The Hayes' Creek Mound, "Indian Bottom Farm," Rockbridge Co., Virginia.
Explored Sept., 1901, by Edward P. Valentine,
AT a distance of about three miles from the eastern entrance to the I
beautiful Goshen Pass stood this prehistoric burial mound, located upon
the " Indian Bottom Farm" belonging to the estate of Win. Horn, in
the valley to the east of " Jump Mountain," and about one hundred yards
directly south of the junction of Walker's with Hayes 1 Creek, being in a
fertile bottom of about twenty-five acres.
'I he base was a slightly elongated circle, sixty feet in diameter N. \V. and
S. E., by sixty four feet N. E. and S. W., altitude four and one-half feet, top
level ami of thirty-eight to forty-two feet diameter, the whole covered with
grass and surrounded by a field of corn. The structure was composed of
alluvial soil, like that of the surrounding valley, and water worn fragments of
limestone of ten to seventy five pounds weight, similar to those seen in the
beds of the adjacent streams.
The centre, at the time of exploration, was assumed to be the true centre,
to which the location of the objects found was referred. The first step in
excavating was to encircle the mound by a trench eight feel broad, pene-
trating the subsoil to the depth of two feet and extending on the outer edge
four feet beyond the circumference. In this trench human skeletons in an
excellent state of preservation were found one and one-half to two feet
below the surface of the sandy subsoil, on the outskirts of the structure to
the south, and three feet beyond the circumference to the south of west of
Tw-lve bodies were found at a depth of one and one-half to two feet
below the surface of the subsoil, and a systematic and continuous burial on
the surface of the subsoil was exposed. This preliminary work finished, the
bodies exposed were left in place while the mound was cautiously attacked
from all sides. A burial level approximately one and one-half feet above the
subsoil was soon discovered, and in close succession came the exposure of a I
fourth burial level approximately two and one-half feet above the subsoil.
In a few days more than one hundred skeletons were uncovered and care-
fully cleaned by means of pocket knives and wisps of broom straw, and four
burial levels were clearly in view. Accurate memoranda of the location,
position, nature and essential details were made and photographs taken of
the skeletons in situ. The bones allowed to bleach, and hardened by the
rays of the sun, were carefully removed and spread upon cotton cloths to
dry, alter which they were packed in boxes cushioned by crumpled news- |
papers. After removing these exposed remains the work continued towards
the assumed centre, keeping the excavations well down into the subsoil.
The skeletons of three hundred and seventy-six men, women and children,
in a remarkably well-preserved condition, were found in the three upper
burial levels before the stone pile covering the centre was reached. The
bodies were lying on their sides, right or left, indiscriminately, with the arms
folded upon their breasts, the hands being extended in front of their faces,
the legs drawn up in front of the breasts in such close proximity to the
bodies as to indicate that the bodies had been bound up in this compact
for The Valentine Museum. Richmond, Va.
form before burial. Single burials were frequent, but many bodies were
found two together, or in groups of three to twenty. Several had from one to
three large stones upon theii heads and breasts, as if lo protect them from
disinterment by wild beasts. A small number had shell beads upon their
necks, but no other objects, organic or inorganic, were found with them.
The earth had entirely displaced all other organic matter and was clinging
compactly to the bones. Where the skulls had become tilted so as lo admit
of entrance, the earth had in many cases completely filled the cavities,
All of the skeletons showed evidence of having been carefully and
systematically buried, and most of them were lying tangent to Circles, with
a common centre five and one halt feet south of west of the assumed centre
of the mound. In addition to the human remains, skeletons of eight dogs
were found, some almost perfect, all sufficiently intact lo show clcarlv their
positions. They had been carefully buried near the human bodies, and were
lying on their sides with their feel drawn together in front of their bodies.
Continuing the work, a layer of fine gravel and ashes was discovered.
Forming a floor on the surface ot the subsoil, one to three inches thi> k and
thirty tour feet in diameter, with its centre five and one half feet south of
vvesl of the assumed centre of the mound. At the centre of this gravel and
ash floor burnt human bones were found, and upon it rested a burial level,
with the same centre, twenty four feet in diameter, covered by stones, fob
lowed by two successive burials with intervening stones, the whole covered
by stones and earth reaching an altitude of four and one half feet to the top
of the mound. The human remains in this stone pile had evidentl) been
buried with the same care as those in the earth work surrounding it, but had
been to some extent dislocated by the settling of the heavy, irregular stones,
making it difficult at times to trace clearly their positions.
Fifty <»r more skeletons weir found in the stone pile, twenty eight of which
had shell beads and pendants on their necks, the majority of those having
necklaces being women and girls. Otic had upon the neck the tooth of a
shark, perforated at the root for use as a pendant.
Two pipes, one of soapstone, the oilier of clay, were found close to the skulk
of two men located near the centre of the stone pile. No other objects were
found buried with the bodies, and a < lose search failed to reveal evidence of
any considerable amount of debris of a former settlement from which the
earth might have been brought in the erection of the mound. The objei ts
«»i accidental occurrence were limited to .1 polishing stone of slate, n bone
awl. ;i spear head, ami a few fragments of pottery.
Eighty perfect skulls, a number of nearly perfei I skeletons, and the bulk
of the bones of more than four hundred people, were exhumed and shipped
lo the Museum for scientific study.
Jefferson, in his " Notes on Virginia," '■tales that the Massawomees 01 1 u
pied, to the exclusion of almost every other tribe, the entire region stretch-
ing from the Blue Ridge to the Ohio River. This burial was therefore in the
territory of the Massawomees.
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