Monday, January 31, 2011
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Friday, January 28, 2011
We were walking in the Groton, CT woods last month and came upon a interesting phenomenon. I saw a large erratic that had a split, so went to investigate for any wedged rocks. I was surprised to capture this natural process.
A small sapling had started growing in a crack on the right boulder, very near the split. The root system had recently gotten big enough to split away a chunk of rock into the opening, probably with the help of the recent freezing temperatures. The rock's natural faults are vertical, a you can see.From above you can see the root mat that forced the opening and allowed the water penetration and freeze expansion to take place.
This certainly does not explain many other examples that clearly look intentional, but it was interesting to see this very clear evidence of a natural mechanism at work.
I ran across this complex of mound works in Syria while Google Earthing. Thought you might be interested."
I find it most interesting, looking down on another Ancient Sacred Landscape being covered over by the modern cultural landscape. I see no turtles, but as I widen the view, I see smudges that were also more mounds, more pieces of the picture brushed away, and wonder what was there where the houses are, much like I do in my own neighborhood...
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Open and effective education and site stewardship provide the best protection. 4 votes, 44.44%
Plant poison ivy and fertilize regularly. 3 votes, 33.33%
Controlled access limited to acknowledged researchers and scholars. 1 vote, 11.11%
Keep it totally secret - do not let anyone (including vandals) know where it is. 1 vote, 11.11%..."
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Lost my old computer with lots of unpublished photos, so that is out. Also this is a good time for me to be snowed in, because the new job is getting a lot of mind share.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Tales of the Colorado pioneers, By Alice Polk Hill (1884). The author writes, in the Preface, "I solemnly avow that the tales herein related are - 'told as they were told to me!' If I have succeeded in reviving some pleasant recollection for the 'old timer,' beguiling the weary traveler or interesting the general reader, my aspirations have, in a measure, been reached. If I have betrayed confidence or told anything that I ought not to have told - I will graciously accept all apologies ."
Starting half way down page 276:
"The greatest evidence of the former Indian occupants was in the lower part of the country, through which the deer in great numbers pass every spring and fall. There was a V-shaped fence of stone, each arm of the V being a stone fence fully fifteen miles long; the V opening towards the mountains from which the deer came, and the point of the V, instead of being closed, was open for the deer to pass, and in cunningly dug holes would be seated the Indians to kill them. The fence, which had been built entirely by the squaws, was to turn the deer all to this one point, and though it was merely a succession of stone piles, anything that has the appearance of having been made by man is as effectual a barrier to deer as the tallest fence.
Another cunning device of the Indians is seen wherever there are rocks; when they see a rock about the size of a man's body, they place another about the size of a man's head on top. It is done to accustom the deer to such objects, so that an Indian sitting behind a stone with his head in full view, is not likely to frighten them."
The story immediately following (about a "bear") is funny, but not quite as riveting as the Poplar Science article about humans with tails!
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Monday, January 17, 2011
One hundred twenty years ago they were just as interested in glacial erratics as we are today.
The first is Popular Science Monthly, Volume 37. The article, entitled "Evidences of Glacial Action in Southeastern Connecticut" By Hon David A. Wells, starts on page 196.
The second article is Popular Science, January, 1892. The article, "Remarkable Bowlders" by David A. Wells is on page 340.
Both articles contain excellent photos.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Friday, January 14, 2011
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
and the one I saw before:There were also several smaller rock piles nearby. I cannot tell if these are from the same time period or if perhaps they were added by people who came later and felt the place was special. For one, these small piles lay along a curve that joined the two larger mounds:
How about these outliers:These are more or less traditional, rectangular marker piles. They seem less damaged, but who knows? So, nothing too intelligent to say about this site. I was accosted by the landowner (he was not sure which 3 acres he owned, and was wondering about the missing man).
Actually I want to make one (hopefully slightly intelligent) observation: this site is about 50 yards south of Rt 111, also called "Mass Ave" in some places, and a very old trail indeed. This supports my sense that these large mound sites are near old trails, suggesting there is a basis for thinking sites are not so often out in the middle of nowhere - if one includes the old trails as well as the modern roads.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
I guess I should not call this a disappointment. In any case I did not explore down around the wetlands or on all parts of the hill - so it might be worth a second look.
To escape a case of creeping cabin fever and the excesses of the holiday season I decided to head out into the cold rain on Sunday morning.
I planned to take some winter images of a couple of the more spectacular stone structures in the Wiccopee area on Putnam County NY.
I had been to the area many times and had shown Norman Muller some of the sites.
Norman recorded his observations here: http://rock-piles.com/
The central feature is a huge boulder that has been split in two directions. The main split is in an E - W direction. There is a smaller secondary split in a N- S direction. At the E end of the E-W split there is a rectangular platform which is 3 - 4' high at its highest.
Looking generally N. Showing platform.
Looking generally W. Showing platform at the E end of the E-W split.The platform forms the E end of stones that fill the entire E - W split. This remarkable stone fill is more evident when looking into the W end of the split.
There are many other features near The Triple. Some are described in Norman's web article. Here are some more.
A U-Shaped structure on the flat hill top to the E of The Triple.
A split boulder about 20yds E of the Triple. The boulder also has two splits (E-W & N-S) and both are filled.
I had been here before but wanted to remind myself of the layout. Here it is approximately:
I drew the layout in the snow to remember it:Here is one representative pile:You can see the road behind.
RIP Mr. Bykhovsy. The place was already sad when he died here. It makes me think how much rock pile sites, in general, involve the passage of time and death.
Monday, January 10, 2011
I found the following reference while searching Google Books the other day: Henry Mercer, “An Exploration of Durham Cave, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, in 1893.” On page 155: “while at a point some distance up the river and close to the present Morgantown Road, Mr. Laubach remembers having seen from twelve to fifteen , the survivors of a group of about twenty-five formerly observed by Mr. Waters, all of which save one about 3 feet high, now remaining as a boundary mark by the Morgantown roadside and seen by him in 1893…
“The monoliths must have been carried to the spot by Indians since the rock in situ is limestone, and the Potsdam sandstone of which they consisted does not occur within two miles of the place.” (Publications of the Literature and Archaeology, Vol. VI, Researches upon the Antiquity of Man in the and the , by Henry Mercer). series in Philology Laubach saw the standing stones in 1855, and Waters saw them in 1853-55.
Sunday, January 09, 2011
"BOXBORO -- Boxboro police are asking for the public's help finding a 49-year-old man who has been missing since Friday afternoon.
Police have been searching for Konstantin Bykhovsky since Friday about 4:30 p.m., when he was last seen in the area of Burroughs Road at Chester Road.
Bykhovsky left his wallet and cell phone at home, and police say he suffers from a medical condition that may have left him in an altered mental state.
"He may appear confused or frightened," Sgt. Warren O'Brien said in a prepared statement.
Bykhovsky is described as a white male, about 5'8, 140 to 150 pounds, with balding, black hair and a thin build. He was last seen wearing a blue Patagonia jacket, dark-colored sweatpants, white socks and dark sneakers. He was also wearing a blue knit cap with a red stripe.
Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call Boxboro Police immediately 978-263-2628."So perhaps it was with this in mind that I decided to go revisit a site I knew in Boxborough, near Wolf Swamp. And as I walked along I kept my eyes open for a blue jacket. At one point a homeowner spotted me in the woods and came out to ask what I was doing - wondering if it was related to the missing man. I explained I was taking pictures of rock piles and showed him the ceremonial site that is on or next to his property. Some more of my exploration plan took me near houses and I decided to skip it with so many people keeping an eye on the woods.
So I drove down the road and stopped at a different entrance to Wolf Swamp on Old Harvard Rd. and walked back up the road a bit. I wanted to revisit another small site there before cutting down into the woods. A woman jogged by, as I am only a few feet from the road and asked: "Is the search still going on?". I said I was not searching for the missing man but taking pictures of rock piles. So that whole part of Boxborough is in an uproar about the missing person.
So I finish looking at the rock piles, reminding myself about the site layout, and then started cutting through the woods. And there is a blue jacket, scarf, gloves, and a hat in a tidy little pile on the snow. Was it a Patagonia jacket? Unsure if I should, I moved the scarf and hat to see that...sure enough...there is a Patagonia label. So I go back to the road (it is only about 50 feet) thinking I should probably call the police. The woman jogger is now coming back in the other direction and I say to her: "well you know...I actually just found a clue". She says I should call the Boxborough police; which I did, giving them my name and cellphone number. They dispatch someone.
A few minutes later a policeman arrives and I point out the blue jacket - which can be seen from the road. We chat and I say: "this locates him over here". Apparently they had been searching in another part of Boxborough. The policeman agrees and heads into the woods to look around more as I head back to my car. I turn around, drive back past the spot and now the policeman is back on the road. He motions to me, I roll down the window and he tells me the missing man is there and is "deceased" and asks me to pull over so they can ask me a few other questions. Another policemen - the "chief" arrives and I tell them I have been out walking and taking pictures for a couple of hours and explain how I came back up the road, took some pictures of rocks pile (did they want me to show them the piles? no...ok) and was just cutting through when I found the coat.
I guess they accepted my explanation because when I asked if it was morbid to want to see the body they discouraged me saying that this would now be treated as a crime scene. I made sure they had my contact information and they thanked me and I drove off.
One of the things you are kind of hoping to see until it actually happens. I am glad I did not spot the body, but at the same time I am kicking myself for missing it since it was no more than 20 feet from where I found the pile of clothes. A sad sort of merit badge: find body in woods....check.
Footprints: As soon as I stepped into the woods this morning I saw tracks. I was surprised there were any in the first patch of woods and then remembered the missing person and thought they could have been theirs. But, continuing, everywhere I went in the woods there were pretty fresh footprints in the snow and I realized belatedly that these must have been from the searchers. The searchers had been everywhere that I went. So how come they missed that one spot only ~50 feet from Old Harvard Rd?
You can make out the rock piles (they are smeared) in the foreground at the end of this video from FOX News:
Update (from WickedLocal the next day):
"Searchers used pattern and grid searches, focusing on areas where Bykhovsky often walked.
Sunday morning, a passerby spotted Bykhovsky's blue jacket off of Old Harvard Road. The jacket had been removed, and searchers soon found Bykhovsky's body with no shoes. Ryder explained that people suffering from hypothermia often feel sudden hot flashes and remove their clothes."
You can make out the rock piles (they are smeared) in the foreground at the end of this video from FOX News: [click here]
"Certain peculiar earthworks near Andover, Massachusetts, Volumes 4-6", by Warren King Moorehead, is a 1908 bulletin. In addition to Bulletin V, this writing contains, in Bulletin IV, Part II on Fort Ancient in Ohio.
First, page 76 documents stones from Fort Ancient having been hauled away by farmers:
Second, page 152 contains the author's opinion on the effort it took to include stone in the construction of Fort Ancient.
Third, page 215 documents the early method of property boundary marking as blazing trees first, then erecting a stone wall.
Thursday, January 06, 2011
Southern Nevada was a lake during the last ice age and today the old lake bottom is buried around the edges of the valleys by hundreds of feet of alluvial out-wash from the mountains. You can see that the desert floor rises gradually from the lowest flat point in the middle to where the out-wash emanates from the mountains. There is no terracing to indicate lake depth variations over time.If you wanted you study archeology of the lake shore you would have to dig deep into the alluvial soil. I guess that is what they are doing at Calico in CA. But that archeology would be truly ancient.
Instead I found a very minor artifact on the surface near the edges:This is made of quartz, about 5 inches long, has placement for hafting which is easier to see on the back at the top:
You can see that, although crude, there is shaping of the item and a semblance of alternating flaking around the edges:If I saw this in Concord, I would think it was a hafted digging tool and there is no reason to think it is particularly old, except by comparison with that butterscotch-colored retouched flake. That was "new"; this is probably a bit older but still a lot more recent than the glacier.
Nevada....not without its own beauty:
For example (south side of Rocky Hill Rd) here are three such rock piles in a row:
In the fog, they have a 'feel' to them but maybe they are simply one form of compulsive outcrop crossing. That last one is a nice little pile, and certainly not built in the easiest way, if its only purpose was a legal requirement: