Monday, October 31, 2011

Arrowhead find

Finding arrowheads on the ground has a lot to do with weather and the changing of the seasons. The first broken artifact I ever found (after countless hours of fruitless searching) was in the month of October. Fall is a great time to get out and look, the weather is nice and the conditions on the ground can be very favorable. Unfortunately this past month the weather was hot, the conditions were generally not great, and I found it hard to find the time to get out and search. I was hoping to have something better to show for the month of October, than the tiny broken pieces I found at the beginning of the month. So on Saturday morning, with a storm forecast for the afternoon, I headed out to give it one last try before turning the calendar page. I went to a sandy place that I have searched again and again, hoping that the recent rains might have exposed something new. The vegetation here is always changing, too. But after spending so many hours here, the chances of making a new find become ever smaller. I looked in a little spot that I had previously examined only a couple of times, it is a low spot mostly covered with weeds and with almost no exposure. But if even only a few rocks can be glimpsed, it is still possible to find something. I found a very small area that I had previously missed, perhaps the vegetation was more dense on previous visits. And after looking for less than three minutes, I spotted this:
It was lying right on the surface of the ground, so obvious-looking. It is nice when they are so easy to spot. Here is a closer look, before I picked it up.
It has a chunk taken out of one edge but most of it is there and I am happy with it. I find many broken points in this shape, sometimes they are rather crude. This one is fairly nice. I spent just a couple minutes carefully looking over this little spot and then went back to the car. I wasn't going to find any better reward than this, on that day.

This point is a good example of how quartz breaks. Even close-up, when you hold it in your hand, it is almost impossible to identify any flaking scars at all. There are none of the concave flakes that one generally expects to see on a chipped stone tool. The shape is unmistakeable, but the surfaces don't really look artificial at all, even on the edges. I often find worked quartz artifacts like scrapers, wedges, and flakes, but have a hard time explaining to people that these are artifacts and not just broken rocks.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

More NY State Rock Piles from "Homesteading on the Internet"

[Click here]

Rock Piles with Bottles

In an obscure corner of the Acton Conservation Land on Nagog Hill, there is a small site with a bottle dump in the middle of it. The question of which came first is not exactly answered, but finding a bottle incorporated into into one of the rock piles suggests the dump is older than the rock piles:This bottle has an "old-timey" look to it.

On the other hand, yesterday in Shirley I found a pile with a bottle and was wanting to argue that the bottle was superficial, because it looked more modern but the pile looked reasonably smeared out:Clearly we need something more in order to conclude chronology. I want to say that in some cases the bottle or other date-able artifact is actually built into the pile - perhaps being under some of the rocks - and that in other cases it is on the surface. The former gives a clearer indication that the pile was built after the artifact. So the example here (and others, see here) are not that useful. On the other hand this one is much clearer.

For comparison, here is a bit of porcelain; and here is a broken axe. The porcelain is "old-timey" but on top of the rock pile, which provides a lower limit on the age of the pile. In the case of the axe head, one could argue that it was the rock pile, by itself. While I'm at it, here are some piles incorporating barbed wire.

To be honest though, it is likely that sites have a history and chronology of their own with some older and some newer rock piles. Increasingly I believe some of these sites were visited and used over an extended period of time. For example on Nagog Hill, there is an older sort of platform mound at the center and adjacent to the dump, and the near horizon is dotted with fresher looking piles. There is no reason to think they are all the same age.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


I did manage to scrape out one more little rock pile site. Supposed to snow tonight.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Stone pile Sleuthing

According to this account about Ludlow Creek State Forest there are "over 150 stone piles in NY and PA" [Click here] also see here for additional photos. One of our NY readers should check it out.

People often only do Google searching on one version of the phrase "rock piles" so they miss a lot of what is on the Internet.

"Stone piles are throughout the NY state forest"

From Google search [click here and scroll down]

Historic Grave in Georgia

sacred places

Granite spires in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

   "The land has multiple cultural interpretations and creates competing orientations about the use and value of land. Since moving onto reservations most Native American communities have lost direct control over many of the sacred places within their community history and teachings. Holy or special places are vulnerable to non-Indian forces, which do not know about the meaning and purpose of the places and often destroy the sites for economic purposes..."

Old Woman Mountains Preserve
(above, what I'm guessing is the Old Woman; below, stones perhaps moved by human hands amid natural formations)

Native American Land Conservancy

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Archeoastronomy Link

From "Laurel Hill Walks" [Click here]

Comment: It is very nice to see stone features receiving some attention. But the article appears to be saying that stone circles and archeo astronomy-related rock piles are 12,000 years old because they are found near flakes of jasper, related to Paleo Indian tool production. That does not pass even a basic sniff test. For example I have found Paleo Indian flakes in close proximity to a parking lot. Needless to say, the parking lot is not 12,000 years old.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Norman Muller sends this link [click here]

Around French Brook - Boylston, MA

Before we start I should mention there was a dearth of ceremonial material in this area. For one thing the local bedrock is so shattered that it was hard, at times, to decide what was natural and what might have once been man made.

I walked in on the north side of the brook, over a bit of Faggot Hill (which I have climbed in the past). Here was a "nice woods, good beaver pond!" but with the addition of a small standing stone at the outlook:Closeup of the stone:Coming down off the hill and skirting the steep slope on the north side of the brook, a wall started - seemingly at random:A moment or so later, I thought there was more structure up the slope a ways:Very ephemeral.

Here a quartz vein in the bedrock caught my eye:Turning now towards the brook, here was a slight trace of "wall":This seems to begin with a small enclosure and continues with a faint wall tapering off towards the water. There is a single piece of quartz, just below the "enclosure":
I walked all the way up the brook looking for somewhere to cross. Found a helpful bridge and walked back downstream on the south side of the brook.

One more standing stone, reminiscent of some examples from Larry Harrop:
It was the presence of rocks in this assemblage that were not all of the same plate-like material that convinced me this is man made. Of course the way the vertical rock is propped up is not at all natural - but it was the extra rocks that convinced me.

CT Beaver Dam Update

Monday, October 24, 2011

Isolated ceremonial structures from the back of beyond at Nashoba Brook

Went for an extended stroll in the large undifferentiated flat area between Spring Hill and Nashoba Brook in Acton.

Here is a pair of rocks on a rock, perhaps forming a gap with the adjacent boulder; from next to the pipeline:
One split-wedged rock: Here is a little prayer seat. Someone has been here recently, not clear what for:
Some views of a table rock which, I think, is another form of split-wedged rock: Another:

Friday, October 21, 2011


Abenaki Homeland

a link acquired from: Native American Deeds
I'm posting this here because Rock Piles has many photos from the south east corner of the homeland. This is new to me. I collect info on the Abenaki and share it with my son Jesse who is of Abenaki descent, a member of the Turtle Clan...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Viking Burial with cairns

Reader Keith H sent this link. Reference to the Bronze Age, reminds me that rock piles, or what they call "cairns", can last a long time.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cleared rock pile site at Nashoba Brook, Acton MA

I forgot to take "before" pictures. Here are the "after". It will take a while for this to settle down and for the piles to be washed by the rain. We still have to take down a few more trees. Here are views of the center of the site, from different angles.This one is perhaps the best preserved: Needless to say, these are what I call marker piles. This site is very comparable to the one at Spring Hill that has alread been added to the Acton trail system.

Split-wedged rock - Nashoba Brook, Acton MA

Explored a bit off trail, found ribbons marking this spot. Someone else had noticed it.
Nearby (the split-wedged rock is in the background) was this standing stone. Note the drill holes.Personally I am almost convinced that split-wedged rocks are deliberate doorways to the underworld. I don't have much evidence for this, it just seems like a lot of bother when the rock is first split deliberately, then wedged; unless the entire construction was of one purpose - to create an open split.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pile with Quartz - Nashoba Brook Acton MA

Tiny broken arrowhead

On a recent Saturday I spent some hours re-tracing my steps in a place I have already thoroughly searched for artifacts this year. Changes in vegetation and even light and shadow can conceal or reveal a small or half-buried artifact, and any good storm might expose something new. I found this tiny triangular quartz arrowhead:
Unfortunately this little point has been knocked around, the tip is damaged and the lower corners have been snapped off. It is well made and must have been difficult to chip out of this very hard material. Later on the same day, in a different place, I found another triangle similar to this, badly broken, but still showing tell-tale flaking on both sides and on the edges. This one may have failed during manufacture as it looks a bit more crude. Here it is on the left, shown next to the point above found on the same day; the point at right is a similar find from last year.

Projectile points of this size have long been erroneously called "bird points." In fact these could have been used to take down deer and may be true "arrowheads" used to tip arrows fired from a bow, the larger points more commonly encountered were probably used to tip darts that were thrown, or perhaps used as knives. I would guess that these are ceramic period, perhaps less than a thousand years old.


“According to a tradition, supported by descriptions in early deeds, the first dwellings, at least among the poorer class, were what were called cellars. These were so named, no doubt, because they were constructed in exactly the same way as the outdoor cellars used for a long time in all the colonies for the storage of vegetables, even after cellars in our modern sense of the word had been built under the houses. These cellars were made by digging a shallow pit in the ground, preferably in a bank, and then lining the sides of the excavation with stone walls carried above the ground enough to give a height of about seven feet, or by setting against these sides upright logs long enough to give the same height. These stone or wood walls were then banked high with earth on the outside, as is shown in Figure 2 (above) and were roofed over either with logs laid close together and plastered with clay, or with bark or thatch on poles. The probability is that the roofs were of considerable pitch and were thatched.”

Early Connecticut houses: an historical and architectural study

By Norman Morrison Isham, Albert Frederic Brown

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Complex sites provide a strong argument for ceremonialism

If rock piles are dismissed as merely for some single utilitarian reason like field clearing, quarry tailings, or stone palettes for removal then it would be a bit absurd to try arguing for more than one of these possibilities at a single site.

What I mean is the "single utilitarian reason" camp run out of explanations before we run out of varieties of rock pile. When enough of those varieties occur in a single location, that camp is on the run, they're put to the sword. By contrast, the ceremonial interpretation allows room for many subtle expressions.

Today we cleared rock piles at the Nashoba Brook Conservation land in Acton. The place is both simple and complex - an array of piles with many different details: piles linked loosely to others by a sequence of rocks, piles with a small piece of quartz, piles in lines with some even spacing and some uneven spacing, wedged-splits, and piles generally not in very good shape. They've taken a beating from falling trees and may not all be the same age. Other patches of rock piles appear nearby. The piles are on a near horizon from the point of view of a house foundation on one of two knolls that shadow the flat area of the site.

It will be fun for the Acton Trail Committee to point out the details, leaving their interpretation "to the reader". If all goes well, I get to write the signage.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Australian Stone Walls

Link sent in by David M:
[click here]

A real Colonial Root Cellar

A real Colonial Root Cellar
An Exploration of the Incredible Ancient Sites in Northeast America

by Hugh Newman (Originally printed in 'Mindscape Magazine', September 2011)

"...We then went on to Kent Cliffs in Putnam City, NY state. Here were several megalithic chambers similar to Calendar I that were just on the sides of major roads. If you stepped out of one of them in daze, it could be the last site you ever visit! It was dusk as we approached the first one that was on Highway 301 and took a few photos that immediately showed several orbs in them. Burke had photographed plasma bands at this one and it was constructed upon a negative magnetic anomaly......In Nineham State Park, just 100 yards from its entrance was a stunning chamber. It had a huge megalithic ceiling made up of magnetite with an 8ft wide menhir at the back. The chamber was approximately 25ft long by 10ft wide. It was dark and the camera picked up no orbs (probably because it wasn't raining - Tim) , but a major energy line ran through it with telluric spiral outside the door and zigzags of energy inside. Burke captured an infrared photo of a strange hovering ball of light that was invisible to the naked eye. He decided to place Iriquois Blue Corn seeds directly below where this orb was photographed to see if it would have any effect on them when grown. To his astonishment, a few months later he found that the seeds placed here for 75 minutes had a three-fold increase in yield, compared to controls (5). The whole area is a magnetic powerhouse with fluctuations in the geology stretching across the entire mountain area (6). This may be why there has been so many stories of strange lights and UFO sightings attached to this area. Phil Imbrogno collected hundreds of reports documented from 1983 to 1995, that ranged from colossal triangular crafts to smaller 'intelligent' lights that often travelled through the sky and landscape in groups. When they traced the source of where these lights originated, there would always be an ancient megalithic chamber to greet them.

Phil Imbrogno recounts a meeting with a 90 year old medicine man who was one of the last remaining tribes-people from the area around the the chamber. For centuries, the base of the mountain was the home of the Wappinger Tribe, who were part of the Mohegan and Delaware cultures (7). He recounts his initiation in the chamber in 1910 when his teacher told him about the strange men who arrived from the direction of the rising sun with faces of fire (ginger facial hair?) and eyes like the sky (blue eyes?). They were much larger than the local tribespeople and they were the ones who built the chambers. It is said the stones were moved with "spirit power and a great wind" and they would summon spirits (or orbs) to come into their fire circles. Then after a great exchange of knowledge they were gone and were fondly remembered by the tribes. (Imbrogio p.76). On his vision quest when he was upon the mountain for a few days, some lights circled around him which stood at a man's height and eventually formed into spirits who had long white hair and glowed with light. He also stated that he had an out of body experience and was able to heal a boy from a great distance. A similar encounter happened in January 1990 when a man was lost in a powerful blizzard and was fighting for his life. A circle of lights surrounded him and the next thing he knew, he woke up near the Rangers Station 45 minutes later (8). Whatever these light are they seem to be connected with the chambers and magnetic anomalies suggesting that they may act as 'portals' to other levels of existence..."
"Balanced Rock, North Salem, NY State – with huge orb (probably because it was raining - Tim)"!/notes/hugh-newman/a-megalithomaniac-in-new-england/10150410806625948

The October 2011 tour "visiting Balanced Rock in North Salem NY, Megalithic Chambers in Patterson NY, America's Stonehenge and numerous other fascinating sites that simply should not be there according to official academia!" Full Weekend Package Only $470!!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Turkeys in my yard

[Not rock pile related]
The novelty may wear off but I am still thrilled to see turkeys in my yard.
Originally there was a family of two adults and six chicks. Here are four of the chicks, almost grown. Don't know what happened to the other two chicks or the parents.
I am trying to get them familiar with me by appearing in the window, opening the sliding door slowly, making noises, talking to them, and tossing out seeds. I think they are getting comfortable: