Artifacts & Documents: Maps

Hitchcock's 1817 Map of the Connecticut River Valley

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William Maclure made a geological map of what then constituted the United States in 1809, updated in 1817, but it covered a large area and had not nearly the detail of this map by Edward Hitchcock, which is the earliest detailed geological map of an American region. It accompanied Hitchcock’s article, “Remarks on the Geology and Mineralogy of a Section of Massachusetts on Connecticut River, with a Part of New-Hampshire and Vermont,” published in the American Journal of Science in 1819. Included is a profile of the rock strata from Hoosac Mountain to a point eleven miles east of the Connecticut River. In the article, Hitchcock notes some interesting anthropological discoveries made in the Deerfield area:

"The plain on which the village of Deerfield stands, with the adjoining meadows, is sunk 50 or 60 feet below the general alluvial tract, and was undoubtedly the bed of a pond, or small lake. . . . On digging below the surface, stones are found calcified by fire. These are probably the spots where Indian wigwams formerly stood. Many vestiges of the aboriginals are frequently found in Deerfield, such as beads, stone pots, mortars, pipes, axes, and the barbs of arrows and pikes. . . . In the meadows, logs, leaves, butternuts, and walnuts are found undecayed, 15 feet below the surface; and stumps of trees are observed at that depth, standing yet firmly where once they grew. In the same meadows, a few years since, several toads were dug up from 15 feet below the surface, and three feet in gravel. They soon recovered from a torpid state and hopped away [pp. 107–108]."

37 x 18 cm
paper, ink
Courtesy of:
American Journal of Science