Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Mystery of the cairns may be solved for Harwinton man

BY BUD WILKINSON (Waterbury CT) Republican-American

HARWINTON -- "Bob DeFosses may be one step closer to solving the mystery of the cairns on his 10-acre hilltop property near the Plymouth town line. Bill Whynott, a retired land surveyor from Kent, said Sunday that he believes they may be connected to a mining rights lease between Native Americans and settlers, possibly as early as the 1600s."It makes perfect sense," DeFosses said late Sunday morning after receiving a telephone call from Whynott, who read about the cairns in The Sunday Republican. As many as 15 cairns punctuate the ridgeline just west of DeFosses' house. Archaeologists believe they may have been built by early settlers while clearing the land or by Native Americans for ceremonial or other reasons."

Addenum: Well, I thought I could pull up the whole article, but I can't after all. Here's a little summary of the lengthy article with a quote or two from Dr. Nick. DeFosses has about 15 cairns on a ridge, a point where water runs into two watersheds - the Naugatuck and the Farmington Rivers - on either side of the ridge. They are all on "rock outcropping or ledge. Defosses says some are broken down while "a dozen are perfectly standing structures." Nick B says, "There are places in CT where I've seen whole hilltops covered with these things. I've seen piles that are 9 or 10 feet high. We find them all over." He gives the standard "piles for stone wall building" theory and the other theory "they may have been associated with Native Americans who piled stone for various reasons - ceremonial or messages...With 20th centery developement, there's not as many as there used to be..." and that makes them "culturally significant no matter what. They're part of our historic past." DeFosses favors the Native American theory, noting how carefully most are constructed...
DeFosses saw them as early as 1980 and sometime between then and 1990 first contacted Nick.

1 comment :

Tim MacSweeney said...

I should add that the actual clipping never mentions Whynott, and I infer it's a "comment" to the story and I further infer that it relates to the legendary "Indian Black Lead Mine" - really a graphite mine - tied up in the local history of both Farminton & Waterbury that goes back to 1630-something.