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     Until a very few years ago no evidence had been gathered of the existence of prehistoric man in Nebraska. To the east the mound builders had left their mark in the forests of Ohio and along the Mississippi. Their skeletons and their handiwork in stone and clay and copper told of human communities thousands of years older than white discovery. To the west the cliff dwellers in the Colorado desert had left equally tangible evidence of their existence at a remote period. But the plains had been the home of the hunting tribes. Conditions there were not favorable to the development of an early civilization or the preservation of records.
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      The first work of prehistoric man in Nebraska to attract attention was on the Weeping Water, near Nehawka, Cass county. There the limestone terrace above the stream is gashed with trenches, while hills a mile back are honey-combed with pits and tunnels and covered with the debris of ancient workings. The pits and trenches have filled with soil, and in some of them oak trees hundreds of years old are growing.

      A century ago French trappers brought down the Missouri wonderful tales of abandoned Spanish silver or lead mines upon the Weeping Water. Fifty years later expeditions were fitted out to explore them,--the disgusted prospectors returning with the declaration that there was not a trace of metal there. In 1856 Mr. Isaac Pollard, from Vermont, settled upon the site. He took an immediate interest in the workings, but years passed before their mystery was solved. In the year 1900, at his own expense, he made an open cut sixty feet long, six feet wide, and ten feet deep,




through the debris. In the cut were found loose limestone boulders, torn from their original position in the horizontal ledges, hammered and broken and most significant of all, with their flint nodules removed. During the next two years the locality was studied by Mr. E. F. Blackman, of the State Historical Society, and by Professors Brower, Upham, and Winchell, of Minnesota, noted archaeologists and geologists. These studies have established that the workings were ancient flint mines,
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Ancient Flint Mines

made centuries ago by aborigines in search of the only material they knew for tools and weapons. The extent of the workings of these
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Ancient Indian Fireplaces in the Bad Lands

savages who had no iron tools is surprising and will repay a visit to the spot.

      On the tops of rounded hills above the Missouri, the Platte and other streams, are occasionally found burial mounds, not so large as the great mounds of the Mississippi Valley, .but evidently hundreds of years old. One of these on the farm of Hon. Cass Jones, near Rulo, was opened a few years ago. In it was the skeleton of a man over six feet tall, and a very large collection of stone battle axes, flint knives and spear heads. On the Lowe farm, six miles south of Nebraska City, is a very old site which was explored in 1901 by J. Sterling Morton, his son Paul Morton, now secretary of the navy, and Mr. Blackman. Beneath six feet of soil were found the remains of old fires, broken pottery, and a pottery kiln.

     In the summer of 1903, the writer discovered in a Bad Lands valley, a few miles from the Nebraska line, buried beneath ten feet of

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@ 2002 for the NEGenWeb Project by Pam Rietsch, Ted & Carole Miller