Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The NEARA Logo

Consider the NEARA logo:
It comes from a petroglyph, which I think was found in southern New England, on the grounds of a Monastery. 
Quick question: how many other petroglyphs in New England represent a female?
Followup question: how many petroglyphs in New England represent a person?
My answer to both is: none, or almost none. So the NEARA logo is quite unique. 

Going back through this blog (see "petroglyph"), which presents a sample of what is being found, there are very few petroglyphs of any kind. There are several types of marked rock, several "faces" (a circle containing three dots) found underwater in CT, what looks like a bow and arrow, and some things that look geological to me. I have seen pictures elsewhere of some smaller "amulet" rocks with decorative images of corn, birds, and perhaps a stick figure. That's it. 

The conclusion is that whoever made the NEARA petroglyph was expressing something that did not happen often in these woods. Which argues against it being Native American. Who do we think carved this petroglyph? and When? Was it part of a stone chamber?

9 comments :

Tim MacSweeney said...

Katherine Bragdon says this: “Most petroglyph sites in southern New England are rocks jutting out into the water. A second type of pictographic image was often etched on amulets, or portable stones which were often pierced and possibly worn as pendants. Images include "haloed" heads, snakes, figures with outstretched hands or carrying objects such as bags or rattles, thunderbirds, various animal representations including turtles and deer, and other, abstract designs (Delabarre 1973:62-65, 92-103, 113). E.B. Delabarre documents such motifs on several rock outcroppings throughout central and southern New England (Figure 1: Delbarre 1928: figures 6, 16, 35, 100). Similar motifs have been recorded at the Solon, Maine petroglyphs (Snow 1976), as well as a number with sexual connotations, including ithyphallic males, sexually receptive females and abstract male and female genitalia. Similar representations depicted on the Dighton rock, and Mark Rock in Warwick, Rhode Island (Figures 2 and 3)... Many of these designs have been found on shale disks, some worn as crevices, associated with the haunts of guardian spirits and mythological beings, and with their emergence from the underworld or sky world. (Vastokas and Vastokas 1973:48)... Vastokas and Vastokas suggest for the Peterborough petroglyphs, "the site itself, a pierced and perforated rock, may be read as an ideal feminine symbol; it is a symbolic uterus and a means of access for the shaman to the hidden power or sexual though handled frequently. They are frequently found near bodies of water" (Hedden 1991:47)...”
http://digitalassets.lib.berkeley.edu/anthpubs/ucb/text/kas079-012.pdf

pwax said...

Are there some pictures we could compare?

Norman said...

I don't think the NEARA logo is ancient, simply because of how it was done: not linear but pecking done around a blank shape. Maybe it is found in Lenik's books somewhere. It's like that egg-shaped stone that was found in NH in the 1800s, which depicts, among other designs, a teepee, something that was not found here in the East.

Norman said...

In Ed Lenik's book "Rocks, Riddles and Mysteries" (2011), he discusses the "Mount Mineral Monolith" on pages 42-45. Mount Mineral in Shutesbury, MA, was a health resort in the 19th century. At the end, Lenik writes: "I believe the figure to be a Euro-American carving that dates to the health resort era, most likely the first half of the twentieth century. The figure, sculpted with metal tools, fits the tradition and practice of carving images and inscriptions at the site by visitors who came here to be cured of their ills."

Curtiss Hoffman said...

Human figures are indeed rare in the region, male or female. I have a total of 7 in my inventory, and some of those are questionable. There are 4 in Massachusetts and 3 in Connecticut. Two of the Massachusetts ones and one in Connecticut were reported by Peter Waksman, possibly on this blog! The other 2 CT examples were reported here by Tim MacSweeney. The other 2 MA examples are the well-known Benfield A site in Carlisle, reported by Tim Fohl, which has a rather curvilinear flat rock with stones piles on it in significant places; Tim considers this to be a female effigy; and a site in western Mass. reported by Sarah Kohler.

As to Norman's comments on the Mineral Mountain stone, I would observe that Abenaki shamans used a tepee-like construction called a shaking tent for their trance sessions. Shutesbury turns out to be a very important locus for stone structures!

pwax said...

For rock piles I know: aside from the one at Benfield A, there is one "female" in Concord (next to Hanscom field on Pine Hill), one in Carlisle (at Jic's "Fertility Square"), and one in Acton (on the south side of Grassy Pond). Also, there is a reasonable "male" shape in Acton and another on the Acton/Stow border.

Tim MacSweeney said...


Solar foes claiming Indian burial mounds raise ruckus at Shutesbury meeting (August 19, 2016)
SHUTESBURY — Tempers flared at Wednesday night's Planning Board meeting as opponents of a 6-megawatt solar farm off Pratt Corner Road took aim at a developer's archaeological report and continued to assert that the site is "sacred ground" to Native Americans...

http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2016/08/solar_foes_claiming_indian_bur.html

Tim MacSweeney said...

I meant Kathleen J. Bragdon in my first comment. I am embarrassed...

Chris Pittman said...

That the NEARA logo is not prehistoric or Native American is, to me, obvious.

There are Native American petroglyphs in New England, for example: the faces at Bellows Falls VT, hand prints in Middleboro and in Lakeville MA, a portable rock showing an apparent bird figure found at the Wapanucket site and now on display at the Robbins Museum, and a discoidal stone with what looks to be a snake carving, found (I believe) by Bill Taylor at Titicut.

What do NEARA have to say about their logo and what it means to them, I wonder?