Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Diver finds petroglyph submerged in Connecticut River since 1909 (VT)

By Chris Mays

BRATTLEBORO VT — "Around the time Annette Spaulding started SCUBA diving in the Connecticut River nearly 30 years ago, she came across an old article referencing a petroglyph along the river in Brattleboro. 
   The article included a description by Edward Augustus Kendall, a translator, social campaigner and miscellaneous writer, who had observed the rock carving in 1806 and 1807.
   "A single dot or hollow is made to serve for both the nose and mouth," he said. "No ears are given to the human heads." The petroglyph had "two distinct feathers or antennas" atop its head…
   "It could be possibly Abenaki but no one knows exactly because there's no documentation of how old it even is," said Spaulding, who lives in Rockingham. "Nothing verifies what Indian tribe carved it, but it's very similar to the ones in Bellows Falls. That's the big mystery."
Annette Spaulding, a master diver, has spent roughly the past 25 years looking for the petroglyph located at the mouth of the West River. (Photo(s):Kristopher Radder / Brattleboro Reformer Staff)
     I found this image of (possibly) some quartz veins in the stone that seemed interesting as perhaps some naturally occurring “ambient images” that might remind a person of Great Serpents – or Water Serpents, Horned Serpents, Underwater Panthers etc.
    These veins reminded me of some images I’d seen and mistakenly thought were from Bellows Falls VT, but are actually in Maine and Canada that I’d seen in “A Possible Water Serpent Effigy at Site R7-2, Rochester, Vermont” {http://rock-piles.com/R7-2/} by Norman E. Muller (2007):
 (Fig. 16 above, Fig. 17 below)
“…Snakes or serpents are common to the mythology of many Indian tribes from South and Central America, where it is the feathered serpent.  In North America it is the water serpent.  As the Vastokases have written, “the dwelling places of these great snakes are the insides of hills near lakes, where underground passageways provide access to the water” and the meaning of snakes to the Algonkians was multi-layered.  “They may represent the powers of evil and darkness in their manifestations as fish-tailed or horned monsters, but they can also signify the energy of life and the powers of regeneration; in myths they sometimes function as vehicles of transition for the soul’s journey to the netherworld” (Vastokas & Vastokas 1973:95).   To Barnouw (1977:18) “great horned serpents appear as entrance-way guardians.  The bridge crossing over a river into the land of the souls is a serpent disguised as a log.”  Images of these creatures appear in the Peterborough petroglyphs (Fig. 16) and in a petroglyph at Emden, Maine (Fig. 17), among other places.  Interestingly, the Kennebec River in Maine, in the Algonkian language, means serpent (Brinton 1868: 108) {Norman Muller on Water Serpent Effigies: http://rock-piles.com/R7-2/page3.html}.
   Looking at images of the Bellows Falls faces, I did not notice (or notice that anyone else noticed and photographed) any quartz veins that might resemble something serpent, but I was a little intrigued about the cracks in the stone that might have been a little humanly enhanced that brings up the possibility of some serpent connections and the many legends of shape shifting humans and Great or Horned or Water Serpents: 

   Some of those squiggles remind me very much of some naturally occurring (and maybe humanly enhanced) "meandering" veins in stone below some "meandering" - and possibly Serpent-like - pictographs in this news story photo from a little over a year ago:
    And I get a security warning when I try to get back to the online source of this photo, so please, don’t try this at home – bad things could happen. I did talk about the photo and the cracks and the ancient images with Jannie Loubser who appears in this photo – and about naturally occurring veins as a sort of variant of and placement of rock art near and more in other conversations, finding there is often a connection between all of the above – so maybe there actually is something significant in those quartz veins in those underwater photos of that petroglyph so recently found by Ms. Spaulding.
     And there may be more to come about those thoughts. Proving once again that social media was created to talk about interesting stones, I first heard about the Brattleboro story from a post by a fellow who is interested in this ceremonial stone business who said, “Way to go Mom!” above the link to this news story…


Tim MacSweeney said...

"Natural cracks, inclusions, 3D shapes, etc, that conform with things known to exist in nature, such as snakes and mountainous terrain, are seen as pre-figured in the spirit world, to which the paintings and glyphs are simply added. In the minds of many Indigenous peoples, spirit beings did the pictographs and petroglyphs, in the same way that they made the natural features."
Jannie Loubser Pers. Comm. Tuesday, August 25, 2015

pwax said...

The picture with J. Loubser shows a "snake" with 13 curves. Something about the moon?

Tim MacSweeney said...

13 curves - 13 moons is an interesting thought, especially if it repeats in other rock art (but I think it maybe two snakes or Uktenas, head to head, instead of just one).

Tim MacSweeney said...

That idea of 13 moons/13 curves:There is a cave in Baja California, Cave of the Serpent, where there is a painting of two horned serpents, meeting head to head. "In a research paper 'Cueva de la Serpiente: Interpretive Analysis of an Archaic Great Mural Rock Art Panel' by Roberto Martínez, Larissa Mendoza and Ramón Viñas (2012) the authors explain...The motifs shown on the site's rock art are associated with concepts that refer to creation myths; death and the cyclical renewal of life and the seasons. The central figure of the horned serpent is present throughout the American continent and prevails in the worldview of several native cultures.
They conclude that the horned serpent is associated to water, abundance and fecundity. The two facing snakes at Cueva de la Serpiente seem to symbolize the opposition of youth - the early rain season and its wealth of resources in life - and old age - dry and sterile. Many Native American world views are based on duality and binary oppositions, which seem to constitute the panel's subject: the wet season generates life and, the dry season, death. Moreover, human and animal life is created, transformed and renewed. In this way, the equinox serpent of light and shadow might reflect the marking of a moment, when the dry season ends and new life begins. The horned serpents in the panel of Cueva de la Serpiente refer us to the seasonal transition from abundance to scarcity, as well as to the individual's personal transition through life, and the process of renewal and the creation of new life..."

Sachin Tiwary said...

Dear Sir,
The discovery is marvelous. I a writing an article on rock art and i want to sue the pics uploaded in this link. I will duly acknowledge the work. Waiting for your kind permission. Thanking you
Dr. Sachin Kr. Tiwary
Assistant Professor
Archaeology Department

Annette Spaulding said...

Hi! Annette Spaulding here that found the Petroglyph site at the confluence of the Connecticut and west river in Brattleboro, Vermont. I believe I found the second site recorded for that site called, “Indian Rock” . 30 years of looking and researching along with other historical projects I have been doing, this ledge has 9 Petroglyph carvings and is 12 feet by 8 feet. It is under 2 1/2 feet of sand that took me many, many hours of diving to put aside. Very difficult work because it fills right back in when I try to photograph the images. This is the very first photo I was able to get when I first uncovered what seems to be a thunderbird ( one of 5 on the wall) . The head was covered with sand and the tail. It was DEFINITELY hammered into the stone like the face was in the other location . I will try to attach a photo to this message.

Annette Spaulding said...

The photo you have on this site of the white quartz veins I in fact took and when I saw that, I just knew it was significant! My next swipe above those quartz lines revealed the round , 10 inch face , all by itself , but about 12 miles south of the others just like it in bellows falls , Vermont. A very significant Native American site with fishing and burials there-many!