Clarence Bloomfield MooreThe Tennessee, Green, and lower Ohio rivers expeditions of
Clarence Bloomfield Moore
(University of Alabama Press 2002)

Clarence Bloomfield Moore 1852-1936
originally published in the Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia in 1915.

248- Classics in Southeastern Archaeology

Tennessee River in Eastern Tennessee.
Mounds and Sites.

Dwelling-Site on Chattanooga Island, Hamilton County.
At the Citico site, which next will be described, and which is visible from Chattanooga, quantities of arrowheads were found, almost all of which are triangular, and all, save very few, are of black flint. These facts illustrate how difficult it would be to generalize as to this region.

Citico* Mound and Site, Hamilton County.

A short distance above the city of Chattanooga, in view from its water works and from Tennessee river, is a mound in a large, cultivated field, belonging, at the time of our first visit, to Mr. George W. Gardenhire, of Chattanooga, and when the place was again visited by us, to the Montague estate, represented by Mr. N. Thayer Montague, of Chattanooga. The mound, which takes its name from nearby Citico creek, 15.5 feet in height, has been quadrangular with a flat top, but as every part of its surface has been under cultivation, the corners of the mound are now rounded, though the sides are astonishingly steep considering the plowing and subsequent wash of rain to which they must have been subjected. In basal diameter the mound is 110 feet by 145 feet; the summit-plateau in corresponding directions, 71 feet by 42 feet.

The investigation of the mound described by Mr. M. C. Read in the Smithsonian Report for 1867, tells of a tunnel carried into the mound, of skeletons found below the base, and of the discovery of post-holes, etc.

Probably a structure of some kind had existed and burials had been made beneath it, or it had been erected over burials and the mound had been built around and above the structure.

The mound, however, was domiciliary and not a burial mound, as an excavation 12 feet square sunk by us to a depth of 12 feet from the center of the summit- plateau encountered no interments or signs of interments. Evidence of former

* The Citico mound described here, and the creek of that name which is referred to, as we have stated before, must not be confused with others of like name described in the 12th Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, pp. 373 and 375. The Citico creek there mentioned, near which a Citico mound is, flows into Little Tennessee river and the mound is near the junction in Monroe County, Tenn. Little Tennessee river enters the Tennessee opposite Lenoir City. The Citico mound in Monroe County is referred to by Cyrus Thomas in his "Catalogue of Prehistoric Works," p. 210.
For the name Citico (Si'tiku') see Mooney in 19th An. Rep. Bur. Am. Ethn., p. 531. The Citico mound near Chattanooga, in Hamilton County, examined by us, is described in the Smithsonian Report for 1867, p. 401 el seq., and is referred to by Cyrus Thomas in 5th An. Rep. Bur. Am. Ethn., p. 77 et seq.


digging was found in places, but no trace of skeletal remains was present in the
material. 1

Extending ENE. and WSW. from the mound, which is near the western end, is a ridge with flat top, about 250 feet in width and 600 feet in length, and having a height, judging from holes put down from the surface to undisturbed clay, of about 4 feet. On the eastern end of this ridge is an elevation of about 3.5 feet. The ridge is artificial, or mostly so, and has grown up under prolonged occupancy.

Over the surface of the ridge, the elevation, and part of the mound is abundant midden-debris, including shells, considerable pottery, and fragments of flint. The pottery, shell-tempered, is as a rule coarse and undecorated, some of the fragments, however, bearing very elementary, incised designs rudely executed. One sherd, however, of hard, smooth ware and having but little shell-tempering, if any, had an incised decoration of partly interlocked scrolls, fairly well executed. Another bore a design conferred by the aid of a stamp, and a fragment of yellow ware was found bearing part of a design in red paint.

Finished artifacts on the surface were rare, the site evidently having been carefully searched by visitors from town, where there is a ready market for antiquities, and we learned that a former resident of Chattanooga had systematically dug into the ridge for a considerable period in search of artifacts to sell. The elevation at the end of the ridge, however, strangely enough, had remained uninvestigated. Our surface "finds" consisted of one rude celt; a number of arrowheads of flint, nearly all triangular, some slender, some almost equilateral, and nearly all less carefully made than the projectile points taken later from the graves by us; a part of a small pipe of earthenware, having much of the bowl missing and the marginal surfaces carefully smoothed to allow the part of the pipe remaining to serve some purpose; a small, undecorated pipe of soapstone.

On various parts of the ridge and of the elevation at its eastern end were fragments of human bones.

Trial-holes in the elevation which soon reached burials, showed it to be some what unlike the ridge, the elevation being composed in part of midden debris, but having also local layers of clay of varying shades to within one foot of its surface, above which was midden deposit. Presumably the elevation had been built on the ridge and then lived upon.

The ridge was carefully dug over by us, and burials were found to be widely scattered in it and to have almost no artifacts with them. Presumably, more important persons had been interred in the elevation, which was constructed for burial purposes exclusively.

In all, one hundred and six burials were discovered, and numerous fragments and scattered bones. Such burials from the elevation as were comparatively

1 Since our visit, two-thirds of Citico mound has been dug away in making the new River Road. We are informed by a friend in Chattanooga, who was greatly interested in the work, himself a collector, and explorer of mounds, that nothing of interest was found during tho removal. Burials and some artifacts were encountered near the base.
The newspapers, of course, made the most of the matter.


deep had been deposited in graves which could be traced almost from the surface down, and no doubt had been made from the surface, but the confusion arising from cultivation of the field made impossible a determination as to the upper few inches of the soil.

The burials, whose heads were directed to various points of the compass, were: of adults, 70; of adolescents, 4; of children and of infants, 32.

The forms of burial were as follows:

Extended on the back, 2.

Closely flexed to the left, 1.

Partly flexed to the right, 17.

Partly flexed to the left, 17.

Partly flexed on the right, 15.

Partly flexed on the left, 6.

Bunched, 1.

Positions to be described in detail, 8.

There were also seven disturbances, recent and aboriginal.

The reader will recall that, when not otherwise stated, burials are those of adults, and that the form of burial of infants and children is not included.

We shall now describe in detail all burials from this place with which any artifact was found, as well as such burials which otherwise may seem worthy of special notice.

Burial No. 2, but a few inches from the surface, partly flexed to the right, the cranium pointing S. by E. At each side of the head was a shell ear-plug made from a conch-shell, and resembling a bracket in shape. 1 At the neck were shell beads rather badly decayed.

Burial No. 3, one foot down, extended on the back and having the right fore arm flexed back on the humerus, the hand resting on the shoulder, the head SE. At the outer side of the left forearm was a small, undccorated pot of inferior earthenware.

Burial No. 4, partly flexed on the left, the head S. by E., lay in a pit 2 feet deep, 25 inches wide by 4 feet in length. Under the body, so that both elbows rested upon it, where probably it had slipped, was a mask-like gorget of shell, showing human features. This ornament, which belongs to a well-known class, 2 is greatly decayed and somewhat broken in one place.

Burial No. 5, a child, 9 inches deep, the skull SE. At each side of the cranium were small, shell ear-plugs of the "bracket" shape.

Burial No. 6, presumably a bunched burial, having three skulls together, the long-bones being somewhat loosely placed.

1 William II. Holmes, "Art in Shell of the Ancient Americans," 2d An. Hep. Bur. Am. Kthn.,
p. 210, Fig. 10. (lutes P. Thruston, "Antiquities of Tennessee," 2d ed., 1897, p. 315, Fig. 223.

2 William II. Holmes, op. cit., p. 293 et seq. George Grant MacCurdy in "American Anthropologist," July-Sept., 1913, p. 395 et seq. C. B. Moore, "Antiquities of the St. Francis, White and Black Rivers," pp. 287, 321, Figs. 16, 45; and "Some Aboriginal Sites on Mississippi River," pp. 412, 415, Journ. Acad. Nat. Sci. Phila., Vol. XIV.


Burial No. 7, the scattered bones of a disturbance, presumably including two skulls, at a general depth of 16 inches. Somewhat apart from the bones, though no doubt originally with them, was an implement of gray flint, somewhat more than inches in length (Fig. 86). One of similar shape, but smaller, was found

FIG. 86. Blade of flint. With Burial No. 7. Oitico, Tcnn. (Full size.)

by us in the aboriginal cemetery on the Bradley Place, 1 Crittenden County, Ark. We have not been able to find other illustrations of mplements exactly like this one in publications relating to aboriginal work in stone. Dr. H. M. Whelpley of St. Louis, however, whose collection is so well known, tells us the specimen is not uncommon and that in his collection are a number similar in type.

Also out of place among the bones was an ear-plug of the pin-shape variety, made from the columella of a conch-shell and having a considerable knob at the head; and a small arrowpoint of flint.

Burial No. 8, partly flexed to the right, the head ESE., in a grave 2 feet in depth. Under the skull was some red pigment, red oxide of iron.

Burial No. 9, about one foot deep, had that part of the skeleton which is below the pelvis cut away by another grave. The head was directed SE. On the lower part of the thorax was a handsome celt of argillaceous, sedimentary rock somewhat exceeding 8 inches in length and plamly showing where the handle had been attached. Immediately on this implement lay a celt of iron or of steel, about 4 inches in length.

Several celts of this kind were found with burials at the Citico site, yet absolutely no other objects indicating contact with white people were present except four glass beads found with a comparatively superficial burial. One would expect in a site where the aborigines had been able to obtain iron from the whites that many other articles of European origin would be present. We were so impressed by this anomalous character of the deposits at this place thai though we realized the chances of having found celts of meteoric iron (which, as the reader knows, could have been made by the aborigines without
contact with whites) were small, we decided to have the matter definitely deter-

1 "Some Aboriginal Sites on Mississippi River," Fig. 44.


mined by submitting one of the celts to Harry F. Keller, Ph.D. (whose tests, especially in the case of copper, have aided us to such an extent in the past), with the request that an examination of the celt be made with a view of deter mining the possible presence of diamonds and nickel. Dr. Keller reports as follows :

"The iron blade shows no distinct crystalline structure when etched with dilute nitric acid or with iodine, and careful chemical tests show that the metal is free from foreign metals such as nickel, cobalt, and copper. A solution ob tained from several grams of the metal, after precipitating the iron, did not respond to that most delicate of reactions for nickel: the dimethylglyoxime test. There can be no doubt, therefore, that this iron is not of meteoric origin."

Here, then, we find the aborigines possessed of a number of blades of iron manufactured by the whites, and yet apparently having almost no other objects of European provenance.

Burial No. 10, in a grave 35 inches deep, was a skeleton partly flexed on the right, the head SE. At each side of the skull was an ear-plug of the pin-shape variety, about 6 inches in length. At the right of the cranium were the remains of a rattle consisting of the shell of a turtle or a tortoise, enclosing pebbles, and one valve of a large cockle (Cardium robustum), a marine shell. At the outer side of the left shoulder, grouped together, were: fragments of the shell of a turtle or a tortoise, with a number of small pebbles, mingled with which were some of the throat teeth of the fresh-water drum-fish (Aplodinotus grunniens), 1 which no doubt made an excellent substitute for pebbles; the penis-bone of some animal; 2 a bone piercing implement; nine musselshells (Lampsilis anodontoides) . On the upper part of the thorax was a gorget of shell with scalloped margin, much resembling one shown by Thruston 3 and by Holmes, 4 which has incised centrally a triskele. With the gorget was a shell bead .75 inch in length. In the space between the femora (which the reader may recall were drawn up) and the trunk was a bowl of earthenware, 6.5 inches in diameter, undecorated save for six small lugs projecting from the margin of the opening.

Burial No. 11. This skeleton, 22 inches down, heading SSE., lay on the back, the right thigh extended in line with the trunk, the left thigh slightly bent toward the right one. Both legs were flexed to an acute angle with the thighs; the left forearm was flexed closely on the humerus.

Burial No. 12. In a grave 3 feet deep lay a skeleton partly flexed to the right, the head NW. At each side of the cranium was an ear-plug of the pin- shape variety; small shell beads were at the neck and at the right wrist. At the right hand was an earthenware pipe badly crushed, which has since been restored (Fig. 87).

1 This variety of drum-fish frequents the Mississippi and its tributaries.

2 This bone went astray when submitted for identification.

3 Op. cit., Fig. 230.

4 "Art in Shell of the Ancient Americans," PI. LVI.


This interesting pipe is of a form characteristic of the Citico site. MKluire 1 shows a pipe somewhat like ours as coming from Caniden County, (Ja., mentions another from Blount County, Tenn and says they apparently establish quite an interesting conventional treatment of the beak of a bird.

At the upper end of the left femur were three discoidals of fine-grained, igneous rock, each about 1.5 inch in diameter. Six slender arrowpoints of flint lay near the knees.

Burial No. 13 had been somewhat disturbed by the plow, but there were clear indications that the bones had been partly flexed to the right, the head NNW. Near the skull was a celt 5.5 inches in length, which was presented to Mr. Gardenhire, the owner of the property.

Burial No. 14, partly flexed to the right, the

i i cidT-i i i ii i -L i 11 1 1(1 - s ~- Pipe f earthenware,

head bbE., had at the right shoulder a small, NVi(h Hui . iul No 12 ( , iti( . o T( ,, m

undecorated pot, a part of which had been (About full size.) plowed away.

Burial No. 15 consisted of remains of a skeleton somewhat disturbed but with parts in order. At the knees and neatly piled were twenty small arrowheads of flint, all triangular and all pointing the same way.

Burial No. 16, a child, the bones somewhat disturbed by an intersecting grave. With this burial were two discoidals of igneous rock, each about 1.25 inch in diameter.

Burial No. 17, about 2 feet deep, lay partly flexed to the right, head ESE. Under the lumbar region was a small flint arrowhead.

Burial No. 18, 32 inches deep, lay partly flexed 1o the right, the head SE. The left forearm was across the trunk. Under the skull and extending under the left shoulder and down the outer side of the humcrus were fifty-nine mussel- shells, badly decayed and broken. Some of these shells were perforated at one end for suspension, as doubtless all had been, but parts of some which would have testified as to the fact, were missing. On the thorax were eleven similar shells; there were five on the lower part of the trunk, and nineteen on the outer side of the right forearm.

Burial No. 19 was a disturbance. At the left of the skull lay an undecorated bowl badly crushed.

Burial No. 21, partly flexed to the left, head E. by S.; depth, 3 feet. Near the skull were two pebble-hammers.

Burial No. 22, partly flexed to the left, head NW. ; depth, 2 feet. At the neck were a number of marine shells (Marginella apicina) perforated for use as beads.

Joseph D. McGuire, "Pipes and Smoking Customs of the American Aborigines," Rep. U. S. Nat. Mus., 1897, Fig. 234.



Burial No. 23, partly flexed to the left, head NW. ; depth 14 inches. On the thorax lay a gorget of shell, the surface much decayed away in places, which had borne a conventionalized design of the rattlesnake. Gorgets better pre served than this one and likewise having the design of the rattlesnake, will be shown in connection with Burials Nos. 41 and 56.

Lying immediately on the gorget was a ceremonial axe of porphyry, 5 inches in length, of the "hoe-shaped " variety. 1 These axes, which have been extensively figured by others as well as by ourselves, often show where the handle has been placed on them. "We found, moreover, at Moundville, Ala., 2 a shell ornament showing one of these axes set in its handle.

The ceremonial axe, including the South American type, has been inter estingly discussed in the superb work of Vcrneau and Rivet."

Near these, but some little distance from the skeleton, were two undecorated shell gorgets which had perhaps belonged to a much-disturbed burial, parts of which were nearby. To the left of the pelvis, grouped together, were a small chisel of iron or of steel (see our description of Burial No. 9) ; a flat pebble of flint, 3 inches by 2 inches, much chipped at one end as by use; six small arrow heads, three leaf-shaped implements and two triangular, all of flint, ranging between 2.3 inches and 3.5 inches in length; also many flint fragments and chips.

Burial No. 24, partly flexed to the left, head NW., rested on Burial No. 23. On the lower part of the thorax was a celt which was given to Mr. Gardenhire.

Burial No. 26, partly flexed on the right, head SSE., both forearms closely flexed against the upper arms; depth, 2 feet 7 inches. Immediately on this burial were two slabs of cedar, each nearly 4 feet long and about 5 inches in width, which had been rudely split, not dressed like planks. On the left shoulder and extending down over the body were fragments of bones of lower animals. These fragments did not show decay and evidently had been broken intentionally. The following animals were represented, according to the identification of Dr. F. A. Lucas: raccoon, part of jaw; black bear, a large animal, parts of humerus and femur; Virginia deer, parts of vertebra?, foot-bones, shoulder-blade, etc.; wild turkey, upper part of tarsus; loon (Urinator imber} femur; soft-shelled turtle (Aspidonectes spinifer} cranium and shoulder-blade; Mississippi catfish (Amiurus lacustris) a big fellow, 75 to 100 pounds in weight, back of cranium.

On each side of the head was a shell ear-plug of the pin-shape variety, one of which had been moved slightly from the skull through some cause or another. Two similar ornaments lay side by side on the upper part of the thorax, the

1 C. B. Moore, "The so-called Hoc-shaped Implement," American Anthropologist, July-Sept.,

2 "Moundville Revisited," Journ. Acad. Nat. Sci. Phila., Vol. XIII, Fig. 99.

3 R. Vcrneau et P. Rivet. Ministcre de 1 Instruction Publiquc. Mission du Service Geog-