Sunday, February 28, 2016

Looking at the details.

Sunday morning with nothing to do (not going out walking due to flu) I was clicking on the photos in the previous post to have another look. By 'clicking' I mean using the right mouse button and selecting 'open in a new tab'. That takes you to a higher resolution image and the cursor indicates that a left click will magnify even more. So I do that and get as good a view as possible.
When you do this, you may see things you missed in rush of hiking and photoing and "on to the next place" attitude. With the first picture of the last post there are two details worth noticing that I only noticed this morning: a light colored rock at the center of the near pile and a displaced rock on the rear pile. Imagining the displaced rock back where it belongs you can see the pile was sort of niche. The flat "arm rest" stands out and the direction of opening is towards the first pile.
I didn't see any of that until I took the time to look.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

More Warren Brook

This is going to be a bit perfunctory. Continuing from here lets look at 'E', 'F', and 'G'. 
On the way over from 'D' there were a couple nice piles, off by themselves:
At  'E' I was on the north side of the feeder brook and could see a lovely pair of rock piles, across the brook. But it was a hard crossing and my temporary "cane" snapped at the last moment and I got one toe wet:
But obviously I had to get over there to take better look:
and
It's too bad I crossed because as I went down stream I saw another nice pair of rock piles, over on the north side of the brook, at 'F'. I viewed them from a distance:
I did not see at first that there was a third pile in the same line (diagonal to the wall) with a sense of a collapsed hollow. This one was closer to the brook:
And a step later, was a mill-race. 
I want to comment that there was a similarity between "E' and 'F' which I did not pursue as I followed the Upton State Forest road westward for a few yards and then headed up hill. Going up hill is a bad habit I got from Bruce McAlleer, at least around this part of Upton, because the activity is down near the water more than up on the hillsides. But I got lucky and did find a large structure at 'G'
From above:
From below:
It is another of those "knoll-top" mounds.

And that was all I found that day.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Warren Brook in Upton/Grafton- continuous sites

I have been delayed in blogging for a strange reason, which is that I cannot make any sense out how the map matches some of my recollection. I spend most days wrestling with fitting together the logical details of a piece of software and, faced with a similar problem at home, my reaction is: I don't need this!. In the end I think the map must be wrong because somewhere on the way up Westboro Street and turning left of North Str, is a brook flowing actively downhill to the west. Maybe right across from the 'Bradish Cem"? But no matter, there were rock piles there when I first drove along these roads and, ever since, I have been wanting to go back and explore more carefully - in the triangle of woods between Mechanic Str and North Str in Upton. 

I parked at the north tip of the triangle, setpped into the woods and started seeing things at 'A'. In most places the brook has stone walls on either side of it. Sometimes hugging the brook, sometimes fifty yards back. For example, at the tip, stepping across the wall over to the brook, here is a little niche with a circle of stones in front of it:
 The brook is 15 feet behind the pile.

A few steps later, a messy structure with an impressive quartz boulder:
Nope, that is not snow.
A few steps further downstream, a trail crosses the all and you follow it and see rock piles on left and right. There are about 6 of them, more or less evenly spaced, in a line parallel with the wall, parallel with the brook. Here is the path. There are piles to left and right:
For example, looking back upstream:
The are a bit rectangular. Some have quartz:



At this point I starting thinking I was seeing things on the other (west) side of the brook at 'B' and went over to take a look. There were several messy knoll-top piles. We saw a video the other day. Hard to photo. Here is one try:
There were several similar messy knoll-top things over there, nearer to mechanic street, which I will not try to show. They are hard to photo. Back on the east side again where the two brooks meet below 'B', piles along the brook like this:
Really not too interesting to look at but the non-stop continuity of the overall site is worthwhile. 
Here is what an 'alignment' looks like over in there:
Meanwhile, on the east side of the brook a wall, perhaps 40 yards back, suddenly acquired a huge spilled over bulge.
Then at 'D' was a very fine example of one these knoll-top piles. With this one you can see some structure.
I hope frequent readers will recognize this - a classic rectangle with a hollow. 

I'll write about 'E', 'F', and 'G' later.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

White Memorial Conservation Center, Litchfield CT

"Stone Cultural Features and Ceremonial Landscapes"
Presented by Lucianne Lavin, Ph.D, Institute for American Indian Studies, Washington, Connecticut
     The subject is part of Dr. Lavin’s new and ongoing research. The idea of Native American built stone features and ceremonial landscapes is fairly new to Northeastern archaeologists in general, who traditionally thought all were the result of Euro-American farm clearing. Some of it is, of course, but some of it is not. The latter is often associated with celestial movements that may reflect the timing of annual ceremonies/festivals. White Memorial is a huge land trust, and these ritual sites are often found on upland preserves for the very reason that the land has been preserved from industrialization and housing projects. Enjoy a delicious luncheon before her presentation.


Saturday, March 26, 2016 2:00 P.M.
 A. B. Ceder Room, Members: $20.00, Non-members: $30.00
Pre-registration and pre-payment are required.


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Posting about Warren Brook

Warren Brook, in Upton, flows for a while between North Str and Mechanic Str. The triangle of land between these streets is full of different things, very similar to Rattlesnake Hill. I guess this is the watershed of the Blackstone River. I took a bunch of pictures and will be posting during the week. Here is a little video to get us started:
video

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Didn't see that coming

A little site, known only to me, gone now. This was part of the cloverleaf where Concord Rd crosses Rt 3 in Billerica.
Probably state owned land. Did they consider the possibility of disturbing archeology? Of course not because they do not know about it. 
This is as good a time as any to point out again that secrecy about rock pile sites contributes to ignorance and ignorance is the primary cause of site destruction. Those who advocate secrecy are not doing us, or site protection in general, any favors. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Remembering Birch Hill

From here.

‘Rock Art’ and Its Study - Some Preliminary Thoughts



  Archaeologist and ethnohistorian Alicia Colson writes, “I think that the images that exist on the surface of rocks should be termed rock images, or petroglyphs and pictographs instead of rock art. I realise that the term ‘rock art’ is applied world-wide to images that are placed on the surfaces of rocks. It occurs in many different places and settings: Australian rock shelters, the surfaces of boulders in the Jordanian desert, vertical rock faces or rock outcrops on the Canadian Shield, the sides of the stone passages of New Grange in Ireland, and the walls of deep caves in France and Spain. ‘Rock art’ also covers features created using rocks of different sizes to produce ‘rock,’ or ‘boulder alignments.’ I think that the term ‘art’ is problematic because it suggests that these images have primarily a decorative value and no intrinsic value or meaning of their own. It also implies classification of these images according to Western notions of high or low art, or, perhaps, a craft. These terms have loaded meanings, since they impose the analyst’s conventional values. Rock images should not be considered within such a perspective, since, evidently, the cultural context of the ‘reader’ or ‘viewer’ influences perception and classification. This prejudgement affects how images are understood (Blocker 1994; Conkey 1987; Price 1989)…


    Rock image sites cannot be studied using the same techniques as are applied to other archaeological sites. The theoretical approaches used and the questions asked may be the same but the data sources are radically different and generally far more limited. These images cannot be excavated using the techniques for recovering, cataloguing, and analysing data that archaeologists apply to ‘conventional’ archaeological sites. The area surrounding such images may be excavated but the physical context of the site often provides little or no information about the meaning(s) of the images themselves. The subjective beliefs and ideas held by the people who created these images did more to shape them than technological processes or the economic or political systems in which these people lived. Therefore, the archaeologist must rely to an unusual degree on a range of nonarchaeological sources in order to establish the meaning of the images. It is very difficult to access this information for a group whose past is available only through the archaeological record. The difficulties in accessing the symbolic knowledge of a group of people through the inherent attributes and physical location of such images may explain why these sites have often been ignored, or merely described, in contrast to similar images found on birch bark scrolls. Fieldwork and archival work must be considered as equally important in this study, since information must be drawn from a wide range of disciplines, including archaeology, anthropology, history, art history, geology, and geography.”

From: What Do These Symbols Mean?

This below, also by Colson, is also very good - or as someone wiser than I commented, "This article is marvelous, and it really hits home to us who work out of the mainstream."

"The costs or/and advantages of being “different,” that is, thinking differently."
By Alicia Colson

Sunday, February 14, 2016

30 Serpent Mounds

From Tommy Hudson:
Thought you guys would find this interesting.
http://gianthumanskeletons.blogspot.com/2011/10/50-serpent-mounds-in-north-america.html

Update: The ethics of this website are considered questionable. But the pictures are interesting.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Nolumbeka Project - Speaker Jennifer Lee

Coming soon: Full Snow Moon Gathering, Saturday, February 20, noon to 3 p.m., Great Falls Discovery Center, 2  Ave. A, Turners Falls, MA. “Indigenous History and Heritage: A Journey”
Jennifer Lee (Metis/Narragansett) will share her personal journey as a Native American descendant. Her lifelong passion is learning the true history and culture of this land and about the presence of Native People today. Free. Donations welcome. Thanks to Nur Tiven for creating our beautiful poster. Thanks to DCR for their co-sponsorship.
Jennifer Lee is a beloved friend of the Nolumbeka Project and we are grateful for this opportunity to hear her story. Every year, she graces the Pocumtuck Homelands Festival and provides a picturesque tableau for the day with her wigwam and bark baskets under the trees on the riverfront. She is an independent student of American Indian History. She is also a student and a participant of Indian culture. She travels to learn and travels to share what she’s been learning about the true history of this land and the existence, persistence, and resistance of indigenous people today. For the past 22 years she’s presented educational programs at schools, historic sites, festivals, museums and reservations. These presentations usually include a traveling wigwam full of bark baskets. This program will feature bark baskets and a list of recommended movies.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Saturday, February 06, 2016

"As close to the sky as possible, where the slope levels out but the water still flows" - George Hill Upton

That seems to sum up where I expect to find rock piles: at the tops of brooks feeding into navigable waterways. The rule doesn't always work but I have been letting it guide my explorations for the past several months and it has had as many successes as failures - in this Middlesex ex-urban landscape. For example here, here, and here.
I followed this strategy at George's Hill in Upton, going uphill following brooks.
When I got to 'A', I thought: ok this is about where I should find rock piles. I immediately did find rock piles - confirming the search strategy.

It is particularly interesting that in Upton, at 'A', the piles were small (less than 10 ft across) and very old looking - where I am used to seeing larger rectangular mounds with hollows at these brook high-points. This means the placement at the top of a brook persisted through cultural changes in the style of burial mounds.
I saw other piles between 'A' and 'B', of little note. At 'B' I again thought: there could be rock piles here. But I couldn't see any. My feet found one, then I saw a couple others. These were nondescript and might have been evenly spaced in a row.
Here are some pictures of the piles at 'A'. Only about half the actual piles looked slightly rectangular and the faint depression in the middle was only present in a few. I "cherry picked" the best examples to show:
You can see the faint rectangle, and note it is actually a pretty good sized pile:
See the grey rock near the center of the picture? Close up:
Those fluted surfaces are from percussive flaking. This is a core or tool of some kind.
Another:
The snow makes it easier to see. A few more:
These all look faintly rectangular to me. Do you see it or not?

Friday, February 05, 2016

Norman Muller writes:
A friend sent me the links below.  The third one is new (to me, anyway),  Still, Thorson continues to deny any Indian connection to the walls he studies.  I think he was brainwashed by Bellantoni.
 
http://robertthorson.uconn.edu/writing/books/stone-by-stone/

http://robertthorson.uconn.edu/

http://www.earthmagazine.org/article/history-science-and-poetry-new-englands-stone-walls

http://www.yankeemagazine.com/article/features/stonewalls-robert-thorson#_

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Double chambered mound(s)- Callahan SF

I have reported this previously but took another look the other day. It was larger than I remember. A fine example:
There is another nearby that is closer to the idea of a pile with a tail:
And several other features.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016