Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Snake Effigy (Fences, Fishing and Chemical Warfare Agents at the former Fort McClellan in Alabama)

   I came across this below a while back, passed it on to a person or two, including PWAX who suggested I post it up here. It took a little while for me to investigate further into the source of the text, but it didn’t take that long to find that it was a stenographer’s version of Harry Holstein’s presentation at a January 2007 meeting of the Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) that allocated Department of Defense Funds for Investigating a Snake Effigy as well as the cleanup of some Chemical Warfare Agents and two guys at the meeting talking about fishing.

Please note: The Court Reporter and Commissioner for Alabama at Large, who transcribed this was apparently someone unfamiliar with some of Harry’s words, including the term fish weirs, as illustrated here as HH explains that Native American stone building technology in the area goes back a long time: “One of the things we see here in Calhoun County a lot are called fish queers, fish traps. They're very efficient. Instead of hunting elephants, now they're fishing. And the way these things worked, they piled rocks up one bank, rocks off another bank, they leave a little opening, this V, and they anchored a basket facing upstream, and the fish swim along the rocks right into the basket, Captain D's. They got themselves a fish dinner, very efficient. This is on Terrapin Creek, by the way, just a little bit north of here in Calhoun County.”

Intro ~ CURTIS FRANKLIN: “All right. The program tonight is on the Snake Effigy from Monty Clendenin and Dr. Harry Holstein, and so I'll turn the program over to them…”

DR. HARRY HOLSTEIN: “Hello everybody. It's nice to be here tonight. I've never been to the RAB meeting before, but the topic that I'm about to present, I think, is something that will spark your interest in one degree or another. I've been at JSU as an archeologist for 25 years now. One of the things that I've discovered in those 25 years is northeast Alabama has an incredible heritage, prehistoric heritage and historic heritage and as far as archaeological resources are concerned, and I've had an opportunity to investigate a lot of cool sites, interesting sites that range from Hernando de Soto to Davey Crockett to prehistoric Indians that lived 8,000 years ago.
      And one of those things I'm fortunate enough to be (see? have seen?) here in northeast Alabama is a phenomenon that archeologists have contended with from the Appalachian Mountains all the way from Alabama up to New England, which I'll show you in a couple of minutes. The Midwest has to deal with this resource. It's kind of a mystery. A lot of archeology is a mystery. We don't know it all. We just know bits and pieces of it. The ability to study sites like the one we're going to be talking about, the Snake Effigy. We'll have a better understanding of what it's all about, and what it's all about, basically are rock piles, piles of rocks laid across the landscape.
And the controversy comes into, very simply, a lot of people pile up rocks. I bet everybody in this room has piled up rocks out in your yard or piled up rocks in your neighbor's yard at one time or another. Like everyday rock piles, Indian rock piles, the Snake Effigy, is a good example to how this is to be done…”

Some more bits and pieces, links to this and that, including mention that the U.S. Army recognizes USET:

“The Department of Defense (DoD) has made a strong commitment to keeping citizens informed and giving communities a voice in environmental cleanup decisions. In meeting this commitment, DoD makes information available on environmental restoration activities, provides opportunities for comment, and seeks public participation on Restoration Advisory Boards (RABs).”

Fort McClellan established the Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) to enable affected communities and representatives of Government agencies to meet and exchange information about Fort McClellan's environmental cleanup program.
Mountain Longleaf National Wildlife Refuge, Calhoun County, Alabama Unanticipated Site Discovery Plan (Archaeological and Historic Sites) October 2013 Archaeological and historic investigations at Mountain Longleaf National Wildlife Refuge were performed by the Department of Defense (DOD) prior to the Refuge’s establishment in 2003. DOD’s investigations focused on the mid-19th – 20th century Fort McClellan and other types of historic properties present on the military reservation, such as precolumbian artifact scatters, quarry sites, historic period house and industrial sites, historic period cemeteries, and stone wall and mound complexes. Stone wall and mound complexes are considered to be part of a tribal ceremonial or sacred landscape (see USET Resolution No. 2007: 037).

And of course, the link to the report:

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