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  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Map outlined on deer skin.

  • Ethnic name

  • Date

    • 1770 (circa)
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 126 centimetres
    • Width: 100 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    For additional comment on the map see pp 23-24 of:



    by George Ironstrack

    “From the Ashes” explores one chapter in the life of the Miami Indian village of Pinkwi Mihtohseeniaki, which was located along the banks Great Miami River near the current city of Piqua, Ohio. This thesis attempts to add new depth to our understanding of the village, which
    was settled in 1747 and purportedly depopulated in 1752, by centering the analysis on the local level. With an intense focus on the cultural and ecological landscapes of Pinkwi Mihtohseeniaki a more nuanced story surfaces. This one local story has the potential to transform our knowledge of the world of Miami-Illinois speaking peoples and the larger region of the Great Lakes in the eighteenth century.

    For an association of the map with John Caldwell, and of the 'HB' inscription with Heny Bird, and with an updated bibliography see:

    Carolyn Gilman, 'Mystery of the Indian Map. Decoding a distant time and culture' 'Gateway. The Magazine of the Missouri History Museum', St Louis, vol 28, 2008, pp 8-31.

    For the kind of speculator's town on the Ohio which the land speculators who owned and used maps of this type might have created see Chateaubriand's 1791 travels as recounted in Painter's biography:

    George D Painter Chateaubriand. London: Chatto and Windus, 1977, volume 1 1768-93.

    141-2. Scioto Land Company of NY sold 1m livres worth of lots on west bank of Ohio 1789 to Parisian investors – journalists said the agents were crooks. 500 prospective colonists set off from France, noblemen, makes of wigs carriages and jewellery sailed from Le Havre in February 1790 for Alexandria on the Potomac, thence across the mountains to their new city of Gallipolis on the Ohio. C didn’t know whether to despise them for wanting to build chateaux in the wilderness or admire them for their rational plans.

    201-2. Gallipolis: land did not belong to the settlers, the company defaulted, but they had built log cabins, pleasure garden on their ancient mound, gardens, 4 rows each of 20 cabins, provided flour, and hunters to get venison, for the first winter, luxury craftsmen did a roaring trade in home made watches sun dials etc. C ignored his countrymen in 1791 because he didn’t want to be reminded of the disappearance of the wilderness. Painter quotes C: ‘This region is beginning, in 1791, to be populated …. by certain of my unfortunate countryman fleeing before the first storms of the Revolution’.


  • Bibliography

    • King 2004 bibliographic details
    • MacGregor 2010 88 bibliographic details
    • King 1999 p.60 bibliographic details
    • King 1982 p.84 bibliographic details
  • Exhibition history


    1982-1987 Jun-Jan, Museum of Mankind, Thunderbird and Lightning: Indian Life in North America, 1600-1900 (as part of a loan from Stonyhurst College)
    1992 16 Nov-18 Dec, University of Essex; Mapping the Americas
    1999 25 Jun-2011 2 Mar, BM Room 26; Gallery of North America
    2010-2011, London, BM/BBC, 'A History of the World in 100 Objects'

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    The collection was purchased for £629,000 through the Heritage Lottery Fund (£479, 000); with contributions from B.M. Friends (£50, 000), J. P. Morgan Chase (£50,000), and National Arts Collections Fund (£50,000).

  • Department

    Africa, Oceania & the Americas

  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • 1825.16 (Stonyhurst College no.)
    • Am1977,Loan01.3


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Object reference number: ENA13480

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