Friday, July 29, 2016

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Speaking of Walls and Rock Piles...

(and "Serpent Stacking")
      I’ve been looking at this PWAX photo above for 5 and a half years now.
     Not all the time for 5 and a half years of course, but every once in a while. The image comes up on my screen saver, but I also open the photo up every now and then, just to view it as a large image. I was just looking at it again:

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Natural-Cultural Landscape Presentation by Nolumbeka Project Vice-President this week-end

From the Nolumbeka Project: 

Natural-Cultural Landscape ltural Landscape of the Connecticut River Valley
Saturday, July 23rd at 10:00am-Greenfield Savings Bank
282 Avenue A, Turners Falls, Ma 01376

Please come and join Nolumbeka Project vice-president Lisa McLoughlin as she explores the relationship between Nature and Culture over time right in our back yard, the Connecticut River Valley. Lisa’s power point presentation highlights the relationship between people and the environment with an emphasis on how we ALL can treat and preserve our wonderful river valley. Folks have lived and thrived here for hundreds of years, and, with a kind heart to ourselves and Mother Earth, we can all prosper and grow for hundreds more! Light refreshments provided in comfortable air-conditioning! No reservations required. Invite a friend or neighbor!

Also, with the August 6 Pocumtuck Homelands Festival  just over two weeks away we still are looking for volunteers. The volunteer check list is attached. We anticipate a wonderful event with many familiar friends and new presenters as well. Hope you can be with us!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Another Old Newspaper Article

 There were no photos accompanying this NY Time article, so I just had to illustrate it myself (although you could use many a photo from this blog to do the same). There are some overlays etc. on this one from 1991 that I never saw before, so I'll just link you up to:

Scholar Looks at Quaint Stone Walls And Sees Pioneers' Garbage Heaps

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Latest update on Hopping Brook desecration

Turns out we may be looking at permitting irregularities.
  • There was a EPS/NEPA permitt needed for "storm water removal"
  • Native tribes were not informed.
This means the historical aspect of the permitting was improper at the Federal level. Let's hope this is enough to get some delays operating. Check out the red outlines below (which are approximate), and check out the wetland crossings. [Thanks to Matt Howes for getting this information.]

Some of these maps include stone walls but they leave out all the mounds and smaller rock piles.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Why get caught un-prepared?

It is striking that the threat to the Holliston site has been known for more than 10 years: to Holliston Historical Society, and to NEARA members. I know of no effort (other than Bruce McAleer's attempts to contact the developer, long ago) to scope out and prevent the damage that is happening. You could see it coming, as I mentioned the orange flags in May. Why are we always caught "off guard" when development actually begins?

Shouldn't NEARA have a registry of threatened sites, and a plan? Well someone should and it takes money. If there are any rich people reading this, think what an endowment might do to help protect sites before the damage starts.

Native American mounds a casualty of Hopping Brook expansion (Holliston MA)

By Bill Shaner

Daily News staff

   "HOLLISTON – Along the edge of woods that crews have recently cut to expand the Hopping Brook Business Park sat a pile of stones unlike the uprooted boulders and tree trunks in which it surrounded.
   The stones were laid in an oval-shaped mound. The mound had rounded edges that wrapped around a depression in the center. Overgrown and worn, with faded moss on the granite rocks, the mound had clearly been there for years. Some would argue it's been there for centuries.
   A small but resolute group of archaeologists, historians and activists believe the mound is one of thousands of similar artifacts, sometimes called rock piles, that predate white settlers. Left by native people, experts believe they were created for spiritual purposes, perhaps for burial or other ceremonies.
    And soon, that one particular mound in Holliston will be gone.
 The mound on Tuesday afternoon resembled an island, surrounded by hundreds of acres of deforested land. Crews had already removed a mound next to it, said Joanne Hulbert, town historian.
“That's pretty much the sad tale of it,” said Hulbert. “Bulldoze it over, the march of progress, and a little vestige of Native American evidence goes away once more.”
When the 200-acre development, essentially a delayed second leg of the Hopping Brook Business Park, is complete, the mound will make way for a road or a parking lot, foundation for an office space or a warehouse. Construction started about a month ago.
Standing by the mound, Matthew Howes, a Holliston man who's helped archaeologists discover and register native landmarks in the area, lamented the fact it would disappear.
“People need to kind of wake up and realize that native people were here for thousands of years … and their remains are everywhere,” he said.
There are hundreds of similar mounds in the area, and those who are passionate about native histories want to see more thought given to their preservation.
Curtiss Hoffman, a Bridgewater State University professor, has inventoried about 5,100 similar mounds all along the Eastern Seaboard, from Georgia to Nova Scotia. The mounds, he said, often sit in clusters – 50 or so built very close to one another. It's something he feels isn't an accident.
The only way to truly save the mounds is to have state preservation offices acknowledge them as historic, and include them in state registries. Until then, he said, local ordinances and land acquisitions to preserve the mounds are the most effective method.
But before that happens, there needs to be consensus in the archaeological community. Some feel the mounds are the product of colonial farmers removing rocks from farmland. Hoffman feels the mounds are too deliberate, too ornate in their arrangement, for that to be legitimate." 

Bill Shaner can be reached at 508-626-3957 or at Follow him on Twitter @bill_shaner.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Bulldozing the temple

Here stands an ancient relic, a monument to the dead. One of many. Undisturbed for hundreds of years, now the bulldozers are driving up. 

[In more detail: this is a small flat-topped pyramid with a crater in one side. It is about 8 feet above ground level and shaped like other American burial mounds - but considerably smaller, in a traditional New England style. This style is common in the Charles and Merrimack River watersheds. If you click in to magnify, you'll see a hint of a platform or "terrace" - which is not so common]

This development at the Hopping Brook Industrial Park in Holliston, MA needs to be publicized. Is there anything you could do? How about calling a friend or someone you know from Holliston, and giving them a nudge? How about writing a letter to a newspaper, like the "Holliston Reporter"? 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Hopping Brook - development starts at a massive Indian Burial Ground

Just thought you should know. I heard from Mathew Howes that they are bulldozing around and over the mounds at Hopping Brook. Now these are burial mounds and this should be a serious NAGPRA violation.
Anyone living there who can become active in fighting this development, should contact Joanne Hulbert of the Holliston Historical Society.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

On Vacation

Summer schedule: light to no blogging.