Friday, September 29, 2006
Thursday, September 28, 2006
At the edge of one vernal pond, I saw a larger complex rock pile that at first looked like a robot warrior. Don't know if this photo captures that look: A funny V-shaped head (upper most rock) with a careful chin placement, with bulky shoulders.
I tried to clean this up and kept finding more rocks until I had uncovered something 8 feet across. In this next photo, the "head" is above and right of center. But note the two extreme left and right rocks: each at the tip of a protrusion of rocks from the main "body". thought I saw a figure in this, what do you think? One feature that does not come through in the photo is a vertical flake of rock, a wee bit left of center in the photo. I wondered if this might represent a phallus. It is in approximately the correct position with respect to the head; but I couldn't make a good case for their being balls. I try to sketch the thing:
Don't know if anything is to be made of this. Several other rock piles are placed like this one: on the southeastern edge of a vernal pond. The most interesting thing about this pile was that, as I dug it out, I found a solid layer of charcoal on top of the pile and underneath the duff. I saved some in case a carbon dating opportunity presents itself. So this suggest that sometimes a fire would be lit on top of a rock pile.
Today I would be more hesitant to think this is a figure, and I would check to see if there was charcoal under the duff beyond and outside of the rock pile.
About a month later, I went back to the vernal pond and one of the brooks that drains it and photo'd a pile which seemed rather symmetric.
It looked a bit like this and had a vertical flake.
Re-reading the text above about the robot warrior and its vertical flake, it is surprising I did not notice the same structure in this other pile.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
"Another Indian sign was a little heap of stones, meaning "We camped here because one of us was sick." This originated in the hot stones used for making steam in the vapor bath that is so much favored by the Indian doctors."
Please bear in mind that this is only one documented function of rock piles and is very unlikely to apply to places where there are numerous structured piles. But it does apply sometimes so it is worth looking for rock piles made entirely from burnt rocks.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Be that as it may, the idea that the upper rock might be deliberately shaped makes sense. In this next example it is very hard to imagine that the person making this structure did not notice the shape of the rock.This looks like a bird. Maybe the off-center Manitou stones shape represents a bird too.
There are lots of examples of rock-on-rock structures where the upper rock is a simple block or is made of a nice veined material. There is no reason to think the shape is important. Sometimes rock-on-rocks seem to line up and shape would play no obvious role in that function. So I do not think there is any deliberate shaping going on most of the time. But it is worth paying a little attention to when examining a rock-on-rock.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Three new photos from Bob Miner reveal a little bit more of the area surrounding the impressive platform cairn. If these areas look free from undergrowth there's a very good reason -- Bob's livestock has regularly grazed here. Above shows a few small piles built on boulders. A section of stone wall is visible in the back left.
Above is a view of the platform cairn across a stone wall and through the trees.
The above is the platform cairn itself. A probable niche built into the structure is visible at the base on the left -- one of several possible niches in the structure.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
I have done some figure carving and it is not easy to do, especially not with an axe. This figure is the work of someone who knew how to use an axe and someone comfortable out in the woods. I do not think it is "new age" and, since this blog is a story about hidden activities of the Native Americans, I am only too happy to assume the figure is a ceremonial item, like the site nearby. This figure did remind me of the wooden effigies mentiond in Manitou on page 341.
As for the age of this, I should have payed much closer attention to the wood. Is it oak or is it cedar? Oak can rot away in ten to twenty years. Cedar could last more than fifty years. So there is not that good a date estimate for when the figure was carved. But we can agree it is not very old. Glad I got to see it before it is gone. It was tempted to steal it - a Katchina doll from Sterling. But it is fine where it is, doing its job of watching over the valley.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Excerpts from MARTHA'S VINEYARD by Henry Franklin Norton. Copyright 1923
- "Hiacoomes came forward and shook the hand of his beloved teacher, and, bursting into tears, placed a white stone at his feet, saying: I put this stone here in your name and whenever I pass, here I shall place a stone in your memory until you return."
- "This monument was a boulder given by the Indians of Gay Head. The Martha's Vineyard Chapter, D. A. R., had a bronze tablet placed on the boulder telling the story of young Mayhew's work and death. Since the dedication in 1901 the greater part of the original pile of stones has been removed by souvenir hunters."
[Click here] to read the entire text. Scroll down about 1/3 for The Place on the Wayside.
The rock pile is just to the right of this.
I should have explored more nearby but was in a hurry to get to the top of the hill which turned out to be a disappointment.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
[(sarcasm) I had no idea colonial field clearing techniques reached that far away from New England]
...Cairns, along with Sioux and Cheyenne accounts written down after the battle, help determine where warrior markers should be placed. No cairns have been found yet
Note cairns related to death but not functioning as graves - PWAX
Monday, September 18, 2006
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Friday, September 15, 2006
Looking through the pictures I took, here is another: