The Info List - Ancient Monuments Of The Mississippi Valley

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ANCIENT MONUMENTS OF THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY (full title ANCIENT MONUMENTS OF THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY: COMPRISING THE RESULTS OF EXTENSIVE ORIGINAL SURVEYS AND EXPLORATIONS) (1848) by the Americans Ephraim George Squier and Edwin Hamilton Davis is a landmark in American scientific research, the study of the prehistoric indigenous mound builders of North America, and the early development of archaeology as a scientific discipline. Published in 1848 , it was the Smithsonian Institution
Smithsonian Institution
's first publication and the first volume in its Contributions to Knowledge series. The book had 306 pages, 48 lithographed maps and plates, and 207 wood engravings .


* 1 Davis and Squier * 2 Project scope * 3 Contributions to knowledge * 4 Re-issue * 5 References * 6 Notes


Edwin Davis was born in 1811 in Hillsboro, Ohio , just a few miles from Chillicothe and the many mounds and earthworks of the Scioto River valley. Seeing these features as a young man inspired his deep curiosity about them. At the time, archaeology had not developed as an academic discipline. Davis explored the mounds while a student at Kenyon College and wrote a paper on the subject which he read at his commencement. Daniel Webster
Daniel Webster
, an early member of the American Antiquarian Society , heard the paper and encouraged Davis to continue his research. After graduating from medical college and establishing a practice in Chillicothe, Davis used his free time to continue his explorations. He collected artifacts he discovered in and around the mounds.

Ephraim Squier, ten years younger than Davis, was born in Bethlehem, New York in 1821. By the time he arrived in Chillicothe in 1845 as the editor of the weekly Scioto Gazette newspaper, he had received training in civil engineering , education and journalism . Squier was intrigued by the numerous prehistoric monuments in the surrounding area. His questioning local residents about them failed to provide much insight. With his characteristic ambition, Squier decided to "take the compass and chain in one hand and the mattock and spade in the other" and begin his own research.

When the two men encountered one another, they formed a collaboration based on Davis' knowledge of the Scioto Valley sites and growing collection of artifacts, combined with Squier's knowledge of surveying and writing. Their joint personal interests soon became a formal project.


This map of Serpent Mound
Serpent Mound
is one of many in Ancient Monuments surveyed and sketched by Squier and Davis.

Ancient Monuments provides descriptions of sites across much of the Eastern United States, as the title indicates. The hundreds of earthworks which Squier and Davis perso