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Title: Copper from the mounds of the St. John's River, Florida
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00000988/00001
 Material Information
Title: Copper from the mounds of the St. John's River, Florida
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Moore, Clarence Bloomfield
Publisher: Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Phlidelphia
Place of Publication: Philadelphia
Publication Date: 1894
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Bibliographic ID: UF00000988
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
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ltuf - ABD7153

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
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        Page 38
    Back Cover
        Page 39
        Page 40
Full Text
prqqw INOPP,













journal of Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, Vol. X.


? 1o, cy
N i2,



NOTE.-The chemists, who made analyses given on pages 31 and 39 of Part I,
now state that LEAD was present in the sulphuric acid used by them. These analyses
are therefore valueless, and are withdrawn, as are remarks on copper on page 35 of
Part I.
Before proceeding to discuss the copper found in various mounds of the St.
John's, we wish clearly to define certain terms as they will be used by us during the
course of this inquiry.
Native Copper.-Native copper is metallic copper found in nature, often con.
training other elements such as silver, iron, etc.
Copper Ores.-When copper is found in chemical combination with other ele-
ments it forms an ore, as for instance, the oxide, the carbonate, the sulphide, etc.
Melting and smelting.-To melt is to reduce to a liquid state through the
agency of heat. -
To smelt is to recover the metal from the ore by the aid of heat, at times the
employment of certain fluxes and the use of carbon in the case of copper. Thus,
it is clear that to aborigines conversant with the melting of copper, the art of
smelting might be unknown.
For the sake of clearness, we shall take up, under different headings, the cop-
per of the river mounds, its workmanship, its composition, and its origin.


With one possible exception, a hawk-bell, a favorite gift and medium of barter
from the time of Columbus, found with iron and glass near the surface of the mound
1 Sincere thanks for valuable assistance are returned to Alexander Agassiz, Esq.; to James R. Cooper,
Esq., Superintendent of the Lake Superior Smelting Company; to Professor Frank Hamilton Cushing ;
to J. B. Eckfeldt, Esq., Chief Assayer U. S. Mint, Philadelphia; to Dr. Persifor Frazer; to Dr. Harry F.
Keller; to A. R. Ledoux, M.S., Ph.D.; to G. W. Lehmann, Ph.D.; to Dr. Edward D. Peters, Jr.; to
Professor J. W. Spencer, State Geologist of Georgia; to A. L. Walker, Esq., Consulting Engineer, Old
Dominion Copper Co., Baltimore.
To Professor James Douglas, President of the Copper Queen Mining Company, of Arizona, we are
especially indebted for continuous advice and assistance in the preparation of this paper, and for the loan
of many books and pamphlets otherwise inaccessible.
It is only fair to state that no one of the above-named gentlemen is responsible for all our statements
and conclusions as to copper.



at Dunn's Creek, no article of copper distinctly of European workmanship has been
met with by us in the mounds of the St. John's. Articles of brass, of whose origin
no doubt can exist, are of course not under consideration.


Before proceeding tb discuss objects of copper discovered by us in the mounds
of the St. John's, which, it is strongly our belief, are of aboriginal design, we wish
earnestly to call the reader's attention to the admirable paper1 by Professor Cush-
ing,. which we regret our space forbids us to quote at length.
In this paper it is clearly shown how the most complicated designs in sheet
copper hitherto brought to the attention of archaeologists can be reproduced with
purely aboriginal tools, and how the sheets can be beaten from native copper with
the aid of annealing. As to annealing we shall speak in another portion of this
The reader of the two parts of bur report will recall that from five mounds2 of
the St. John's, whose contents gave no evidence of necessity connecting them with
a period subsequent to the Conquest, numerous objects of copper were taken by us,
including ornaments of sheet copper with various repousse designs, beads of sheet
copper and beads of wood, shell and limestone copper-coated, jaws of mammals
encased in sheet copper, copper effigies of the serpent and of the turtle, and piereinll
implements of hammered sheet copper. These piercing implements, of which the
longest measured 19 inches, seemed upon superficial examination to be wrought of
solid copper. A careful inspection, however, showed then to be made in at least
two different ways; some from strips of thick sheet-copper hammered over on itself
and rounded by hammering, others of many thicknesses of copper in thin encircling
sheets beaten into very close contact.
Now this class of objects, deriving its material from sheet copper of various
thicknesses, represents about all the work in copper so far met with on the St.
John's. We shall, therefore, confine ourselves to it, and not include in this inquiry
articles found in other sections, wrought from masses of solid copper, such as "celts,"
bracelets, heavy breast-pieces, and the like, whose material and manufacture by
cold hammering, so far as we know, is believed by none to be other than aboriginal.
In fact, Professor Putnam informs us that such implements and ornaments have
been reproduced under his direction without the intervention of heat. /
f The copper work of the St. John's is characterized by the following features:-
1. The invariable lack of uniformity in size. If the reader will examine the
representations of objects from Mt. Royal and other mounds, it will become appa-
rent that no two articles coincide exactly as to dimensions.
2. The great diversity of shape and ornamentation. In all our mound work
we have discovered no two objects exactly alike. It is quite evident that had a
SPrimitive Copper Working, American Anthropologist, January, 1894.
2 Grant Mound, Mound on St. Augustine Road, Mound on Tick Island, Mt. Royal, and Mound in
pine woods west of Duval's.


Fro. 75. Ornament of sheet copper, repousse decoration,
Mt. Royal. (Full size.)

Fio. 76. Piercing implement show-
ing manufacture from sheet cop-
per, Mt. Royal. (Full size.)

FIG. 74. Piercing implement of cop-
per, Mt. Royal. (Full size.)
27 JOURN. A. N. S. PHILA., VOL. X.


supply of staple sizes for commercial purposes been stamped from sheet metal by
the Whites, exact duplicates must necessarily occur in the mounds.
3. Strie in depressed surfaces, giving evidence of the conferring of the design
by pressure and motion as shown in the paper of Professor Cushing.
We are, therefore, of the opinion that aboriginal workmanship on the copper
of the river mounds may be conceded.


But here we are brought face to face with another question. It has been
alleged by some that, granting aboriginal work on copper, the sheets of metal may
have been obtained through White contact, a suggestion too plausible to be dismissed
without serious consideration.
We shall first consider the mechanical evidence of aboriginal work.
The sheet-copper ornaments do not present a uniform thickness, as would be
the case had the metal been rolled or hammered by European artisans and stamped,
the same specimen sometimes decreasing in thickness to almost a cutting edge on
one side. Moreover, a number of plates give evidence of a species of patchwork
where smaller sheets are joined together to furnish one of the requisite size.
While present in a number of cases, this curious aboriginal custom is especially
emphasized in the case of the copper breast-plate found by us at Mt. Royal.
This breast-plate, it will be recalled, was exhumed from the great Mt. Royal
mound at a depth to guarantee original deposit.
We have requested Dr. M. G. Miller, who was present at the discovery of
all the copper met with by us, carefully to examine and to describe the two copper
plates constituting the breast-piece, one of which was figured as frontispiece of
Part I, while the representation of the other occupies a similar position in this
"The two plates of copper composing the chest-piece were each about 10-5
inches square, and when found were separated hv a woven vegetable fabric.
The anterior plate, restored in the frontispiece of Part 1, -uiTortunately, is
now in such a fragmentary condition that a complete description of its structure is
impossible. Moreover, a thick coating of carbonate upon the surface of the frag-
ments adds to the difficulty. On certain pieces this coating presents a delicate hair-
like structure, suggesting the idea that the surface had been in contact with the
skin of some animal, but inspection under the microscope shows it at present to
consist of capilliform crystals.
"The decoration is impressed and is regular and well defined. It consists of
seven concentric circles surrounding a central perforation, and a conventional
aboriginal bird's head occupying the space between the circumference of the outer
circle and each corner. Between each head and its neighbor is a diagonally placed
elliptical figure. The edges of the decoration are slightly rounded and not sharply
cut as represented in the frontispiece. The impression varies somewhat in depth,
its maximum being about 2 mm.


"Owing to chemical changes, it is impossible to state the original thickness of
the plate, but it is decidedly thinner than its companion. Variations in thickness
are evident in different fragments, but taken as a whole they represent a sheet of
remarkable uniformity.
"At certain points, during the process of working, the plate had been beaten
or ground through, and here an interesting feature presents itself. To render the
plate fit for use it was necessary of course thoroughly to repair such a defect.
Accordingly the margin of the opening was worked to a fine edge, against the sur-
face of the plate was then applied a thin sheet of copper of size sufficient to cover
the hole, and copper rivets were driven through from -25 to -5 of an inch apart to
hold it firmly in place. The rivets were placed not only along the margin of the
patch but through the body also to fix solidly the superimposed portion of the plate.
The task was finished by pressing the margin of the hole as closely as possible
against the patch beneath, and by working off the rivet ends projecting on that
surface. The delicacy of the work may be judged by the fact that even at the
present day, after long exposure to the action of the elements, it requires the
closest scrutiny, after cleaning the surface with acid, to determine the location of
the rivets and the line of repair. This of course refers to the exposed surface of
the plate, the rivets and patch being clearly evident on the opposite side. The
patch was not cut to fit closely the part repaired but extends well beyond, and
presents a rough, irregular, unworked margin as though the piece had been ham-
mered from a small lump of metal.
That this work was done before the completion of the plate, and not to repair
holes made during subsequent use, is shown by the way in which the patches par-
ticipate in the decoration.
"But this process was resorted to not only for the repair of such defects, but
for the extension of the sheet as well. Along one side of the plate a strip over an
inch wide and several inches long has been attached by riveting along the inner
edge while the marginal portion has been turned upon itself and closely pressed
against the other surface.
"The posterior plate, about twice as thick as its companion, is from 1 to 1-5
mm. in thickness; weighs 15 ounces avoirdupois, and, thanks to its greater strength,
is comparatively well preserved.
"The decoration, shown in the frontispiece of this report, is remarkable for
the symmetry of the work. It consists of a central perforation1 surrounded by
seven concentric circles, while the space between the outermost circle and each
corner is occupied by an hour-glass arrangement of bars with five parallel bars upon
one side (Fig. 77).
"Certain irregularities, however, are evident. The central elevation (M) of the
figure in the lower right hand corner is oblong, while the corresponding portion of
the other figures is square in outline. The first bar to the left of M is much nar-
rower than the others. The inner half of the hour-glass in the upper figures is
1 Omitted in the illustration.

I yP/1


composed of seven bars, while in the lower figures there are eight in the correspond-
ing space.
"On this plate also the carbonate forms a thick coating, and interferes with a
thorough examination. However, a close scrutiny shows the plate to be made of
two sheets overlapping along the margin. The larger sheet had been split to the
depth of about half an inch near the middle of one edge, and into this slit had been
inserted the edge of the smaller sheet, so that one-half of the margin of each sheet

FIG. 77. Lower plate, copper breast-piece, showing use of rivets, Mt. Royal. (Half size.)

overlapped on one surface and the other half on the opposite surface. In this
position they were riveted together.
"The arrangement is indicated on Fig. 77, in which the line A, B, represents
the margin of the smaller sheet inserted into the split edge of the larger sheet at C.
The heavy portion of the line, A, C, indicates the free margin of the smaller sheet
on the presenting surface of the plate, while the dotted portion, B, C, is the con-


tinuation of the same margin on the opposite surface. The line, D, C, represents
the margin of the larger sheet in the same plane as A, C, while E, C, is the con-
tinuation of the edge on the other surface. At X are the rivets which have been
driven through to hold the sheets together. Those represented are such as could
be detected by a close inspection of the surface, and were subsequently determined
positively by the use of acid. Undoubtedly a thorough cleaning of the surface
would bring others to light.
Here we have an excellent illustration of the production of a plate of desired
size by the process of joining by rivets two smaller sheets, the larger of which con-
stitutes about two-thirds of the finished plate. The same procedure has been fol-
lowed in the production of several of the smaller ornaments in the collection, while
in no instance is there evidence of either soldering or brazing, methods which one
would certainly expect to note werethe articles of European origin.
At several points on the surface, H, K, L, where a tendency to exfoliation was
evident, rivets were used to hold the loosened edges in place. This is especially
marked near the margins and in the corners. The letters indicate only the most
evident of the rivets, many others undoubtedly being hidden under the coating of
"The exfoliation, it will be observed, arose not after long exposure in the
mound, but during the process of construction of the sheet as evidenced by the
rivets. This condition is frequently observed in hammered masses of copper, and
in copper ornaments and implements obtained from mounds, and may aid in deter-
mining such articles as of aboriginal origin.
"At several points on the depressed surface of the ornamentation may be seen
strike, which have probably come from the rubbing of some implement used to force
the copper into corresponding depressions of a mold.
"In finish, this plate does not equal its companion, though both surfaces had
received a certain amount of attention. The line of union of the two sheets can
be readily followed throughout the greater part of its course; the conjoined edges
are irregular, and were not so carefully pressed into the underlying sheet."
From this description we. are of the opinion that these plates, with their
ingenious system of repair and extension1 by the aid of rivets, may not under any
circumstances be attributed to the handiwork of artisans of Europe.


In estimating the epoch of construction of mounds, the mounds themselves
are the most reliable witnesses, and any class of objects found therein is best known
by the company it keeps. By consulting the detailed descriptions of the copper-
bearing mounds of the St. John's given in this report, it will be seen that the objects
of copper were from the base and the body of the mound, associated with products
distinctly of aboriginal art, such as polished hatchets of stone, vessels of earthen-
1 Professor Putnam has referred to the use of rivets for repair, and recently has discovered the ex-
tremities of a bracelet joined by rivets. See, also, Fifth Annual Report, Bur. Eth., page 99.


ware, and ornaments of shell, but never with articles indicating a knowledge of
Europeans as exemplified by implements of iron, beads of glass, brass, pewter, and
glazed pottery. It is, indeed, a hypothesis not to be entertained that later Indians
in possession of these products of the Whites, through gift, barter, or plunder, in
these mounds interred European copper alone, and sedulously refrained from placing
with the dead, iron axes, glass beads, or the paint of commerce, and many kindred
articles, all of which they so highly prized, and all of which are found on the St.
John's with the superficial burials.
As we have pointed out in our note on the probable comparative age of the
river mounds, archaeologists are agreed that when in a class of mounds no article
of European manufacture is met with other than superficially, these mounds may
be classed as of a period antedating the coming of the Whites, and Professor Put-
nam has so clearly expressed this view that we quote here a portion of a personal
letter from him.
"Just after I wrote my little paper on copper in the Museum as the beginning
of a series of papers on the use of metals, copper began to come in from our Ohio
explorations in a wonderful manner, until we now have copper in such abundance
that a paper on the subject would be a volume. We have it hammered and cut into
all manner of shapes-implements and ornaments-and with it have come several
lots of ornaments made of meteoric iron-implements and ornaments-and also
considerable silver (ornaments) and a little of gold. All these metals are ham-
mered and cut, and we have the copper in all stages from the rough nuggets, through
those partly hammered to the sheets and the objects cut from them. To consider
this the work of Europeans is an absurd perversion of the facts before us; and yet
just because the facts do not agree with the theories of some who would have all
facts drop into their theories, or else throw them out of consideration, these objects
are spoken of as unquestionably of European origin, traded to our old mound
building people of the Ohio valley by Whites since the settlement of the country.
I am confident that you are right in your conclusion, when, after the careful
examination you made at Mt. Royal, you did not find anything derived from the
white man, such as glass beads, brass, etc., that all the work was native, the copper
plates included.
"I have explored several sites (villages and burial) which were known histori-
cally, and I have always found glass beads, brass kettles, pewter mugs. and plates,
brass buttons and iron knives and axes, etc., etc., in the graves or in the refuse piles
and hearths of the wigwams, mixed with native objects, and when, after a thorough
and extensive exploration of any place such objects of European origin are not found,
we have no right to doubt as native what we do find, no matter what peculiar things
may occur.

We are, however, not compelled to base our conclusions as to the origin of the
copper solely upon the testimony we have adduced. In the investigation of copper

Portion of jaw of mammal, copper-coated side, Portion of jaw of mammal, side showing bone,
Tick Island Mound. (Full size.) Tick Island Mound. (Full size.)

Copper effigy of turtle-shell, Tick Island Mound.
(Full size.)

Copper disc, Tick Island Mound. (Full size.)

Ear-plug of limestone, copper-coated, Mt. Royal.
(Full size.)

Ornament of sheet copper, Mt.
Royal. (Full size.)

Ornament of sheet copper, Mt. Royal.
(Full size.)

Ornament of sheet copper, Mt. Royal.
(Full size.)

;"'zj:: ~ .' a :"


:. 1..






I .





. I


found within the limits of the United States, for some reason, analysis has been
hitherto entirely overlooked, and we shall now endeavor to throw some light upon [
copper from a chemical point of view.
Comparative Purity of Copper.-Before proceeding to discuss the copper of
the mounds, early post-Columbian copper and native copper, it will be necessary
for the reader to have a clear idea of the percentage of pure copper usually found
in these commodities, that he may definitely draw his conclusions.
Unfortunately, so far as the presentation of a striking case is concerned, the
difference between the purest of smelted copper and the most impure is relatively
small, its range not greatly exceeding two per cent., thus each tenth of one per cent.
is of marked importance.
At the present time, with the most approved methods of smelting, a copper 99
per cent. pure1 is considered of inferior grade, good commercial copper averaging,
let us say, 99"5 per cent. pure.
On the other hand, opinions of many experts, backed by results of analysis,
lead us to conclude that in early post-Columbian times commercial copper of a
much higher degree of purity than 99 per cent. was not produced in Europe. As
we shall see, lead was at that period intentionally introduced during treatment,
while arsenic and silver, loath to part company with copper, were not successfully
treated by the processes of those days. In fact, it is asserted that in recent years
old German copper coins have been profitably remelted for their silver, and yet it
was in Germany that smelting processes were best understood during early times.
It is evident, then, that a copper purer than the average of that produced under
modern methods of smelting cannot have been derived from Europe during the six-
teenth or seventeenth centuries.
The reader must bear in mind that analyses of copper from native metal, as
given in works on metallurgy and the like, are not results obtained from specimens
of mass copper prior to melting, but analyses made from ingots of cast metal which
may have lost proportions of certain elements during treatment, or received others
through accidental or intentional introduction. We have been unable in any work
to find the result of a single analysis of native copper made prior to the ingot
state, and have therefore submitted to various chemists a considerable number of
authentic specimens from different sections.2 The percentage of pure copper in the
native state previous to treatment is from 99-65 to 99-994.
The Copper of the Mounds.-So great a period of time has elapsed since
the deposit of copper in the mounds that many of the sheets are carbonated and
oxidized through and through, rendering absolute determination as to purity impos-
sible. Where, however, a part of the metal remained we have been able to arrive
at definite results.

I At the present time "India sheets" and "brazier sheets," of a very low grade of copper, are shipped
from England to India and China.
SSince writing, our attention has been called to a statement by Rammelsberg (Mineralchemie, page
5) as to the impurities in Lake Superior copper. He reports iron 0-31 per cent. and silver entirely absent!


A portion of a piercing implement of hammered sheet copper from Mt. Royal,
Florida, was submitted for analysis to Booth, Garrett and Blair, with the following
"Copper 99-897 per cent.
Lead None.
Bismuth None.
Iron 0 0057 "
Gold None.
Silver 0012 "

99-9039 "
They state that the sample was much corroded and although cleared with acid
before analysis there was probably a little oxide remaining which they did not
attempt to determine.
A second and smaller fragment of the same implement was submitted to A. R.
Ledoux, M. S., Ph. D., whose determination was as follows:-
This sample consisted of a pure copper core coated with a film of oxide and
carbonate. We removed the film by dissolving in dilute acid until only the unoxi-
dized core remained. This was analyzed and showed:-
"Copper 99-85 per cent.
Silver Trace.
Iron Trace.
"No arsenic, antimony, lead, tin, zinc, nickel or cobalt is present. This is a
very pure copper indeed."
The reader's attention is especially called to the great purity of this copper
and to the absence of arsenic and antimony; and in this connection we introduce a
portion of a letter from Dr. A. R. Ledoux, who has had the widest experience in
such matters: "I now authorize you, if you wish, to quote me for publication to
the effect that in my opinion the smelting processes of two or more centuries ago
could not have turned out as pure an article as this from copper ores, and that in
my opinion the piercing instrument was made from native copper of exceptional
purity as is found in some of the Lake Superior mines and at a few other points."
A number of fragments of various ornaments of sheet copper from all parts of
Mt. Royal mound were analyzed as a whole by Ledoux and Company, with the
following result:-
"Arsenic 0038
Iron 0-170
Nickel and cobalt 0030
Silver Trace.
NOTE : The sample contains very little metallic copper-not sufficient to make
a satisfactory determination-consisting practically of a crust of carbonate and
oxides of copper.


"The sample was specially examined for antimony, tin, lead, bismuth, and
zinc, none of which was found present.
"The above figures are on the basis of the sample as received."
The metal used in this analysis was so altered that we must not regard the
result as quantitative in relation to the copper as it originally existed. It is sub-
mitted as a qualitative analysis to show presence or absence of certain elements.
We have referred in another portion of this report to the discovery of articles
of copper in the great Grant Mound, near Mill Cove, Duval Co., Florida. These
objects, all in good state of preservation, we were unwilling to sacrifice for purposes
of analysis, and are, therefore, doubly grateful to Mrs. Martha A. Millspaugh,
whose residence is near the foot of the mound, for a piercing implement of copper,
8-25 inches long and "12 of an inch in thickness, apparently made from a strip of
thick sheet copper, and a fragment of another piercing implement 4 inches in
length, with a thickness of *2 of an inch, made, as the reader will recall, from
numerous thin sheets of copper closely hammered together. These objects were
taken from the mound by a relative of Mrs. Millspaugh.
According to the analyses of Ledoux and Company the metal of these objects
had the following composition :-
Fragment of piercing implement of sheet copper, Grant Mound, Florida.
[The larger specimen.]
"Copper 99-730 per cent.
Iron 0034 "
Silver 0023

NOTE: The sample was examined for lead, bismuth, arsenic, antimony, nickel,
cobalt, none of which was present.
"The sample also contains some oxygen, as it was impossible to entirely re-
move the oxide of copper from the surface of the sample. This oxygen is due to
superficial oxidation, and is not an essential ingredient of the metal."
Fragment of smaller piercing implement from Grant Mound, Florida.

"Copper 99-720 per cent.
Iron 044 "
Silver 0015

NOTE: The sample was examined for lead, bismuth, arsenic, antimony, nickel,
cobalt, none of which was present.
"The sample also contained some oxygen, as it was impossible to entirely re-
move the oxide of copper from the surface of the sample. This oxygen is due to
superficial oxidation, and is not an essential ingredient of the metal."
We have thought it well to include with these analyses, for comparison, results
obtained from copper from mounds other than of Florida.
We are indebted to Thomas Wilson, Esq., of the National Museum, for a num-
ber of fragments of sheet copper "from grave A, Little Etowah Mound, Georgia."
28 JOURN. A. N. S. PHILA., VOL. X.


These fragments, submitted to Booth, Garrett and Blair, were reported as fol-
"Gold None.
Silver 0013 per cent.
Lead .. None.
Copper 75-050 per cent.
Silicious matter 0480 "
"This sample contained but a very little amount of copper in the form of
metal, the great mass being either oxide or carbonate.
Since we found no other metalpresentl in the sample than those given above,
we feel justified in saying that the original metal was nearly pure copper, over 99
per cent."
To those who have examined or have read of the wonderful deposit of copper
ornaments, etc., in the Hopewell Mound, Ohio, the results of thorough analysis will
be of peculiar interest. We are indebted to Professor Putnam for "a fragment of
a 'breast-plate' hammered and cut, a fair representative of the copper of the
This specimen was exhaustively examined by Ledoux and Company, who
write as follows:-
The piece of ornament from mound in Ohio submitted to us for analysis con-
"Copper .963100 per cent.
Antimony 0-0070 "
Silver 0-0450
Nickel and cobalt 00060
"NOTE: The sample was carefully examined for arsenic, tin, lead, bismuth,
and zinc, none of which is present. This analysis was made by removing adhering
oxides and carbonates as far as possible, but the sample contained sand adhering to
it and penetrating it to such an extent that it was impossible to remove it all.
This accounts for the low percentage of copper; the metal would have undoubtedly
run over 99 per cent.2 if freed from mechanical impurities and oxygen."
Warren K. Moorehead, Esq., has kindly furnished us with an implement of
copper from an Ohio mound which yielded to a partial analysis by Booth, Garrett
and Blair:-
"Gold None.
Silver 0011 per cent.
Lead None.
Bismuth None.
Copper 99-678 per cent."
In this case no search was made for other elements.

1 The italics are ours.
SThe italics are ours.



During the present summer (1894) Gerard Fowke, Esq., has obligingly con-
ducted for us investigations in a "double mound" on the farm of Mr. J. M. Van
Meter, three miles south of Piketon, Pike County, Ohio.
With human remains, below the base, in a central position in the mound, were
five sheets of copper averaging in size about 3-5 by 2-5 inches. One of these
sheets, forwarded to Ledoux and Company, was reported upon as follows:-
"Copper .99-9130 per cent.
Silver 00198
Arsenic 0026
Antimony .Trace.
Iron 0-0233 "
Nickel and cobalt 00080 "
"NOTE: The above analysis was made after removing the superimposed film
of oxides and carbonate from the sample. Special examination for lead, bismuth
and zinc shows that none of these is present."
From these analyses of copper from the mounds we note the very high percent-
age of copper, the constant occurrence of silver and of iron, the totat absence of lead,
the occasional presence in minute quantities of arsenic, of antimony, aud of nickel
and cobalt. In no case, however, does the amount of any impurity present, with the
exception of silver and of iron, greatly exceed a trace.
Copper after White Contact.-It is a noteworthy fact that in a great majority
of cases where the discovery of copper with articles giving evidence of White con-
tact is reported, the metal is in reality brass.
During all our researches on the St. John's in but one case have we found cop-
per (and this was possibly bronze) in association with glass, iron and other products
of Europe.
In the mound at Bayard Point, where alone on the river we have found, other
than superficially, articles distinctly European, brass was met with, but no copper.
Professor Putnam, with the collections of the Peabody Museum to draw upon
and with the warmest desire to aid us, has been able to furnish us brass alone from
post-Columbian Indian village sites and graves.
From a post-Columbian Onondaga village site, Rev. W. M. Beauchamp, the
well-known authority, kindly forwarded us a number of ornaments, etc., all of
which were likewise of brass. We have it from this gentleman and from other
sources that the copper arrow heads, so called, are of the same material, as also
are the kettles usually spoken of as copper.
"Wood, in his 'New England Prospect,' published in 1634 (page 90), distinctly
states that the Indians obtained brass from the English for their ornaments and
arrow heads."1 We see, then, that much that has heretofore been considered cop-
per is in reality brass, and that brass and not copper was as a rule furnished the
Indians by the Whites, the natives being quick to take advantage of the superior
character of the alloyed metal.
1 Squier, Aboriginal Monuments of the State of New York, page 183, et seq.



There is little doubt that we must look to Europe as the source of supply of
such copper as came to this country during the possible post-Columbian mound
building period.
Now the sulphide ores of copper are universally distributed throughout the
world, supplying more than four-fifths of the copper in demand, while Europe has
no great available district of wholly native copper as is found in the Lake Superior
region of this country.
Of the ores of copper, the sulphide most stubbornly resists treatment, and in
association with it are almost invariably certain elements, arsenic, antimony, and
sometimes bismuth, whose absolute elimination even at this day it is impossible to
accomplish by any process of smelting. In fact, the comparatively recent electro-
lytic process does not appear to entirely eliminate these elements when present.1
Even in the more amenable oxide ores from certain districts, a trace of arsenic,
after refining, still remains, not sufficient, it is true, to interfere with the drawing,
the rolling and the stamping of the metal, but nevertheless distinctly recognizable,
and this we mention to disabuse the reader of the idea, prevalent in certain
quarters, that oxide ores are necessarily non-arsenical. It is evident then that
early European copper for commercial purposes must have contained ponderable
quantities of arsenic or antimony or of both, with occasional presence of bismuth, if
at the present day, with improved methods, these elements are to a certain extent
present in the metal.
At the time of the discovery of America, the extraction of copper in Europe
was practised by the Germans and the Italians, whose supplies were almost exclu-
sively sulphide ores. Later the German processes were established in Wales.
Professor James Douglas, of New York, whose unceasing kind offices have so
materially aided us in this paper, has placed in our hands a work2 containing much
original and curious information relative to the introduction of smelting processes
in Great Britain.
From this work we learn that the smelting of copper in the Swansea district
(where fully nine-tenths of the copper of Great Britain is said to be reduced from
the ore) was begun at Neath, in the year 1584; at Swansea, 1717-1720; at Taibach,
1727, etc.
On page 25 et seq. of the same work we find a curious communication regard-
ing the earliest English smelting, containing references to the presence of sulphur,
showing the ores to be sulphide, and allusions to the roasting of ore, which is not
practised in the case of oxides.
As to antimony and arsenic we shall quote the quaint wording of the original:
"And that water doth not only drawe the vitriall and coppris from the ure, but also
divers other hurtfull humors, being by nature enemyes to the Copper; as arsenick,
1 "On the Analysis of American Refined Copper," by Harry F. Keller, Ph. D., Journal of the
Franklin Institute, July 1894, page 54.
2 The Smelting of Copper in the Swansea District of South Wales, from the Time of Elizabeth to
the Present Day; by Col. Grant-Francis, F. S. A. Second edition, London and Manchester, 1881.


sulpher, antimony, allome, and ironn." And again, "The ij corrupt humor is
Arsineque, by nature a kinde of poyson, being in like manner a mineral substance,
wilbe consumed w'th fire in to Smoke, w'ch is a vere dangerous ayer or savor, and
by his force maketh the copper white and brother then the sulpher doeth. This
Arsenieque is not only in great quantitie.in our copper ures, but is by nature so
forceable of it self, that it is Lorde and Ruller over all the rest, and consumes both
ye sulpher, and antimony, so y't thei ar not to be seene."
We have devoted considerable time during the preparation of this paper to the
investigation of the range of impurities in the German and English copper of com-
paratively recent times, since it is evident that all impurities found in this copper
at the present time must have existed to a greater extent at an earlier period.
Of many recent analyses of German copper we give three representative ex-

S99-325 per cent.
S 0-0001
S 0095
S 0052
S 0064


99-357 per

0-1166 0-1574



cent. 99-6125 per cent.
S 0-0292 "
" None.
S 0-0172 per cent.
" 0-0023 "

" 0-0200 "
S 0-0039 "

0" 2112
S 0-0024
" 06-0752


I. and II. Copper from Oker. Analyses by W. Hampe, and given in his
" Beilrdge zur Metallurgie des Kupfers," Zeitschrift filr Berg-, Hiitten- und Sa-
linenwesen, Vol. 21, page 252.
III. Mansfeld copper (from the Saigerhiitte at Hettstedt). Analysis made
under Hampe's direction. Loc. cit., p. 255.
In Percy's Metallurgy' we have various analyses of modern copper of commerce.
In twenty-nine specimens of English tile, best selected, sheet copper, etc., all
but two, in which traces are present, contain ponderable quantities of arsenic.
Antimony is included in traces in eleven instances and in eight by weight. We
find bismuth in twenty-five of these analyses in quantities sufficient for exact de-
termination, and traces in the remaining four.
Copper ores, mainly sulphides, are found in various parts of Italy, though most
of the copper used by the Romans was obtained from the Island of Cyprus.
According to G. Jervis (I tessori sotteranei dell' Italia, Turin, 1874, Vol. II,
page 439), the mines of Monte Catini in the Province of Pisa were worked about

1 French translation, Vol. V., pages 383, 384.



the.middle of the fifteenth century. Toward the close of the century, in 1494,
they were abandoned, but reopened early in the sixteenth century and operated
intermittently. According to Jervis these are among the richest copper mines of
Europe. The ores are sulphides.
Another copper mine of importance is that of Ravamonte, near Agordo, in the
Venetian Alps, which was operated, according to Jervis (op. cit., Vol. I, page 332),
so far back as the fifteenth century. The process employed there for the extraction
of copper is described by Haton, Percy, and Rivot.
Percy (Metallurgy, Vol. I, page 439) says: The process appears to be of
comparatively ancient date; but I have not been able to trace its history with cer-
tainty. At the present time (1861) it appears to be carried on with great skill at
Agordo, where it is stated to have been first introduced in 1692 by a Prussian of
the name of Weyberg."
The copper, according to Schnabel's Metallhiittenkunde, contains:-
"Arsenic 064 per cent.
Antimony 0.04
Lead 020
Silver 010
Sulphur 004
We shall not occupy space with farther analyses of Italian copper, the impuri-
ties of which, as a product of sulphide ores, the reader is by this time in a position
to divine.
Now let us consider results of analyses of copper used by Indians after contact
with the Whites.
We are indebted to David Boyle, Esq., of the Canadian Institute, Toronto, for
a fragment of copper taken by him from a grave of the Tobacco Hurons, near that
place. In these graves are articles unquestionably of European origin.
This fragment submitted to Dr. A. R. Ledoux, was analyzed and reported upon
as follows:-
"Copper 98-970 per cent.
Silver 0084 "
Iron 0-057 "
Arsenic 0160
Antimony 0130
Nickel and cobalt 0070
Lead 0300 "
"The sample contains no bismuth, tin or zinc. The low percentage of copper is
partially due to oxygen which it was impossible to remove entirely from such thin
samples. This copper is, as you will note, of inferior grade."
The considerable collections of post-Columbian Indian relics of Mr. W. W.
Adams, of Cayuga Co., N. Y., largely made on the spot by him, contained no
specimens of early post-Columbian copper other than ears of copper on two kettles
of brass, and in one instance copper rivets joining together two sheets of brass



which had probably formed part of one of those kettles which archeologists usually
incorrectly describe as of copper.
The copper ears of a kettle from a Cayuga Iroquois grave, Venice, N. Y., found
in association with glass beads and other articles of European manufacture, yielded
to the analysis of Ledoux and Company the subjoined result:-
"Copper 98-520 per cent.
Lead 0362 "
Silver 0026 "
Antimony 0136 "
Arsenic 0127
Iron 0016
Nickel and cobalt 0211
Bismuth Trace."
The copper rivets from Iroquois brass kettle, Fleming, N. Y., afforded too small
a quantity of material to permit a complete quantitative analysis. Ledoux and
Company report upon them as follows:-
"Copper 9703 per cent.
Lead Present.
Silver Present.
Iron Present.
Cobalt Present.
Nickel Present.
Arsenic Present.
Antimony Present.
Bismuth None.
"NOTE: This is an exceedingly impure copper. The above elements, while de-
termined only qualitatively, are present in very considerable quantities, apparently
greater than in any of the samples we have hitherto examined for you. The lead
is especially high."
We regret that, after many months of earnest endeavor, including extended
correspondence with those in all parts of the country likely to have it in their
power to aid us, we have been unable to secure other specimens of European copper
which had seen service with American aborigines, though abundance of brass was
We shall now take up the important question of the presence of lead in
European copper. The introduction of lead during treatment was included in the
German method of smelting and with this method was adopted in England. Es-
pecially was lead a feature in sheet and drawn copper.
The translators of Percy's Metallurgy,1 in summing up the results of many
analyses, inform us that lead constituted an almost invariable element in wire and
sheet copper, basing their conclusion on the results of a considerable number of
analyses of English sheet and drawn copper, all of which show the presence of
lead, and we may add here that all similar works consulted by us, which cover the
1 Loc. cit.


ground to a period, say thirty years back, refer to the union of lead with copper
used for the production of sheet copper and wire. Moreover, various experts con-
sulted by us, consider that, while the introduction of lead was not invariable, its
absence from any considerable number of specimens is good negative evidence
against a European origin in early times. Even at the present day, many analyses
of copper show the presence of lead, though sheet copper from certain sections or
where the material has been obtained by electrolytic deposit, may give no evidence
of it. But such recent copper, of course, is not germane to our subject.
Lead has never been discovered in copper from the mounds nor is it ever present
in native copper.
We shall now examine results of partial analyses made for us, bearing strongly
upon this point.
A number of fragments of sheet copper from various parts of Mt. Royal, sub-
mitted to Booth, Garrett and Blair, furnished the following result:
"Silver 00315 per cent.
Gold None.
Lead None.
"The remainder is chiefly red oxide of copper.
"Assuming that all the copper is in the form of red oxide, the percentage of
silver would be 0-0372 in the copper in the melted state."
Several fragments of thin sheet copper from the mound west of Duval's,
Lake County, Florida, were submitted to Dr. Ledoux with a view to determination
as to lead. The result was negative.
General Gates P. Thruston has kindly forwarded ,us several small fragments
of sheet copper from the stone graves of Tennessee, in 15,000 of which, we are in-
formed, no European object has ever been brought to light. Copper is far from
abundant in these -graves, and we are especially indebted to General Thruston for /
the sacrifice of his specimens. Unfortunately, the thin sheet copper was com-
pletely oxidized; lead could not be detected by analysis.
Professor Putnam, for whose deep interest in this investigation we must again
express our gratitude, has placed at our disposal "a fragment of a copper breast-
plate from a Tennessee stone grave." A partial analysis showed the presence of
silver, the absence of lead.
We are indebted to Professor Putnam also for a number of specimens of cop-
per from Ohio, which are reported upon by Booth, Garrett and Blair as follows:-
B. Piece broken from nugget of copper found with several others in a
mound in Olio: "-
"Silver Present.
Lead None."
"C. Fragment of a copper ornament from a mound in Ohio:"-
"Silver Present.
Lead None."


D. Fragment of a copper plate (breast-ornament) from a mound in Ohio:"-
"Silver Present.
Lead None."
"E. Fragment of a copper ear-ornament from a mound in Ohio:"-
"Copper 99-77 per cent.
Silver Present.
Lead None."
F. Fragment of copper ear-ornament from mound in Ohio:"-
"Silver Large quantity.
Lead None."

"G. Ear-ornament of copper covered with meteoric iron, from mound in
"Gold None.
Lead None.
Silver Traces.
Nickel Considerable amount.
Iron Large amount.
Copper Large amount.
"This sample being oxidized through and through, no attempt was made to
separate the two layers. The nickel, of course, was present in the iron."
In contrasting the analyses of post-Columbian copper with those of the copper
from the mounds we note: (1) The greater percentage of pure copper in the mound
specimens. (2) That certain specimens of copper from the mounds have as impurities
silver and iron only, while the elements present in European copper are never so
restricted in number. (3) That in no case do the impurities present in a specimen
of mound copper equal the extended list found in any sample of the early copper
of Europe. (4) That when antimony or arsenic is present in mound copper the
quantity is minute and at least nineteen and forty-five times less respectively than
that in the early post-Columbian copper. (5) The presence of lead in European
copper and its invariable absence from the copper of the mounds. (6) That it is
evident that we need not look to Europe as a source of supply of the copper from
the mounds.

The reader who has carefully followed the course of this inquiry to the present
point has doubtless arrived at the conclusion that native copper alone possesses all
the characteristics met with in the copper of the mounds, and we may add that no
evidence as to aboriginal smelting within the limits of the United States has yet
been adduced.
Before proceeding to consider the probable source of supply of mound copper,
it may be well to say a few words as to native copper in general.
29 JOURN. A. N. S. PHILA., VOL. X.


Native copper is entirely free from combined oxygen, which is always found in
copper which has been in a state of fusion. Unfortunately, the thin sheets of
hammered native copper usually met with in the mounds are so greatly oxidized
exteriorly that total elimination of extraneous oxygen previous to analysis is a
matter of great difficulty, hence percentages of oxygen are frequently reported.
Therefore, except in the case of pieces of copper cut from solid implements, the
presence or absence of oxygen is not a final test.
/ All native copper, so far as we have been able to learn, contains a percentage
of silver. The metal is finely distributed, and except in the case of occasional
masses of copper from Lake Superior, to which reference will be made later, its
presence is not visible in copper from North America so far reported.
Crystallized native copper from Lake Superior,1 which James R. Cooper, Esq.,
Superintendent of the Lake Superior Smelting Company, kindly has had analyzed,
yielded 2"74 ounces of silver per ton (0-0093 per cent.), while the average amount
of silver in ordinary "Lake" copper is reported by the same high authority to be
about 6 ounces to the ton (0-0206 per cent.).
Unfortunately for exact determination the presence of silver in copper does
not of necessity indicate native copper, unless the silver is visibly present in
streaks, seams, or flakes, since silver is very frequently found in the ores of copper,
and its elimination, as we have stated elsewhere, is difficult.2
Lead, we believe, has never been discovered in native copper.3 It is true that
its presence has occasionally been reported in ingot copper from Lake Superior, but
this result is in every case due to the gangue or to impurities in the furnaces. The
intentional introduction of lead into drawn copper frpm the "Lake" was discon-
tinued thirty years ago. As to the absence of lead from "Lake" copper previous
to treatment, all experts are absolutely unanimous.
Native copper, owing to absence of oxygen, is of a lighter color than copper
when melted and cast or smelted from the ore.
We are indebted to James R. Cooper, Esq., for another method to distinguish
native copper from copper which has undergone treatment.
"You can readily determine," he writes, "the fact whether the 'mound' cop-
per is a native metal,'or whether it has been smelted.
"Take a piece of the mound copper and hammer it thoroughly to harden it,
then bend it double and hammer it down flat. If it is native copper it will stand
the test without a show of cracking, but if it is smelted copper it will break short
in bending double. The fracture is entirely different. The fracture
of native copper is more like that of lead when it is bent back and forth and finally
1 Practically all Lake" copper is native.
2 Silver is not volatile, as are some other elements, hence the tenacity of its union with copper.
8 A certain writer has reported the discovery of lead in South American native copper. This report
lacks confirmation. Moreover, this assertion was made at a time when the chemistry of copper was in
its infancy. There is, against the discovery of leadln native copper, the fact that native lead, if found at
at all, is of extreme rarity. Lead ore may exist in the gangue.


We shall now consider the probable source of supply of the copper of the St.
Mexico.-Of Mexico but little can be said. Native copper is found in various
parts of the country, and it is probable that the natives had learned to smell it from
superficial carbonates of exceptional purity, the wood of the fire furnishing the
We are aware that possible means of communication between Mexico and
Florida existed before and at the time of the Discovery. We are told by Herrera'
that Columbus found on the Island of Pine Trees, in the Gulf of Honduras, an
Indian Canoe, as long as a Galley, and eight Foot in Breadth, laden with Western
Commodities, which it is likely belong'd to the Province of Yucatan." On board,
among various commodities, were small Hatchets made of Copper to hew Wood,
small Bells, and Plates, Crucibles to melt the Copper."
And again we read that the natives of Yucatan made long sea trips,: while
Bernal Diaz describes,4 at the discovery of that province (1517), the approach of
canoes with paddles and sails, large enough to hold forty or fifty Indians.
No copper is found on the peninsula of Yucatan, the most probable point of
departure, though we read of copper implements met with on the coast to the west
not far distant,5 and trinkets, half gold and half copper, on the Island of Cozumel I
but twelve miles away.6
It is not likely, however, that the sea offered a method of regular communica-
tion between Mexico and Florida, a much more feasible journey being afforded by
the overland route taken by Cabega de Vaca on his escape from northwestern
Florida to the Spanish settlements in Mexico.' It is interesting to note, moreover,
that on this journey he twice saw articles of copper.
We are of the opinion that a careful investigation of the mounds of Louisiana,
Alabama and Georgia will yield other objects such as the copper plates from the
famous Etowah mound, whose decoration surely points to Mexico.
We are indebted to Dr. Joseph H. Hunt for a specimen of native copper
obtained at El Paso, said to have been brought in by Mexican miners. A partial
analysis showed this to contain 0-0621 per cent. of silver, but no lead.
Howard S. Graham, Esq., has kindly presented us with a specimen of crys-

SFor details as to Mexican copper implements see Mexican Copper Tools," by Philip J. i. Valentini,
Ph.D., Proceedings American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, 1879.
Also, by the same author, Semilunar and Crescent-shaped Tools," Proceedings American Antiqua-
rian Society, Worcester, 1885.
Also Notes on the Copper Objects from North and South America Contained in the Collection of the
Peabody Museum," by Professor Putnam, in the XV Annual Report of the Museum.
2Herrera, Stevens' Translation, Vol. I, page 259 et seq.
8 Ibid., Vol. IV, page 135.
Memoirs of the Conquistador Barnal Diaz del Castillo," translated by Lockhart, London, 1844,
Vol. I, Chap. II, page 4.
5 Bernal Diaz, Vol. I, page 36.
6 Ibid, Vol. I, pages 56 and 57.
7 Narrative of Alvar Nuflez Cabega de Vaca," translated by Buckingham Smith, Washington, 1851.


tallized native copper, found at a considerable depth in his mine in the State of
Coahuila, Mexico. An analysis by Dr. Harry F. Keller showed :
"Copper 99-9521 per cent.
Silver Trace.
Antimony 00054 "
Arsenic 00149
Iron 0-0168 "
Bismuth Doubtful reaction.

99-9892 per cent.
"Gold, lead, tin, nickel, cobalt, selenium and tellurium were tested for with
negative result.
"The gangue amounted to 0-0462 per cent. and was deducted before the above
percentages were calculated."
A quantitative analysis of this copper by Ledoux and Company yielded con-
firmatory results.
Cuba.-Pre-Columbian intercourse between Cuba and the mainland has never
yet been conclusively shown by results of mound investigation, owing, perhaps, to
our unfamiliarity with prehistoric art-products of the island and to the scanty
archeological work hitherto done on the Peninsula, which has kept within narrow
limits the supply of objects on which to base conclusions.
Records as to intercourse before the Discovery are, however, explicit enough.
"It is certain," writes Ilerrera,1 "that 7ohn Ponce de Leon, besides the main
Design of making new Discoveries, as all the Spaniards then aspir'd to do, was in-
tent upon finding out the Spring of Bimini, and a River in 1'7.::-i, the Indians of
Cuba and Hispaniola illiriiiiii, that old people bathing themselves in them, became
young again, and it was certain that many Indians of Cuba, firmly believing that
there was such a River, had, not long before the Spaniards discovered that Island,
pass'd over into Florida in Quest of that River, and there built a Town, where the
Race of them continues to this Day."
And again we are told that Ponce de Leon, at the discovery of Florida, found
there an Indian familiar with the Spanish tongue," conclusive proof of previous in-
tercourse with the islands.
The reader of Part II will recall that in the great mound at Tick Island,
Volusia County, totally levelled by us, a disc of copper was found about 6 inches
below the surface. This disc, about 3 inches in diameter, was covered with a
beautiful coat of polished patina, a sure guarantee of antiquity. In the Tick Island
mound, neither superficially nor otherwise, were any objects discovered hinting at
White contact, and it is well to bear in mind that while intrusive burials are always
superficial, the converse is far from being the case and that many objects of un-
doubted antiquity are discovered on or near the surface. This disc, which a mar-

Op. cit., Vol. II, pages 37-38.
2 lbid, Vol. II, page S6.


ginal row of indentations showed to be of aboriginal workmanship, while not of
necessity contemporary with the mound, we believe to be of considerable antiquity
from what we have stated, and from what we shall proceed to show.
We are indebted to Dr. Pulaski F. Hyatt, United States Consul at Santiago de
Cuba, for specimens of native copper obtained by him especially for us by means
of a messenger sent to the Cobre (copper) mountains, at that point about ten miles
distant from Santiago de Cuba and from the sea. The specimens, boxed by Dr.
Hyatt, in Cuba, were delivered by that gentleman to us in person.
A portion of this copper was submitted to Dr. A. R. Ledoux for analysis, to
whom was also entrusted a section of the copper disc from Tick Island. The
reader may draw his own conclusions from the striking results as given below :-

Copper Disc, Tick Island. Native Copper, Cuba.
"Copper 99-835 per cent. 99-880 per cent.
Silver Trace. 0-0056 "
Arsenic .. 0-0089 per cent. 0-0087 "
Antimony Trace. Trace.
Iron 0072 per cent. 0-019 per cent."
The samples were especially tested for bismuth, lead, tin, zinc, nickel, and
cobalt with negative result. In each case a certain amount of oxygen was present,
doubtless due in the case of the Cuban copper to oxidation extending into irregu-
larities of the metal, which, in fact, was visible under the microscope. In the case
of the disc, deep oxidation on either side was doubtless found impossible to eliminate.
Qualitative analyses of another portion of the disc and of the Cobre native
copper were made by Professor F. A. Genth, Jr., with confirmatory results, while a
qualitative analysis of the Cobre copper by Dr. Harry F. Keller was likewise cor-
In view of all this testimony we consider it probable that the Tick Island disc,
whose high percentage of purity shows the copper to be native, was derived from
Cuba, and shall look with interest for reports of farther analyses of copper from
the mounds of other sections of Florida.
Southern, l/ddle, and Eastern States.-The geology of Florida precludes the
idea of any deposit of copper within its limits.
The late Colonel C. C. Jones, authority on the ; V.h:>,el' r y of the Southern
Indians, tells us' Native copper exists in portions of Cherokee Georgia, Tennessee,
North Carolina, and Alabama, but it is generally found in combination with sulphur
and not in a malleable form." In this instance, however, this able writer is in
error. Copper in union with sulphur becomes the sulphide, an ore and beyond the
reach of aboriginal endeavor.
Professor Spencer, State Geologist of Georgia, informs us that native copper,
if any, in his st.t.', is too limited in quantity to justify the theory of an aboriginal
source of supply.
"Antiquities of the Southern Indians," page 228.


While the occurrence of native copper is noted in our Southern, Eastern, and
Middle States the quantity is comparatively small, and, as a rule, the metal is not
superficial, and it is hardly probable that this scanty supply to any extent filled
the needs of the peoples inhabiting these districts, though doubtless a native nugget,
when found, was utilized.
New Mexico and Arizona.-It is probable that products of Arizona and New
Mexico, to a certain extent at least, reached some of the Southern States, and pos-
sibly Florida.
Small quantities of native copper are found superficially in portions of these
districts, but the well-known native copper mines of the Santa Rita Mountains,
New Mexico, contain the metal beneath oxides and carbonates at a depth too great
to have supplied aboriginal demand.
According to Cushing, to whose interesting paper we have already alluded, the
melting out of nodules of native copper included in rock was practised by the
aborigines of Arizona; though in no part of our country, it must be remembered,
have objects of copper cast in molds been discovered.
If in any portion of the territory of the United States reduction from the ore
was practised in prehistoric times, it will be found to have occurred in New Mexico
and Arizona, where familiarity with the civilization of Mexico' may have enabled
the natives, with the aid of wood fires, to obtain the metal from very pure carbon-
ate ores.
We are under obligation to James Colquhoun, Esq., General Superintendent
of the Arizona Copper Company, of Clifton, Arizona, for much valuable informa-
tion relative to the mines of Clifton. Native copper occurs but rarely. Samples
have been obtained in small bunches from the sheet porphyry which covers the
bulk of the surface of the Metcalf mine. At this mine, which is 9,000 feet north
of the famous Longfellow mine, there were, thirteen or fourteen years ago, the
remains of Indian workings, inconsiderable in extent and, in the opinion of Mr.
Colquhoun, made for the purpose of extracting a beautiful green ore-oxidized
copper-glance-to be used as a paint.
S On the Longfellow, so far as known, only one stone hammer was found.
We are indebted to Professor James Douglas for a specimen of a native copper
from the Copper Queen Mine, of Bisbee, Arizona, which, submitted to Dr. Harry F.
Keller, was reported on as follows:-
"The specimen furnished consisted essentially of metallic copper, thickly
coated with cuprite (partly in fine crystals) and oxide of iron. This outer crust
was carefully removed, and the greater part of the mass reduced to small chips on
the 'planer,' a solid piece being reserved for the estimation of iron. The chips
were further freed from oxidized material by careful picking under a strong lens,
and subsequent stirring with water. A sample weighing over 100 grms. was thus
While melting was doubtless practised, we have no positive evidence that smelting was understood
in Mexico, though there are good grounds for believing it, as given by Professor Putnam, XV Annual
Report, Peabody Museum, page 128.


obtained; it exhibited a pure copper-red color, metallic lustre, and gave a specific
gravity of 8-896.
All the elements likely to occur in the metal were carefully tested for: gold,
lead, bismuth, arsenic, tin, tellurium, selenium, cobalt, and nickel were found to be
absent; the analysis yielded:-
I. II.
"Copper 997587 per cent. 99-7620 per cent.
Silver 00039 0-0037 "
Antimony 00020 Not determined.
Iron 0-0491 0-0503 per cent.
Oxygen 01220 0-1094 "
Sulphur Trace.
Gangue (silica) 00144 0-0110
"The oxygen is present partly as oxide of iron, and partly as cuprous oxide.
If we deduct these admixtures, as well as the silica, it is seen that the metal itself
contains 99-994 per cent. of pure copper."
The reader must bear in mind that the oxygen referred to was not present
throughout the entire mass of copper as combined oxygen, which does not occur in
native copper, but locally, as explained above. We think it well to make this ex-
planation, as possibly all our readers are not fully informed as to the difference, and
a misconception might arise.
James Colquhoun, Esq., has kindly forwarded to us samples of native copper
from the Fry mine, Clifton, Arizona. This copper, submitted to Ledoux and Com-
pany, yielded the following results:-
"Copper 99-210 per cent.
Silver 0003
Iron 0045
Lead None.
NOTE: The sample was examined for bismuth, arsenic, antimony, nickel,
cobalt, none of which was present.
The sample also contains some silicious matter not combined with the cop-
per, but held mechanically in the interstices. As this could not be considered an
impurity in the metal, the amount was not determined."
As this silicious matter was included in the preliminary weighing, its absence
from the result accounts for the apparently low percentage of copper in the speci-
The Lake Superior District.-As we have stated, the copper of the Lake
Superior district, where abundant evidence of prehistoric mining exists, is native, and
argentiferous to the extent of about six ounces to the ton. When this percentage is
exceeded, the silver is visibly present in flakes, seams and streaks, from which at
times quantities of native silver can be cut. In fact, Lake" copper with almost


one-half native silver in mechanical combination has been reported. During all
our investigations we have been unable to learn of native copper from any other
locality on this continent, which is visibly argentiferous, and as the researches of
others have had a like result, we are strongly of the opinion that implements or
sheets of copper from the mounds, in which silver can be seen, may be considered
as surely having derived their material from Lake Superior.
We are informed by Professor Cushing that an object of copper containing
visible silver was found in northern Florida.
Mining was unsuccessfully attempted by the English at Lake Superior in
1771-1772, and it was not until 1844, after the admission of Michigan to statehood,
that a steady output was furnished from the district.
From this it is evident that no "Lake" copper can have been furnished by
Eiiri.qwani during any possible mound building period.
So many evidences of prehistoric intercourse with regions to the south have
been found in the mounds of our Western States that it is safe to assume that the
Lake Superior district furnished the greater part of the copper in use by Southern
Indians, which was doubtless traded for shell implements and ornaments, or for the
raw material obtainable only on the seaboard or on the Gulf coast. Moreover, as
aboriginal copper with visible admixture of silver has been found in the Southern
States, it is virtually safe to assume that with such metal went other Lake" cop-
per in which silver is not perceptible.
Dr. Iarry F. Keller, whose residence in Michigan as Professor of Chemistry
in the Michigan Mining School at Houghton, gave him exceptional advantages in
respect to analysis of Lake" copper, has furnished us with the following unpub-
lished analyses made by himself:-
Native copper from the Tamarack mine,2 Lake Superior.
"Copper I-WsIl per cent.
Silver 00151
Iron ( 4
Silica 00193

"Native copper from Kearsarge mine, Lake Superior.
"Copper 99-7627 per cent.
Silver 00183 "
Iron 00223 "
Arsenic Trace.
Silica 0210 per cent.

"Sp. gr. 8-912."
SCopper Resources of the United States," by James Douglas, New York. Author's edition, 1891.
2 The vein in the Tamarack mine is conglomerate. Dr. Keller informs us, however, that the analysis
S\as made from a good sized nugget. Such specimens are occasionally found in conglomerate mines.

* 238


These IInal;I.-.' are complete. Dr. Keller informs us that the shortage was
due to the oxygen present as oxide of copper or of iron resulting from superficial
Some of our readers will recall that extensive aboriginal mining operations
were carried on at Isle Royale, in Lake Superior. We are indebted to Professor
Edgar Kidwell, of the Michigan Mining School, for a specimen of copper from this
island, which, submitted to Dr. Keller, was reported upon by him as follows:-
The material was very carefully separated from the rock through which it
was disseminated. It retained 0'-.:1 per cent. of insoluble matter. An exhaustive
examination of the metallic portion yielded the following values:-
"Copper 99-9314 per cent.
Silver 00271
Iron 00068 "
Nickel 0037
Arsenic Trace.

"Gold, lead, tin, bismuth, antimony, cobalt, manganese, oxygen, sulphur were
tested for with negative result. The absence of other metallic impurities was indi-
rectly ascertained in the course of analysis adopted.
The specific gravity is 8-883."
Dr. Keller has made for us a partial analysis of copper in his possession, from
the Phoenix mine. Of this he writes:-
"The specimen from this celebrated locality was beautifully crystallized. It
contained 0-962 per cent. of quartz, and after deducting this yielded:-
"Copper !94C2 per cent.
Nickel None.
Arsenic Trace.
"This copper contains iron but scarcely a trace of silver."
We are indebted also to Dr. Keller for copper from the Quincy mine, Hancock,
Mich. We append the result of a partial analysis made by him.
"Copper 99-9765 per cent.
Nickel None.
Arsenic None.
Silver and iron are the only impurities, a strong reaction was obtained for
the former, while the latter is present merely as a trace."
Professor James Douglas, who has so greatly aided us in this paper, has pre-
sented us with specimens of copper from the Quincy, Atlantic and Central mines of
the Lake Superior District. These have been submitted to Ledoux and Company
for partial analysis, who report:-
Quincy Mine, Lake Superior:-
"Copper I-'I.; per cent.
Nickel and cobalt None."
31 JOURN. A. N. S. PHILA., VOL. X.


Another partial analysis of the same copper yielded:-
"Arsenic 0-0010 per cent.
Silver 00253
Antimony None."
A partial analysis of the "Atlantic" copper showed:-
"Arsenic 0-. 0IIIs per cent.
Antimony .None.
Silver 00012 per cent."
A partial analysis of the "Central" copper gave:-
Arsenic 0-0016 per cent.
Antimony .. None.
Silver 00145 per cent."
We are indebted to Thomas Nelson, Esq., Secretary and Treasurer of the
Osceola Consolidated Mining Company, for very beautiful specimens of copper from
the Osceola mine, as to which Ledoux and Company make the following report:-
"Copper .. ..1, I.'iii per cent.
Silver 00111
Iron 00290
Arsenic Trace.
NOTE: The sample was examined also for lead, bismuth, antimony, nickel,
cobalt and zinc, none of which was found."
,James B. Cooper, Esq., Superintendent of the Calumet and Hecla Smelting
Works, in addition to much valuable information, has furnished us with a number
of fine specimens from various mines from the Lake" district, and we wish here
to return thanks for his courtesy and promptness. A specimen of copper from the
Franklin mine, furnished by Mr. Cooper, was analyzed by Ledoux and Company,
with the following result:-
"Copper 9990 per cent.
Silver Trace.
Iron. 018 "
NOTE: The sample was examined also for arsenic, antimony, lead, bismuth,
zinc, nickel and cobalt, none of which was found."
The presence of nuggets of native copper has been noted in "the drift," and
it is likely that aboriginal wants were to a certain extent supplied from that source.
We have obtained from Dr. A. E. Foote a nugget of native copper said to be
from "the drift," Illinois, and its derivation from "the drift" at least is unmis-
takably evidenced by its rounded and water-worn appearance.
This copper, analyzed by Ledoux and Company, gave the following result:-
"Copper !' I:; per cent.
Silver 0007 "
Iron 0014
Nickel and cobalt )06


NOTE : The sample contains no lead, bismuth, arsenic, antimony, or zinc."
As a result of these analyses, we see that in Lake" copper, silver and iron
are constant, and sometimes the only impurities; while arsenic, nickel and cobalt
are occasionally present in minute quantities. Lead and bismuth are invariably
All these characteristics Lake Superior copper has in common with the copper
of the mounds.
We have found no antimony in Lake" copper, but are of the opinion that a
more extended range of analyses would occasionally show its presence in minute

After a careful survey of the field, we have arrived at the following conclu-
sions, based upon facts as set forth in this paper:-
1. That the so-called copper found with objects of European make along the
St. John's and, we may add, in other portions of the United States, is almost
universally not copper but brass; and, conversely, that brass does not occur with
original deposits of copper in mounds otherwise containing only objects of unques-
tioned aboriginal origin.
2. That the workmanship on the copper of the mounds of the St. John's is
3. That the copper itself is of aboriginal production, the proof being mechani-
cal, archaeological, and chemical.
4. That such being the case, if copper plates cannot be produced without re-
course to annealing, then we must concede to the aborigines a knowledge of that art.
5. That the copper of the mounds of the St. John's is native copper, as shown
by its high percentage of copper, a percentage not obtainable by early smelting
processes, and by its freedom from arsenic and antimony in some instances, and the
very small percentage in others of these impurities which are found to a much
greater extent in the early copper from the sulphide ores of Europe. In addition,
lead, used in smelting processes of Eiiip-,l and not eliminated from many of the
ores, is present in earlier sheet copper, and is without exception absent from native
copper and from the copper of the mounds.
6. That the Florida copper may have been derived from various sources, pos-
sibly in part from Mexico, New Mexico or Arizona, and probably to a certain ex-
tent from Cuba; but that the main supply was obtained from the Lake Superior
region, most of whose copper is non-arsenical.
7. That copper in which silver is visibly present, has, so far as is known, for
its only source of supply on this continent, the Lake Superior region.
8. Incidentally, that mound copper from other localities, including the copper
of the famous Etowah plates of Georgia, and of the no less well-known Hopewell
mounds of Ohio, is, like the Florida copper, aboriginal, having nothing in common
with the products of the impure European sulphides and imperfect smelting pro-
cesses of the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries.


Fr 5 Ornent of sheet copper with ge b c adhering, Mt. Royal.
(About a


Fro . Ornament of s heet copper, M Royal. F. 7. Oament of heet copper, Mt Royal.
(Full Clze.) (Full seie.)

F"u. 8. Copper effigy of serpent, Pr, Royal. (t'ull.ize )


FIG. 12. Read of hhetooppI, Mt. Royal.
(F.11 ai-).

FIG. 18. Bedfo~hbt mppe, Mt. Royal.
(Full size.)

Oruament of sheet copper, Mr. Royal. (Full sle.)

FIG. 11. Ornantnt of ehe mp-
per, Mt. Royal. (Full alm.)

FIG. 14 Ornantent of bftt co,
par, Mt. Royal. (F.Ilai-).

') V E E

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