Tuesday, August 02, 2022

37K old site found in New Mexico

New Mexico mammoths among best evidence for early humans in North America (phys.org)

I note a couple of bits of sloppiness in the reporting. Clovis is only around after 14K years ago and there is no mention of the White Sands footprints - also in New Mexico. Finally the idea that it is now OK to accept a second group of "first Americans" to supplement the failing story of "Clovis First" is no less absurd than having a single such group.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Rest in peace Larry Harrop

Our community will be sad to hear that Larry Harrop died. No details are available, other than that he died in early June.

Larry was an occasional contributor to this blog and, although I only met him once, I always thought Larry took the best rock pile photographs. He did a wonderful job capturing the mystery, atmosphere, lighting, color, and beauty, of rock pile sites- mostly in Rhode Island. When I think of Larry I will always think of rock piles in the fog. His photos remain imprinted in my mind. 

His photo albums disappeared quickly from the internet but we have a few here to remind us of his work. See here.

Monday, June 27, 2022

A hole, trailing cobbles, and adjacent mound.


This is in Wheeler Woods, west side of the new trail made by the Buzzard's Bay Coalition, who bought a heck of a lot of archeology without realizing it. You can see these things from the trail, above the main kettle hole.

Bullseyes and Rings

 I saw a couple of ring-inside-ring structures a year or so ago, at Quisset Harbor on Cape Cod (see here), mixed in with some other examples of simpler rings. Here are the photo's I took:




Since these are below high tide, I guess they were used when the water was still several feet lower. It gives you a sense of age.

Anyway, I saw another one, not so much a ring in a ring, but you be the judge:

These are all coastal facing, along this eastern edge of Buzzard's Bay.

Just for fun: A friend of mine climbed Mt San Gorgonio in southern California. Which drew my attention to the aerial view of that mountain top. One imagines the "ring of stones" concept was pretty universal:

You could probably write a book about what kind of archeology is found on American mountain tops. Possibly similar things were practiced at the other extreme - at the edge of the sea.

A little "spell" in stones

Just being a contrarian, I think there is a slight different between a "spell" and a "prayer". The latter suggests something that is always benevolent; where the former might be malevolent as well.

Nowadays, when I see a little structure like this, I believe it is worth looking carefully at the individual rocks.

I see an old friend here, the cashew/boat rudder that is sometimes called a "manitou" but I beg to differ. As long-time readers may remember, I speculate that this has to do with making an agreement.

The middle rock is pretty non-descript.
The lower rock has a bit of shape too. Is that a Manitou? A Cashew? Something else?
It may all be nothing, or a meaningful little combination of elements.

This is left of the entrance to the WHOI Quisset campus, about 30 yards from the main road. I would mention that the valley to the right of the entrance is full of dumped rocks. Small rocks, compatible with being from disturbed mounds, I could not quite convince myself the piles were anything other than mundane. On the other hand, this part of Woods Hole is where most of the genuine mounds are, so that suggests they might be worth a closer look.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Eagle Rock 4H Mounds (GA)

(Replaces a removed post from 6/2016)

Mound Report: The following chapters are excerpts from a larger report titled: “Archeological and Historical Investigations for the Proposed Rock Hawk Trail Corridor Adjoining Lawrence Shoals Park and Little Rock Eagle Mound in Putnam County, Georgia” written by Jerald Ledbetter:

"Standard survey field methods were employed in accordance to the scope of work prepared by the Office of Historic Preservation in consultation with the principal investigator. Information on 28 sites, four isolated artifact occurrences, and more than a hundred rock piles was recorded within and near the project area."


Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Removing stones from rock piles for "safekeeping"

In the previous post [see here] Norman describes a "Gorget on a Rock Pile" and mentions that there was an unusual "gorget" stone found in the pile. Later the State Archaeologist removed the stone for safekeeping.

I think the ethics of removing a special rock from a pile for "safekeeping" needs some discussion. Does anyone have any opinions about this? I remember Doug Harris, in a YouTube video talking about how removing a rock breaks the "prayer"  - only to then watch him remove a rock and put it back. Clearly removing a rock permanently, and taking it off to a place where they have presided over the destruction of many wonderful things, hardly qualifies as "safekeeping". 

Like any ethical question, I doubt there is a good answer. I just think the state carting off treasures should be done with reluctance. And who the heck is the State Archaeologist anyway? Why does he get to destroy the rock pile? To me it is inconceivable that these are the right people to make that call, or to be the keepers of special ceremonial rocks. Generally such objects are poorly documented, not accessible to the public and, basically, lost for good. I would give you odds, that a member of the public, today, would have trouble even getting to see the "gorget".