Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Certain Pile of Rocks called Wawanaquasick (MA)

(and an unclear reference to a Split Rock)

    “Tataemshatt’s son, Catharickseet, was also a sachem of Taconic. His name appeared on several deeds. He was heavily relied on as a witness who remembered the boundaries of the Livingston Patent. He identified a certain pile of rocks, called Wawanaquasick, whose location was in dispute. Later on, in court testimony, Joseph Van Gelder, John’s son, spoke about this pile of rocks (Dunn 2000:89-96; NYHS 1768). Joseph said Nannahaken, Skaunnop, Poniote, and Umpachene (all Mohican leaders) had told him about the rocks…
… According to son Joseph Van Gelder, “his Fathers Land was near the flat Rock, the Rock fifty or sixty Rods to the East of his Fathers Land” (NYHS 1768). The rock Joseph speaks of could well be a large formation located west of the village of Great Barrington, Massachusetts, between a road called the West Sheffield Road and the Green River at the base of a hill thought to have been used as a look-out by the Mohicans. It is also near the Big Springs area.
A petition of February 8, 1743, by Samuel Winchell, Sr., as well as surveys in the Proprietors’ Records for neighbors James Saxton and Samuel Winchell, Sr., support the location (MA 46: f. 152). In addition, the vestiges of an old farm road that led from the area to South Egremont can still be seen. The age of the road is unknown, but it could have originated with the eighteenth century inhabitants, or even with the Mohicans themselves. West of South Egremont lay good hunting land. John Van Gelder’s land most likely lay directly west of the rock. (See Map of Karner and Van Gelder lands, Figure 10.3.)”
{Debra Winchell: The Impact of John Van Gelder, Mohican, Husbandman, and Historical Figure Page 130 - 133} included in: 
Post Script:
Another photo includes a stone retaining wall that I thought Curt might be interested in as historic and  possibly Indigenous:

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Another day another rock pile site

I am weary of reporting sites. Comments are so rare it is not clear that anyone even reads the reports and there is no indication that the particulars of a place are of interest to readers. So I am going to report highlights and pass along the best photos I can. As much as anything, I guess this is for me to come back later and remember. I hope to spend my final years revisiting these places in my mind and remembering the smell of the hay scented ferns. So here is another. 
I have been to Wolf Swamp in Boxborough and the hill south of Holiday Inn many times. I thought of a new angle I could take and set out. Beyond where Konstantin Bykhovsky died and on to the southern entrance. Going in from there I angled as far left (west) as I could, staying behind the houses. I tried to follow the water's edge and on the way back I tracked a bit further up hill. Finally amidst the endless, featureless, expanse of saplings, I found a few old piles - barely worth mentioning. I actually found two clusters of rock piles. When I got home to put dots on my Hudson Quadrangle map, it was gratifying to see one of the dots was already there. So I added a new one.
In that valley between the two dots was some interesting stone wall features. Almost impossible to photo in the dappled light:
It is a rectangular extra, next to the wall as it comes up to a boulder and takes a break.
Rocks, visible above ground, led off in an alignment from this place.
Then, this sort of low pile (I think this is a marker pile site):
A number of piles like this, suggesting something sort of circular with one larger rock:
Here is another:
And another:
One more:

Monday, May 18, 2015

More Nature than Archeology

A couple of weekend walks netted more flowers than rock piles. 
Here are the flowers:
violets and cinquefoil:
 Early lady slipper:
 I forget the name:

...and some beasts:
a newt:
A [box or blandings] turtle:

I thought is would be easy to come home and look up "Massachusetts turtles" but no picture in Google shows a turtle with so little yellow on the back. Some photos of Blanding's Turtle show a smooth shell like a typical terrapin (painted or spotted turtle). Others show a corrugated shell, as in the first photo above. 
Seems a lot like this but how do I know if that is correctly identified? Searching on the appearance of the belly plates, seems like my find is clearly a Blandings turtle. Rather rare. Found near Wolf Swamp, Boxborough.
(Update: I asked a local expert if it was a Blandings Turtle. He wrote back:
"Yes!  Nice find.  That's a juvenile, looks to be about 9 years old (counting growth rings).")

Also these beaver stumps:

Friday, May 15, 2015

Holliston Reporter describes Waksman talk

A description of my talk in Holliston [here].

Outlet of Rocky Pond - Hollis NH

Just a quick note. I went back to explore the Birch Hill/Rocky Pond area where I have been before [click here] and discovered more piles in one location where previously I saw a few tumbled down rectangles.
This time I realized the place is more extensive with a very nice small rectangular mound on the high points and several very descrepit walls leading to a vernal pond with an artificial outlet - all surrounded by small and broken piles. But the nicest one I saw was a treat:
 another angle:
 another angle:
It had outliers in several directions:

A couple others:

 Note the small rock to the right in this one:
and the "headstone" at the other end of the pile:
Norman frequently comments about 'Manitou Stones' leaning up against a rock pile this way.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


Another site on EMC Land north of Gillmore Rd in Southborough

You can see earlier posts about this hill here. I took a quick walk there and decided to examine a more western part of the hill. Rock piles as soon as you enter the woods.
For example:

See the rocks in the background?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Gillmore Rd in the background

Part of a large area owned by EMC (is, or was, at risk because of their planned expansion):

Walkup and Robinson Memorial - Sudbury Valley Trustees

I want to blog an extremely minor find on a hill in a conservation land whose signage indicated it was the Sudbury Valley Trustees Land. But I got turned around and I cannot figure where the heck was this conservation land. Nothing matches the map. I followed Flanders Rd. Saw Gillmore Rd to the side, went under the Mass Pike and didn't see another familiar feature. That was it. So I can only say this was about 1/2 mile from the 495 Mass Pike crossing - I cannot tell in what direction from there.

To cut to the chase, there was a noticeable structure on top of the hill:
 Note the outlier in the foreground:
But what caught my eye later was a possible 2nd one. It was even harder to see than this first one so I skipped it, until an adjacent feature caught my eye. Probably the smallest split-wedged rock I have seen:
The other things are too hard to see to be worth passing along. Mention in passing that this little "wedge" is white feldspar. It is indeed rare for the wedge to be white and, at the risk of projecting, I am going to say I think this rock had a friendly little spirit in it.

Interesting stone pile in Pachaug (not the hoax site)

From reader Steven C.

I "accidentally" found a stone pile in Pachaug State Forest a number of years back. I finally found it again today after years of looking for it, this time I was able to get some GPS coords. This is in the Voluntown, CT area.

I hadn't seen it listed on your blog, so I'm passing it on in case you're interested. I do not believe this to be the "Pachaug Hoax" site.

 Location: N 41.617426, E -71.857484
Easiest to get here by entering Gardner road from Rt 49.

What I found very interesting when looking at it from Google Maps, is that it appears to be dead-center between a brook and a stream that join just south of it, and it's exactly at the southern tip of an evergreen tree stand that starts as a point in this location, and broadens as it goes north.

I'm also including a few other photos from a different location in the park. I can't tell if this is man made, a natural formation, or some accidental happenstance that occurred while perhaps blasting the road through the area.

Location: N 41.594012, E -71.898799
Easiest to get to this location from "Trail 2" off of Rt 201 in Griswold.

This is one very large stone that's been split, with another large but narrow stone cradled in the split, and another large and narrow stone sitting on top of that one. The two narrow stones are pointing the same direction. Looking at it in a certain way, I believe it could appear to look like a turtle (carrying something on its shell.) This could be a bit of a stretch I suppose, but I've seen others mention the "turtle" representations, and I know from my tribal history that we believed we lived on the back of the "Grandfather Turtle". I just can't for the life of me figure out how they could have lifted these all together.

I believe all three stones are of a different type of material, although the top and bottom might be the same. Looking back at the pics I took, the top one looks like it's a composite with rose quartz in it.

I wish I could have stayed around to do a more thorough investigation of both areas, but I had my dog with me and he was overheating bit and I also didn't want to bring attention to these areas- you never know who's going to vandalize something "interesting".