Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Advertising for Stone Sites

An idea from Tommy Hudson in GA. It would be a great way for NEARA to spend some money.
I've put an ad in a popular history magazine called Georgia Backroads for 8 quarterly issues. So far, I've had over a dozen new leads in just the first 3 weeks of the first issue. I have another ad coming out this Fall in Georgia Outdoor News, a monthly statewide hunting and fishing magazine and it will run for 1 year. I may end up with more than I can handle, but I wish I'd done this years ago. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

An Unusual Burial Site at the Gumpas in NH

I was proud of myself for finding rock piles in all those woods. It is a big woods and you can only examine a fraction on one walk. My experience told me there were mounds on the west sides of and downhill of the upland ponds (shown as wetlands on the left edge of map). My experience told me there ought to be some more on the east sides of the pond - especially between hills, at the very highest points of their watershed. And my feet got me there. 
In the end, my nose pulled be back away from the water's edge. First I went to take a quick look at some unnatural piling on an outcrop. From there I spotted a small rock pile. ok. From there I spotted an unusual enclosure built into a wall. OK. From there I spotted a larger mound. OK!!!
Goes like this:
Looking west towards the water. I climbed up to this outcrop to examine the mess (underfoot in the picture). Note the very tall stone wall below. But behind you:
And then, what is this?
 And beyond...behold.
After this I explored outward and took several not-very-good pictures. We will see that most of the piles are like the first one above - a pile on a boulder, near another boulder.
Some observations about the enclosure. It is on the high point. A unique position.
Filling most of one end is a mound with a collapsed center. This is the expected structure for mounds in this area. But the enclosure around it, connecting it to a wall is something new to me. Perhaps added later? There are two things I did not pay enough attention to. There is a cleanly split boulder built into the enclosure wall (back of the first picture and under foot in the second one) and you can see some kind of funny-business at the base of the enclosing wall in the front right part of the first picture. What are these features? I tried to indicate them on a sketch:
What is up with these things? It is unusual to see a split rock directly connected to a mound with a hollow. The mystery deepens when you consider the style of several of the other rocks piles around the enclosure also involves a pile and a separate boulder. We noted "a pile on a boulder, near another boulder". Take a look at some of the others.
Here's one:
Here's one:
Here's one:
Except this one was more complicated and I could not get a good picture of it. Here is part of it:
I have nothing wise to say. I get a feeling the enclosure was added later. I also wonder if the boulder might have been split later? Scattered around among the larger piles were smaller ones, and messy things under the leaves:
A small knoll at the top of two watersheds; I'd say with a complicated history.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Nice stone walls

There really are nice stone walls everywhere I go around the Gumpas in Pelham NH. It would be a worthwhile project to map them. Coming up from the east side, I was thinking: "more wall than pile":
This is fine work:
A small disturbance in the ferns, at the tip top of a watershed:
I decided it was a small collapsed "seat":
And there is that hole in the wall again (at the base of the wall, right next to a high point):
When I got up and over to the upland ponds there was a place where the wall was about 7 feet tall:
And by the time I got over to those ponds, there were rock piles:
I was trying to think of a word for a culture that lived around small lakes and ponds. Later I phoned my wife to Google the word for "lake" in Greek and in Latin: "limne" and "lacus". So a culture that is "circum-limneic" or "peri-lacustrine".
Separately, I was wondering what would you need a seven foot tall wall for? I cannot see it being needed for any of the usual agrarian explanations for stone walls.

Coming up...Gumpas Hill NH

Pretty large

Summer Solstice Ledge View/ Surface. Arch. Along A Brook

From Matt Howes:
Hello All, 

   Just thought I would share with people some recent posts from my blog and to stay in touch.  First is a very interesting ledge in Sherborn, MA. that I took note of and feel strongly about the features associated with the site:

     And finally are some stone tools I found (on the surface) along a brook.  I did not disclose the location of the brook on my blog for sensitivity reasons.  Just between us these  tools were found along the banks of Beaver Brook which is right behind the College Rock ledge by the Hopkinton/ Holliston town lines.  Curt- the cairn field/ stone mound site I showed you and Walter Van Rogen last summer by college rock is located on the slope above this part of the brook.  Here is what I found poking out of the mud along the brook (also in dry spots in the water table)-

PS- stone tool #6 (which is picture #10) was found off of South Mill St. in Hopkinton (MA.) last summer poking out of mud on the bank of a pond off the street.  I noticed the quartz poking out of the mud and picked it up, and noticed it was a nice proj. point. Everything else in this blog post was found along Beaver Brook this spring. 

I hope these findings are helpful to your/ our research.  And I wish everybody the best of luck and happiness.  Stay in touch, 


Lyme's Disease....Darn!

My leg - sorry for the ugly picture:
Not so bad this time, perhaps with some residual immunity from last summer. One day into the antibiotic and I had a great walk in spite of it the disease.
Update: don't misinterpret my light tone. It is a serious disease and I am lucky to have noticed it sooner than later.

By Gumpas Hill and Lake

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Rough terrain, wonder how long this has been there?

You always look

when you cross a brook or see a root ball from a fallen tree. This is particularly arrowhead like:
Some kind of side scraper, I guess:

This is from Hollis NH.

NYC Area (1916)

"Above the grave they place a large pile of wood, stone or earth..."
    "Next we have a detailed account by Van der Donck, written in 1656…
      "Whenever an Indian departs this life, all the residents of the place assemble at the funeral. To a distant stranger, who has not a friend or relative in the place, they pay the like respect. They are equally careful to commit the body to the earth, without neglecting any of the usual ceremonies, according to the standing of the deceased. In deadly diseases they are faithful to sustain and take care of each other. Whenever a soul has departed, the nearest relatives extend the limbs and close the eyes of the dead; and after the body has been watched and wept over several days and nights, they bring it to the grave, wherein they do not lay it down, but place it in a sitting posture upon a stone or a block of wood, as if the body were sitting upon a stool; then they place a pot, kettle, platter, spoon, with some provision and money, near the body in the grave; this they say is necessary for the journey to the other world. Then they place as much wood around the body as will keep the earth from it. Above the grave they place a large pile of wood, stone or earth, and around and above the same, they place palisades resembling a small dwelling. All their burial places are secluded and preserved with a religious veneration and care, and they consider it wicked and infamous to disturb or injure their burial places…(114)"
      In a description of the first settlement of New Netherland by the Dutch, taken from VVassenaer's Historie van Europa, published in Amsterdam in 1621, we read:
    “It appears that the Sickanamers, before mentioned, make a sort of sacrifice. They have a hole in a hill in which they place a kettle full of all sorts of articles that they have, either by them, or procured. When there is a great quantity collected a snake comes in, then they all depart, and the Manittou, that is the Devil, comes in the night and takes the kettle away, according to the statement of the Koutsinacka, or Devil hunter, who presides over the ceremony."
    This statement may account for the occurrence, often noted on other sites, of the dog-burial in Pit 14, since dogs were and are still commonly sacrificed to the gods by the forest Indians, most of whom still recognize a monster snake manitu. Pit 55 held the entire skeleton of a small sturgeon, about four feet long, neatly curled around its inner edge. This fish may also have been an offering...(122)"

  I was really looking for "burnt quartz" ref's but came upon the above, stone piles over graves and then the Snake Manitou reference, leaving me wondering about the stone walls that surround the stone heaps sometimes - could they be Serpent Petroforms??? - Tim
Post Script: Maybe this is similar?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Solstice Viewing at Patch Hill in Boxborough

From Russ Mullen:
 You posted photos on September 24th 2014 of my proposed equinox alignment.  Here are the directions.
Enter from the parking off Liberty Square road.  Take the access trail to the blue secondary trail.  Follow it uphill and the stone is about 20 yards off trail half way on the right, approximately near the last blue dots on the bottom of the map.  Link to full map:


Wednesday September 23rd. / Sunrise

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Merril Hill Hudson , NH

You can see it is a pretty big woods on the north side of Merill Hill and I wanted to get there. I thought maybe I could cut across from the top of the hill and stopped for a detour to look at the little hill at 'C' on the map. Just one structure, at the very top:
with a suggestive shape on that upper rock - it looks deliberately formed.
Driving onward to the top of the hill the landowner said "no, use the public entrance on Musquash" which left me with an extra mile at the beginning and end of the hike - a long slog for me. It might be worth trying to figure out how to get in from the north. 
In retrospect it did not seem like a great walk, mostly just a long slog. But I guess I am getting jaded because I did find a couple of sites.
At 'A', a ridge had a few piles on it, seemingly almost in a line:
One gets the impression of a 'head stone'.
Onward...up the hill...into the far backyard of that unhelpful landowner...down to around 'B' which was my goal in the first place. On the top map it is an area with interesting topography and water. But by the time I got there I was tired out and what I saw was weird anyway, so I headed back to the car....I thought. 
I have to interrupt the rock pile account to mention some of the nice nature on the way from 'A' to 'B'.
  • This guy was a long way from water up on the hillside:
  •  This bit of light in a small woodland pond needed to be photo'd
  •  And you know what this is:
Meanwhile back at the rock piles...what was weird at 'B' was how about 6 stone walls came together in a messy set of corners and enclosures. It was hard to photo:
Nestled within one corner, in the upper left of the above picture, was a large rock pile with a bit of dirt on it and a feathering of ferns. A direct view:
There was a second one a few steps away. The walls from a different (equally uninformative) direction.
After this I headed back towards my car. Ended up getting lost and hiking for an extra 3/4 hours anyway.
This pretty flower was new to me. Seen growing at the wall junction:

Split rock with adjacent small rock on rock

From southern Sterling:
By Monday night I couldn't remember where I had walked on Saturday. Now I remember, it was in Sterling and I got accosted by helpful police on the way out (neighbors suspicious of my car). That is the 2nd time for Sterling. Nothing else of note for the walk.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015