Sunday, July 31, 2011

Kentucky Native American Burials: Stone Cists and Graves

Ancient Stone Cist Graves of Kentucky

W. J. Owsley, of Fort Hall, Idaho, furnishes the writer with a description of the cist graves of Kentucky, which differ somewhat from other accounts, inasmuch as the graves appeared to be isolated.

I remember that when a school-boy in Kentucky, some twenty-five years ago, of seeing what was called “Indian graves,” and those that I examined were close to small streams of water, and were buried in a sitting or squatting posture and inclosed by rough, flat stones, and were then buried from 1 to 4 feet from the surface. Those graves which I examined, which examination was not very minute, seemed to be isolated, no two being found in the same locality. When the burials took place I could hardly conjecture, but it must have been, from appearances, from fifty to one hundred years. The bones that I took out on first appearance seemed tolerably perfect, but on short exposure to the atmosphere crumbled, and I was unable to save a specimen. No implements or relics were observed in those examined by me, but I have heard of others who have found such. In that State, Kentucky, there are a number of places 

where the Indians buried their dead and left mounds of earth over the graves, but I have not examined them myself.***