Friday, April 17, 2015

Miscellaneous isolated stone structures from northwest Upton

Some isolated finds from the previous two weekends: 
Number 1
This was on my way to the upper Miscoe site.

Number 2
These were on my way back from there:
Number 3
A pair of structures:

This was on my way back from the hillside site of this report from northwest Upton. I climbed to the highpoint of water and started into the outcrops framing the ridge. This was on the right:
 This was on the left:
 A closer look:

Recently announced stone architecture complex in Chambers County, Alabama to be described at April 19, 2015 lecture

Via "The People of One Fire" [click here] With this sort of "official" awareness growing in southern states, I hope it will gain traction up here in the northeast. But when will a major academic archeology publication ever publish a significant article on our stonework?

North Street Upton along Warren Brook - on the way to a walk

Driving along, I see woods and think: "I would be surprised if there were no rock piles right in there behind the saplings." On North Street, everywhere you have that impulse, it is correct. Not sure of the exact locations, the red outlines are approximate positions of several different sites I saw along there, all with features quite similar to Miscoe Brook and other sites from further up the road.
Taking a quick look behind the saplings at the southernmost location, along Warren Brook:

 Note the hint of rectangular:

A bit up the road:

 Some quartz:
A larger quartz boulder in a broken down linear structure:

 view southeast back towards the road
view north with brook to the left:

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Headwaters of Miscoe Brook - northwestern Upton

Some sites are more poignant than others. Often, as with the previous site report, you find a whole collection of rock piles without any evidence of an overall architecture - possibly because it is many sites grouped together with no clearly defined entities to grasp mentally. Or perhaps with too many old and decrepit piles that are blurry and leave no clear impression. Other times you have a mixture of different kinds of rock piles, each in its place, within a reasonably small area, creating a sense of overall site architecture that can be understood. Perhaps this is why some sites are more attractive and leave a lasting impression. Perhaps it is the place itself. These are the sites I would most recommend visiting.
At the headwaters of Miscoe Brook is one such site, occupying a flat bench next to the brook, containing a single boulder with a well built rock pile on top; surrounded by several smeared-out, semi-rectangular, larger mounds. It looks like a burial ground to me. 
I found the site by planning a traverse west from the parking spot on North Street (next to the Mass Pike). I had a map ready with several specific destinations marked in that direction: every summit, every saddle, and every brook. But I forgot the map at home and basically cut west following the highway for a while, then went southwest for a while. I did not see anything and when I came to a brook, following it downhill seemed like a good idea. [Later, at home I see my planned trail would have crossed the site.] Anyway, I was stumbling along and saw this, across the brook:
[Click to enlarge and you'll see a pile on a boulder.]. Let's have a closer look:
See the larger smeared mounds in the background? Looking back from one slightly upstream:
Looking back from another:
I could not make anything out of the smeared structures. Perhaps cleaned of debris they would be easier to see. There were others, even more broken down, on the downstream side of the boulder:
This bench by the brook creates a strong sense of place and site layout.  

Not much more to see. I few smaller ones downstream around the bend:
A few uphill in a small cluster:
I poked around a little more downstream, and across the brook, and found a little more.
A linear mound (remember the large mound at the top of the site in the previous report?):
Some nice piles.
The place made me sad.

Nolumbeka Project - May 2 River Walk

For Immediate Release:
River Walk: Native American History
Saturday, May 2, 2015; 10am-12pm
Turners Falls, MA
Diane Dix

Join the Nolumbeka Project and Connecticut River Watershed Council to learn about 10,000 years of Native American presence near the Great Falls. Learn from and speak to experts in the Native American history of this area, culminating in the Turners Falls massacre during King Phillips War in 1676. Meet at 10 a.m. the Unity Park/bike path gravel parking area on 1st  St.  in Turners Falls. It involves leisurely walking along paved bike path for 1-1.5 miles. Accessible to all; dogs on leashes welcome. Free (donations appreciated).

The guides will be Nolumbeka Project Board members David Brule, Howard Clark, and Joe Graveline.  Collectively they share about one hundred years of information reconstructed through research, observations, insight, education, explorations, field work and associations, which illuminates the little known history of the early Native American culture of the Northeast. All three work closely with the Narragansett Indian Tribal Historic Preservation Office and monitor local Native American/American Indian sacred sites
Brule, of Narragansett and Nehantic descent, is the coordinator of the newly awarded National Park Service Battlefield Protection Program whose goal is to identify the likely locations of the King Phillip’s War (1675-76) Peskeomskut (Turners Falls) Battlefield and associated sites, including the Native American community Peskeomskut-Wissatinnewag. This is in partnership with an archaeologist, town historic commissions, and members of four New England tribes.

Clark has Cherokee roots and his extensive research into the Native history of this area revealed the prime importance of Great Falls as a gathering place for many Northeastern tribes during the fish runs.  The Great Falls Massacre on May 19, 1676 was a turning point in the King Philip’s War. Clark was instrumental in securing protection for the land across the river, Wissatinnewag, and was a signer of the Reconciliation Agreement between the Town of Turners Falls and the Narragansett tribe at Unity Park on May 19, 2004.

Graveline, Nolumbeka Project president, is descended from Cherokee and Abenaki and began learning about the native culture from his mother at a young age. He specializes in presenting the unrepresented Indian side of American history.  He was one of the organizers of the Reconciliation Agreement; and of the Peoples Harvest Native American cultural celebration that took place on the Banks of the Connecticut River in Gill, MA in 2005 and 2006.

 Although the river has gone through many changes the history remains and much will be revealed and explained during the walk. The guides will also offer a “geological primer” and give an overview of 345 million years history how the land was formed. Early May is a prime time for this event, before the leaves fully cover the trees. From across the river the serpentine trails down the hill from the Wissatinnewag land to the fishing stations below will still be visible.A map will be provided to help identify some of these features during the walk.  Binoculars might be helpful, not just to see the sights but there will likely be migrating waterfowl and the occasional eagle.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Northwest Upton

I took a couple walks in northwestern Upton over the last couple of weekends. Upton is a town that "rarely disappoints", and the northwestern part is full of nice open woods. On both walks I parked on North Str. adjacent to the Mass Pike. First out, I went east and south (later I went west and south) across a hill down into a valley and then along the slopes of the hill that drains into the valley (right hand blue outline).
At first I spotted a suspicious "linear" pile that was too slight to count as a stone wall. I could see the rocks melting out of the snow:
So then I started looking around more carefully. Here was another pile, a few steps across the slope:
 Worth taking a closer look. There is a hint of the rectangular outline - in the small.
Then I looked some more and found more. First day of finding rock piles after a slow winter, I was taking it all in but not seeing many details. Mostly these are pretty decrepit piles.
First a few piles in a bend of the brook. On one side of the brook they were evenly spaced:
Here the brook curves around the left side of the picture. The piles are the large brown, melted out spots, curving off into the background, in the same way as the brook. 
When I find piles that are evenly spaced ("marker piles") I look for something larger nearby. At first my attention went to the stone wall cutting off this bend of land and brook. It was wide here, with some holes in the surface:
And look how it goes from being a single course of rocks to a wider section - just while passing this bend in the brook. Seems relevant.
Later I found a different "something larger nearby", which was a solitary larger pile across the brook, and facing this site a few feet away. I think this is it (looking past it, downhill):
I continued to explore the slope, there was lots more to be found. Numerous piles of the slightly larger dimension:

And many piles along the brook:
One thing I was hoping for was a larger mound. I was content with the thickened wall and the larger pile across from the marker piles but I always like the big finds. I finally found one large mound, at the highpoint of the site:
A magnificent pile to crown it all. 
After that it was a bit more looking around, here is an interesting feature.
There were actually two piles in the "elbow" of this L-shaped bit of wall. And then back down the brook and heading for home.
Not used to seeing things this close to the brook:
A good day at the beginning of the season: