Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Two Native ceremonial stone structures in Littleton destroyed by vandals

From Dan Boudillion:

Dear Friends of the Nashobah Praying Indians,


I’m sad to report that two of the Native Ceremonial Stone Structures at the Sarah Doublet Forest in Littleton have been demolished by vandals. 


Here are some pictures, and comments to follow. 



This is a donation-niche structure.  Offerings are placed in the niche. 

This is how it looks today:

This is a pedestal boulder (dolmen) on top of a larger boulder: 

This is how it looks today – pried off and gone. 

Smaller, yet no less spiritually significant, here is a smooth river rock placed as an offering on a turtle effigy. 

It is only a few yards from the donation-niche structure.

Here is how it looks today, the offering stone has been taken.   (I placed the pinecone there for scale.)



The donation niche and pedestal stone are unique and rare forms of Native ceremonial stonework.  Destroying these took effort.  The pedestal boulder would have taken considerable effort and a pry bar.  The donation niche wasn’t simply toppled down the hill, one of its support rocks was pulled out of the ground and toppled down the hill as well. 


A close examination of the leaf cover at the donation niche suggests the destruction happened before winter snowfall.  For the pedestal stone, I recall seeing it last year. 


It is hard to know how to best steward these types of sites on conservation and town lands.  The ongoing conversation in the stewardship community for a number of years is how can we serve the public and protect and preserve these types of sites at the same time: essentially, do we educate, or do we keep them secret? 


It’s almost a moot point.  No amount of education or secrecy will protect things in the open woods.  Both means might cut down problems in their own way, but anything just sitting out there in the open woods is at risk, be it to malicious destruction or simple careless and unintentional vandalism. 


I don’t have answers to this conundrum.  But I do want to share what happened, and the sadness of it.  I also want to keep the conversation going. 


I’d also like to note that vandalism of Native sites has occurred in Acton and Harvard as well.  Its not unique to any one place, it is a product of human nature. 


I’ve brought notice of the damage to the Littleton Conservation Trust.  The LCT is in the process of making some changes that they feel will help mitigate against these kinds of things.  They are doing their best stewardship, but like I said, no one can fully protect things in the open woods.  I’ve also let the Harvard Conservation Trust know as well, they have Native sites on their lands and have been part of the conversations of how to preserve and protect.  Bettina Abe and I will be carrying the conversation forward in Acton soon as well. 

At the Trail Trees & Sacred Stones talk that Strong Bear and I did in Littleton on April 28, we showed pictures of vandalism that had already occurred.  It’s a timely conversation, its an ongoing problem. 


Strong Bear Medicine and I, in collaboration with the Littleton Conservation Trust, have been working on the Prayers in Stone Project – a stewardship project focused on Native ceremonial stone sites.  Perhaps the Prayers in Stone Project can be a means by which the local communities can work together to preserve and protect these fragile sites and their heritage in the Nashoba Valley.


If you have a position in your town on a town board or a non-profit group that is involved in conservation and interested in preserving Native sites – or have a position that supports this – and would like to open dialog and think of ideas on how we can best preserve Native sites in the local area, please contact me. 


Best wishes,


Dan Boudillion


Friends of the Nashobah Praying Indians 

A couple arrowheads from Rehoboth, MA

Did I mention:

Argillite Dalton - How about that! (

Quartzite Dalton (

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

A walk around Washburn Island

Washburn island is an island in Waquoit Bay in Eastern Falmouth, MA. I am privileged to have a young friend with a row-boat on Waquoit Bay, so we rowed across from town and walked around the island (all but the lower "foot"). About 3.5 miles. 

Rumor had it that Washburn Island was a good place to look for arrowheads. For example: my plumber grew up where the Moonakis (Childs) River feeds into the bay. He told me that kids picked up arrowheads everywhere around the Bay when he was young. His friend pulled a 6'' blade out of the water while clamming. [How I happened to be talking to the plumber about arrowheads is another story. Most people have some kind of arrowhead story.]

You can see from aerial photos there are several opportunities for examining gravel and eroding banks of sand. I already examined the beach at the head of the bay on the mainland and I was excited to get to the island. It looked good, with eroding bluffs and gravel bars. We planned to get down to the foot of the island at low tide but it was too far. So we circled the island as best we could and looked at gravel the whole way. This gives you an idea of the arrowhead hunting scenery:

I actually took this photo to point out the clusters of larger cobbles. There are three in this picture that look like fire rings [or maybe they were rock piles 😊]. People living along here before the sea washed away the soil. I mean, look closely at this:
Feeling that there ought to be many arrowheads, I gave the gravel every benefit of a doubt.

Now, if you have hunted arrowheads along a beach - here in Quahog territory - broken white clam shells are a constant distraction. How many times have I bent down to pick up something shaped and colored exactly like this, only to realize it was a bit of shell? I nearly did not pick this up, because of that but - what do you know? - it was the broken off tip of what would have been a pretty nice arrowhead. This is all I found in 3.5 miles:

Well, that proves the rumors true. But hardly matching my dreams. On the other hand, I cannot remember any complete arrowhead I collected that had this sharp a tip.

So maybe a trip to Washburn Island, once a year, makes sense for the future.

Friday, May 10, 2024

Thursday, May 02, 2024

South End of the Big Lake (CT)


I caught a glimpse of a gap in some stonework as I turned onto the highway north,
 by the south end of the Big Lake.

An interesting segment of stacked stones:

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Rock piles: Western North Carolina mountains

Reader Alf writes:

These piles are located in Western North Carolina mountains.

I count 20 rock piles. 6 to 8 are still in good shape. Covered in moss and leaves and vegetation, the top center kind of sunk in or receded. The piles are about 3 feet tall and maybe 8 feet in diameter. Some of the piles seem to be in a line. The 20 piles cover a couple or maybe 3 acres of space.

A mysterious place with stacked rocks

[From Tommy Hudson]