I was reading an article Norman sent me:
JOA 4:39-71, Rock Piles of the Upper Ohio Valley Moore and Weiss
THE CONTINUING "STONE MOUND PROBLEM": IDENTIFYING AND
INTERPRETING THE AMBIGUOUS ROCK PILES OF THE UPPER
Charity M. Moore and Matthew Victor Weiss
I was unable to get past this sentence of the introduction:
Only through a comprehensive, programmatic approach, informed by indigenous knowledge, can archaeologists overcome the ambiguity of rock piles
Direct observation is another possibility and the authors seem unaware of the thousands and thousands of sites that can be studied. Wasn't archeology supposed to be science? Around here, I watched the "indigenous knowledge" go from nothing to a specialized "rock" vocabulary in just a few years (putting the root for "rock" as a prefix on other words). For example, out in the southwest where the tribes have genuine cultural continuity: do you think those "sun daggers" were uncovered through ethnography?
They continue discussing the many scholarly attempts to understand rock piles. For what it is worth: there is a subject here that is not scholarly but empirical. To know it, you need to head for the woods not the library.