Ohio History Journal

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7




Elsewhere in this Quarterly we publish quite a snappy symposium

concerning Fowke's Book, "The Archaeological History of Ohio," pub-

lished by our Society in April last. Mr. Fowke's volume is well calcu-

lated to "stir the bones" of the Mound Builders and their modern

investigators. It is of course distinctly understood that the Ohio State

Archaeological and Historical Society does not stand sponsor for Mr.

Fowke's archaeological views much less for his personal animadversions.

We perused the advance sheets of Mr. Fowke's book and insisted upon

the elimination of much detraction of other authors and we advised

the expurgation of much more. It is to be regretted that Mr. Fowke

could not have presented his facts and fancies in a less cantankerous

style. His pages are all "sickled o'er" with the lurid cast of sarcastic

dogmatism. The subjects of his "remarks" however take him much too

grievously: His intolerance is his own condemnation. His book is a

vast store house of research, study and conjectures concerning the mys-

terious people known as the Mound Builders and of their extant pre-

historic works. His volume moreover is a veritable encyclopedia of the

literature heretofore produced on the subject. No such book has ever

appeared and no other state could furnish the material for such a

production. Of the technical merits of the "history;" its opinions and

statements, we do not presume to speak. The archaeological students are

speaking for themselves and somewhat unrestrainedly as they are justified

in doing.

This disputation is rather discouraging to the "layman."  The

saying "in a multitude of counsellors there is wisdom" does not hold

out in this case. In a crowd of critics there is an irrepressible con-

flict, and when doctors disagree who shall decide?  A  distinguished

American jurist remarked "the past at least is secure." If that be true

archeology ought to be regarded as a "dead sure thing." But Fowke's

emanations, and indeed the mass of archaeological bibliography (Ameri-

can) forces the unsophisticated to the unalterably agnostic conclusion

that the Mound Builder was a successful disciple of that classic

motto "Mum's the word."     Some wag has related that when Ralph

Waldo Emerson visited Egypt and stood speechless in awe on the

Sahara Sands before the Sphinx - he suddenly saw the lady's graven