Sunday, August 02, 2015

Interesting Blog (MI)

    I somehow stumbled upon this blog this morning {nailhed} and these following photos at this post { Just Like an Aborigine}.
   The blog author starts out saying, “When I started learning about the fabled, ancient aboriginal ruins that existed in northern Michigan, there was one in Negwegon State Park on Thunder Bay that I was especially interested in…More than any other place in the state perhaps, these ruins were harder for me to find than any other, and it in fact took me three separate attempts over the course of about eight years to finally achieve success. The first attempt was in 2007, another was in 2014, and finally in 2015 I spent the night camping in the woods there to make sure I didn't come back empty-handed again. Since the sites of the ruins are obviously both culturally and archaeologically sensitive, their location is not advertised openly by the DNR or the universities that have studied them, and with good reason. Therefore I had to read extremely carefully between the lines and use a lot of intuition and map analysis skill before having any idea where in the 3,738-acre preserve I should set out to look...By the same token, I will not disclose the whereabouts of the ruins in this post, other than to say that they are near the Alpena-Alcona county line. This is a 2,500-year-old archaeological treasure that has not been well studied yet, and does not need to be disturbed by idiots like us. For someone who writes about these places with a mind to spark people's interest in their home state, it is a challenge to walk the line between writing to inform and educate versus portraying them in too seductive a light, or portraying them in a way that could invite superficial tourism as opposed to respectful tourism.
   The last thing I need to do is help the fetish-oriented treasure hunters and arrowhead-diggers find another place to plunder. But by the same token if I were to keep these places totally secret and never talk about them at all, then I am taking away the opportunity for new people to be introduced to something that may spark their imagination and inspire them to learn more about our cultural heritage and history. If no one learns about old places and why they're valuable, if no one experiences the wonder of fading ruins, then our culture will continue to cheapen and hold superficial values instead of cherishing things like wilderness, and the subtle remnants of ancient cultures..."
      Skipping along to the Rock Pile part:
    "...I heard my partner exclaim that she saw something up ahead--piles of rock!"
 "Sure enough, here was what looked like a cairn:"

 And there's so much more, quite interesting, and yes I did send the blog author a link to Rock Piles...

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Bordeland State Park - 1st visit

I stepped into this woods from the southeast (there is a little parking area) and saw stuff immediately - although the topography is flat and not very promising. You walk in along a dirt road. On the right...
...a little curve of stones,
a split-wedged rock:
On the left, as soon as you come to a low place with water draining (southward) there are big messy piles that are adjacent to large pits that appear to be from sand/gravel quarrying for the road. The big piles look like discards:
But they are adjacent to smaller ones that really look closer to being ceremonial. Eventually, I convince myself that at least some of it might be ceremonial:
Is that internal structure in the larger piles?
Finally, I have no further doubts:
This cluster is within 60 yards of the entrance, on the left. 
Looks like structure to me:
More long messy berms:
More isolated piles, grouped within view of a nice small boulder:
Ceremonial with a backdrop of suburbia:
I am sure I just scratched the surface in this park. I never got to the higher land further west I had been planning on getting to. Saw too much stuff before that.

Yeah....that's structure:
[Blogging from Berkeley CA. I did not see the walls yesterday, although we went looking.]

SC Terraces

    "The first item of interest that we saw on our trek towards the waterfall was at the area I have labeled "Area With Rock Walls". We were in an area of fairly open forest, with the terrain heading gently, but steadily uphill, and saw an area with multiple rows of rock walls, each higher up the hillside than the one before. Andy counted eight different rows of walls. Perhaps a terraced garden in years past?"

     "More photos in my SmugMug Gallery. Also, be sure to check out Andy's set of photos, as he got some shots with really great perspectives on the waterfall..."  

Friday, July 31, 2015

Stones in South Carolina

"While hiking in the Sumter National Forest, I encountered several rock piles, cairns, caves, and monoliths, which a prudent person would consider to be of some archaeological value. In some cases I took pictures of them, as well as GPS waypoints. But I always left them untouched. Hiking and taking pictures in Sumter NF does not require a “permit."

 “A village and its surrounding territory were important elements of personal and collective identity, physical links in a chain binding a group to its past and making a locality sacred. Colonists, convinced that Indians were by nature "a shifting, wandring People," were oblivious to this, but Lawson offered a glimpse of the reasons for native attachment to a particular locale. "In our way," he wrote on leaving an Eno-Shakori town in 170I, "there stood a great Stone about the Size of a large Oven, and hollow; this the Indians took great Notice of, putting some Tobacco into the Concavity, and spitting after it. I ask'd them the Reason of their so doing, but they made me no Answer." (22) Natives throughout the interior honored similar places-graves of ancestors, monuments of stones commemorating important events-that could not be left behind without some cost (23)…”
The Indians' New World: The Catawba Experience ~ James H. Merrell

Foot note 22: Lawson, New Voyage, ed. Lefler, 57. { }
Foot note 23 (stone monuments): Edward Bland, "The Discovery of New Brittaine, i650," in Alexander S. Salley, ed., Narratives of Early Carolina, I650-1708 (New York, i9iI), I3-I4; William P. Cumming, ed., The Discoveries of John Lederer ... (Charlottesville, Va., I958), I2, I7, I9-20; John Banister, "Of the Natives," in Joseph Ewan and Nesta Ewan, eds.,John Banister and His Natural History of Virginia, I678-I692 (Urbana, Ill., I970), 377; William J. Hinke, trans. and ed., "Report of the Journey of Francis Louis Michel from Berne, Switzerland, to Virginia, October 2, I70i-December i, I702," Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, XXIV (i9i6), 29; Lawson, New Voyage, ed. Lefler, so; David I. Bushnell, Jr., "'The Indian Grave'-a Monacan Site in Albemarle County, Virginia," WMQ, ist Ser., XXIII (I9I4), io6- I I2. 2
Lawson Text also includes this: (Page 44: The Marble here is of different Colours, some or other of the Rocks representing most Mixtures, but chiefly the white having black and blue Veins in it, and some that are red. This day, we met with seven heaps of Stones, being the Monuments of seven Indians, that were slain in that place by the S'nnagers, or Iroquois. Our Indian Guide added a Stone to each heap…)
(Page 213: “Then the Doctor proceeded to tell a long Tale of a great Rattle-Snake, which, a great while ago, liv'd by a Creek in that River (which was Neus) and that it kill'd abundance of Indians; but at last, a bald Eagle kill'd it, and they were rid of a Serpent, that us'd to devour whole Canoes full of Indians, at a time.)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Prettiest "Field Clearing" piles ever

Borderland State Park - southeastern corner:
From the field side:
The soil here is mostly cobbles and apparently rather uniform in size. Otherwise I would think such nice piles made from uniform sized rocks would have had to have a reason beyond the need to discard rocks.

Stone in a Guilford (Menunkatuck) CT History

    “Concerning the Indians who dwelt upon this (tract of land that became Guilford CT) nothing certain is known. A stone with a human head and neck roughly carved, now lying in a fence half a mile northeast of Madison meeting-house, is supposed to have been used by them as an Idol…”
     (Unsure if this is one recorded by Stiles)
   “The first settlers of this town were adventurers from Surry and Kent near London, and, unlike their mercantile brethren who peopled New Haven, were mostly farmers. They had not a merchant among them and scarcely a mechanic… The places where most of the original settlers first located themselves are now known. The noted Stone house of Mr. Whitfield, said to have been built in 1639, erected both for the accommodation of his family and as a fortification for the protection of the inhabitants against the Indians, is supposed to be the oldest dwelling-house now standing in the United States… It occupies a rising ground overlooking the great plain south of the village and commanding a very fine prospect of the sound… According to tradition the stone, of which this house was built, was brought by the Indians on hand-barrows, across the swamp, from Griswold's rocks, a ledge about eighty rods east of the house, and an ancient causeway across the swamp is shown as the path employed for this purpose…”
   (Hints at Indigenous Stone Building Skills, including quarrying, transporting and building structures such as a house - and an elevated Causeway through a swamp.)
   “Guilford harbor affords but an indifferent station for vessels. It has six feet of water on the bar at its entrance at low, and twelve feet at full tide. On the flats adjacent round and long clams of a very superior quality are taken by the inhabitants, and Guilford oysters, taken from the channel of East river, are noted as among the best in Connecticut. Their flavor is peculiarly agreeable and readily recognized by the epicure. They are, however, taken in but small quantities and held at a high price.”
     (This is where the Chaffinch Stone Weir is located – and makes one ponder if another purpose of the stones was to create a Clam Garden.)
     And of course Stone Heaps or Rock Piles mentioned in Treaties or Land Deeds:
    “Whereas, as the General Court of Connecticut have formerly granted unto the proprietors, inhabitants of the town of Guilford, all those lands both meadow and upland within these abutments viz. at the sea on the south and on Branford bounds on the west, and beginning at the sea by a heap of stones at the root of a marked tree near Lawrence's meadow and so runs to the head of the cove to a heap of stones there, and thence to a heap of stones lying on the west side of Crooper hill at the old path by the brook, and thence northerly to a place commonly called piping tree to a heap of stone lying at the new path, and from thence to a heap of stones lying at the east end of that which was commonly called Rosses meadow, and from thence to a heap of stones lying at the south end of Pesuckapaug pond, and so runs into the pond a considerable way to the extent of their north bounds which is from the sea ten miles, and it abuts on the wilderness…”
The History of Guilford, Connecticut: From Its First Settlement in 1639
 By Ralph Dunning Smith (1877)

Please note that this is a short "stone focused" version of something I gleaned from an 1877 History of Guilford (Menunkatuck) CT and, if you don't care to slog through the History, you can peek at the longer version I posted over on Waking Up on Turtle Island this morning, where I include all sorts of references to Cultural Landscape Clues:

Monday, July 27, 2015

Patch Hill Equinox Revisited

From Reader Russell M.:
This weekend I went back to Patch Hill looking for evidence of additional sighting stones. I placed a small orange cone on the proposed equinox stone. As I walked around small piles nothing struck me until I went farther back.  About 30 yards behind the stone is a stone row. The row runs parallel with the flat side of the marker stone. The wall has three very distinct platforms built into it. There about 8 or 9 peaks in the stone row. In the past I have photographed both the platforms and peaks.
When I got behind the wall it became clear that the marker stone could be seen from every peak. One of the peaks was directly behind the stone much like my orientation on the day of the equinox. 
But for the 2nd and 3rd growth reforestation it can also be seen from all the platforms. My guess is that it might have more celestial relevance than previous thought. Someone one with better orienteering skills than I might want to take a peek. Below you will find pictures of most of the peaks, the medium platform, and images that try to capture the orange cone as best my phone camera allows.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Strange rock pile from Woodbridge CT

From a reader in CT:
I am curious as to what the story is behind this rock pile in Woodbridge, CT.  The location is at the corner of Schroeder Terrace and route 63.  You can see the location on Google Maps at,+CT/@41.344537,-72.985604,17z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x89e7dbf9d23cf7df:0xc3970065bcfa4cf0
Any idea what this is all about?