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6’6″ In death, Phoenix


An Arizona Farmer Digs Up a Prehistoric Man.

From The Phoenix (Arizona) Gazette.

J. A. Hansford, a well-to-do farmer living three and a half miles east of Phoenix, recently found the skeleton of an Aztec, a prehistoric man, one of the citizens who peopled this valley centuries ago and placed it under a high state of cultivation, built cities, dug canals, and leveled the surface of the valley.

The discovery came by accident and was decidedly unexpected. Mr. Hansford was plowing, and he encountered a spot where the earth would not yield to the steel plowshare. As water is the element employed in such cases, a stream was turned on, but still the ground would not plow. Like a good farmer, determined to make the spot yield, he tried a mattock and began to dig the stubborn earth or cement. Presently something gave way, and soon a subterranean cavity was disclosed. This proved to be a room with walls of adobe. When this was cleared out, a soft spot was found in the cement floor about six feet from the fireplace. Following this to a depth of two and a half feet, a human skeleton in perfect state of preservation, with teeth as natural as life, was disclosed.

The skeleton is six feet six inches in length, strong, with a skull of regular shape and considerably above that of the average human being. Near the skeleton was a pretty drinking cup, evidently left by the remains to follow the custom that prevailed with the mound-builders through the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys.

Mr. Hansford did not care for the skeleton, so he reburied it, but a Phoenix man was soon out, and he secured the trophy. The sepulchre or room was evidently the living apartment at one time of the dead man, as there were a fireplace and other evidences of home life.

In the vicinity of Phoenix, there are many evidences of old ruins; in fact, a part, if not all the City of Phoenix, stands on the ruins of a buried city and a fallen empire.

  1. The New York Times, Published: March 22, 1896, Copyright © The New York Times

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