Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
I climbed a hill, back of the road, and came to a spot with what would have been a magnificent view to the southeast. Climbing the last few steps up to the top I was thinking: this has got to be a site, whether or not there are rock piles up here, just look how the rocks are scattered around - they must mean something. But there were rock piles. As I approached a boulder near the top, I could see some scattered rocks to its side:Then cresting the rise, a couple of larger rock piles through the ground fog:A closeup:Increasingly, I am noticing when a large rock pile like this also has some kind of hollow at the center. Increasingly, I believe this is an architectural feature of certain piles. Possibly it is what remains of an inner chamber. Other people have said they think hollows were built into the surface of a pile as a place to sit. Whatever the explanation, it is clearly a feature worth noticing. I am starting to get a sense of the distribution of this particular "chambered" feature - it is western Middlesex county and over west of the Nashua River at least into Leominster and Westminster. I think these large "chambered cairns" represent at least one distinct culture. Some of these mounds [eg examples in northern Harvard] are elongated ovals, about 5 feet high. Others, like these from Berlin, are more rectangular and not so tall. So it could be a couple of different cultures.
A closeup of a smaller pile:
[That big pile in the background is a pile of dirt tossed up by a bulldozer. They are that close to destroying this place.]
This gives a good sense of the layout of the piles and boulder along the edge of the outlook:
In this picture we are looking south, back towards the way I came up the hill, with the boulder at the far rear of the picture. The outlook is to the left. To the right are the standalone piles. Behind them is a flat area, pretty much torn to shreds by bulldozers. But there was one smaller pile still there in the flat area, built on a split rock:From there back to the ridge and view west:
In the background, the boulder is to the right.
Taking one last look at the view,I proceeded north along the edge. There was another tumbled structure:and I came to a short berm blocking the highest part of the gully:The road was built over it, so this might have been simply part of road building. But it also fits into a pattern of large rock piles.
The component cobbles are of like size between this pile and the ones earlier on the ridge.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Signal Hill Mound
During construction of a Sam's Club Walmart megastore in Oxford, Alabama, contractors stripped earth from a nearby hill, destroying a stone mound that was built in the Late Woodland Period, around A.D. 1000. Archaeologists have only recently begun to realize the significance of stone-mound networks in the eastern United States so few have protected status. After public outcry over the site's destruction, Walmart halted the project.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
A couple of weeks ago I was back in the Moneyhole Mountain area of Fahnestock.
There's an interesting mound/cairn that I had been to a few times in the summer but revisiting it in the winter I can guess why it is situated where it is.With the leaves down one gets a spectacular view westward to the mountains on the other side of the Hudson River.
There is a nearby cairn cluster site that also sits by a high point with a wide western view.
In another interesting twist of history, this mound was used as a control site for the first major international orienteering event (World Cup, May 1986) to be held in the US. A permanent sign which is visible in the summer pictures shows it was used as a control site.
So along with the ancients, the site was visited by the world's elite orienteers back in the last century.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
The Stone Turtle in front of the
Cherokee County Historical Museum, Inc. in Murphy, Cherokee County
A large soapstone turtle (approx. 3' x 5' x 8') welcomes you to The Cherokee County Historical Museum in North Carolina (http://www.cherokeeoflawrencecountytn.org/JubileeStone.pdf).
The Oneida Stone and Things Worth Knowing About Oneida County
November 29, 2009 by Mrs. Mecomber
Thursday, December 17, 2009
The influence of the Iroquois : on the history and archaeology of the Wyoming Valley ... / Arthur C. Parker, 1911.
In going though my notes on the Lochmere "fort" in New Hampshire, I came across this old account of structures on an island in Silver Lake, just off Lochmere.
A note from JimP (promoted from comments):
"It was his [Major Hanse Robinson's) lot, near McCobb's Narrows, we believe, that, when first taken possession of, there was found what has always been called the 'Old Cellar,' but which, from recent examination, made by Mr. I. S. Burton, appears to have claims to much greater interest than is usually attached to that class of ruins. The first huts of the settlers here, were usually without cellars, or, at most, with only a slight, unwalled, excavation, entered by a trap door in the middle of the room. But this was a deep and capacious structure, 40 feet in length, and at this day not less than 9 feet in depth; well walled, when first discovered, with hewn timber, since crumbled to dust; and situated on a point projecting into the river, with a cove on one side, to which a subterranean passage, with similar walls and depth, led from the main structure." (Eaton 1865:376)
EATON, Cyrus. 1865. History of Thomaston, Rockland, and South Thomaston, Maine, Vol. II. Hallowell: Masters, Smith & Co.
Also, from Ros Strong email:
The site referred to as Thomaston, really refers to one in Cushing ( is the larger town at the head of the peninsulas in midcoast Maine.) I have been aware of this for many years, some older NEARA people have looked for it unsuccessfully since the 70s at least. To my knowledge no one has found anything verifiable. I was taken there in 2000 by a local historian who has since died. There is only large pit filled with brush behind a house with a friendly owner (at that time). What is more interesting is some distance to the north on a; high bluff overlooking the narrows of the St. George River, there are remnants of what was most likely a fort, just a part of a stone wall and inland a bit is a substantial mound. I have copies of old historical references by Eaton and others beginning in 1865 in local town histories. I have a site report ending with a note that I need to contact the local historical society that as is usual around here, meets only in the spring and summer. I intend to pursue it next year. There are many stories along the Maine coast of tunnels running to the sea but none of them have been tracked down.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Maybe other details were suppressed. Climbing up towards the top.I'll just post this picture again, since it is so examplifies the idea of rock piles right up against suburbia (a house is visible in the background):Here is some more suburbia (I showed this before):Going back down the hill towards the east, there was a least one pile with some quartz in it: closer: And also some piles build on supports with quartz:At the bottom, some piles along the developing gully:And in the wetland at the bottom of the hill, more structures respecting split rocks:
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
By the way, here is a picture of FFC.
Not counting sites that are split in two by the highway I get roughly 14 sites (I forgot a few in my previous post). Let's be generous and assume the distance I am considering to either side of the road is ~1/4 mile, so this summary comprises (1/2)x40 = 20 square miles. According to Wikipedia, Massachusetts is about 10,000 square miles. So if this roadside site density is representative, then there should be roughly 7,000 rock pile sites in the state. I suspect this is an over-estimate.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Anyway, I have been driving by this intersection twice a day for the last 4.5 years and finally noticed, that there are stone walls and a bit of gully within the cloverleaf and thought it might be worth exploring. Actually I have been thinking I wanted to check it out for some time. It was worth exploring: I went there at lunchtime with a colleague from work and there is another small site in there at "D" with about 10 piles. You can go check it out. It seems this might have been a slope and brook leading down to the pond. The site included some split rocks and a few small piles on rocks. I did not have my camera.
Now that I have found rock piles in three of the four quadrants of land separated by the highway intersection, it is tempting to go look inside that other clover leaf.
I was thinking, during today's commute, that my drive up Concord Rd to Rt3, to Rt 495 takes me within 100 yards of four rock pile sites. The drive along Rt 495 and onto Rt 93 takes me past seven more. That is 11 sites in forty miles of highway. If it were not that sites may cluster along these highways, this number could be used to estimate the total number of sites in Massachusetts. But I do not think highways are random cross sections.
Update: I guess I should point out the math: if a swath of land 40 miles long and 200 yards wide crosses 11 sites then: how many such swaths are there in all of Massachusetts? Multiplying that number by 11 (and probably divide by two for sites shared by two swaths) gives you a heck of a lot of sites. But, as I said, highways are not typical places. Also, quite possibly, this part of Middlesex County in Mass. is probably not typical of the whole state.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Could someone who lives down that way please leave a comment?
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
I think there is a difference between this and that:Isn't it obvious that some of the spirits would be "good guys" and some would be "bad guys" and that the ceremony would differ, depending on which was present?
Here is a fact: split wedged rocks are most common at the water's edge. Why would this be?
Of course with light coming in sideways, some might get through the hole - I forgot to look through it in the other direction.