Tuesday, April 26, 2016

East of Lake Whitehall (again)

Previous stories here, especially this one. There are good sized conservation lands east of the lake and I went to the northernmost part, finally finding a "marker pile" site at the blue outline.
This has several typical features I won't point out, but note the way the water is at the low point and center of the site. We enter:
At the bottom, at that moment when you realize it is a rock pile site:
And the way the piles cross the slope above:
 The "money" shot:
Nice individual piles:
Here are 4 in a curved "row". The water is downhill to the left.
This is similar to the site I reported recently from Princeton, where the piles also were  clustered above a small spot of water. One more detail of the water:

Nolumbeka Projects Events

Valley Gives Day May 3rd 12 am to 11:59 pm  
https://valleygives.razoo.com/us/story/The-Nolumbeka-Project
                What Really Happened Here?,” Friday, May 20, 7-9 p.m., Greenfield High School auditorium, the Native American perspective of the  history of the  Great Falls Massacre, David “Tall Pine” White, Nipmuc,  and David Brule, Nolumbeka Project, funded by a grant from the Greenfield and Massachusetts Cultural Councils. 
Day of Remembrance: Commemoration of the 340th Anniversary of the Great Falls MassacreSaturday, May 21, at 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Great Falls Discovery Center. CEREMONY BEGINS 1 P.M. We are allowing time for visitors to tour this battlefield area near what was once Great Falls (Peskeompskut) for personal reflection and  historic perspective. Key ingredients of the day will include Elder Teachings by Native American Grandmothers Jeorgina Larouque and Nancy Andry, a look back to the lasting significance of the Reconciliation Ceremony, guest speakers, musical offerings,  and special tributes to Monique Fordham and GeorgeNelson. 
          If you can help with set-up, greeting guests, clean-up,
And looking farther ahead:
Pocumtuck Homelands Festival, Saturday, August 6, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m., returns to Unity Park in Turners Falls where the Reconciliation Ceremony took place. The festival fulfills and reinforces this pledge by inviting Native American artists, musicians, and educators to participate. The Festival’s music this year will feature Theresa “Bear” Fox, Mohawk (Wolf Clan), and   Kontiwennenhawi, the Akwasasne Women Singers, “Wave Artist” Mixashawn, and the Medicine Mammals Singers.  Also, The Black Hawk Singers, Visioning B.E.A.R. Circle Intertribal Coalition Singers, a Penobscot hoop dancer, round dancing, elder teachings and a powwow emcee. 
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Monday, April 25, 2016

NE of Lake Whitehall - Stone Walls

NEARA Spring Conference

Peter Anick writes:

Looking forward to seeing some of our MA chapter members this weekend at the Spring conference in South Portland, Maine.  I'd like to invite all the MA folks attending to get together during lunch on Saturday for another informal chapter gathering.  It's a good chance for new members to meet their neighbors, learn what members have been up to, and brainstorm upcoming field trips. 

- Peter

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Prehistoric stone figures related to Blackfoot legend (Montana)


MISSOULIAN Apr 19, 2016 (No author name given)
     “All are rock outlines and clearly human figures. The torsos are typically square and contain a rock where the heart is, or a heart line – similar to pictograph and petroglyph depictions of humans that also dates to the same time period. Most have a waist line and some still have stones placed where kidneys are located. The Napi figures are all notably male, too, with a sometimes discernible phallus. A single line of rocks creates the legs, and the feet typically point outward.
     With arms outstretched, bent at the elbow in a “hands-up style” and fingers – if the smaller rocks remain – splayed out, Brink calls the pose one of supplication, the “human being surrendering to the spirit world.”
     ...Brink said ancient rock features that remain relatively undisturbed in places like the BLM’s Henry Smith site are helping to teach modern people an important lesson about ancient plains inhabitants.
      “These people had a deep spiritual life,” he said. “It was steeped in ceremony.”
      That makes sense considering the treacherous and fickle world in which they lived, he added.
       “For people who are not used to thinking this way, imagine putting yourself out somewhere on the plains and just stand there in the middle of nowhere and ask: ‘How do I survive?’”


Friday, April 15, 2016

Keyes and Washburn Brooks - Princeton MA

I followed a smaller unnamed tributary near where Rt 31 and 140 meet and found rock piles in the gully and at the top, both on the way up the smaller branch and on the way down the main brook.
On the way up (southern outline) a few rock piles around a small spot of water:
A bit evenly spaced.
 The water:
Above this grouping on the hill was a wonderful larger rock pile with a pointed "head" rock sticking out prominently.
Front and back:

A view back down to the wet spot:
According to one theory, the pointer rock might be able to throw a shadow over the wet spot as well as on the individual rock piles.

And then we continue...down and over and back to the top of the larger channel (northern blue outline on the map fragment above) where it becomes more and more obvious that the rocks in the bed of the brook are piled up:
Here also are some larger piles:
 Hard to get a good look at.
And smaller ones.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Carl Bjork

It is not important that we agree.
It is important that we talk.

Note the alignment of the glyph on the rock and the sight hole on the cairn.


  I just recently “re-connected” with Carl, I am happy to say. I even corrected a dead link to his pages at the Waking Up On Turtle Island blog: Carl Bjork's Rock Art Site

     A bit of wisdom, passed on to Carl by a Native American Elder: "The location of the site was selected first and the rock-art came later. Turn your back to the symbols and you will see why the location was selected because you are standing at the center of the information depicted in the carvings and paintings.  Watch the play of light and shadow on the symbols.  It is our history...in a time before we started using your alphabets to record our history.   The symbols and figures are a pictorial [ideographic] communication system that was used by most tribal groups and understood by all."
       Something else that comes to mind, mentioned here and there at Rock Piles, is that thing about “the shape of a stone on a rock pile having the same shape as a mountain or hill in the distance.” Carl also notes this phenomena sometimes occurs elsewhere, as he writes, in a section about perceiving possible images and pareidolia: “When we look at a rock art panel and notice that the top of the boulder is in the same shape of the mountain behind on the far horizon, is it a coincidence that it is shaped as the horizon and did the petroglyph carver select the boulder to record to share a message or a history about the rock art site and its relationship to the mountain?”
The photo above comes from this page:


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

More water

A tributary of Keyes Brook, just south of Washburn Brook:
(and a rock-on-rock()
Reader John writes:
I found your blog when I was recently searching for an explanation of the 2 rock piles I have known about since 1971.  We have a cabin in Spring Creek, PA.  There are two large rock piles behind our cabin on top of the mountain separated by about 100 yards with a collection of smaller rock piles scattered around them.  The picture attached is one of the large piles.  Not a great shot since it was from my flip phone.  My dad has always said it was Indian burial grounds.  The location is near the edge of the mountain top on flat ground.  The area is now part of the PA state game lands.  There is no evidence that this area was ever logged off because there are no skidder paths near the rocks.  I'd like to learn the approximate age of the piles and who might have made them.  They are oval shaped.  I can't imagine that anyone ever farmed up there.  It is just not accessible and completely forested. It is a relatively steep climb to the top. Our cabin is located on a dirt road along route 426, east of Garland.

A dry stone dome (Isle of Mull, Scotland)

Hallamdrystonewalls captions his photo: “Building a dry stone done for a bit of Christmas fun. Santa loves dry stone domes ya know.”


"My little dry stone mound on the isle of mull, Scotland. Not bad for a first attempt especially as the stone was awful."
 Above: Obviously an English stone wall also made by Isaac Hallam, a Derbyshire based dry stone waller.  Below: 5 miles from my house, around the estate of the first Puritan minister, is this wall that most people would say was obviously made by people of English descent because "Indians (in New England) didn't build stone walls until the English taught them to."
Another segment at the Preacher's Estate, undulating obviously snake-like and quite obviously unlike an obviously English stone wall:

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A rock-on-rock or two

Looking at the pictures, at first I couldn't figure out why I took this photo. (These are from southern-most Wolfden Hill, Princeton)
Here are some other photos with more evident purpose:
 Moose!


Nuclear Lake NY

"Great hike Sunday (4/10/2016) in Pawling NY. Lots of enigmatic stonework everywhere!" 
Teresa Bierce reports and sends along some photos (with, among others, Dyane Plunkett, Polly Midgley and Donna Savino) taken at Nuclear Lake NY.




You might remember this post – and the multitude of comments:

Monday, April 11, 2016

Spring arrowhead finds

     I have been spending a lot of time looking for arrowheads but more often than not, I have come home with very little to show for my efforts. This picture shows the results of countless hours of careful searching. Rather demoralizing.
     On Saturday I drove to a farm field where I have found some arrowheads. Many people go there and look for artifacts. I have found no other place like it, in terms of popularity among arrowhead collectors. On any weekend day, you are more likely than not to see a figure methodically, slowly pacing the rows. At times I have seen 4 or 5 people out there, not as a team, but individually, searching a favorite spot in this field. Anyway, I got out of the car, I started walking and saw many small piles of chips and flakes left behind by previous searchers. I hate this tactic. The plow can move stuff around a lot, but the density of quartz chips and flakes on the surface is a clue and I don't see why collectors need to move these things around and pile them up in a place maybe different from where they were picked up. I tried not to get too discouraged, reminding myself that any rain can expose something new, and that as thorough as I am, I have found arrowheads very close to my own footprints. You can never find everything. I walked to the back of the field where there is a big pile of rocks that the farmer has pulled out over the years. And at the edge of that pile was a little area of quartz chips and flakes on the surface, where someone had been making tools. By "on the surface" here I don't mean eroding out of the bare earth, I mean these chips were sprinkled right on the top of the ground. Perplexed, I looked closer and picked up a single perfect quartz Squibnocket Triangle. This point was visually indistinguishable from other points I had previously found as nearby as a few yards away. Same shape, same material. The edges were no more sharp or more dull than the other points I find. But the debitage was clearly new, someone had been there making stuff. Extremely close scrutiny of this otherwise ordinary point showed a tiny speck of copper in a flake scar. This thing was made with modern tools. I was appalled. It ruined my whole day. I couldn't get over how irresponsible this knapper was. Why would you go to an archaeological site and make and leave behind new-made facsimiles of the artifacts that are there? Even the new debitage he left behind is a stain on the integrity of this site. But my distress was more than just indignation at the short-sighted recklessness of this modern toolmaker. I have been having a real hard time finding arrowheads- and then I go to a site and I find a modern copy. The first whole arrowhead of 2016, and it is days old. And no matter how hard I look, it is likely to be the "best" find of the day. A fake. My demoralization was total.
     I went to another place and tried to forget about the bitter taste in my mouth. I found a big broken triangle and a crude thing that some might call a preform but I would prefer to call a knife. It is made from a quartz cobble and still has some cortex at the base on one side. I don't have another like this. Not much to look at, but at least this is genuine archaeological evidence of early man and not just some kind of prank.
     Sunday, I met up with my friend Dave. We talked about places where we could go and look. I had zero expectation of a find. We went to a grassy place with little exposure. Hardly any rocks to be seen. We stopped by another place, tall grass- no hope. Dave mentioned another place where we could go. I was surprised to get there and see lots of dirt and rocks visible. I searched for about an hour. I realy wish I had brought my camera... Anyway, this was probably my luckiest day looking for arrowheads in the last 12 months.
     That felsite tool on the left is really special. It's not broken, it is a large point that has been worked down like this for use as a drill or graver. The argillite triangle on the right is a great find for me. It's large, really thin, and I love the material.
     On the way home we spotted some new construction by a river. The topsoil has been removed and is piled up in huge dirt mounds. The mounds are covered with chips and flakes of toolmaking stone. I will be going back there.