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The Problem of the Ohio Mounds   By: (1825-1910)

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The Problem of the Ohio Mounds by Cyrus Thomas is an in-depth exploration of the ancient and enigmatic mounds found throughout the Ohio Valley. Thomas, a renowned archaeologist, presents a wealth of information and hypotheses regarding these intriguing structures, shedding light on the many mysteries they hold.

Throughout the book, Thomas delves deep into the history and cultural significance of the mounds. He meticulously examines their construction techniques, materials used, and their purposes. Drawing on a vast array of archaeological studies, he presents a compelling case for the mounds being integral to the religious and ceremonial practices of the prehistoric inhabitants of the Ohio Valley.

One of the strengths of Thomas's work is his comprehensive analysis of the various mound sites scattered across the region. His attention to detail and meticulous documentation of each site allows readers to gain a thorough understanding of the different types of mounds and their distinctive features. From effigy mounds resembling animals to conical and platform mounds, Thomas unveils the diverse array of structures and their possible meanings.

Furthermore, The Problem of the Ohio Mounds presents thought-provoking theories about the purpose and significance of these ancient structures. While acknowledging the limitations inherent in studying remnants of past civilizations, Thomas draws parallels to other indigenous cultures around the world to propose potential explanations for the functions of the mounds. He skillfully weaves together historical records, ethnographic accounts, and archaeological evidence to create a comprehensive and persuasive argument.

Another notable aspect of this book is its accessibility. Despite the academic nature of the subject matter, Thomas presents his findings in a clear and concise manner, making it accessible to both scholars and general readers alike. He avoids excessive jargon and provides helpful explanations for complex concepts, allowing readers from various backgrounds to engage with the material.

However, one potential drawback to this work is the absence of recent scientific advancements in archaeological techniques. As The Problem of the Ohio Mounds was published over a century ago, readers may find themselves yearning for more recent perspectives and discoveries. Nonetheless, Thomas's meticulous research and attention to detail still provide invaluable insights into the ancient mounds and their cultural significance.

Overall, The Problem of the Ohio Mounds is a captivating and informative book that delves deep into the mysteries surrounding these ancient structures. Cyrus Thomas's comprehensive analysis and well-constructed arguments make this work a must-read for anyone interested in archaeology, native cultures, or the history of the Ohio Valley.

First Page:

Robert Rowe, Charles Franks and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.


By Cyrus Thomas.




Historical evidence


Similarity of the arts and customs of the mound builders to those of Indians


Tribal divisions

Similarity in burial customs

Removal of the flesh before burial

Burial beneath or in dwellings

Burial in a sitting or squatting posture

The use of fire in burial ceremonies

Similarity of the stone implements and ornaments of various tribes

Mound and Indian pottery


Stone graves and what they teach


The Cherokees as mound builders


The Cherokees and the Tallegwi


No other ancient works of the United States have become so widely known or have excited so much interest as those of Ohio. This is due in part to their remarkable character but in a much greater degree to the "Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley," by Messrs. Squier and Davis, in which these monuments are described and figured.

The constantly recurring question, "Who constructed these works?" has brought before the public a number of widely different theories, though the one which has been most generally accepted is that they originated with a people long since extinct or driven from the country, who had attained a culture status much in advance of that reached by the aborigines inhabiting the country at the time of its discovery by Europeans... Continue reading book >>

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