The Giants of Doddridge County: Burials of a Vanished Race – Part I
“The body had evidently been placed in a sitting position on a large flat rock with the legs extended toward the large mound. Skull, chest, and pelvic bones were in one mass on top of the rock. The leg and foot bones extended beyond the rock in the direction of the larger mound.”
Interestingly, Sutton notes that even though no “artifacts or articles of adornment were found with the skeletal remains”, he and his assistant, Page Lockard, felt that the burial was “very unusual”, and that “the person who had been buried here was of more than average importance.”
Page Lockard himself seems to have had great interest in this particular skeleton:
“Mr. Lockard collected the bones and took them home with him.”
Sutton later removed the large stone upon which the skeleton was found, uncovering four cache blades, pipe fragments, a bone awl, flint scraper, black arrowhead, and a bluish gray banner stone broken in two.
Significantly, a comparative study reveals that the newspaper accounts, published 29 years before Sutton’s own document, were almost perfectly accurate in their details.
For example, the Clarksburg Daily Exponent notes that the first evidence of burial in the Zahn-Maxwell mound was “charcoal lumps and some evidence of burnt bone” found in an excavation trench from the east side of the mound.
Artifacts from Doddridge County Mounds in Sutton Report, courtesy authors.
Sutton himself describes the same area containing “dark organic material” and “bits of ashes and charcoal”.
The Exponent also mentions that “the entire mound had been covered by loose rocks”, while Sutton states that the “mound was covered with a good protective layer of rock, sandstone, of varying sizes”.
The Exponent describes the sandstone disk as three inches (7.6 centimeters) in diameter, with Sutton’s report giving the same diameter and a thickness of 3/16ths of an inch (0.48 centimeters). The Exponent even accurately describes the artifacts discovered by Sutton beneath the large stone platform in the Zahn Mound:
“…beneath the large rock upon which he (the burial) sat were buried his pipe, banner stone, arrow heads, spear points, and other instruments chipped from flint rocks.”
Sealed in Clay
Regarding the body being “hermetically sealed”, the Exponent suggests that the body had been “covered and sealed” in clay which was then heated in a process during which were “many different applications of clay and many different bakings,” which mirrors Sutton’s own interpretation that “the body had been encased in the puddled clay and then the clay baked or heated”.
The Charleston Gazette mentions that this skeleton, “enclosed in a casting of clay” was the “best preserved” in the mound, “with all the vertebrae and other bones excepting the skull” intact. This matches Sutton’s description of the burial, mentioning that “this was the first complete skeleton found, and that the “skull of this skeleton still remains in the mound”.
The purpose of this digression is to illustrate that in this rare instance, the accuracy of a newspaper account of mound excavations can be discerned by cross reference with the actual work of the excavator. The data presented by the two press articles is of near accuracy in regards to those features also described by Sutton himself, except for some discrepancies in mound size. This is in stark contradiction to the assumptions of critics of giantology who frequently attribute the claims of the press relating to excavations in the 19th and 20th centuries to pure sensationalism.
One crucial element missing from Ernest Sutton’s report are the measurements of skeletons. However, there is evidence between the two newspaper accounts and Sutton’s report that would suggest that the claims of gigantic skeletons were also accurate. Both the Exponent and the Gazette attribute one gigantic frame to the Zahn-Maxwell mound (Do-2). The discrepancy is that the Exponent claims the “seven feet, six inches tall” skeleton was found near the center of the mound, while the Gazette mentions that it was the clay casted skeleton which was “seven and a half feet tall”. Since both articles, and Sutton himself, note that this clay casted burial was the best-preserved skeleton in the mound, we submit that this could have represented one of the two giants supposedly found on site.
The only other skeleton from the site with remains sufficiently intact for measurement, according to Sutton, would be the single burial in the stone chamber from the Zahn Mound (Do-1). Since the press reports unanimously attributed the 7.6-foot-tall skeleton to the Zahn-Maxwell Mound (Do-2), it would stand to reason that the single burial from the Zahn Mound (Do-1) was the source for the nine-foot tall skeleton reported by both the Exponent and the Gazette. Could the extraordinary size of this skeleton have been the reason why Page Lockard took it away?