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The Ancient Monuments of North and South America, 2nd ed.   By: (1783-1840)

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Transcriber's Note

A number of typographical errors have been maintained in this version of this book. They have been marked with a [TN ], which refers to a description in the complete list found at the end of the text. Inconsistencies in spelling and hyphenation have been maintained. A list of inconsistently spelled and hyphenated words is found at the end of the text.

Oe ligatures have been expanded.





Corrected, enlarged and with some additions,


Professor of Historical and Natural Sciences, Member of many Learned Societies in Philadelphia, New York, Lexington, Cincinnatti,[TN 1] Nashville, Paris, Bordeaux, Brussels, Bonn, Vienna, Zurich, Naples &c, the American Antiquarian Society, the Northern Antiquarian Society of Copenhagen &c.

The massive ruins the arts and skill unfold Of busy workers, and their styles reveal, The objects and designs of such devisers: In silent voices they speak, to thinking minds They teach, who were the human throngs that left Uplifted marks for witness of past ages.



Printed for the Author.


This Essay or Introduction to my Researches on the Antiquities and Monuments of North and South America, was printed in September 1838 in the first Number of the American Museum of Baltimore, a literary monthly periodical undertaken by Messrs. Brooks and Snodgrass, as a new series of the North American Quarterly Magazine. Being printed in a hurry and at a distance several material errors occured,[TN 2] which are now rectified, and this second edition will form thereby the Introduction to my long contemplated Work on the Ancient Monuments of this continent: to which I alluded in my work on the Ancient Nations of America published in 1836. I will add some notes or additions thereto, and may gradualy[TN 3] publish my original descriptions and views, plans, maps &c, of such as I have surveyed, examined and studied between 1818 and this time; comparing them with those observed by others in America or elsewhere of the same character such works are of a national importance or interest, and ought to be patronized by the States or Learned Societies, or wealthy patriots; but if there is little prospect of their doing so, I must either delay or curtail the publication of the interesting materials collected for 20 years past.


The feelings that lead some men to investigate remains of antiquity and search into their origin, dates and purposes, are similar to those actuating lofty minds, when not satisfied with the surface of things, they inquire into the source and origin of every thing accessible to human ken, and scrutinize or analize[TN 4] every tangible object. Such feelings lead us to trace events and principles, to ascend rivers to their sources, to climb the rugged sides of mountains and reach their lofty summits, to plough the waves and dive into the sea, or even soar into the air, to scan and measure the heavenly bodies, and at last to lift our eyes and souls to the Supreme Being , the source of all. Applied to mankind the same feelings invite us to seek for the origin of arts and sciences, the steps of civilization on earth, the rise of nations, states and empires, tracing their cradles, dispersions and migrations by the dim records of traditional tales, or the more certain monumental evidence of human structures.

This last evidence is but a branch of the archeological science, embracing besides the study of documents, records, medals, coins, inscriptions, implements, &c., buried in the earth or hidden in recesses: while the ruins of cities, palaces and temples, altars and graves, pyramids and towers, walls and roads, sculptures and idols reveal to our inquiries not only the existence of their devisers and framers at their locations, but give us a view of their civilization, religions, manners and abilities... Continue reading book >>

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