Friday, November 29, 2013

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Thanksgiving Story

Enjoy the day. Here is a little reading if you stop bye.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Whittemore Hill - New Ipswich NH

My maps show access to a conservation land up near the top of the hill. This makes is "legal" to park there - but I snuck into the private part, on the wrong side of the road, on the southwestern side of the hill.
I parked short of the last house, took a few steps downhill and hit stone mounds. My plan was to head downhill and circle the swamp but when I got down there it looked like rough going and - besides - the place to keep searching was where I first saw rock piles. So I went back up and started to circle the hilltop, heading east. After a hundred yards I came across a large mound. Then, feeling a bit played out, I turned back towards my car, hitting a couple more smaller mounds on the way. Given that I also saw some piles near the road previously [see here] and given that I have seen less that ~1/8 of the hill, it is fair to guess there are more things still to see over there. For now, I am well pleased with the mounds I found. They extend the number of examples and variations of "elongated, non-rectangular" mounds with hollows that I have seen so much lately, in these northern woods of Ashby and beyond. In particular, these mounds are much like the ones from northwestern Willard Brook State Forest, described here.
When I first stepped out of the car, I stopped to pee and saw what I would have missed otherwise because of the camouflage cover of dead leaves and ferns:
It is a good sized, long, rock pile with no obvious "hollows". (Perhaps on the near side beneath the trees growing on the pile?) It sits next to a wall with a well formed opening. Later I noticed what could be considered yet another mound built into the wall itself but it was "iffy" and I did not take pictures.
A few feet below the first mound, was a second one, long and situated like the first.
I got a most wonderful photo of this second pile:
Look at the rocks visible above the dead leaves. They show an outline of one, possibly two, "hollows" or compartments facing out and down. 

After this, I headed downhill, then back up, then east across the slope. After a hundred yards or so, I came to another mound.
I did not see how big it was at first. But soon did. As I look at the length of it, I see at least three "bays" (yet another word for "hollow") opening down and outward - toward the camera in this picture:
Here is a view down into a couple of these bays. 
I see these as clear examples of deliberate built-in structure.
Another view:
Heading back from this fine large mound, I saw a couple smaller ones right next to the open field on the hilltop. This one is well hidden in the ferns:
This one is a clear enough rectangle with white rock, but I see no "hollow"

So there were two examples of long piles with hollows, with designs like this:
For comparison, here is a sketch from the visit to Willard Brook (link is above):
Seems like a well defined alternative form of mound, common to this region in northern Ashby and adjacent southern NH. There is some similarity with the Spruce Swamp Brook site in Shirley.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Nolumbeka Project asks for your support on Valley Gives Day

Mark your calendars! Valley Gives Day is 12.12.13. Support the work of the Nolumbeka Project with your donations. Stay updated on our activities, including our ongoing attempts to assure the protection of the 10 acre White Ash Swamp reburial area now under the threat of development. Find us on Facebook,, and Please pass this message on to your friends.

Stone mound in the distance

Sorry for the delay in reporting on Whittemore Hill.

Friday, November 22, 2013

"Something" from the Naugatuck River

So my friend asks me, "What do you think this is?"
It caught his eye, walking along the banks of the Naugatuck River in Waterbury CT...

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Rock Piles in northwestern Willard Brook State Forest and Adjacent - Part 2

With reference to the account and same map here. I continued up the valley of the main brook and kind of got turned around and back where I started and only figured out later that the location was where 'c' is marked on the map - adjacent to one of the open fields up there. At first I saw something suggestive bulging out from a stone wall (yes that's quartz):
A few steps later and something appeared under the hemlocks, something long and thin:
Up closer it was a long rock pile:
There was a hollow on the lower side:
Here is a view from below:
Something like this:
This is a very nice find and it fits with a picture of rock piles with hollows of a slightly different general shape up here in Ashby and (later) southern NH. These northern piles with hollows are longer and more like berms than like mounds. They are not rectangular like the ones further south. For what it is worth this is the Sowhegan watershed while the Falulah mounds are in the upper Nashua watershed.
My plan was to continue uphill and upstream, but I did not see any more rock piles in that direction and an instinct made me stop and remember a basic tactic: never continue from where you find a rock pile without exploring in every direction outward from it. There was quite a lot more to see, back downhill slightly.
A solitary rock pile:
Then a huge stone wall-like ruin with too much jumble of structure to get much from.
Here is how it looks up close:
A choice of "hollows", little bits of quartz, and small piles off to the side of the main wall. 
Here are 3, evenly spaced.
I have seen these sorts of thing before but these are very beaten down. They seem old.
I thought I was following the main wall but this turned out to be a separate structure: a short stretch of "wall" ending with a space and then a mound with a small hollow. At the other end of the short stretch was a piece of a quartz, the wall turned slightly and continued a few feet.
Here is the wall, the mound is at the far end:
Overall, it looked something like this:
Sorry about the clumsy art. Here is a video:

Rock Pile Sites in northwestern Willard Brook State Forest and Adjacent - Part 1

I described seeing an "oven" at place 'a' up from Valley Rd in Ashby MA. But I got home and realized that -really- I had not explored correctly or thoroughly - I had mistakenly followed a dirt road and not the brook and had ignored entire slopes of the hills. So I went back to follow the brook more carefully upstream and found rock piles at 'b' and 'c'. There is the thrill of the discovery and of the successful hunt. But there is also some mystery here, especially at 'c'.
At first, the site at 'b' is barely visible as you climb briefly on the slope below the field and above the brook. At first the impression is faint:
But It got more and more concrete as I followed a small gully upward:

Here is the view back down towards the main brook from the top of the gully:
I'll report on 'c' separately.

Wonderland (When the Leaves Fall)

Grey Fox Trail Stone Rows (2013)
Leaves fall from the trees and a Wonderland appears
You can see the long distance stretch of rows of stone
Snake through the wounded forests of this part of Turtle Island
And I wonder, “What was gathered there?”
And I wonder, “What song was sung in Thanksgiving?”
And I wonder, “Who lit the sacred fire
That sent prayers to the Creator and the Spirit of the Deer
Gathered in that Sacred Circle of that Sacred Fire?”

Deer Tobacco Sacrifice Stone (1996)

Remnant Lowbush Blueberries along Remnant Zigzag Stone Row (2006)