The Courier News from Blytheville, Arkansas on April 11, 1955 · Page 9
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The Courier News from Blytheville, Arkansas · Page 9

Blytheville, Arkansas
Issue Date:
Monday, April 11, 1955
Page 9
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MONDAY, APRIL 11, 195B BLYTHEVTLLE (ARK.) WTOtlER MOT INDIAN MOUND EXPLORED — Archaeologist Dick Marshall o( th* University of Missouri Jss hown holding a small Indian water bottle which he took from an Indian burial mound near Caruthersville. The University completed excavation-of .the mound last week. (Photo by Sanden) Caruthersville's Indian Burial Ground Reveals Secrets of Past By SONNY SANDERS Oourier New* Correspondent CARUTHERSVILLE — Last past week, Indian burial grounds four miles southwest of here have been dug: into by archeologists from the University of Missouri. The burial ground is one mile south of Stub Town at what is commonly referred to by oldtimers as "The Mound." The remains of more than 100 Indlani have been found and much historical knowledge Is expected to be derived Irom the scene. Prof. Carl H. Chapman, director of American Archaeology at the University of Missouri in Columbia, gave this detailed account, of the project: The investigation began just before Thanksgiving Day. C. E. "Pat" Murphy, owner of the farm land on which cotton is grown, was having the smaller of two mounds destroyed by means of bulldozing. The larger mound is about 30 feet high while the other was about 12 feet high.) However, he had operations discontinued when Indian Relics were discovered. Wilson .Reardon of Caruthersville, a member of the Missouri Archaeology Society, learned of this and notified Professor Chapman at the University. Professor Chapman, along with his wife and two children, arrived here a few days before Thanksgiving and made preliminary Investigations. Five Indian burials were found by Mr. Murphy and he turned them over to the University. Mr. Murphy also promised to notify the University before he had the smaller mound plowed this spring. James Murphy, son of C. E. Murphy, phoned Professor Chapman March 27 and told htm that he sould begin "historical salvage op- erations" soon, because of spring plowing. Professor Chapman, Robert T. Bray, Richard Marshall, all of the ferson City, a former student of Archaeology, arrived here Wednesday of last week to begin operations. Mr. Murphy told them to take all the necessary time for their digging as he would not plow the land until they had finished excavating. Because of Mr. Murphy's co-operation, information on. Indians who lived more than 500 years ago will be known. Others Help Others helping in the project included Mr. and Mrs. H. W. Hamilton and children of Marshall, Mo. Hamilton is vice-president of the Missouri Archaeological Society. Among the society members aiding were Wilburn Davidson, Joe Bankhead and L. A. Pickard Jr., all of Kennett. Leslie Knott Jr., Jimmy Guest and Johnny Edney, all of Caruthersville, assisted. The reason for the work is to learn the history of the Middle Mississippi Valley Indians that once lived in Southeast Missouri. No written records were left by the Indians as they could not write. However, they did leave behind many things through which their history can be determined. The mounds they built, the ruins of their houses, the pottery they made and various tools are evidences, put together, "like the pieces of a jig-saw puzzle." The mound on Mr. Murphy's farm is important as far as learning about the Indians is concerned because although about seven feet of it was removed by bulldozing, the remainder was left undisturbed. It has been determined that the burial mound was only a part of a large Indian community that covered some 30 to 40 acres. 'On all sides of the mound are evidences of a large Indian village. The mound that, is not being dug into was used as a temple mound, on which a .house of worship was erected. Indian Hornet The area around the mounds was once covered with substantial Indian houses made.of timber, mud and grass. Fire was a hazard and many of these houses burned. This is evidenced by the burnt clay daub from the walls that can be found in the plowed fields surrounding the mounds. To the east of the mounds was a dance ground. Built on the burial mound was a ceremonial building In which the bones of the Important dead were stored. Then, perhaps at Intervals of several years or at the death of a erals years or at the death of a chief, these bones were buried, or at least some were, and the rest were burned and the ashes were buried by adding a new layer of dirt to the mound. There were .evidences of at least four the burial mound over a period of about 100 years. On the south side of the burial mound there was a crematorium-an area about 20 feet in diameter where perhaps the bones of from 50 to 100 Indians were burned and then burled by covering the ashes with a layer of dirt. A layer of clean sand was added above the dirt. On that a new "house of the dead" was erected. The north side of the mound was reserved for the bundles of bones of the more important people. ."More Recent Tribes The leg bones were placed at the side of the. bundle, the smaller boiut txtwMn them tnd the ikuU on top In mwiy in«t»nc«i. However, a |re»t number were bundled In mch t manner thtt the let bonet were vertical and the ikull wa» wt on top. Only three biirlalt were found In which the bodlei had ben ttretch- •d out and burled In the fluh. It, li believed this wai done by a iroup of Indian* mora recent than thoie of SOD yean ago for It was customary then tot Uve bones and fifth to be buried wparately. The Indlani believed in a life after death « many of the burials had a pottery water jar cr a bowl placed with them. Th!« supposedly wu water and food for their journey to the heerafUr. One Indian had a pipe placed with him. Much of the detail of the con- itructlon of the mound and the burial practlcet relating to the customs of theae people will Have to be determined in the laboratory at the University and reported on later. For the investigation of the mound, the archeologista made a map of it for reference. They also took notes, made draw- Ings and photographed scenes. These Middle Mississippi Indians vere the ancestors of tl\t Indians that DeSoto and his men saw • when they came up the Mississippi River in lf«. These Indians were farmer: who grew corn, beans, squash and pumpkins. Thy hunted ducks and geese and geese and deer, but depended primarily on farming and then on fishing for their livelihood. One More Piece In summarizing. Professor Chapman said, "The excavation of this mound gives us one more piece in the Jig-saw puzzle of the history of the Indians that preceded us here In Southeast Missouri. "The records and the materials from the mound will be placed in the Museum of Anthrophology at the University of Missouri and displays of the materials found with the burials will be on exhibition in the Museum as soon as they can be prepared." Professor Chapman was in Cooter on a similar project In February, 1954. NOW... YOU CAN GET ARCADIAN 12-12-12 FERTILIZER In Granulated Form Product of Nitrogen Division, Allied Chemical & Dye Corporation. This new material is granulated for easy handling, tvtn distribution and each granule is guaranteed as to analysis. Try One Ton or A Carload TRUCKS LOADED FREE -CALL OR COME BY- LLOYD-STEADMAN —« FERTILIZER CO. (Located in Blythevillt War«hou*t) NO ABOUT IT! The iremtest refrigeration values ever offered In the Blythrvllle-Manila area! See Page Two Of Today's Pap*r Pemiscot County Marriages Are Listed CARUTHERSVILLE - -Eighteen marriage license were issued In Pemiscot County during March, according to J. T. Ahcrn, recorder ot deeds. They were issued to the following: J. C. Lewis and Lillte B. Hayes, both ot Caruthersville. Raymond Jackson and Carolyn Goodman, both of, Caruthersville. Charles Marvin Wattle and Betty Burrow, both of Cnruthersville., Clyde Julian Boyd and Marilyn Mehrle, both of Caruthersville. James P. Rogers and Ruth Smith, both of Caruthersville. Lawrence M. Cecil of Hayti and Mary J. Lambert of Caruthersville. Charles C. Lester of Haytl and Lena Mne vk'kery or Caruthersvlllo. Jack Sharp and Helen Duckworth, both of Haytl. Robert A. Jackson of Haytl and Shirley Williams of Netherlands. Elmer Moody and Elma Dane Braddy. both of Braggftdocio. Robert Starnes of Kennett and Garnetta Pish ot Rector, Ark. Ernest Ryans of Wardell and Virginia Marshall of Pascola. Houston Lnfferty and Ruth Smith, both of Portiigevllle. George Hailey of St. Louis and j Nina B. Mercer of Wardell. Clarence Edgar of Portageville and Ll!lie Ma* Miller of Kokomo, Indiana. Harold J. 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