Sunday, November 28, 2010

Speaking of Orbs

Speaking of orbs, here's an Indian Shaman's Ghost (with antlers) captured on film at a petroglyph site in Gila Bend Arizona. Full (brief) story here:

Saturday, November 27, 2010

So-Called Matawini Site in Quebec

Just a couple of links for amusement over the holiday weekend. This fellow sent his pictures in to the Megalithic Portal along with some links and I was asked to have a look. Obviously there's over-the-top hype here and possibly actual insanity, plus it's clear that some of the stones, like the "obelisks," have been recently placed, since they are clean of moss and lichen.

Still, it appears there may be a site underlying it all. I've seen rock shelter-type things like he's calling a cave at some sites and he did come up with a fairly convincing turtle. I wish I could visit the place and look for the elements we're used to seeing. Here's a slide show and here's the main website. Yes, I realize it's completely wacked out, but just looking at the stones, what do you think?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Stains on stone tools

I was opining that the dark brown color at the tip of Tim MacSweeney's "Quartz Stone" was a stain induced by the use of the stone to pound something. I think staining of stone tools is common and provides some of the most important clues. In some cases it seems as if the hafting material (presumably some kind of leather) somehow catalyzed the deposition of iron. For example here (note brown horizontal stripe):And on the right here:
In other cases the stain seems to soak into the underlying rock, like on the left above or in Tim MacSweeney's stone. I am not sure why it looks "soaked in" except that the stain seems to shade away further from the surface. In the case of the stone on the left in the above photo, I have several other examples of the same material that are uniform grayish beige, without any changes of color.

One more example of surface rust stains:This is a blue mudstone (argillite) axe about 7 inches long. There is a curved brown line cutting off the upper right corner which, I believe, gives me a clue about how it was hafted.

I have a book about someone finding dried blood on clovis points from alaska and then analyzing the shape of the re-crystallized hemoglobin to detect the species of animal the blood came from. They found mastadon blood. It is hard to believe that such materials would stick around so long on the surface of a stone tool but they do.

Update: Another thing I want to point out about Tim's quartz stone is that it is shaped like a hammer with damage from battering on the discolored tip. So it is not just the shading characteristic of the stain but also its consistency with the shape of the item that suggests use stain rather than chemical coloring of the rock.

Map of Praying Indian Village locations

From Vin Vullo of Acton:

Praying Villages here in Mass. If you see a use for the technology, please let me know.

Modern Forestry - criminally incompetent and the greatest threat to woodlands

Took FFC to look at an extended ceremonial site along the eastern edge of Rocky Pond Boylston. I thought this place was safe, as it is a "New England Forestry" site. Sadly, these fools have been driving large equipment all over the rock piles and stone walls, doing a "minimal cut". According to FFC, this means they have been removing a minimum of trees in order to go through the motions of logging so as to preserve their tax status. FFC also tells me the New England Forestry association has a stated priority to preserve historically significant places in the woods. Too bad they have no clue as to what is "significant" and, apparently no eyes to see with.
That is what a rock pile looks like when driven over by logging equipment. Look at those white scars as the treads crossed the split-wedged rock in the background.

I was trying to console FFC, saying that the whole site had not been destroyed. But he was incensed that the continuity was lost between one part of the site and another. Of course he is right, this site will not be worth visiting again. We need to make it a priority to communicate with the Forestry community. This is not the first time I have found them leaving a swath of destruction.

I believe that keeping rock pile sites secret protects them from a largely non-existent group of vandals and new age types. The real threat is right there: ignorant foresters.

Boundary sign for Mass Division of Fisheries and Wildlife

Here is some of that wildlife:

Southern Nagog Hill, Conant Brook - Acton MA

Bit of a site there. Mainly interesting, to me, because I crossed a stone-lined brook from east to west to get to this little knoll. On approach, it seemed like an optimum sort of place to find rock piles.

Here is a view towards the rock piles from outside the stone-wall:Perhaps eight rock piles. These piles tended to have a single larger rock with smaller ones around:Like this:And these:I may have found this site long ago, or perhaps not. The woods are full of small white pine saplings and have a featureless lack of personality. Also there is a lot of unexplored woods in there.

A couple of other things from walking in this southern part of Nagog Hill. A wall corner pile:
I thought this next was interesting, a depression in the ground with a single small standing stone.
Like a grave.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A tributary of Sewall Brook - Boylston MA

Not too far from the crossing of Rt 290 and Rt 140, there is a patch of woods that I had not explored. This is a bit far from home but it is within the broad swath of land southeast of Mt Wachusett, and I am still hoping to understand which variations of the "Wachusett Tradition" occur where, whether low and near water or high on the hills. So I found a place to park and walked in along the traces of a dirt road (the northern end of the dashed line on the map fragment).

First I came across a curious stone pile next to the brook (see the small blue outline near top of the fragment):It seemed like a pile, knocked off a support boulder, but the gap between boulder and part of the pile shows deliberate structure:I did not know what to make of this and noticed that the adjacent brook contained some pieces of retaining wall. So I thought perhaps this was part of an old mill site. But a few steps away was what seems like a typical donation-style pile:I remain confused about that first structure.

After that I headed off to the west of the road, up onto the ridges. Most of the area is trashed out from quarrying. But you can see the ceremonial in things like this:There are two wedges. Have a closer look, here:and here:After that I did not see anything too noticeable. Perhaps some propped boulders:And then I swung back around to the east. I came up over a low ridge to a slope down to the brook (a tributary of Sewall Brook) and saw a rock pile:It was one of perhaps 8 piles facing out towards the opening over the marsh. At least one of them has a reasonably clear shaped outline - more or less rectangular.These are very damaged and almost erased from visibility:One particularly nice remnant of a pile had a prominent single piece of quartz:
Closer:These piles marched off down into the wetter area, giving a faint impression of alignment and spacing - enough to make me think these are marker piles and not graves. Also, the topography included a rock outcrop, with a gradual slope down to a marsh. The outcrop is to the right rear here:This topography fits the overall pattern of high point for viewing the piles in the direction of an opening to the sky, to the north, over the water. It reminded me a great deal of this site by Rt 495. Also a bit like this site from Westford. What these sites have in common is
  • a gradual slope between a rock outcrop and a wetland
  • view to the north over a marsh
  • badly damaged rectangular ground piles about, eight to ten feet across.
  • very occasional use of quartz
To be honest this is exactly the kind of site I might have hoped to find in this "swath" of land to the southeast of Mt Wachusett. Because rectangular marker piles seem to be part of a transition away from burial mounds with hollows, towards the more conventional marker pile sites with triangular piles. The rectangular examples are sometimes ski-jump/wedge shaped but usually the examples are badly beaten down. In general these types of piles are almost always badly beaten down. This suggests that they are early in the chronology.

I should mention a different aspect to this site. There was something like a rock pile underfoot that was extended enough in a line to almost qualify as an old stone wall. It went on for 20 feet but was not particularly photogenic. This linear feature, badly beaten down, near the water's edge, reminded me of similar features in a couple of places: here and here
and here (and also Grassy Pond Acton - cannot find the photos).

In retrospect, since I found things at the north and south ends of this marsh, I probably should have circumnavigated it to see about other things along the marsh's edge.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Volvo Car Lot Edge

That stone mound with the white quartz is on top of this little hill.
45 years ago, my best friend's grandfather owned the property where I took this photo, the Chase Parkway Garage & Volvo Dealership. Back then this bulldozer edge was more like a junk yard. My buddy Cole Russo and I spent a good deal of time here, back when 10 year old kids were forced to rely on imagination rather than a video game system for fun.

Closer up, there's a remnant of a row of stone leading to an out crop of bedrock.
I think there's some animal effigies in this row, turtles yes, but perhaps a buffalo head as well. Up on top of that hill above the outcrop there's a larger group of mounds of all sorts as well as stone rows...
Low mound with quartz (two views) and a small manitou perhaps.

Above: mound, large boulder, and (if you look closely) an huge ancient oak tree...
At the Stop & Shop Edge, where that stone turtle with the golden quartzite head from a few posts back is, this stone row seems to point right at the old oak.  
I don't have a good cognitive map in my head yet, but I do have the 1965 aerial photo, but the left lower corner shows Grandpa Verrastro's Garage on Straits Turnpike in watertown CT, which is the modern version of what was called the Stone Path Highway back in 1700 or so. I include this info in case you might want to look at the result you get in directions from Chase Parkway Subaru to White Deer Rock Road in Woodbury. If you were to use that possibly stained white quartz in that mound as a direction pointer, the straight line "as the crow flies" takes you to White Deer Rock Road with an Indian legend similar to these:

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Quartz Stone

This reminds me of a light brown quartzite deer's head stone I left on a memory pile at the Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington CT.
And this one too:

20th Anniversary of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act

The 20th Anniversary of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990: A critical assessment by Suzan Shown Harjo


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The enigmatic stone mounds of Alabama

Missed this until now [Click here]

"...80 acres of stone mounds..."

Káhtôquwuk on the Hamburger Edge of Hometown (Watertown CT)

I thought that might be a foot above the white stone...

...and this was in the same pile: