Sunday, May 31, 2015

Bear Poop?

On Friday I was saying "it is only a matter of time before I see a bear". So this may just be wish fulfillment. On the other hand this poop had little smell and seemed to be vegetable-based. I just read on the Google that the determining factor is size. This was about an inch in diameter and - about the size I would expect from a large dog. So it could be from a coyote. Whatever....thinking it might be from a bear is almost as good as thinking it is from a bear.
From Lovell Reservoir area of northern Fitchburg.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Friday, May 29, 2015

A walk in Hollis NH

(North of Farley Rd).

And this looks like something:
The only mound, east of Farley Rd on S. Merrimanc behind a house:
I know...pretty indecipherable.

Dr. Lavin on Stone Piles (MA & CT)

     Far too messy for Rock Piles, I'll just post a link to some stone pile info gleaned from a paper by my friend Dr. Lucianne Lavin, "Mohican Memorabilia and Manuscripts from the Stockbridge Mission House “Indian Museum: The Persistence of Mohican Culture and Community."
    Of particular interest is the mention of "hollows" in the Monument Mountain Stone Pile: “Ezra Stiles produced a 1762 sketch of a fairly intact mound whose profile shows a decided concavity in its center, suggesting prior “pot-hunting” in the center of the structure for Indian relics.”
{I used some photos of a few "figures" from Eva Butler from my copy of the above Bulletin, which I finally located, which may be of particular interest to Tommy Hudson. I haven't forgotten, Tom.}  

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Fire, drone expose scale of prehistoric rock formations (Montana)

A 3-D map of the Henry Smith archaeological site was created from aerial images taken by a drone. (Photo: Photo courtesy/BLM)
       "Cutting-edge archaeological work that included use of a drone and prescribed fire has unearthed previously unknown information about a one-of-a-kind Native American archaeological site in northeastern Montana dating back thousands of years...It was the first time the BLM used an unmanned aircraft to document cultural resources on the northern plains, Chase said.
    It also was the first time a land management agency used a prescribed fire in concert with a drone within the confines of a cultural site, he said. The prehistoric collection of large-scale stone at the Henry Smith archaeological site spans 320 acres in Phillips County.
     Since the 1960s, it's been known that the site contained a buffalo jump, Chase said. But vegetation was preventing further archaeological research. The fire cleared obscured areas, revealing the true significance of the site.
     "We knew there was a large-scale archaeological site, but not necessarily the intricacies of it," Chase said of the results. A collection of rock formations with both anthropomorphic and zoomorphic features, meaning they resemble either humans or animals, were among the findings.
    Piles of rock known as cairns also were discovered. The alignments, which resemble multiple medicine wheels, indicate they are religious in nature..."
(And thanks go to Rob Buchanan for passing it along to me)

    The above photo also appears here: - with a link to an article from 2014: The Buffalo Chasers and this photo:
(Eric A. Powell) 
A rock cairn, part of a drive-line system at the Magee site that funneled buffalo toward a predetermined point, overlooks the Two Medicine River valley. The Stranglewolf jump site is visible in the distance on the opposite bank.
A detail of the images taken by an aerial drone reveals a series of stone circles. (Photo courtesy BLM)
Stone Circles at Henry Smith from:

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A few other sights on the way to the Hill of 500 Cairns

 By the time we get to this one, we are on the hill itself.
It still surprises me that this hill that was partially removed when they built Rt 495, was considered so special at the time. I look at a map of the valley of Beaver Brook and Elizabeth Brook - where the Nashua and Assabet Rivers almost meet (just to the north of here), and every single hill has rock piles on it. Some, like Codman Hill, are quite spectacular. This hill (and here) west of Cisco was written about by Mavor and Dix. Then there is that lovely little hill near the Boxborough cross roads, un-named and un-blogged [well not entirely]. Marble Hill in Stow also.

The western slope of this hill "of 500 cairns" is where the action is. Today one sees a typical marker pile site.
For my money, Spindle Hill  a couple hills over in Stow, at the end of Gates Ln, is more interesting.

Spring arrowhead finds: Part 2

     This is a continuation of my previous post from a couple of weeks ago.
     With plenty of free time to search, I decided to revisit some places that I had identified previously but had not found anything. One of these places was a sandy slope some distance from a lake. On a previous visit I had found some quartz chips. Dave and I went there on a nice afternoon determined to spend some more time. This was an interesting find.
     It is a stemmed arrowhead with a blunt tip. The tip was flaked deliberately into that shape. I am calling this a hafted scraper. I really like the material, a transparent smoky quartz.
     Nearby, something broken. Perhaps a piece of a knife.
     Not much to show for a fair amount of time spent in this place but better than nothing and always a thrill to make a first find at a new place.
     Dave and I also decided to give a second chance to another place not far away, right on a river. A previous visit had not yielded anything but the location seemed perfect. I found some chips and Dave found this broken tip of a very large blade made of a striped felsite. Tantalizing. I will be back for sure.
     On another day, I returned to a favorite place but walked for a long time before finding anything. I was thinking about giving up when I spotted this pretty triangle.
     The tip and one corner have minor damage but it is mostly there and nicely made. I like it. I don't find many triangles in this place, the people here seem to have preferred the stemmed forms.
      I went to another place but only found this grim little skull, from a bird I think. I find lots of animal bones on the ground in the spring.
         We got a good rain so I went back to the place where I had found that triangle. What's this?
     I like it!
     I really like it. It's thick, the quartz is glassy and fine-looking. I'm not sure which side is better. A good find.
     I spotted this poking out of the sand. I hoped the square end was the base...
     But, it's the tip. Or where the tip used to be, I should say. Broken.
     Walked for a while longer, and then... A whole one?
     Another lucky find! Just missing the very tip.
     I found a couple of fragments as well, all quartz. It really feels good to have a lucky day. The right place at the right time.
     I'm not sure just what it is about this particular point that appeals to me so much but I am thrilled with it. It's so pretty.
     Since these finds we have had very, very little rain. The ground is dusty and most places aren't worth searching, I have looked but found little. I am longing for a good thunderstorm.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Near the hill of 500 cairns

Sacred Stone Monument (CT)

    "Many Native Americans opted to remove themselves from English towns and moved west or north. But many refused to leave their homelands, which were sacred to them. The land was given by the Creator to the tribe. Their ancestors lived and were buried in the homelands. The spirit world revolved about them, and the landscape was filled with objects that signified important events and persons in tribal history, and commemorated sacred stories...(page 4)
     And so it was that many tribal leaders sought ways in which their communities could survive the social and cultural upheavals caused by English settlement, yet still remain within their sacred homelands. This was the historical backdrop for western Connecticut when the first Moravian missionary arrived in New York City in 1740. 
     Permissiveness extended to traditional native spirituality. For example, the resident minister frequently called off or curtailed services because Schaghticoke members were conducting sweat lodge ceremonies, such as the ritual cleansing of hunters prior to a game hunt.
     They also tolerated the presence of a sacred stone monument along the main road across from the tribe’s winter village. Stone and brush monuments are traditional indigenous mnemonic devices for remembering important tribal events, sacred stories, and spirit beings..."
Dr. Lucianne Lavin:

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Certain Pile of Rocks called Wawanaquasick (MA)

(and an unclear reference to a Split Rock)

    “Tataemshatt’s son, Catharickseet, was also a sachem of Taconic. His name appeared on several deeds. He was heavily relied on as a witness who remembered the boundaries of the Livingston Patent. He identified a certain pile of rocks, called Wawanaquasick, whose location was in dispute. Later on, in court testimony, Joseph Van Gelder, John’s son, spoke about this pile of rocks (Dunn 2000:89-96; NYHS 1768). Joseph said Nannahaken, Skaunnop, Poniote, and Umpachene (all Mohican leaders) had told him about the rocks…
… According to son Joseph Van Gelder, “his Fathers Land was near the flat Rock, the Rock fifty or sixty Rods to the East of his Fathers Land” (NYHS 1768). The rock Joseph speaks of could well be a large formation located west of the village of Great Barrington, Massachusetts, between a road called the West Sheffield Road and the Green River at the base of a hill thought to have been used as a look-out by the Mohicans. It is also near the Big Springs area.
A petition of February 8, 1743, by Samuel Winchell, Sr., as well as surveys in the Proprietors’ Records for neighbors James Saxton and Samuel Winchell, Sr., support the location (MA 46: f. 152). In addition, the vestiges of an old farm road that led from the area to South Egremont can still be seen. The age of the road is unknown, but it could have originated with the eighteenth century inhabitants, or even with the Mohicans themselves. West of South Egremont lay good hunting land. John Van Gelder’s land most likely lay directly west of the rock. (See Map of Karner and Van Gelder lands, Figure 10.3.)”
{Debra Winchell: The Impact of John Van Gelder, Mohican, Husbandman, and Historical Figure Page 130 - 133} included in: 
Post Script:
Another photo includes a stone retaining wall that I thought Curt might be interested in as historic and  possibly Indigenous:

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Another day another rock pile site

I am weary of reporting sites. Comments are so rare it is not clear that anyone even reads the reports and there is no indication that the particulars of a place are of interest to readers. So I am going to report highlights and pass along the best photos I can. As much as anything, I guess this is for me to come back later and remember. I hope to spend my final years revisiting these places in my mind and remembering the smell of the hay scented ferns. So here is another. 
I have been to Wolf Swamp in Boxborough and the hill south of Holiday Inn many times. I thought of a new angle I could take and set out. Beyond where Konstantin Bykhovsky died and on to the southern entrance. Going in from there I angled as far left (west) as I could, staying behind the houses. I tried to follow the water's edge and on the way back I tracked a bit further up hill. Finally amidst the endless, featureless, expanse of saplings, I found a few old piles - barely worth mentioning. I actually found two clusters of rock piles. When I got home to put dots on my Hudson Quadrangle map, it was gratifying to see one of the dots was already there. So I added a new one.
In that valley between the two dots was some interesting stone wall features. Almost impossible to photo in the dappled light:
It is a rectangular extra, next to the wall as it comes up to a boulder and takes a break.
Rocks, visible above ground, led off in an alignment from this place.
Then, this sort of low pile (I think this is a marker pile site):
A number of piles like this, suggesting something sort of circular with one larger rock:
Here is another:
And another:
One more: