BY STEPHEN D. PEET, 1896.
EMBLEMATIC MOUNDS A N D ANIMAL EFFIGIES.
This book is the result of personal explorations which have continued at intervals for several years…It was the experience of the author that a single visit was not sufficient, for each successive visit would be sure to bring out some new point, either new mounds were discovered or new relations of the mounds to the topography were recognized, or new ideas were gained as to the use of the mounds or new significance seen in their shapes.As to the points which the author has sought to bring out in his explorations and descriptions the following is a summary:
First: the shape of the effigies. Great care has been taken to make the shape conform to the measurements, and yet the effigies have been studied by the eye so as to bring out the actual figures.
Second: The grouping of the effigies. The relative position of the various figures in the groups and the relative position of the groups in each series and of the series to each locality have all been studied. The practical use of the effigies could not be ascertained without thus studying the system.
Third: The relation of the effigies to the topography has been closely scrutinized for this often reveals the real object. The elevation as well as the location has been studied. The view from the mounds has also always been noticed. It is an outside observation which often suggests the intent and purpose of the effigy as well as the measurement of the figure itself.
Fourth: The contents of the mounds have been studied with more or less care. Excavation has not been the chief object. Relic hunting is not a specialty with the writer.
Fifth: The totem system and clan life have been carefully investigated. The location of the effigies with the geographical surrounding will reveal much of the real history and character of the builders. The shape of the effigies will often show the name or emblem of the clan. This inner history of the people has been our chief object of study.
The destruction of the monuments has been a great hindrance to the full understanding of them. The writer considers himself fortunate in having entered upon this field before the destruction was carried on further than it is. In a few years the data would have been lost and it would have been impossible to give the explanation of groups. Even the destruction of a single mound will at times destroy the clue which is essential to understand the groups.
The mythologic significance and the intent of the effigies as picture writing cannot be deciphered when any of the figures have disappeared. It is to be hoped that the effigies will be preserved and that this book will be an inducement for the continuance of the .study and will increase the interest in them us the monuments of a people which has passed away."
(I was looking this part of the book: "Serpent circle near Utley's...head and tail making a gateway or opening to the circle," but couldn't search for the phrase. I posted this because it so sounds so familiar even tho' it's 100 plus years later. Could be Peter saying it rather than Peet, so to speak.)