Friday, March 31, 2017

Mass Arch. Soc. Meeting Cancelled

(via Curt Hoffman) Saturday night's meeting in Worcester is cancelled.

I hope to hear about re-scheduling.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Broad Cove, Dighton, Massachusetts

     A satellite image of a salt marsh shows a stone wall that terminates with stone circles on each side, at the edge of the water. What could be the agricultural purpose?
      North side:
     South side:
     In the marsh, nearby:

     Plenty of quartz flakes eroding out of the bank of the cove, nearby.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Doug Harris's "Phone In" Talk

I didn't phone in but have a report that Doug discussed the protection of sites and how the tribes want to work with the towns. This is pretty much the message of the USET resolutions. 
Notes from Brian McClain:
- Starting in 2011, Doug was involved in some submerged landscape study/policy(?) with David Robinson - maybe a publication “Submerged Cultural Sites and Landscapes”?
- Doug has worked on setting policy (for 4 yrs?) for offshore projects (windmills, etc) on how to handle cultural artifacts in conjunction with the U of Rhode Island School of Oceanography?
-  Wants to work on the town level with landholders and - especially - Town Historical Commissions since they are the ones with the power to stop development on recognized sites.  (Thus maybe we should just by-pass the Conservation Commission, etc… since that fight is probably unnecessary).  
- local tribes have decided on a unified approach to protecting sites- i.e. no one tribe will claim a site as their own
-mention of the film “Great Falls” by Ted Timrek.  Can find at … might have to purchase…
- when talking about stone piles “prayers in stone”, mentioned Ezra Stiles writing in the 1700’s that an Indian friend would avoid those sites by 1/4 mile purposely to avoid the obligation to attend to it/them when passing. :)
- Otis State Park - 73 stone piles - development (pipeline?) would require removal of 1/3 of them.  Doug says the prayer is broken when the piles are disturbed.  
- The process of officially registering an Indian stone works as a religious site always requires at least one tribal specialist for evaluation.  Thus others can make the official ID, but they (we) can’t make the final decision without a tribal official as part of the process.
- Mentioned the fantastic effigies up in Carlisle
- Had good things to say about NEARA for the most part - they have kept focus on the ceremonial stone works - although sometimes stoneworks get ascribed to possible early European contact which annoys Doug…

Friday, March 24, 2017

Best pile yet in 2017

Spring Events about Rock Piles

It seems this is a spring full of events. I gave a talk last night to the Lions Club of Harvard - a nice group. As I count the events, there will have been five of them in March-April. That is quite a lot and represents a healthy acceleration in the public development of the subject of ceremonial stone structures.

NEARA Spring Meeting

April 21-23 Groton CT. See for details.

Doug Harris - Phone In Discussion

Mass. Forest Rescue is pleased to announce this phone seminar Sunday evening at 7 pm with Doug Harris, Deputy Tribal Historic Preservation Officer of the Narragansett Tribal Historic Preservation Office.
Register for Call - in Information at: by Saturday noon.
Or call/text at: 413-522-7505

We are setting up a MFR Legal Defense Fund to protect Native American sacred stones in Massachusetts forests and forests themselves from ecocide and future generations from the worst effects of climate chaos/ecological destruction. Stay Tuned.
Beth Adams - Mass. Forest Rescue Campaign 
Like our Facebook Page: 
The photo used above is from Killingworth CT:

[In case you do not know: Doug Harris is the person in the Narragansett Tribal Historic Preservation Office most involved with interpreting ceremonial stone features and interfacing between the tribes and the local communities.]

Thursday, March 23, 2017

A Quantitative Assessment of Stone Relics in a Western Massachusetts Town

[From Bruce McAleer:] This Meeting is Open to the Public

April Meeting, Sat. April 1, 2017, Zion Lutheran Church, 41 Whitmarsh Avenue, Worcester MA
Remember to enter the Whitmarsh Street side of the church
7:30 Business Meeting: Janet Bessette
7:45 Refreshments: Alan Smith and Curtiss Hoffman
8:00 Lecture:

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Black and White Stones (Woodbury CT)

Or "The Kid with the Snowplow"
  and switching the position of two stones to make a Stone Serpent "come alive" by making a realistic eye - even a light colored spot on a dark stone that mimics the reflection on the iris...

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Ceremonial Stone Landscapes Presentation by Doug Harris (MA)

   "Seventy-three Native American sacred ceremonial stone landscape features have been identified by federally-recognized Tribes along the proposed pipeline route...."
  Just in from the Nolumbeka Project:
    "Even if you cannot attend this presentation, please consider making a financial donation for legal fees. Remember, it was not that long ago that we faced a similar battle with Kinder-Morgan in this immediate area and throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The ugly head of that black snake can re-surface. Much depends on the success of this Sandisfield campaign to set a precedent and save the forest and the ceremonial stone features. We witnessed the bulldozing of similar features at Standing Rock. Please help prevent any more desecration!"
       Information excerpted from fundraising letter follows:
 “There is currently an effort to explore legal avenues to protect this ceremonial stone landscape from being destroyed by the pipeline. The Nolumbeka Project supports the effort to protect these sacred stone structures. The estimate for the first phase of this legal work is $3,500. If you are able to contribute to the initial cost of this undertaking, please make your check payable to “Creative Thought and Action,” the fiscal sponsor for Climate Action Now, who is specifically amalgamating funds for this effort. Please be sure to put CSL in the “memo” line and mail your check to CAN’s treasurer:
Rene Theberge
250 Shutesbury Road,
Amherst, MA 01002
Thank you for your kind attention to this urgent and time sensitive request.
Susan Theberge, Climate Action Now
David Brule, Nolumbeka Project President
Via Rich Holsuch at Sokoki Sojourn

Friday, March 17, 2017

Where do blog visitors come from?

Since I get to look at the visitor logs, I can answer this question a bit.
 - Most readers are from MA
 - Next most are from states neighboring MA
 - Next most are from NY
 - Next most are from GA
 - Next most from Ontario
 - Next most are from MI
 - etc, and places around the world.

This inspires leaping to the conclusion that GA, MI, and Ontario are the places where the most rock piles occur - outside of New England. But, I seriously doubt that is correct. It is easier to believe that -for unexplained reasons- states south of NY and north of GA have fewer individuals out looking at rocks in the woods. Let's see...what do we know about those intermediate states?

I think this is one of the big (but resolvable) issues: why don't they find rock piles in -say- the hills of Carolina? Is their a "mid Atlantic cultural vacuum"? 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Protective Strategies for Ceremonial Stone Structures

Ezra Stiles Illustrations (Great Berrington “Monument of Stones”) 
   At the blog Sokoki Sojourn, my friend writes, “A short article by Lisa McLoughlin of the Nolumbeka Project, outlining a number of useful strategies to recognize and preserve existing Native stone assemblage sites. Ongoing land development and a general lack of public awareness, not to mention ignorance or dismissal, brings constant destructive pressure upon these ancient interactions of land and spirit.” He adds this quote from Lisa McLoughlin:
     “…I’d say that while many stone features have been destroyed, there are still thousands left. They are hiding in our back yards, in our state forests, along our waterways — everywhere in plain sight. Help others realize why they should be respectful of these when they find them, help them imagine what it might mean to have a religiously-important structure (e.g. something built to honor someone in your family) technically belong to someone else, or be at risk from vandals, pot-hunters, and developers. These stone structures are examples of how humans found a way to interact respectfully and in a mutually-beneficial way with nature. They are Natural Cultural nodes, blueprints for how we will need to think in the future if we are to survive and allow our natural world survive. They are important beyond the specific, and they should give us hope.”

Taken From:
Ways you can help stop destruction of the few Indian features left in Massachusetts
by Lisa McLoughlin of Nolumbeka Project
• preserve land for whatever reason — environmental preservation usually means that cultural resources are preserved on that land too. Support your local land trust.
• support Tribal efforts to protect their traditional cultural properties — protest projects that will bulldoze them, and make connections with Tribal Historic Preservation Officers if you have
found some stone structures that need protection (either through your historical commission, Nolumbeka Project, or similar group or reach out to them directly)
• influence the workings of your town, state, and national governments toward protection of cultural resources — introduce and enact laws that put in place protections and processes that require traditional cultural properties to be taken into account, that encourage smart development (or less development), that take a wholistic approach.
• learn about cultural resources and the governmental agencies that manage them — the writings of Thomas F. King are especially good at helping non-experts understand what’s at stake and how to go about protecting it: Saving Places that Matter, and the National Park Service Bulletin 38 are 2 good places to start.
• read history, especially local history, and collect stories from older people, hunters, and farmers (people close to the land) in your community — find out and document what was/is there so that if it is threatened you can speak to its importance. This applies to the land pre- and post- colonist—an important part of doing this work is setting the record straight and reclaiming the history of the first people before we came, and our interactions with them since. It will tell us a lot not just about them, but about us and issues we still have not resolved about how we treat others as a culture.
• talk to others about why these features matter.
Finally, I’d say that while many stone features have been destroyed, there are still thousands left. They are hiding in our back yards, in our state forests, along our waterways — everywhere in plain sight. Help others realize why they should be respectful of these when they find them, help them imagine what it might mean to have a religiously-important structure (e.g. something built to honor someone in your family) technically belong to someone else, or be at risk from vandals, pot-hunters, and developers. These stone structures are examples of how humans found a way to interact respectfully and in a mutually-beneficial way with nature. They are Natural Cultural nodes, blueprints for how we will need to think in the future if we are to survive and allow our natural world survive. They are important beyond the specific, and they should give us hope.
» Learn more about Ceremonial Stone Landscapes impacted by Kinder Morgan’s CT Expansion Pipeline path in Massachusetts
This entry was posted in Uncategorized on February 19, 2017 by Rosemary Wessel.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A good read for a snowy day: Leo Pettipas's "The Petroform Phenomenon of Southeastern Manitoba and Its Significance"

For your reading appreciation click here.

How do you like this quote: ” Turtle effigies, on the other hand, “exhibit a 90% consistency of orientation towards the west” (Buchner 1976:11-12).

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Rock Piles and Possible Rune Stones - Hillman, Minnesota

Reader Brian T. writes in:
... I Too have strange rock piles in my woods. One day While exploring a remote part of the 320 acres that I own in central Minnesota, I came across a series of 4x9 rock piles and a low boulder/ rock wall approximately 350 feet long.  Most of the rocks weighing 200-300 lbs.  With in proximity of this wall is a square rock lined hole, and a boulder flat topped.  Upon closer inspection of the rock piles I found rocks that had been fashioned for specific purposes. There also is an ancient tote road used for a trade route cutting through. (perfect camp spot)    I have attached pictures of some of the artifacts that I have found. I'm trying to find someone to examine the rock with the markings on it. (  I think that they represent "rune" writing)  Which being that my land is very close to the "Kensington" rune stone, could be possible they are connected.  When researching "Rune" symbols, the word "Barrows"  popped up.
  The word "barrows"  means rows of rocks and Celts were predominately wall builders.  I think that these rock piles might have been constructed with nordic influence in the late 1300's, based on the inscribed date on "kensington Rune Stone"  1362.  I have more pictures if interested, and also open to any comments or theories.

In a later email:
 My land is in Hillman about 10 miles from Mille Lacs lake.  As far as the pictures go, i'm all for it .  Maybe somebody else has found things similar tying it to the same period, and It would be great if maybe somebody can translate the markings and/or determine a purpose?  Sorry, i did not explain in the previous email that I found the rock with the rune symbol with my metal detector scanning a rock pile.   picture 2 is a lower "paleolithic' oil lamp.   And the other rock appeared to have twine wrapped around it ,since fossilized. 

Stand With Standing Rock (Greenfield MA)

Rally to Stand With Standing Rock and Native Nations

Saturday, March 11, 2017
12 PM - 1:30 PM
Greenfield Town Common
14 Court Sq, Greenfield, Massachusetts 01301
Gather on the Greenfield Town Common for a Rally to
Stand With Standing Rock and Native Nations.
All are invited to gather on Saturday, March 11 at noon at the Greenfield Town Common to stand together in community prayer, song, and peaceful action in support of Standing Rock Water Protectors and Indigenous people.
Standing Rock and Native Nations have called for solidarity actions to support their March 10th Washington DC march in prayer and action.
The Standing Rock and Native Nations who are organizing the DC March say: “We ask that you rise in solidarity with the Indigenous peoples of the world whose rights protect Unci Maka (Grandmother Earth) for the future generations of all.”
The Native Nations' demands for the peaceful DC March include respect for tribal rights and the protection of the environment and future generations.

Via Diane Dix

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

A New England Woodland

Added a permanent link to this blog. Don't know why I missed it 'till now:

Studying rock piles is not limited to ethnography and scholarship

I was reading an article Norman sent me:
JOA 4:39-71, Rock Piles of the Upper Ohio Valley  Moore and Weiss 

Charity M. Moore and Matthew Victor Weiss

I was unable to get past this sentence of the introduction:
Only through a comprehensive, programmatic approach, informed by indigenous knowledge, can archaeologists overcome the ambiguity of rock piles 
Direct observation is another possibility and the authors seem unaware of the thousands and thousands of sites that can be studied. Wasn't archeology supposed to be science? Around here, I watched the "indigenous knowledge" go from nothing to a specialized "rock" vocabulary in just a few years (putting the root for "rock" as a prefix on other words). For example, out in the southwest where the tribes have genuine cultural continuity: do you think those "sun daggers" were uncovered through ethnography?
They continue discussing the many scholarly attempts to understand rock piles. For what it is worth: there is a subject here that is not scholarly but empirical. To know it, you need to head for the woods not the library.

Patch Hill Boxboro

Dave Alling writes:
I have spent some time in the patch hill area recently and found a few items that may interest you. Due [to] picture size limitations, I have to divide this into 3 parts.

The following serpent effigies are connected by a stone wall. This section of stone wall is described as having peaks in previous blog post ( or it could be interpreted as the body of a serpent. There are other rock piles in stone wall corners that could be interpreted as platforms.

Serpent #1

Serpent #2.  Zoom in to see the eye.

Prayer seat?  This feature is located about 10 yards away from a rock pile/stone wall corner.  There is a rough triangular point to to the rock pile.

This turtle effigy is located uphill between two sections of stone walls. It looks down towards a vernal pool.

Friday, March 03, 2017

The corridor from Hobbs Brook up to Sandy Pond, Lincoln

In a place you were hoping to find rock piles, you come across a tumble of rocks:
Your eye makes no sense of it. You look at it from another angle: does look like there is a straight side (on the left) and maybe some other structure.
There is a stone wall in the background that separates the lowest wet area from higher ground. The piled rocks are on the wet side and are well separated from the stone wall. Also you can see there is a smaller pile nearby:
Taken together, the smaller pile and the setback from the flanking stone wall are "strategic" reasons for thinking this tumble of stones is the mound you are looking for. Another view:

This is about where the 'C' is in 'LINCOLN' on the map:
At the NE end of the valley (under the word 'LINCOLN') is the top of Hobbs Brook, which is a source for the Charles. You go up the valley to the SW and end up at Sandy Pond. It appears Sandy Pond now drains to the south but there must have been a connection down this valley at some time. I know a site at the NE end of this valley and I thought it would be a good idea to explore up towards the SW. After finding the first piled rocks (above) I did not see much. The area is full of things like this:
I turned around and went back via the highest ground, by the letter 'I' in 'LINCOLN', and at the high point there were several damaged rock piles. Some had been recently bulldozed and it made me suspicious of the lot. Still I strongly suspect there was a site here in the past.

Hard to see this as bulldozer damage: