New York: Bartlett & Welford; Cincinnati: J. A. & U. P. James, 1848. — 306 p. — (Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge).Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley (full title Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley: Comprising the Results of Extensive Original Surveys and Explorations) (1848) by the Americans Ephraim George Squier and Edwin Hamilton Davis is a landmark in American scientific research, the study of the prehistoric indigenous mound builders of North America, and the early development of archaeology as a scientific discipline. Published in 1848, it was the Smithsonian Institution's first publication and the first volume in its Contributions to Knowledge series. The book had 306 pages, 48 lithographed maps and plates, and 207 wood engravings. Ancient Monuments provides descriptions of sites across much of the Eastern United States, as the title indicates. The hundreds of earthworks which Squier and Davis personally surveyed and sketched were located primarily in and around Ross County in southern Ohio. This area includes Serpent Mound, Fort Ancient, Mound City and Seip Earthworks (both now part of Hopewell Culture National Historical Park), and Newark Earthworks. All their Kentucky sites were taken from the manuscripts of the late C. S. Rafinesque. James McBride, John Locke and Charles Whittlesey, among others, contributed additional first-hand reports, but the scope of Squier and Davis' own work was unprecedented. A major part of Squier and Davis' achievement was their classification of sites according to apparent function, such as burial grounds, effigies, fortifications, and building foundations. They sometimes were limited by their preconceptions about the cultures which they described. Their observation and descriptive skills often exceeded the quality of the records they made regarding excavation methods and recovery techniques.
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