The Lake Superior region of America is richer than any other region of the world in cojjper. It is not many years ago since these rich seams of copper were discovered, and with our knowledge of the Indian's character, and our entire ignorance of the history of the. past, in respect to the inhabitants of Northern America, it .was supposed that out modern discoveries, of these minerals were the first ever made by mortal men. The huge, mounds scattered over oar country have lefE traces behind them of a race long since passed,away, but in a more striking manner have evidences of that race been .recently brought to light in the discovery of ancient mines, tools, c, in the Lake Superior region. In 1848 the first of these old mines was discovered, and in it was found a mass ot pure copper, weighing six tons, which had been raised by ancient wedges, and rolled along the gallery. These-an-cient mines extended over a tract of country 100 miles long, running from N. E. .to S. W. A great number of ancient tools have been found, they all consist of hard stone, with single and double grooves for the reception of handles, like those now employed by blacksmiths for holding their wedges. The marks of old fires extended everywhere, showing that they employed heat in their mining operations—by heating the rock first, then cooling it quickly with water to soften it—the plan for softening copper. When did those ancient miners work these. mines, and who were they ? Trees of hundreds of years' standing, extend their roots on the surface of a soil, which has required ages to accumulate, over some of their deepest works. We have no evidence f who those miners were, except by the tools which have been left behind them; but at one time they must have been numerous, for quite a number oi their old. excavations have been opened up. Is it possible that Vi -raaKuis t1 iifis ]5oSsiDie;'savage man in all countries is a wreck of former civilization. The descendants of the Greeks and Romans are not like their forefathers; we know them to be wrecks of a former civilization. Tribes and men, separated from communication and contact with others of their species, soon degenerate, and dwindle into the savagefstate. It is therefore quite possible that the old copper miners of the Lake Superior region were the forefathers of the present race of Indians.
This article was originally published with the title "Ancient Mines on Lake Superior" in Scientific American 8, 8, 64 (November 1852)