Thursday, September 21, 2017

Archaeology Walk at Cedar Swamp

(Via Peter Anick of NEARA)

Sunday, October 1

1:30 - 3:30 PM
Learn about Westborough before the arrival of Europeans in this fascinating exploration of pre-history. Cedar Swamp was used by Native Americans for thousands of years due to its unique location at a crossroads of waterways and trails leading from Canada to all over New England and beyond.

Walk leader Michelle Gross, with degrees in Archaeology and Anthropology, has worked on digs in Cedar Swamp and many other locations in Westborough. We will find out how the evidence uncovered has given us a wonderful picture of Native American life.

Meet at 57 Flanders Rd (where a stature of a lady holds the mailbox). Follow the driveway about 1/2 mile back and take the left fork to a parking area.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Mounds in general

They are all over the place. Looking back over past blog posts, I show hundreds and hundreds of the same thing - rectangular, slightly pyramidal, with a depression or "hollow", near the middle. Often with side structure forming a curved around "tail" as an alternative or companion to the "hollow". They vary in size, they vary in height, they vary in decrepitude. But surely it is not my imagination. Why doesn't anyone else report these things?

Also, you know darn well those are burial mounds. Let's not talk about it too much! A truly unique resource, perhaps mostly in New England but we have seen photos from Georgia to New Brunswick showing the same thing. It is incomprehensible to me why these burial mounds are not well know to the archeological community. Get out much? The mounds are all over the place.

If you go back and watch the video of the large mound we just saw in Princeton, there is moment just after I 'fall in', where some terracing appears - almost like little amphitheater seats. This is the side structure I am talking about above. It is like a "tail" on a grander scale.

Huge mound - Paradise Pond Princeton

If you go into Leominster State Forest from the west on Rocky Pond Rd., Paradise Pond lies to the south on your right. Soon a dirt road appears to your right, called "King Tut Highway" and you can hang a right and head down along the west side of the pond, east of Wolfden Hill. It is my impression from the past that there are small sites all along that western side of the pond - a grassy under-story beneath the trees. This was the place where I did my first "experiments" finding rock piles, before hand by looking at a map, then confirming by going there. I mention it here. I remember driving out with my wife for the first experiment but cannot find the pictures I took - maybe in the "journal" I kept before blogging. Anyway...

Went to show the place to the Ladies from Harvard and we stayed right of the road at the edge of the drop off to the wetland. Here is a huge mound right in there:
SB in the foreground and GC in the background. GC is standing at the top of a ramp. Ignoring additional terracing and structure that you can glimpse in the video (previous post), the side and top views are something like this:

Here is the view from across the way:
Quite a big mound.

And a smaller pile underfoot (when I was taking the above photo):
The small one is very convincing. The first one was a bit of a mess and it almost seemed like a sand pit with this mound comprising its discards. But seeing the second smaller mound eliminates such doubts.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Paradise Pond - Princeton

Lots of stuff on the eastern side. This was not far from "King Tut" Highway, closer to the lowlands.

Friday, September 15, 2017

More west of Lovell Reservoir Fitchburg

A bit south of the first mound group I discussed here and through more than a little bit of raspberry, I came out into clearer spaces with more rock piles. Damaged.
And more particularly:
I was quite taken with the next one, and have panoramas from various angles:
It is a complicated structure - a genuine ruin.
Finally, some are more smeared out than others. It would be interesting to know why.
Quite a busy place, that otherwise inconspicuous bit of map.

Celebrate Hopkinton's "Ceremonial Stone Landscape" on Oct 7

(via the R. Ferrara and Friends of Pine Hawk)

Please join Hopkinton Rhode Island in celebrating the dedication of its Ceremonial Stone Landscape on October 7th. Many of you will remember the team from Hopkinton presenting on this work at our meetings, and their process is a ground-breaking one for future collaborations among us. Congrats Hopkinton!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

West of Lovell Reservoir Fitchburg

The whole shoulder there, looking out east over the open space of the reservoir is worth the walk. I re-visted an old mound group and found another. Maybe around the 'L' of Lovell or near the end of that dashed line on the map. To find the re-visited site, get up to the edge of the steep part of the ridge and follow the stone wall north until you get to this pile:
(sorry about the light). This is a bulge in the wall but it has a distinct depression in the center and a couple pieces of quartz next to each other. I remember there was a pile up hill a few steps and the last time, when I went to look at that pile there was another larger mound visible in the bushes forty feet or so away. I could not see it now and would never have gone to look for it. Even knowing they were there it took me a while to locate the three mounds I remember.

Another, really covered in bushes:

 Nice piece of creamy quartzite.

Then finally the smallest, which is the one I remembered seeing first, in the past:

A wonderful little mound.

I don't need to try too hard to classify this mound group. Is is part of the continuum of such mounds along Falulah Brook from the Hospital to Ashby Rd West. [And it is nice to know there are still plenty of backyards along there that I have not had a chance to sneak into yet.]
I walked north to the feeder brook, then back south, through the first site and on southward toward my car. A short stretch of wall in there:
I remembered one little curious bit of stone wall corner and puddle, not too far from the first group. And I did see it on the way north. But heading back south I came to some others. Wait a minute! What is this?

And where was this?Another wall bulge with a hollow:

We still haven't gotten to the second mound group. I'll post about it separately.

Field find

This picture (barely) shows two large male turkeys engaged in some kind of combat. I watched them circle each other and then briefly attack each other for several minutes. I had never seen such a thing. You will notice, on the right side of the picture, some areas where the grass is thin. It is very sandy in this place.
 I spotted something in one of the sandy patches where the grass grows sparse.
A nice one. Stark, I believe. Material is a bit unusual. More layered than the argillite tools I find. Slate, maybe. I found this back in May. I have had some other lucky days since my last post, but don't often have time to sit down at a computer. I will post some other finds soon.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Alpine Hill Fitchburg, with more bad cellphone pictures

I went out with the ladies from Harvard ("LFH"?) but few photos are worth passing along.
A new big thing I had not seen:
And, for example:
On the southern shoulder (where they saw a nice rocking stone, I only heard it from below, while photo'ing this):
and a few more mounds from the main hill. Found one rock pile near the top that incorporated a rusted wheel rim from a wagon.

I was unable to locate the large mounds I blogged about in the past at Alpine Hill - just as I am pretty unable to locate the previous posts but, for example:

Free Webinar on Indigenous Stone Landscapes

From Curt Hoffman:
[link fixed] Register Now: Free Webinar on Indigenous Stone Landscapes on Sept 19.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Long Hill, Bolton

Driving up Long Hill Rd from the north, I saw a watercourse on my left and thought it looked worth exploring. When I turned onto Annie Moore Rd, I found the watercourse had curved around and began there next to #23. I thought: here is where I should look, and in fact this was next to the road:
You also see something smaller in the woods behind it but, next to a house, I did not go take a closer look:
That would be about here:

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

"Our Hidden Landscapes: Native American Stone Ceremonial Sites in the North American East"

12th Annual Native American-Archaeology Roundtable
 Saturday, October 28, 2017; tentative times: 9:00am-5:00 pm

     The federal government recognizes Native American Ceremonial Stone Landscapes (CSLs) as significant archaeological sites, yet most people – the general public and professional researchers – know little about them. Oftentimes their stone cultural features are misidentified as “farm clearing,” and subsequently destroyed to make way for suburban expansion or industrial developments. This conference focuses specifically on the identification of CSLs, their physical characteristics, relationships to the cosmos, connections with indigenous world view and sacred stories, and the need for professional archaeologists and state officials to identify, catalog and preserve these objects of living history.
Scheduled speakers: Deanna Beacham (Weapemeoc), Jesse Bergevin, Dr. Chris Bergman, Dr. Daniel F. Cassedy, Robert DeFosses, Mary & James Gage, Doug Harris, Dr. Julia A. King, Dr. Paul Loether,  Dr. Johannes (Jannie) Loubser, Charity M. Moore, Tom Paul, Dr. Paul A. Robinson, Dr. Laurie Rush, Douglas Schwartz, and Matthew V. Weiss.           
  Co-Organizers: Dr. Lucianne Lavin (IAIS) and Elaine Thomas (Mohegan).
Open to the public, pre-registration required; $10 conference fee.
Light refreshments to be served.
Please join us for another rousing Native American-Archaeology Round Table with outstanding presentations and panel discussions by professional researchers and Native American leadership.
 The Institute for American Indian Studies (IAIS)
38 Curtis Road
Washington, Connecticut  06793
Visit us online @  

Soon blogging will resume

Back from the summer. Starting to make plans for the weekend.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Blood Hill and Mushrooms

Took Joe and Gail Coolidge to visit Blood Hill on the border of Ashby and Ashburnham. Took a few pictures of the piles, and a few more of the mushrooms.

A familiar shape:

And here is my son, grown a bit older, giving me the thumbs up:

How about these Boletus? These are the ones that make the Russians' eyes glaze.

Looks like mushroom hunting would have been good last weekend.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Cairn from Killingsworth CT

reader Tim M sent these photos, and asked if anyone has an opinion about this rock pile:

Redwing MN Cairns

We may have all come across the web site:
Which shows a dramatic cairn on a bluff in Redwing Mn.

Some time ago reader Steve K who lives near Redwing, asked about something I had posted about those cairns and also mentioned he wanted to locate them on foot. I asked him to send photos if he took any, and I am pleased to be able to pass along his report.

Steve writes:
If you're still interested, here are some recent photos (08/13/2017) of one of the rock cairn sites in Red Wing. The DNR had recently cleared away brush, shrub trees, and buckthorn from the bluff making it possible to get some clear pics. 

I also included a couple of aerial photos of another cairn site nearby. There's not much to see in that one, but the tree in the foreground is in a hole that used to be the center of the cairn and there are many large rocks strewn around it. 

Looks pretty damaged since the original photo.