Friday, August 30, 2013

Site Hunting to resume

It's the first weekend home from "summer".

Stories and Stones: Split Boulders

Was reminded of this by Norman, forwarding it from Larry.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Standing Stones from the Manchaug area of Sutton

Reader Keith Jacobson writes:
Attached are a couple [of standing stones] I've found in the Manchaug area. Close by are some really large cracked rocks with stone fill. The first stone is heavy at base and wiggles, certainly placed their. The thinner one had some stone propping it. Most of what I have found in this area is on ridge running parallel to lake which was a brook. Let me know what you think.

Strange old stone tools from MA and ME

Reader Keith Jacobson writes:
These two items found in large pile of small stone at base of a long field next to stone walls along Boston Rd in Sutton. Certainly tilled by farmers and discarded in piles. The first picture I thought was maybe some sort of rake or ax maybe. Second one does not photo well but weighs close to 10lbs and has grooved lines in shaft, maybe some sort of large abrading stone? Has almost perfect symmetry and really seems man used. Would probably need to see it to identify, if anything.

I found this swimming in Mooselookmuguntic lake in Rangeley Maine, next to small brook which would eventually drain into the river before [being] dammed. The top seems worked on however the back is pretty crude. What do you think?

[PWAX says: I think these are all man-made, except maybe the first one above.]

Species Specific: Diamondback Terrapin

On a small hill overlooking a salt marsh in Madison CT, there is a species specific example of a stone representation of an Malaclemys Terrapin., also known as the Diamondback Terrapin.
Below, the stone turtle seemingly basks on the top of a stone row:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Yet another dog on a rock pile - this one from TN

Click here. This (an old post) continues a series of examples of pile-sniffing dogs - it seems pretty likely they smell something organic and unusual.
More examples here.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Skunny-Wundy and the Stone Giant

via Norman Muller and Tommy Hudson:

I thought you might be interested in this. An Iroquois legend about a man that owns a hatchet that splits rock. It became magical after a stone giant used it. Are stones wedged between boulders symbolic of this? I found this while looking for an Iroquois legend about small, hairy creatures that go into the cracks of rocks. I will let you know what I find.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Stone Tools on the Beach

I am convinced there are stone tools along the beaches of Cape Cod, at least most of the ones on the Buzzard's Bay side. Going into the water at "Stoney" Beach in Woods Hole, I glance down cuz I figure one of these days I am going to find an arrowhead. This is about as close as I am going to get:
If you are used to looking for man-made flaking, those little graded ripples look quite unnatural. A few other views:

A nice smooth gray material like quartzite.
Probably some sort of knife.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thunderstorm/3rd Visit to Signal Hill

(Looks like a thunder storm is approaching Madison CT, just as the Grand Opening is happening. This may or may not be a coincidence, considering that the Sacred Landscape has been altered...) Correction of my Cognitive Map as well as the "map" below here:

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Old friends

FFC and I are lucky to have the nice Spring Hill rock piles to visit, in our own backyards.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Fall Brook - Stirling

Took a short walk on the west side of Fall Brook, off Wachusett Str. in Stirling. The eastern foot of Rocky Hill. I've seen sites along in there before (thicker blue outline), and found scattered rock piles all along in there this time (thinner blue outline).
The hillside is leaking water, and the piles tend to occur next to springs(sorry about bad photos in the forest depths).
Here for example was a wall ending in a quartz manitou stone:
Here, you can see the spring directly adjacent.
Of course I did find some traces of piles with hollows and tails. It does not look like much, a couple of groups of rocks, with a space between:
 From the other end, there is a little "tail" in the foreground:
It is actually a good sized mound:
And there were a few other good sized mounds (~15' long), hidden away there in the ferns.
You would have to look pretty hard to spot these things. 
Plenty more woods to explore in there. There is a "blue spot" trail, suggesting it is conservation land [but it is not marked as such on my maps], and I did not get anywhere near the main hill.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Shoreline Geenway Trail Part 2

"Missing from this history is an account of the pre-contact history of the Native American people who lived here prior to (and well after) Dutch exploration and English settlement. In truth, their history is, of course, just as real and important as the history of any other groups of peoples. So, herewith are the facts as we know them of the first people who inhabited this region...According to a field report by Tom Paul of the New England Antiquities Research Association, many pre-colonial (and probably native-built) stone structures exist in the upper Summer Hill Road area in Madison, in the northern part of town on the eastern border of Killingworth and the Hammonasset Reservoir, in the area occupied by the Hammonassets before the colonial period."                                                                                                                  ~
(I was looking for the origin of the name "Signal Hill" in Madison CT when I found the above quote. It's refreshing to see the Pre-Contact History of Native American People mentioned as being important in a town history - and a mention of Native Built Stone Structures. Tom Paul is mentioned, and NEARA as well. One of my favorite all time photos of a Turtle Stone Mound is one that Norman Mueller took of it, after it was shown to him by Tom Paul. It would seem there are more Native Built Stone Structures on the south side of Madison as well, just south of the Old Indian Trail that became the Boston Post Road...)
The Shoreline Geenway Trail Saga continues:

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Shoreline Greenway Trail (Part One)

A photo or two to entice you to read installment one (and the other posts to follow) about the (extreme eastern end of the CT) Shoreline Greenway Trail:
Above: Before (looking east)
Below: After a little clearing (looking SW)
Detail from above:
Below: Where Four Stone Rows Meet

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Compulsive searching pays off

     My friend Dave's awesome quartz triangle find last month had me wanting to find one in this shape and material, too. I have many of this but have gone some time without finding a decent one. On July 28 I headed to a spot where I have found a few really nice examples. I didn't find anything great but I did find a couple of quartz triangles, so certainly nothing to complain about. This one is rather crude but it is more or less all there, and was easy to spot:
     This one had me really excited, but it was broken.
     Here are all my finds for the day, all quartz which is typical for this site. Besides the two triangles, there is a small stemmed base, a crude and damaged lanceolate point, and the base of a big triangle, maybe a knife.
     Meanwhile, at the same time, Dave was metal detecting in a field and he found this. It's a really cool artifact despite the broken tip. Better than anything I found that day. The material is argillite.
     August so far has been really tough. I've been getting out there and looking but coming home empty-handed. Yesterday was a really nice day but I had no chance to get out and look, my dad was hosting a family barbecue. He lives right on a reservoir and has a boat. At the edge of his property, a stream flows into the reservoir and there is a little marsh there. The reservoir is created by a dam, the streams that feed it once flowed through the area and probably Indians lived along or near these waterways. My dad's property might have been a good place to camp long ago- at the water's edge now, it must have been a little higher up than the area closest to the stream as it was originally. But the ground has been moved around a lot there, fill has been brought in, and gravel for the driveway also. Last year, my dad and I looked at maps of the reservoir and tried to figure out how the streams used to run before they were dammed, we took his boat out there and waded in some sandy areas neatr islands in the reservoir (they must have been small hills originally) and I found some quartz chips but no arrowheads.
     Anyway, it was a fun BBQ and it was winding down and I had to move my car so some relatives could leave. I parked the car in the front yard near a little hill where there is a septic tank. Here is a picture of where I parked, you can see the front of my little Toyota.
     You can also see right in front of my car a little sandy place where rocks are exposed. I will always scan any area like this for arrowheads, it is a compulsion I cannot control. This is right at the edge of the driveway and there is gravel that has been brought in, the little slope there is artificial and probably stuff was moved around by a bulldozer here and fill might have even been trucked in from some other place. It's not the original ground surface and there is zero reasonable expectation of finding an Indian artifact here. But rocks are visible and so I had to have a look. And right away I saw this.
    This is just a broken piece of quartz. But it is also a clue. Quartz pieces that one may find in glacially deposited soil will almost always be rounded and smooth. A piece like this with no smooth edges has (generally speaking) been broken by human action. It could have been crushed by a machine making gravel, or broken by a bulldozer or other vehicle, but just maybe it was broken by an Indian making tools. I have written about broken quartz before, see here. Broken quartz is a signal to look closer. So I did, and I saw something that looked like argillite, another favored local material. I picked it up.
     This is the base of a Stark projectile point made of argillite. It's an archaic type that is generally dated around 6,000-7,000 years old. Looking at reports of known sites in the same area where I found this, I see that one site on the same reservoir yielded a carbon date of around 5,600 years ago, this artifact might be from around that same time. I don't know where this came from, whether it was always there and maybe dug up when that septic tank was put in, or if it was in the fill or gravel brought from somewhere else. How can I be sure that this is in fact an arrowhead base and not just a rock? Well, the shape and material are familiar to me, and argillite is actually black when freshly broken, it patinates to this bluish gray over time, so it was not recently broken into this shape. There is also clear flaking, see here:
     On the edge closest to the camera you can see parallel flake scars, each about the same size, these leave me no doubt that incredibly, I actually found an arrowhead (half of one, anyway) in a totally unexpected place where I parked my car, and that after uncountably many times compulsively looking at rocks everywhere I go, it has paid off finally for the first time. The other side is not as nice.
     It is broken and not really anything special. If I had found this at one of my regular spots I would not have spent so much time writing about it. But I think this find shows that arrowheads can be found almost anywhere and that if you pay attention and look for them you will find them. Thoreau wrote that to him arrowheads were so common that one might think that it had rained arrowheads at one time, they were so widely distributed all over the earth. I've never really gotten that feeling but this find had me thinking about that. There are millions of these things and they are out there and you can find them. Here is this broken artifact with part of a page from the excellent guide "A New England Typology of Native American Projectile Points" by the late Jeff Boudreau, the points on the left and right on the top row are also made of argillite. The book mentions that "they appear in small and large sizes," the ones in the picture are large, the piece I found is small.
     I spent an hour today in a spot by a river where I have found some broken arrowheads in the past, I found a broken quartz Squibnocket Triangle.
     It's missing the tip as you can see but it is very nicely flaked, not crude at all. Would have been very nice. I'm still happy with it.