Sunday, November 30, 2014

Fracking in Mass?

From Curt Hoffman:
In my local paper (Middlesex News) today there was an extended editorial on the proposed Kinder Morgan natural gas pipeline, which would run across the northern border of Massachusetts, right in the area where Peter has been recently finding Native sacred sites.  There is some opposition to it ( on environmental grounds, but unless MHC changes its tune on these sites quickly they are likely to be destroyed without environmental review.  Something to keep an eye on! 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Stone Symposium III

From Matt Bua:
Stone Symposium III
2 Presentations and Book Launch

-Glenn Kreisberg: Mission Malta- Exploring the Sound and Energy
Properties of Ancient Architecture

-Matt Bua- Mapping a Prehistoric Stone Site in Catskill NY

Book Launch- Talking Walls: Cast Out the Myth That All Stone Walls of
the North East were built Post-Colonially

8 pm at P.S. Hudson
460 Main Street Catskill NY 12414

A nice little site in Westminster. Flat but not level

It has been a few weeks since I found a straight, plain-vanilla rock pile site - with simple layout and no question about whether or not it is "really" ceremonial. So I was happy to find this beautiful spot, adjacent to where water was coming out of the hill. I don't know how to describe the location, it is an unnamed hill just north of the intersection of Rt 140 and Rt 2, in Westminster. A continuation of explorations around Overlook Rd and High Ridge Wildlife Management Area.
I want to point out three things about this site:
  • A short section of stone wall comes down diagonally, to cross the top of the water breakout zone
  • A collection of marker piles near one end of the wall, some with white quartz "blazes", lying on even ground - flat but not level. 
  • The messy structure at the far end of the wall - all piles are visible from there
Let's have a look at the site layout:
Seen from a bit higher, note how flat the ground is between us and the structures visible in background.
Here are three evenly spaced piles, well buried, on the slope:
Closeup of a "blaze":
Now let's walk up towards the upper end of the wall. Looking back, again note how flat the ground is on this slope (the wall is to the left):
Let's have a look at the messy upper end of the wall:
I do not think this is where the wall builders got lazy. On the contrary, I think this is the central reason for the site being here. Compare with the "a messy bit of wall in one place by itself." from the other day.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Potanipo Hill - Brookline NH

(Although the weather precludes new exploring, I have a few sites left up my sleeve from last week.)
I had announced the intention to head north and explore Potanipo Hill and, accordingly, drove up there last weekend for a hike. Reading about the place before hand I learned it was the first ski area "Big Bear" and now is the Andres Art Institute. 

Heading up the hill after parking I was confronted with cutout figures of infantrymen, lurking like shadows over the road. I headed into the woods, soon enough, to the south. Faintest traces of stuff:
It was thick going through laurel and I broke free onto a smaller summit to the south.

This is a messy bit of wall in one place by itself. I do expect more "linear" type structures up here in the more northern areas. I describe this more as a data point than a site of interest, it is where the small blue dot is on the map. After this, I climbed back north and up to the sub-summits and ridges off the main hill. 

At first I was seeing bits of ceremonial structure at the highest points. But then these started to have more and more modern rocks added. As I got higher on the main hill, while passing monstrosities in machine carved stone, I came to one of those modern spirals of cobbles that you see in art magazines. The cobbles were well covered with lichen making me wonder if they had been borrowed from an earlier pile. The final outcrop on top of the hill was a donation pile used by everyone.
With the shock of seeing a 20 foot tall, fake Inukshuk marring a beautiful southern view, I gave myself over to the pleasure of being completely appalled at what occupies that hilltop today. I scurried back down the main access road and caught a final glimpse of the evil spirits that seem to be celebrating the takeover.
Earlier on the sub-summits:

Then we see a mix of old and new:
Then comes the full-on awful:

So I hasten off the hill. On the way down, here are evil spirits of the place:
Glad to be out of there!

LiDar and Illinois Archaeological Mounds

(Earth Mounds)
Image from:
    "Also, as described on the site form, both were badly vandalized with huge central craters. Most mounds in the United States are looted for their artifacts, such as prehistoric pottery, copper axes, shell jewelry and human remains. Early settlers dug into them, but this kind of vandalism still occurs today..." - See more at:

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Indian Country Today article displays Maya glyph in Georgia as it disses Mayas in Georgia

From the "People of One Fire" about Track Rock Gap:

News Update
November 26, 2014

Indian Country Today article displays Maya glyph in Georgia as it disses Mayas in Georgia
You will roll over in the floor laughing when you find out who the US Forest Service experts really were! 

It was a beautiful, crisp autumn day and I was going to cut up some dead trees for firewood.  Then a Texas graduate student in anthropology, who is a POOF member,  sent me a link to an article in "Indian Country Today."  Being the proverbial Native America hunter, I smelled blood and went after the game.  The firewood had to wait.

She sent me the article because of the obvious oxymoron.  The US Forest Service had persuaded a New York City freelance writer to put out some more misinformation on Track Rock Gap and provided him the contact info for three individuals, who would say what they wanted said.  For those more idealistic among us, that is defined as propaganda.  Marxists perfected the techniques.  However, in full display of their ignorance, they sent a photo of a Maya glyph on the Track Rock petroglyphs to accompany an article which ended with a USFS "archaeologist" stating that there was no empirical or scientific evidence that any Mayas ever settled in Georgia.   You will see why we put "archaeologist" in quotes later on.

I am jest a simple mountain boy, so I guess the PhD didn't count DNA, words, architecture, agricultural methods and cultural traditions as being empirical or scientific.  He also didn't know diddlysquat about the Mayas, because the glyph he chose was for the Itza Maya word hene, which means "Royal Sun."

The theme of the article was that a small band of evil non-Native Americans in Georgia had schemed to hike on sacred Cherokee land and then claim that non-Native Americans (aka Mayas) had built the stone structures.  In partnership with three Cherokee tribes, the USFS had bravely blocked an illegal trail through the site.  Actually, the trail was a wagon road at least 200 years old that had been used by many generations of Georgians to drive cattle, go on picnics and hike. 

In the article were extensive quotations from 
Lisa LaRue-Baker, - the Historic Preservation Officer for the Keetuwah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma.  She took full credit for a half mile of trees being cut down to block Georgians from hiking at Track Rock Gap, AND demanding that neither the History Channel, PBS or National Geo be allowed to film Track Rock Gap.  Her reason stated in the article was that "Track Rock Gap was the last sacred spot that we have left."   Say what-t--t? 

FACTCHECK: The town at Track Rock was first developed around 800-1000 AD. The Cherokees didn't own that land until after 1785.  Actually, very few Cherokees ever lived nearby, and many of the indigenous Upper Creek families never left.  They still consider themselves Creeks. A nearby stream is named Coosa Creek.  The people who formed the Keetoowah Band never lived in the region near Track Rock Gap and left for Arkansas in 1817. 

Lisa LaRue Baker and USFS archaeologist, James Wettstaed,  have been quoted repeatedly in articles in newspapers and archaeological journals over the past three years as the experts on Track Rock Gap.  I decided to find out just who these experts were.  LaRue is the keyboardist for a little known rock band in Oklahoma name K2X.  You can check out her website, if you don't believe me.  In addition, she has the title of the Keetoowah Historic Preservation Officer, but the Keetoowah do not own ANY real estate, much less any historic buildings.  She performs those duties out of her home, whatever those duties actually are.  She has absolutely no educational background in historic preservation, archeology, architecture or Southeastern Native American history.

James Wettstaed, is a PhD biologist, who has worked for the past 27 years out west - mostly in Montana.   He is considered an expert on the migration patterns for bison and  elk. One can only guess why he was demoted and sent to Gainesville, GA to be their Cultural Resources officer in 2012.   

If you want to have a double belly roll full of laughs,  my Examiner article has a link to the Indian Country Today article.  The Examiner article link is:

Happy Turkey Day!

Richard Thornton

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Where'd the nice weather go?

The nice weather disappeared exactly when I got some free time to enjoy it.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Northermost Townsend State Forest - part 3: The very tip of the Nissitisset Watershed, on the edge of Mason, NH

continuing from here.
At the very highest point of the Wallace Brook watershed (at the northenmost point on the large blue outline above) I did see some isolated short stretches of stone wall. They are a kind of rock pile.
Here are two of them:

And let me re-post the one from a few hundred yards to the south in Massachusetts:

More northernmost Townsend State Forest - part 2

Continuing from here, let's head down into the valley. Just across it I see a substantial wall. It ends up as part of a curious configuration, leading uphill to a corner where there is a mound with hollows. Along the way I notice an isolated short stretch of stone wall to the side. The overall configuration is a bit like this:
Here is a view of the lower end of the wall (facing west in the photo, and with west at the top of the sketch)
Here is the pile at the upper corner. with hollow (see below for details):
And here is the strange little bit wall off by itself to the side:
Let's take a closer look at the pile in the corner of the wall:

I do not think this is for disposal of extra rocks. I am quite suspicious of the whole complex of walls and, yes, house foundations which are near to hand. How about this pile, that would have been in some 18th century front yard:
Lot's of internal structure here:

More re the "Lost Valley" and northernmost Townsend State Forest - part 1

As I mentioned earlier, I never got far into the Lost Valley of Mason NH. I did have an interesting walk in Townsend to the south before getting bogged down there. 
Since Curt H. indicated an interest in the Nissitisset watershed, let me mention up-front that for the most part, interesting things I saw stopped exactly at the watershed divide/state line. None of it was in the Nissitisset watershed. Across the line, in the same saddle which separates the Sqannacook to the south from the Nissitisset to the north, there was almost nothing except a few short stretches of stone wall. Perhaps these are of interesting being older more beaten down than other walls a few feet to the south in Townsend. 
So here were are in northern Townsend, having parked at the southernmost navigable portion of W. Hill Mason, NH. A few steps to the south and another old dirt road opens to the left, heading east. Some old house foundations and stone piles I did not understand:
In this photo we are looking back towards the west. A moment later I spotted a low pile on the left (south) side of the same stretch of road. The piles are easy to miss.

This is actually a pretty good sized pile, if you imagine what is underneath the leaves:

These are a bit like marker piles (evenly spaced, lines, etc) and I have learned to anticipate finding something more "mound like", often messier, to one side of such collections. So I went looking. Found this:
 And this (we are looking across the wall at a larger pile):
Here's one for Norman M.
There is a faint slope here and a bit of a wetland not shown on the topo map. 
Another couple steps and - man! - did these guys know how to dress stone:
So in a total area of about three acres we have some foundations with large stone piles, then a smaller "marker pile" site with messy mounds, then this fine stone foundation. Is it fair to say it is probably all the same family? A search of records might be worthwhile. 
That's all for the plateau/hilltop right near the road. Now let's head west down into the saddle separating watersheds. I'll continue in the next post.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Foundation or Enclosure?

When I came across the photo below, I questioned the house foundation theory implied, and instead thought about some previous posts about some circular enclosures some of us had written about:

"The Keystone Arch Bridges Trail: Magic in the Berkshire Mountains" - Tuesday, April 6, 2010
    “In a patch of forest in the Berkshire Hilltowns of Chester, Becket and Middlefield, monoliths loom: Monuments of mechanical magic, spans of spatial interpretation, stone apparitions framed in thick-treed horizons growing from gorge walls and fording a wild, steady cascade. Visionary bridges to the tomorrow of yesterday… Usually it isn't until the dwelling is gone, evidence of life left behind in stone and scrap, that we wonder: What happened here? The question raises new walls atop sill plates of the past, ghosts hidden within…”

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sites near Oakmont High: Ashburnham/Winchester/Gardner

The main site in previous blog post. The small outline southwest of the school consists of a pile with a gap, and a separate pile.
 A trail runs through the site
and you can almost see the high school there, through the trees.
Walked around the side of the hill (to about the location of the small upper left blue outline on the map. Here we are on the banks of the Whitman River, which is really the main branch of the Nashua. I think that is a big rock pile down there. Quite possibly part of a mill, so I did not investigate closely, I couldn't spare the loss in elevation. 

Around Oakmont High - Ashburnam/Westminster/Gardner

I parked on the connector road to the northern athletic field next to Oakmont High in Ashburnham. Had I not parked there I would surely have missed this site. But I stepped into the woods west of the field, directly into an interesting place. 
First I see a large platform integrated into the wall:
 Another view:
Turning the eye uphill, two large messy mounds are visible.
There are some interior details in these piles. Although mixture of large and smaller rocks is consistent with field clearing, the way the larger and smaller rocks are placed has structure. In field clearing there is a different kind of structure: the larger rocks will be in separate piles, covered with piles of smaller rocks.
Looking further up the slope...ooh...something still larger:
Here are some details of the large ple, also showing hints of structure:
(from above)
(from one side)
(upper corner)
(from below)
How about that?
Here are views back towards the first two mounds, playing field in the background:
Note the level spot where I am standing for this photo above. It is like a terrace.
Now let's cut diagonally up the hill (further north) to a bulge in the stone wall:
Note the discolored quartz in the wall at the left end of the curly dead branch. Looking at the wall in the other direction, it is not a normal wall. What is this ramp for?
Seen from above, this is a bit of a rectangular section:

Now we come to the last feature I want to mention, some sort of terrace or old road on the far side of this wall. I cannot remember if it a continuation of the terrace from the earlier views back towards the playing fields but, like it, this terrace follows the contour of the hill:
Out along it, one more rock pile:
Hmm. I see quartz and a bit of an outline.
(from below)