...begin sample page...
This was the first instance where "ancient diggings" -- as they are familiarly called
in the Lake Superior region -- were ever recognized as such; and this artificial cavern presents the most conclusive proofs
that a people in the remote past worked those mines. Upon the discovery of this mine, attention was at once directed to numerous
other cavities and depressions in the surface of the earth at this and other points, and the result was that nearly a hundred
ancient pits were found, and in all of them mining-tools of various kinds. These ancient mines or pits are not restricted
to one locality, but extend over the entire length of the copper region, from the eastern extremity of Keweenaw Point to the
Porcupine Mountains, a distance of nearly one hundred miles.
In some of the ancient diggings, the stone hammers have the
marks of hard usage, fractured or battered faces, and a large proportion of them are broken and unfit for use; but in other
pits the hammers are all sound, and many of them have the appearance of never having been used. These hammers, or mauls, which
are of various sizes, and not uniform in shape, are water-worn stones, of great hardness, similar in all respects to those
that are found in abundance on the shore of the Lake, or in the gravel-banks of that region. They are generally trap-rock,
embracing the varieties of gray, porphyritic, hornblendic, sienitic, and amygdaloidal trap, and appear to have had no labor
expended upon them except the chiseling of a groove around the middle for the purpose of attaching a withe to serve as a handle.
In a few instances, I have noticed small hammers, usually egg-shaped, without a groove; and the battered or worn appearance
at one end