Ohio History Journal

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3





So much injury has already resulted from haphazard and

unscientific methods of exploration of the earthworks of

Ohio that we deem it important to call the attention of all

explorers to the methods now in use by the most skillful

archaeological investigators. In the ninety-second volume of

the American Journal of Science the reader will find, in a

description of Professor O. C. Marsh, of Yale College, an

admirable example of the care and scrutiny it is important

to exercise with every mound that is opened. Still, his

methods were very imperfect as compared with those now


At the present time Professor F. W. Putnam has more

experience than any other living person in these investigations,

having already caused several burial places in Madisonville,

near Cincinnati, to be excavated several acres in extent.

We append extracts from an abstract of his recent lecture,

at John Hopkins University, upon the "Methods of Arch-

aeological Research in America," and commend them to the

study of any party who proposes to explore any of the

mounds of Ohio.

The day has passed when a simple collector of relics of the

past could be called an archaeologist.  To the general

collector of "relics" in this country everything was Indian.

To such an one a piece of pottery was an Indian vessel and

nothing more. From collections made in that spirit nothing

can be learned. The time has come when we must know

the exact conditions under which every object placed in our

museums of archaeology was obtained and its association

with other things, in order to draw conclusions of any scien-

tific value. Everything found, from a chip of stone to an

elaborate piece of carving; from a mass of clay to a perfect

vase or a terra-cotta figure; from a splinter of bone to an imple-

ment made of that material; from a shell to a carving on a