below the channel. The lower 2 feet of this distance was through a black, mucky substance which was so tough and sticky that removing it was like digging through a bog.

Following the bedrock as a floor, the western side of the deposit was first examined. It had a width of 35 feet at the mouth of the cave, gradually narrowing inward for a distance of 75 feet, where it terminated at the level of the water. Its greatest elevation, at the side of the entrance, was about 10 feet; but this does not mean that its thickness was so much at any point, as the rock sloped upward quite as rapidly as the surface. So many stones were scattered through it, fallen from the sides and roof, or rolled in from the outside where they had broken loose from the cliff, that not more than one-fourth of the area could be excavated. These rocks varied in size from cobblestones to blocks weighing 3 or 4 tons. They were at all levels, some lying on the rock floor, others only slightly imbedded in the earth. Yet the superficial accumulation extended under all of them except such as were in direct contact with the bedrock, proving that the cave was occupied throughout the period in which such downfalls occurred. An additional evidence of age is the fact that the usual debris, such as bones, flints, pottery, ashes, etc., lay in immediate contact with the bedrock where this has weathered to a chalky consistency from 2 to 4 inches in depth since these objects were left there.

Owing to the uneven surface of both the bedrock and the deposits on it, the thickness of the latter varied from 1 to 3 feet—not including the muck, which last, however, disappeared at the level where the rock rose above the water line. But, whatever the depth, more than half the overlying material was pure ashes; either resting undisturbed on the fire beds, or piled in irregular masses, where they had been thrown to get them out of the way. The largest ash bed was near the wall; it measured from 4 to 7 feet across, with a very uneven outline, as if many fires had been made there at different times.

The objects discovered included flint knives, spearheads, arrowheads (mostly broken), with many spalls and chips; potsherds (only very small pieces were found); animal bones; mussel shells; bone perforators; chert nodules, more or less flaked; two stone beads or buttons; a small fragment of a pipe; but no mortars, hammers, pestles, cooking-stones, or hatchets, such as are usually found on the sites of Indian villages. None of the pottery was decorated, but most of it was cord-marked, though some of it was so smoothed and polished as almost to appear glazed. It varied through a wide range of color, thickness, and general appearance, and was noticeably deficient in quantity. In fact, the west side of the cave had less the appearance of a permanently occupied site than of a camping place which was used as a temporary resort by traveling or hunting parties; but at the same time the depth and amount of ashes showed that it had afforded shelter through a long period.

The excavation on this side included all the space bounded by the ditch, the wall, the mass of rocks piled at the entrance, and the water-soaked earth toward the interior. The muck, and the large blocks scattered around, prevented a complete clearing out; but the part thoroughly examined had an area of about 600 square feet, perhaps a little more. No human bones were found, in spite of reports of their discovery and reburial by treasure hunters in the past; and there was wide disagreement on the part of visitors, who were also present when the bones were found, as to the number of such interments. All finally conceded that there was only one adult skull, though there was much argument as to the number of children's remains discovered, the person who was blessed with the largest memory insisting there were 13 "all in a pile." There was also some discussion as to whether the remains were actually found near the west wall or had been carried over there and reinterred after being exhumed on the east side.

These particulars are given merely to show how little reliance is to be placed upon the statements of perfectly truthful persons who do not observe closely, whose memory plays them tricks, who are not especially interested in the matter under discussion, or whose recollections naturally become jumbled after several years have elapsed.

Work was next begun on the east side, at the edge of the drainage trench. Bedrock was reached as before, under 2 feet of muck, and was weathered until quite soft and of a yellowish hue, for 3 or 4 inches below its surface. An effort was made to keep on the rock as a floor, removing all the muck; but this was so water soaked, so tenacious, and so filled with chert and limestone gravel that it could not be managed with either pick or shovel. A little of the gravel had no doubt fallen from the roof; but nearly all of this mingled material had washed down from the interior, as it was entirely similar, except for its dark color, to that forming the floor farther in. Consequently it was necessary to limit the explorations to that part of the deposit which lay above the wet black mass. Numerous attempts were made to ascertain the thickness of the latter; but water, gravel, and slush oozed or slid into the hole as fast as they could be removed, and it was impossible to reach the bottom. The eastward dip of the rock floor, as noted on the western side of the cave, no doubt continues entirely across. If such be the case, then the original drainage line was against the foot of the eastern wall. Later, because the channel was obstructed by talus, the stream was forced more and more to the west, saturating, up to the level of its final outlet, the earth and ashes which had accumulated. It may be, however, that either this line of drainage, or the mass of talus in front of the cave, is of comparatively recent origin. Such accumulations as those described would be impossible under present conditions. At any rate, this deposit of muck, then dry, started from the floor of the cave with the earliest occupation; for artificial objects of the same character that occurred in the dry deposit above were found in it to a depth of 3 or 4 inches. They may continue to the bedrock, but on account of the standing water no satisfactory observations could be made below the level indicated.

Lying above the muck and, as intimated, practically continuous with it, was an accumulation of ashes with which here and there some earth was mingled, though the latter made only a small proportion of the entire mass, and was sometimes entirely lacking from top to bottom. They were principally in strata or irregular layers, lying undisturbed where fires had been made; but there were also many scattered piles, usually small, where they had been thrown to get them out of the way.

The excavation on the eastern side began with a trench 25 feet wide. When this had been carried about the same distance toward the wall, rocks and earth rolled and washed in from the outside were encountered on the right, the side toward the mouth of the cavern. These reached from the bottom to the surface, and were continuous with the bank of talus. As results had been meager along here, the sides of the trench were turned to the northward and northwestward. The entire trench was 43 feet long and varied in width from 30 feet in the central parts to 18 feet at the extreme northern end. The left face reached, in its entire length, nearly to the drain; on the right side the eastern wall of the cavern was uncovered for 15 feet. It embraced nearly all the area not previously dug by others, except a triangular space at the east side of the entrance, filled with large stones, as just stated.

Near the middle of the excavated area was a heap of large fallen rocks, fully a carload in all; some of them imbedded in the muck, others barely penetrating the surface of the latest deposits. Ashes lay under and between all of them, proving this side also had been inhabited before the first of them had become loose, and that occupancy was practically continuous until the last one had fallen. The inmates, recognizing the danger, may have knocked these down.

The greatest depth of ashes found in any part of the excavation was 7 feet; but it may have been greater previous to any disturbance; nor does this include such as may be present in the muck. There were unbroken layers as much as 8 inches thick covering spaces 5 to 10 feet across; many smaller, intact patches; and numerous masses, from a peck to a bushel in volume, removed from fire beds elsewhere. Charcoal among them showed that bark and dead wood, principally oak, was the main reliance for fuel.

The wrought objects found were flints, mostly broken or of rough finish; very many small fragments of pottery; mortars made of sandstone slabs; hammerstones or pestles; bone perforators; mussel shells, some pierced for suspension or for attachment of a handle, some with outer surfaces and edges dressed for use as spoons; hematite ore, in the rough or rubbed to procure paint. There was a great abundance of bones from animals used for food, mostly deer, though elk, bear, many smaller mammals, turtles, tortoises, turkeys, and other birds were well represented. Singularly enough, when the plentiful supply of fish in all the streams of this region is considered, none of their bones or scales were found, although the ashes would have preserved them perfectly. Nor were there many burned rocks, in view of the amount of pottery and the number of bones which showed that they had been boiled. Perhaps such stones had crumbled or were thrown outside when near disintegration.

There is a consensus of belief, or at least of statement, in the neighborhood that many human skeletons have been dug out close to the east wall. In the only part reached during this work—which took in about all that had not been searched by others—rocks lay along the wall, so large and so numerous that no graves could have been dug behind or between them. By careful and persistent questioning it was established that skeletons had been found in two places and a detached jaw in another.

A human skull, which was very soft and fell to pieces when uncovered, was found on, and slightly pressed into, the muck at a point 15 feet from the wall; there were no other bones about it, though a rough stone hammer, whose presence was probably accidental, lay close by. A single human molar was lying among some ashes.

These were the only human remains found during the work, except two adult femurs of different individuals, and fragments of a skull and some other bones from a child and from an infant, all of which lay close to the wall where they had been thrown and slightly covered by parties previously working here.

As the depth of the wet material on the rock floor of the eastern side of this cavern is unknown, interesting results might be obtained by a careful examination of it; but this can not be made until a ditch is dug through it of sufficient depth to drain it thoroughly.

Slight investigation outside the entrance showed a large amount of broken bones, pottery, and flint; and this dump may contain even more material than was found in an equal volume in the cavern. But in addition to the rocks of all sizes broken off from the cliff, there were also many which had rolled down from the hillside above; and all these were so interlaced with roots as to make digging very difficult and unsatisfactory. Consequently further exploration at this site was deemed undesirable.

Pointed bone and antler implements from Gourd Creek Cave are shown in plate 4. A shell knife, a bead from a fragment of sea shell, and types of flint arrowheads appear in plate 5.

* * * * *

There is a village site on Gourd Creek bottom, at the foot of Lost Hill, and a little below the cave. Three small earth mounds are plowed nearly level.

* * * * *

A small village site is located on the east bank of Little Piney, half a mile below Gourd Creek.

* * * * *

In the bluff facing Little Piney, a mile below Gourd Creek, on the opposite side, is a small, shallow cave with a low roof. Water cracks on the floor show that it is sometimes flooded. No signs of use are apparent.

* * * * *

On the hill over the cave just mentioned is a cairn, now destroyed.


Five miles southwest of Arlington, near the Boiling Spring in the Gasconade, is Onyx Cave, so named because much workable stalagmite occurs in it. It has a number of branches, some of which have been explored for several hundred yards without coming to the end. The entrance is 90 feet in width. A pile of talus at the front, lying partly inside the cavern, reaches nearly to the roof; it has a height of 26 to 28 feet above the level of the wet, muddy floor. Drainage is through a small aperture in the north wall, whose outlet is not known. Apparently the bedrock lies at a considerable depth; it is not visible at any point in the steep ravine leading from the mouth of the cave to the river. Formerly a large quantity of ashes covered much of the inner slope of the talus, where it is protected from the weather; but most of them have been hauled away to scatter over the fields. They extend to a greater depth than any digging was ever carried. The cavern has long been a refuge for stock, and this, with the trampling of many visitors, has mingled all the superficial deposits, so that, while ashes may be seen mixed with the debris, no ash beds are now to be found.

There must be a very pronounced cavernous condition in this vicinity. At a number of places, even extending to a distance of 2 miles from Onyx Cave, the passage of a wagon produces a rumbling sound, indicative of a cavity at no great depth. There are also many sink holes, some closed, forming ponds, others with free openings. They are so numerous that no one of them drains any considerable area. The largest of these sinks measures from top to top of its slopes about three-fourths of a mile long and half a mile wide. Around much of its margin are vertical cliffs; there are few places where descent is practicable. It is 300 feet deep, perhaps more; for when the Gasconade, more than a mile away, is at flood stage the water from it, backing through an underground passage, breaks in at two different points not at the same elevation, and covers the nearly level floor of the depression, about 15 acres in area, to a depth or 15 to 20 feet.

Another sink, near this, is conical in form, a fourth of a mile across and more than 200 feet deep.


Goat Bluff Cave, 4 miles west of Arlington, on the left bank of the Gasconade, is at the foot of a vertical cliff 50 feet high, the slope above rising about as much higher to the crest of the ridge. A few yards to the west is a slight ravine through which, with a little effort, the top of the hill may be reached. In front, the declivity, while steep as earth will lie, furnishes fairly easy passage to and from the river which lies 200 feet below.

The entrance to the cave is an arch 30 feet high and 75 feet wide, facing a little east of south. The width holds nearly the same for 90 feet, whence it rapidly contracts to 20 feet; the roof meanwhile descending to 10 feet above the floor. The extreme rear of this chamber is nearly filled with large blocks of stone. At the front part the floor is several feet higher along the west wall than at the east; this condition being due to the combined action of accumulation from the ravine above mentioned and erosion by a little rivulet which emerges from a crevice 30 feet within the entrance and flows at the foot of the east wall. Beyond this the floor is practically level across the inclosed space, with a slight and uniform ascent toward the rear. No evidence of rock bottom appears at any point.

A preliminary cut at the outer margin of the cave showed two distinct, sharply separated strata. The lower is a red or yellow clay containing much angular gravel such as usually results from disintegration of limestone in which chert is abundant. Above this is a deposit of very loose fine material. Toward the rear the upper deposit had been disturbed by "curiosity seekers," who reported finding much evidence of prehistoric occupation, such as ashes, charcoal, fragments of pottery, and worked flint, as well as several skeletons, the latter "in a sitting position." The last part of this statement is a mistake. The bodies were closely flexed and placed on the side; the bones settled to the bottom of the grave, while the skull, if intact, is reached first by excavators and the conclusion drawn at once that it is "on top of the other bones." This error of observation is quite common among relic hunters, and is not unknown among student investigators.

In order to dispose of material removed in excavating, it was necessary to start a trench from the slope outside the mouth of the cave. As it progressed the substratum of clay became wetter and more difficult to dig. At 40 feet from the beginning, where the trench was 11 feet deep, the seeping water accumulated until it covered the bottom of the trench, so that no greater depth could be reached. A crowbar forced downward for 18 inches, as far as it could be driven, did not reach solid bottom. Not the slightest trace of human agency was found anywhere below the top of the clay, and from this point excavations were confined to the upper stratum, to which alone the following description is applicable.

This deposit was composed partly of fine loose earth, probably carried in by the wind and on the feet of persons and animals; partly of roof dust; and partly of ashes. A considerable portion of it was roughly stratified in layers of varying extent and thickness, though much of it was irregular, and it was mingled throughout with campsite debris. Occasional layers of roof dust several feet across in any direction and of varying thickness, from a faint streak to 6 inches, so closely resembled ashes that many persons could not be convinced of its true character. Its occurrence in this manner indicates that during considerable periods the cave was unoccupied, or at most used only as a temporary refuge. The intermittent character of occupancy is also shown by the distinct segregation of numerous successive layers of kitchen refuse.

About 10 feet within the point where a vertical line from the front edge of the roof would meet the floor the skeleton of a very young infant was found above and in contact with two thick angular blocks of limestone weighing 300 to 400 pounds. These rested on the red clay and had fallen from the roof. The thickness of earth above the bones was about 3 feet.

Ten feet farther in, on the clay floor, under almost exactly 5 feet of undisturbed material, were five flat stones. Three were of sandstone, the largest about 25 pounds in weight, such as can be found in place only on top of the hill. They were carefully arranged for use as a fire bed; on and around them were potsherds, flint chips, animal and bird bones, and a bone awl. This was the greatest depth at which artificial objects were found; and their position shows them to be as ancient as anything discovered.

At 25 feet in an interesting find was made. Eighteen inches below the surface of the floor, in a mass of mingled charcoal, ashes, mussel shells, flint chips, and other aboriginal refuse, was a small piece of glass, apparently part of a bottle, shown in figure 5. Above it and extending for several feet on every side was an unbroken stratum of root dust from 2 to 4 inches thick. Above this, in turn were several thin, undisturbed layers of camp refuse, about 6 inches in all, and then 6 inches of the loose, incoherent surface earth. This discovery is susceptible of two interpretations. One is that between the date when Indians could procure articles from the whites and the date at which they abandoned this fireplace there was time for the accumulation of the given thickness of disintegrated material from the roof, the cave, or at least this part of it, not being used meanwhile for a habitation; then for the accumulation of several distinct layers of camp refuse; and finally for the depositing of the cave earth over it all. This hypothesis is unreasonable. While the rate of formation of either roof dust or stalagmite is extremely variable, so that it is not safe to predicate a definite antiquity for objects found beneath even a considerable thickness of either, at the same time the small area involved precludes the idea that a number of occupants sufficient to account for the volume of debris could have lived here unless we allow a much longer period than would necessarily elapse within the dates indicated. The other, quite plausible, interpretation is that the glass was dragged to the spot by a ground hog or other animal whose runway had become obliterated by settling of the loose material through which it was made.

The only purpose of elaborating this subject is to guard investigators against attaching too much importance to an article found under such or similar conditions, whether it be a "palaeolithic type," or an "object undoubtedly of European origin."

Thirty-five feet in, under three flat slabs whose upper surface was a little more than 3 feet below the floor, was an adult skeleton, on the back, knees flexed to the chest. The body had been laid in a cavity dug in the clay to a depth of 6 inches. The bones were well preserved and fresh looking, but light and fragile.

Forty feet in, 31/2 feet down, was a flat stone under which were two skulls. One, shown in plate 6, was perfect, with a full set of sound teeth; from the other, seen in plate 7, the lower jaw was missing. No other bones were found except two cervical vertebrae, belonging to the smaller skull. Undisturbed stratified ashes and roof dust were 30 inches thick above the stone.

To this point the trench was not dug to a greater width than 15 feet; it was now gradually extended to a width of 40 feet to include most of the central portion.

Sixty feet in, in the upper part of the clay, like all the human bones discovered, was a skull with the scapulae, a few ribs, and one arm bone. The lower jaw was missing, and two phalanges were inside the skull. With the scapulae was one of a much smaller person. Eighteen inches from these bones, and 6 inches higher, was part of a lower jaw.

At 50 to 60 feet in, on the clay stratum, lay a slab 10 to 12 feet across and of varying thickness up to 18 inches or more. It fell from the roof so long ago that the latter is worn and smoothed above it in much the same way as at other parts. At the east edge of this slab was a skull so soft and crushed that it could be taken out only in small fragments; the teeth were very slightly worn, though of large size. A few traces of other bones were found; not enough to identify. At the north edge of the slab were two skulls, one of which is shown in plate 8; the other, which belonged to a young person, is given in plate 9. The limb bones, scapulae, and hip bones, with a few others, were in a small pile at one side; but neither lower jaw, no ribs, and only a few vertebrae were found.

About 65 feet in, near the west side, an inverted pot which shows no marks of use was found in a mass of ashes filling a cavity the size of a half bushel, which had been dug in the upper deposit. Scattered here and there among the ashes were also some mussel shells and broken deer bones; but the presence of these was probably not intentional, as the whole arrangement seemed to have the nature of a votive offering. This was the only perfect vessel found in the entire course of the explorations. It is of the ordinary "cocoanut form," and is represented in figure 6.

Seventy feet in was a skeleton, on the left side; the bones were soft and came out in small fragments. This was fully 6 feet below the present surface, but some of this earth was piled up from earlier excavations.

Beyond this point the ground had been dug over to such an extent that further examination seemed useless, and the work was concluded.

Throughout the deposit of black earth, ashes, and roof dust were scattered irregularly arrowheads and knives of flint, some types of which are seen in plate 10; mussel shells; fragments of bones from food animals; bone perforators, some of which are shown in plates 11 and 12; potsherds; hammers; pestles; two or three mortars; a grooved stone ax of granitic rock, presented in figure 7; and an abundance of flint chips.

There is a small cave near the top of the bluff facing the Gasconade, a short distance above the mouth of Little Piney. Within a few yards of the entrance earth and rock carried in from a sink on top of the hill fill the cavity to the roof. Water runs through after every hard rain.

* * * * *

Three small cairns, built of small stones, stood on the point of the bluff at the junction of Little Piney and the Gasconade. All are destroyed.

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On the edge of a high cliff over the Gasconade, 2 miles north of Arlington, are three cairns, destroyed.

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In Bryant's Bluff, facing the Gasconade 3 miles below Jerome, are two rock shelters, neither of them more than 20 feet across in any direction. In both are shells, bones, and pottery; a rough stone hammer was found in one. Exposure of bedrock on the outside shows that the earth deposit in either is not over 2 or 3 feet deep.

* * * * *

On top of Bryant's Bluff are four cairns, all of them torn up. The extreme limit of the scattered stone is about 20 feet; so the cairns were probably 12 to 15 feet in diameter.

* * * * *

At the mouth of Turkey-pen Slough, 4 miles north of Arlington, is a terrace with steep banks on two sides, next to the river and to the slough. On this stood a village. Three house sites are plainly marked by the refuse around, and there may be others; vegetation is very dense. Mussel shells and burned stones are abundant, and many flint implements have been picked up.


Six miles north of Arlington is a clubhouse known as Sugar Tree Camp. A short distance from the building is a high vertical cliff rising almost directly from the Gasconade. The top of this cliff, near the front, is of solid rock, almost bare of timber or brush, and in a row along it close to the edge are seven cairns, all now so defaced that any attempt at investigation is useless. The smallest, at one end of the row, is of the common circular form, about 12 feet in diameter. Three others seem to be of the same type; but their appearance may be due to their destruction. One is shown in plate 13, a. The other three are walled vaults. The largest, at the other end of the row, was built up like a foundation wall of sandstone slabs. It is rectangular in form, measuring on the outside 16 by 28 feet. All the walls are more or less destroyed; the small portion of one remaining is shown in plate 13, b. Two "walled-up graves" reported on the first ridge north of Sugar Tree Camp, and one reported on the first ridge south, never existed. There is a small cairn on a high peak half a mile east of the camp.


In a ravine which joins Tick Creek about 2 miles from where the latter flows into the Gasconade, and about 12 miles north of Arlington, is a large cave known as the Saltpeter Cave.

The opening is wide and high, but the mouth and floor are much obstructed by large fallen rocks and the bottom is constantly wet from wall to wall with running and seeping water.

There is another entrance to this cavern around a corner of the bluff and much higher up on its face. This opening is small and the sloping passage from it to the cavern is almost closed in places by drip formation.

It was never inhabited.


A mile east of Newburg a ravine now known as Pool Hollow, but formerly called "Strawhorn's" [Strawhan's] Hollow, opens into the right (north) side of Little Piney. Two miles from the river is a cave at the head of a little cove. The entrance, facing directly south and visible from half a mile down the ravine, is 12 feet high and 75 feet across. The rear wall, where the cave makes a turn at 150 feet from the mouth, is plainly visible from the outside.

At 60 feet within water reaches from wall to wall, and a constant stream flows along the left side. The talus at the mouth is of tough clay with many rocks scattered through it, and much of it has settled back into the cave. Water drips from many places in the roof, so that no part of the floor is ever entirely dry.

Some broken flints and chips were picked up about the mouth and in front of the cave, but nothing else could be found.

In dry weather there might be spots which would afford a resting place for campers, but no continuous occupancy was possible.


Nearly 2 miles northeast of Rolla is the beginning of a little valley which for a short distance is parallel with the Frisco Railway and close to the right of way; it then turns to the southward. Along this "draw" are numerous mounds, starting well toward its upper end and following its course for nearly a mile. They lie along either side, and reach into the tributary widenings. Most of them are on the flats; but they are also scattered along the hillsides, those farthest from the water having an elevation of about 50 feet above it. They vary from 30 to 60 feet in diameter and from 1 to 3 feet high. In all, they are scattered over an area of at least 100 acres.


Half a mile west of Dillon a ravine heads at the Frisco track, goes south a short distance, then turns southeastward. Near the track begins a group of mounds which reach for fully a mile along both sides of the little stream.

There are more than 100, most of them small, though at least one is 60 feet across and 3 feet high.


At the northern border of St. James is a small shallow valley with a northern and eastern trend, practically parallel with the Frisco Railway, and for 3 miles or more not over a fourth of a mile from it at any point.

Starting near the Soldiers' Home is a group of mounds which extend for fully 21/2 miles down both sides of the valley.

Some are partly cut away by the stream, others are on the narrow flat bottoms subject to overflow with every hard rain, still others are built on the slopes to an elevation of 40 feet. They are somewhat larger than the average, a diameter of about 60 feet and a height of 3 feet being not uncommon.

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A cave on the McWilliams farm, near Jack Hinshaw's, at the upper end of the Big Eddy, near the south line of Pulaski County, has an entrance 8 feet high and 15 feet wide. There is a good light for 150 feet, at which distance the cavern turns. It is an excellent location for an Indian home, having a floor of dry earth, and a small amount of refuse was found; but the earth has been thoroughly dug over in the search for missing residents, some human bones rooted out by hogs having given rise to a belief that these may have been murdered and concealed here.


Facing Roubidoux Creek, on the farm of J.W. Davis, 3 miles north of Cookville, are three caves. The largest is 40 or 50 feet above the foot of the bluff. It has an entrance 30 feet wide, the roof being 8 feet high. It is well lighted to a depth of 120 feet, where it curves. No refuse was observed, but the situation is favorable for habitation.

Another cave, near this, has an entrance 30 feet wide and 10 feet high; it is well lighted for 40 feet back.

The third cave of this series is a rock shelter a short distance south of the second, and higher up in the bluff.

All these appear to deserve an examination.


A cave on George Berry's land, in a ravine opening into the east side of Roubidoux Creek, 3 miles from Hanna post office, has a small entrance which is nearly closed by "drip rock," the roof, walls, and floor being thickly incrusted. These deposits, which it is said are even more abundant farther in, seem to be rather rapidly increasing in volume.


What is known as Maxey's Cave is 7 miles south of Waynesville, on the west side of Roubidoux Creek. It is by far the largest open cave in this region, the entrance being 40 feet high and 100 feet wide. It extends across the head of a ravine, and if the loose earth at the sides were cleared away it would be found still wider. The entire floor is covered with a mass of rocks of every size up to several tons, except at one side of the entrance where there is a small amount of loose earth. The front chamber is 300 feet long to where the cavern forks; in one of these forks daylight extends for 100 feet farther, or 400 feet from the mouth. Marks on the walls show that the entire floor is sometimes covered 2 or 3 feet deep with running water.

A survey made some years ago disclosed a mass of earth and rock "a long ways back in the hill;" definite figures could not be obtained. Beyond this point it was impossible to proceed. By running corresponding angles and lines on the surface outside the surveyors came to a very large sink hole, into which flowed the drainage of several farms. This explains the flood marks. Clearly the roof of the cave had fallen in at this point.

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