Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Gates Lane - Stow

The land development threat in Stow, at Gates Lane (see here also),  is continuing - in "fits and starts". If you live in Stow, or know someone, please get involved by going to a Hist Comm, Planning Comm, or Conservation Comm meeting and finding out as much as possible about what is going on. Also contact this blog if needed.

Snake Effigy (Fences, Fishing and Chemical Warfare Agents at the former Fort McClellan in Alabama)

   I came across this below a while back, passed it on to a person or two, including PWAX who suggested I post it up here. It took a little while for me to investigate further into the source of the text, but it didn’t take that long to find that it was a stenographer’s version of Harry Holstein’s presentation at a January 2007 meeting of the Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) that allocated Department of Defense Funds for Investigating a Snake Effigy as well as the cleanup of some Chemical Warfare Agents and two guys at the meeting talking about fishing.

Please note: The Court Reporter and Commissioner for Alabama at Large, who transcribed this was apparently someone unfamiliar with some of Harry’s words, including the term fish weirs, as illustrated here as HH explains that Native American stone building technology in the area goes back a long time: “One of the things we see here in Calhoun County a lot are called fish queers, fish traps. They're very efficient. Instead of hunting elephants, now they're fishing. And the way these things worked, they piled rocks up one bank, rocks off another bank, they leave a little opening, this V, and they anchored a basket facing upstream, and the fish swim along the rocks right into the basket, Captain D's. They got themselves a fish dinner, very efficient. This is on Terrapin Creek, by the way, just a little bit north of here in Calhoun County.”

Intro ~ CURTIS FRANKLIN: “All right. The program tonight is on the Snake Effigy from Monty Clendenin and Dr. Harry Holstein, and so I'll turn the program over to them…”

DR. HARRY HOLSTEIN: “Hello everybody. It's nice to be here tonight. I've never been to the RAB meeting before, but the topic that I'm about to present, I think, is something that will spark your interest in one degree or another. I've been at JSU as an archeologist for 25 years now. One of the things that I've discovered in those 25 years is northeast Alabama has an incredible heritage, prehistoric heritage and historic heritage and as far as archaeological resources are concerned, and I've had an opportunity to investigate a lot of cool sites, interesting sites that range from Hernando de Soto to Davey Crockett to prehistoric Indians that lived 8,000 years ago.
      And one of those things I'm fortunate enough to be (see? have seen?) here in northeast Alabama is a phenomenon that archeologists have contended with from the Appalachian Mountains all the way from Alabama up to New England, which I'll show you in a couple of minutes. The Midwest has to deal with this resource. It's kind of a mystery. A lot of archeology is a mystery. We don't know it all. We just know bits and pieces of it. The ability to study sites like the one we're going to be talking about, the Snake Effigy. We'll have a better understanding of what it's all about, and what it's all about, basically are rock piles, piles of rocks laid across the landscape.
And the controversy comes into, very simply, a lot of people pile up rocks. I bet everybody in this room has piled up rocks out in your yard or piled up rocks in your neighbor's yard at one time or another. Like everyday rock piles, Indian rock piles, the Snake Effigy, is a good example to how this is to be done…”

Some more bits and pieces, links to this and that, including mention that the U.S. Army recognizes USET:

“The Department of Defense (DoD) has made a strong commitment to keeping citizens informed and giving communities a voice in environmental cleanup decisions. In meeting this commitment, DoD makes information available on environmental restoration activities, provides opportunities for comment, and seeks public participation on Restoration Advisory Boards (RABs).”

Fort McClellan established the Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) to enable affected communities and representatives of Government agencies to meet and exchange information about Fort McClellan's environmental cleanup program.
Mountain Longleaf National Wildlife Refuge, Calhoun County, Alabama Unanticipated Site Discovery Plan (Archaeological and Historic Sites) October 2013 Archaeological and historic investigations at Mountain Longleaf National Wildlife Refuge were performed by the Department of Defense (DOD) prior to the Refuge’s establishment in 2003. DOD’s investigations focused on the mid-19th – 20th century Fort McClellan and other types of historic properties present on the military reservation, such as precolumbian artifact scatters, quarry sites, historic period house and industrial sites, historic period cemeteries, and stone wall and mound complexes. Stone wall and mound complexes are considered to be part of a tribal ceremonial or sacred landscape (see USET Resolution No. 2007: 037).

And of course, the link to the report:

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Quartz from a wall

This looks somewhat deliberate. Can't decide if it fell off or was intended to be this way.
If you imagine all those rocks going back on the wall, there is not much room.

Western Parker Hill, Fitchburg

With apologies, it was raining and I am not sure where I was. The lower outline is one cluster of 3 or 4 larger run-down mounds. The new mounds and piles I found were somewhere in that upper outline, but not sure where. 
This (believe it of not) is a rectangular stone mound, with a hollow on the right. It faces north and west out over the Whitman River (start of the Nashua). With slightly more surrounding context:
Also from in there, closer to the wetland up on the hill (still in that upper outline), an old double-chambered thing:
Way up in there, near the highest point of water, there was what looked like an only mill: piles next to the water, and a causeway/dam.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Nolumbeka Project Schedules

A blog from southern NH, with rock piles

Comments are requested.

So if they are nomadic, the rocks wouldn't have been cleared for farming?

From Reader Russell M.   Look for the picture of the kids on the rock. 

From Lexington/Arlington - more Whipple Hill

Reader Steve G. writes:
The balance rock in on Mt Gilboa in Arlington Hights. The 2 rock piles are in the Whipple Hill conservation area in Lexington /Winchester. South of Locke pond. I saw other piles there. These were the best 2. I would park at Wright Locke Farm and walk in from there. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

A good "spot" - roadside attraction in Acton

On my way to park off Briar Hill Rd at the edge of the Nashoba Conservation Land in Acton, I was on Davis Rd and spotted something in the woods to the west of the road:
Got out to take a look and - sho 'nuff: a rectangular mound:
There is a hollow:

This is about where the cross hair is on each of these map fragments:
This is a significant find. The third such mound in this part of the Nashoba Brook Valley. Others are on Strawberry Hill and across the brook, south of the extension of Strawberry Hill Rd. You can see from the topo map that this location is at a high point of water, above the brook.
More specifically, there is another larger site in there:

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

This is NOT a ceremonial rock pile

Note the:
  • Separation of rock sizes
  • Piles with one size component built over ones with other sized components
  • Dirt mixed in and extensive (new) tree growth. 
  • I suspect the signs of a bulldozer are clear enough but I don't know what to look for.
Some kind of site preparation.

Back of Ballard Hill - Lancaster

I had some limited successes on the east side of this, generally hopeless, hill. It is in the alluvial out-wash of the Nashua River, with the Nashua to the east and Wekepeke Brook to the west. 
Exploring the west side, I ran out of steam after 1/2 a walk but did find one classic rock pile. About where the blue outline occurs, there is a hollow pile against a boulder. 
This is a style familiar from Horse Hill and places not too distant.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Map of sites on Bare Hill/Oak Hill - Littleton, Harvard, Boxboro, Bolton, Berlin

Rt 495 runs down from upper right. A bit of Rt 111 ("Mass Ave")  runs left right across the top of the map fragment. In red, the mound sites at the edge of the Hill (except the ones east of 495 are perhaps different). In blue are marker piles and other clusters. Larger outlines indicate areas with multiple clusters. The set of red dots makes a nice pattern along the edge of the hill, there should be other sites up there, if they aren't gone. I think there are still a couple of places I could look.
Update: taking a closer look at the map, maybe one place that would not be too hard to get to. But locked behind private houses, it isn't simple to sneak in. It is easier in Westminster.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A large old mound in Harvard, above the headwaters of Great Brook.

I had a chance to practice "mounds where the water meets the sky, above a navigable brook" at the spot indicated by the blue outline. Although I missed the southern bits of water on this map fragment, they all feed into Great Brook in Bolton, which becomes Elizabeth Brook. The valleys and hills of Elizabeth Brook and Beaver Brook are written about in Manitou by M&D in sections on Oak Hill and the Boxboro esker. Here is a part of Oak Hill that is a little further south.
I walked along the brow of the ridge, starting from the conservation land below at East and Bare Hill Rds. In most places I was able to see down the side but, in places like this in Harvard I concentrated on the brow of the hill. 
So, I came to a big messy mound. I believe it has characteristics like this:
 - An outline at either end. Here on the left:
And at the far end:
With a bit of quartz (seen from below):
- Remnants of well built walling:
- An overall complex structure (note what the stone wall is doing below):
- And (the clincher) a small satellite pile, closeup:
and in relation to the larger part:
A fine example:

Menunketesuck Stone Wall (Westbrook CT)

    A stone wall, serpentine and snake-like, undulating up and down and sideways, linking to an outcrop, a unique and beautiful Menunketesuck Stone Wall...
(I corrected the map a little bit)

More photos here:

The "other side" of the outcrop I once posted about here:

Sunday, March 13, 2016

First Bluebird

(not rock pile related)

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Hopkinton, NEARA, and concerned neighbors protect a site

From Jeff in RI [note link at end]:

I first happened upon this site in Hopkinton, RI about 2010 or 11. At the time it was quite pristine and not generally known to many folks interested in this field of inquiry. When the owners of the property applied for a zoning variance, with the idea of building there, I along with many neighbors, friends and history buffs expressed our concern as to the future of this incredible site and the necessity of its preservation. To everyones benefit the Hopkinson Land Trust realizing the local significance of this site, stepped forward and made an offer for the property which was accepted by the owners. The place will now be safe for generations to come. Since the purchase in 2014, its pristine condition had remained intact. But on a recent visit, myself and some friends were rather chagrined (to say the least), to find almost every rock feature tagged with a hideous fluorescent orange flag. To me this was as good as a stick in the eye. Most of the pleasure and enjoyment of a walk in a place like this is teaching one's self to see these incredible structures and enjoy their connection and relation to one another in the natural environment. I would very much like the people responsible for these flags to come back and remove their trash. These flags are not in keeping with the spirit and nature of this place and inconsiderate of all future visitors. It is my understanding that this tagging was done back in late December or early January. I'm all for the study and surveying of sites like this but when you are done please take all evidence out with you. In other words, "Don't give away the whole store!" and "Leave No Tracks". Please see the attached article.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

I have been sick and not getting out. Here is something from Horse Hill in Groton

Friday, March 04, 2016