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|(Please remember that although this
article was published in 1909, it IS pure fiction, and has led many a fortune hunter to
frustration and despair!)
From the Phoenix Gazette April 5th, 1909
The latest news of the progress of the explorations of what is now
regarded by scientists as not only the oldest archeological discovery in the United
States, but one of the most valuable in the world, which was mentioned some time ago in
the Gazette, was brought to the city yesterday by G.E.
Kinkaid, the explorer who found the great underground citadel of the Grand Canyon during a
trip from Green River, Wyoming, down the Colorado, in a wooden boat, to Yuma, several
According to the story related to the Gazette by Mr. Kinkaid, the archaelogists of the
Smithsonian Institute, which is financing the expeditions, have made discoveries which
almost conclusively prove that the race which inhabited this mysterious cavern, hewn in
solid rock by human hands, was of oriental origin, possibly from Egypt, tracing back to
Ramses. If their theories are borne out by the translation of the tablets engraved with
heiroglyphics, the mystery of the prehistoric peoples of North America, their ancient
arts, who they were and whence they came, will be solved. Egypt and the Nile, and Arizona
and the Colorado will be linked by a historical chain running back to ages which staggers
the wildest fancy of the fictionist.
A Thorough Examination
Under the direction of Prof. S. A. Jordan, the Smithsonian Institute is now prosecuting
the most thorough explorations, which will be continued until the last link in the chain
is forged. Nearly a mile underground, about 1480 feet below the surface, the long main
passage has been delved into, to find another mammoth chamber from which radiates scores
of passageways, like the spokes of a wheel.
Several hundred rooms have been discovered, reached by passageways running from the main
passage, one of them having been explored for 854 feet and another 634 feet. The recent
finds include articles which have never been known as native to this country, and
doubtless they had their
origin in the orient. War weapons, copper instruments, sharp-edged and hard as steel,
indicate the high state of civilization reached by these strange people. So interested
have the scientists become that preparations are being made to equip the camp for
extensive studies, and the force will be increased to thirty or forty persons.
"Before going further into the cavern, better facilities for lighting will have to be
installed, for the darkness is dense and quite impenetrable for the average flashlight. In
order to avoid being lost, wires are being strung from the entrance to all passageways
leading directly to large chambers.
How far this cavern extends no one can guess, but it is now the belief of many that what
has already been explored is merely the "barracks", to use an American term, for
the soldiers, and that far into the under-world will be found the main communal dwellings
of the families. The perfect ventilation of the cavern, the steady draught that blows
through, indicates that it has another outlet to the surface.
Mr. Kinkaid's Report
Mr. Kinkaid was the first white child born in Idaho and has been an explorer and hunter
all his life, thirty years having been in the service of the Smithsonian Institute. Even
briefly recounted, his history sounds fabulous, almost grotesque.
"First, I would impress that the cavern is nearly inaccessible. The entrance is 1,486
feet down the sheer canyon wall. It is located on government land and no visitor will be
allowed there under penalty of trespass. The scientists wish to work unmolested, without
fear of archeological discoveries being disturbed by curio or relic hunters. A trip there
would be fruitless, and the
visitor would be sent on his way. The story of how I found the cavern has been related,
but in a paragraph: I was journeying down the Colorado river in a boat, alone, looking for
mineral. Some forty-two miles up the river from the El Tovar Crystal canyon, I saw on the
east wall, stains in the
sedimentary formation about 2,000 feet above the river bed. There was no trail to this
point, but I finally reached it with great difficulty. Above a shelf which hid it from
view from the river, was the mouth of the cave. There are steps leading from this entrance
some thirty yards to what was, at the time the cavern was inhabited, the level of the
river. When I saw the chisel marks on the wall inside the entrance, I became interested,
securing my gun and went in. During that trip I went back several hundred feet along the
main passage till I came to the crypt in which I discovered the mummies. One of these I
stood up and photographed by flashlight. I gathered a number of relics, which I carried
down the Colorado to Yuma, from whence I shipped them to Washington with details of the
discovery. Following this, the explorations were undertaken.
"The main passageway is about 12 feet wide, narrowing to nine feet toward the farther
end. About 57 feet from the entrance, the first side-passages branch off to the right and
left, along which, on both sides, are a number of rooms about the size of ordinary living
rooms of today, though some are 30 by 40 feet square. These are entered by oval-shaped
doors and are ventilated by round air spaces through the walls into the passages. The
walls are about three feet six inches in thickness.
The passages are chiseled or hewn as straight as could be laid out by an engineer. The
ceilings of many of the rooms converge to a center. The side-passages near the entrance
run at a sharp angle from the main hall, but toward the rear they gradually reach a right
angle in direction.
"Over a hundred feet from the entrance is the cross-hall, several hundred feet long,
in which are found the idol, or image, of the people's god, sitting cross-legged, with a
lotus flower or lily in each hand. The cast of the face is oriental, and the carving this
cavern. The idol almost resembles Buddha, though the scientists are not certain as to what
religious worship it represents. Taking into consideration everything found thus far, it
is possible that this worship most resembles the ancient people of Tibet.
Surrounding this idol are smaller images, some very beautiful in form; others
crooked-necked and distorted shapes, symbolical, probably, of good and evil. There are two
large cactus with protruding arms, one on each side of the dais on which the god squats.
All this is carved out of hard rock resembling marble. In the opposite corner of this
cross-hall were found tools of all descriptions, made of copper. These people undoubtedly
knew the lost art of hardening this metal, which has been sought by chemicals for
centureis without result. On a bench running around the workroom was
some charcoal and other material probably used in the process. There is also slag and
stuff similar to matte, showing that these ancients smelted ores, but so far no trace of
where or how this was done has been discovered, nor the origin of the ore.
"Among the other finds are vases or urns and cups of copper and gold, made very
artistic in design. The pottery work includes enameled ware and glazed vessels. Another
passageway leads to granaries such as are found in the oriental temples. They contain
seeds of varous kinds. One very large storehouse has not yet been entered, as it is twelve
feet high and can be reached only from above. Two copper hooks extend on the edge, which
indicates that some sort of ladder was attached. These granaries are rounded, as the
materials of which they are constructed, I think, is a very hard cement. A gray metal is
also found in this cavern, which puzzles the scientists, for its identity has not been
established. It resembles platinum. Strewn promiscuously over the floor everywhere are
what people call "cats eyse', a yellow stone of no great value. Each one is engraved
with the head of the Malay type.
"On all the urns, or walls over doorways, and tablets of stone which were found by
the image are the mysterious hieroglyphics, the key to which the Smithsonian Institute
hopes yet to discover. These writings resemble those on the rocks about this valley. The
engraving on the tablets probably has something to do with the religion of the people.
Similar hieroglyphics have been found in the penninsula of the Yucatan, but these are not
the same as those found in the Orient. Some believe these cave dwellers built the old
canals in the Salt River valley. Among the pictorial writings, only two animals are found.
One is of prehistoric type."
"The tomb or crypt in which the mummies were found is one of the largest of the
chambers, the walls slanting back at an angle of about 35 degrees. On these are tiers of
mummies, each one occupying a separate hewn shelf. At the head of each is a small bench,
on which is found copper cups and pieces of broken swords. Some of the mummies are covered
with clay, and all are wrapped in a bark fabric.
The urns or cups on the lower tiers are crude, while as the higher shelves are reached,
the urns are finer in design, showing a later stage of civilization. It is worthy of note
that all the mummies examined so far have proved to be male, no children or females being
buried here. This leads to
the belief that this exterior section was the warriors' barracks.
"Among the discoveries no bones of animals have been found, no skins, no clothing, no
bedding. Many of the rooms are bare but for water vessels. One room, about 40 by 700 feet,
was probably the main dining hall, for cooking utensils are found here. What these people
lived on is a problem,
though it is presumed that they came south in the winter and farmed in the valleys, going
back north in the summer.
Upwards of 50,000 people could have lived in the caverns comfortably. One theory is that
the present Indian tribes found in Arizona are descendants of the serfs or slaves of the
people which inhabited the cave. Undoubtedly a good many thousands of years before the
Christian era, a
people lived here which reached a high stage of civilization. The chronology of human
history is full of gaps. Professor Jordan is much enthused over the discoveries and
believes that the find will prove of incalculable value in archeological work.
"One thing I have not spoken of, may be of interest. There is one chamber of the
passageway to which is not ventilated, and when we approached it a deadly, snaky smell
struck us. Our light would not penetrate the gloom, and until stronger ones are available
we will not know what the chamber
contains. Some say snakes, but other boo-hoo this idea and think it may contain a deadly
gas or chemicals used by the ancients. No sounds are heard, but it smells snaky just the
same. The whole underground installation gives one of shaky nerves the creeps. The gloom
is like a weight on one's
shoulders, and our flashlights and candles only make the darkness blacker. Imagination can
revel in conjectures and ungodly daydreams back through the ages that have elapsed till
the mind reels dizzily in space."
An Indian Legend
In connection with this story, it is notable that among the Hopi Indians the tradition is
told that their ancestors once lived in an underworld in the Grand Canyon till dissension
arose between the good and the bad, the people of one heart and the people of two hearts.
Machetto, who was their chief, counseled them to leave the underworld, but there was no
way out. The chief then caused a tree to grow up and pierce the roof of the underworld,
and then the people of one heart climbed out. They tarried by Paisisvai (Red River), which
is the Colorado, and grew grain and corn.
They sent out a message to the Temple of the Sun, asking the blessing of peace, good will
and rain for people of one heart. That messenger never returned, but today at the Hopi
villages at sundown can be seen the old men of the tribe out on the housetops gazing
toward the sun, looking for the
messenger. When he returns, their lands and ancient dwelling place will be restored to
them. That is the tradition.
Among the engravings of animals in the cave is seen the image of a heart over the spot
where it is located. The legend was learned by W.E. Rollins, the artist, during a year
spent with the Hopi Indians.
There are two theories of the origin of the Egyptians. One is that they came from Asia;
another that the racial cradle was in the upper Nile region. Heeren, an Egyptologist,
believed in the Indian origin of the Egyptians. The discoveries in the Grand Canyon may
throw further light on human evolution and prehistoric ages.