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stratified soil, some of the strata filled with shells of fresh water animals, and other evidences of an old lake bed, numerous prehis-
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Ancient Pottery Unearthed

toric fire places, flints, arrow heads, fragments of pottery, and a vast quantity of bones and kitchen refuse.

      The traditions of all the Indians found in Nebraska by white men assert a comparatively brief residence here, and a migration from regions farther east and south. These scattered discoveries raise the question: Is it possible that a thousand years ago or more scattered off-shoots of the mound builders found their way up the Missouri, made their homes upon its hill tops and in its secluded valleys, burned pottery, mined for flint, and were finally exterminated by the ruder tribes of hunters who migrated here later? Or was it rather the ancient ancestors of the Pawnees who left these memorials in a time far antedating Pawnee traditions? The systematic exploration and investigation which will furnish the data to answer these and other questions has only recently begun. The evidences themselves are fast being destroyed. All over the state the broken pottery of ancient Indian villages is being trampled into smaller fragments and even into dust by the thousands of head of domestic stock close grazing the fields; the plow and harrow are leveling the traces of old fortifications and burial mounds; the flint knives, arrow-heads and spalls once so abundant are being picked up and sent out of the state by private collectors. If even a part of the story of prehistoric man in this state is to be deciphered and preserved it must largely be through the scientific interest and generous state pride of her citizens. There are now living in nearly every one of the six thousand school districts of Nebraska some of the first settlers who knew every mark and mound on the prairie before it was cut by the breaking plow; there are children born in these school districts who know, as only children learn to know, every feature of their native fields and woods, the spots where arrow heads and burnt clay and curious stone tools were found, where pits or trenches used to be. It is to these the appeal is made by the writer of these pages to communicate to him the hint which may lead to careful exploration and mapping of these sites--possibly to discoveries unthought of.

     A few general outlines of the localities where remains of early and probably prehistoric aborigines have been noted in the state: The tops of bluffs along the entire course of the Missouri river. The valley of the Weeping Water. The upper valley of Salt Creek. The valleys of the Loups for a long distance up each of the forks. The upper Elkhorn and especially in Madison, Antelope and Holt counties. The upper Niobrara in Sioux county. There are probably other localities, but these



are where most of the exploring has been done. The Loup region is especially rich in suggestions of far-distant inhabitants. For example a few years ago an irrigation ditch was being dug near the little town of Alpine in the Middle Loup valley. The ditch followed the base of the hills and at a distance of more than half a mile from the river and four feet beneath the surface was uncovered the remains of an ancient settlement. There were piles of clam shells, heaps of charcoal and pottery and every indication of long use as a home, and far enough in the past for four feet of earth to cover them. The chance excavation of the ditch brought them to the light of day. Wherever such are found in the future they ought to be left undisturbed until a scientific explorer with a camera can be summoned.
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Wild Poppy of Northwest Nebraska--The Pet of the Plains.

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