A large audience was present in Sever 11 last evening to hear Dr. F. W. Putnam's lecture on "Recent Discoveries in American Archaeology." Dr. Putnam was detailed by the Peabody Museum last summer to investigate and report upon the contents of the mounds in the Little Miami valley, and accordingly, in company with Dr. Metz of Washington, he was employed from May until December in conducting a series of explorations, which have resulted in adding largely to the stock of information possessed concerning the American mound builders. In his lecture last evening Dr. Putnam was necessarily unable to describe but one of the groups of mounds which he has explored. The group selected for description comprised six mounds, all of which differed in size, but averaged nine feet in height and from thirty to fifty in diameter.
It must be remembered that the mounds are of almost indefinite age-how old is not known and probably never will be-but everything goes to prove that they were constructed long before the discovery of this continent. In the centre of several of the mounds were altars composed of alternate layers of clay, sand, stones and ashes, no cement being used with the stones, which varied from the size of a hen's egg to several dounds in weight. The tops of the altars were concave and filled with fine sand, a portion of the burnt clay having been evidently removed. Judging from the solidity of the structures fires must have been kept burning in them for long periods of time. In these mounds were found a number of human skeletons, which from the position in the ashes of the remains prove conclusively that these people were not cannibals but cremationists. Among the many interesting relics found by Dr. Putnam were a number of copper ornaments, arrowheads composed of different substances, terra cotta images illustrative of the dress and appearance of the people, plates of mica, specimens of native gold and silver, sea shells, hatchets, together with the bones of various animals, and, above all, several specimens of meteorie iron, which are the first ever discovered in these mounds. By the aid of the stereopticon Dr. Putnam was enabled to represent a number of these curious relics upon the canvass, which with the drawings of mounds lent no little additional attractiveness to the lecture.