Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Traces of ceremony, bits of quartz, a moose skull, etc. Pearl Brook SF

Some walks are dull and you find nothing. Some are exciting and you go home with a sense of weirdness that stays with you, in images, for several days. Still other walks are a bit dull because you find the kinds of things that are expected - so you go home satisfied but not particularly enthused.

Let me tell you about a walk that was dull but where I came home with a sense of weirdness. I saw little but it was unique. Here is the map:
I was following the brook, just to be systematic, and came to a boulder with a few fragments of quartz, next to a small gurgling cascade (at A). The video here.

Let's take a closer look at the boulder:

Rock-on-rock next to a brook, at a place like this, is reasonably common. But the use of quartz is very unusual. It looks like a little creature of some kind. Perhaps a fish.

After this, we continue up the brook and crest out on the top of the slope. I say to myself: "this is where I would expect to see rock piles" but am distracted from this thought by seeing a basin built into the brook (at B):
 There is a little sluice-way and, yes, that is a piece of quartz next to it.
 Looking upstream, there is another larger "quartz" rock above:
Looking downstream towards the basin.:
This "basin" is a curious structure. Not like a dam. Never saw anything like it. I note the bent tree is placed just right for standing or sitting over the basin.

Then I slogged across and up the hill - a dull traverse during which (I learned later) I was being observed by camouflaged hunters [I wonder, did they have me in their sights?].

I topped a ridge, was kinda heading back, and crossed over to the next ridge. Pausing to look back towards the first ridge (at C) I noticed something else that is unusual:
Do you see it? You'll have to right-click and open in a new tab to see it: a pair of rocks propping open the cliff. You see split wedged rocks but you do not see split wedged cliffs.

So I headed over there and stepped on a moose skull.

About Animal Skulls At Rock Pile Sites
Rock pile sites are not that common in the woods. I have seen around 800 of them. At the same time, animal skulls are even rarer. I find antlers not infrequently but only have found skulls four times in 20 years. Three of them were at rock pile sites.

So here is a moose skull.

I do not know if this was a male or female moose. If male, and the antlers were buried, this would be the same resting position as that of a deer skull I found at another rock pile site. I tried to move the moose skull with my foot but it was firmly attached to the ground. So how could such a large beast die, after sticking its antlers into the soil? Leaving no traces of other bones?

 Another time I found a pig skull at a rock pile site, not too far from a working farm. With both tusks intact, I collected it. Wait, there is a picture somewhere. Here is a link to the pig skull.

At least 3 out of 4 skulls being found at a rock pile site is quite a coincidence. Make of it what you will.

(Back to the cliff) I continued across the way:
Now you can see those two rocks inside the split. You don't usually see cliffs embellished this way. Closer:
[You can almost hear the wind rustling the beech leaves]

More quartz. Also a number of smaller rocks.

So then I head off downhill and note a small rock-on-rock - a bit like a turtle:
 View back towards the cliff:
You can just make out the split with quartz rocks in the upper right on this photo. The "turtle" is in the foreground.

So that is it. Very faint traces of ceremonialism. I would say these constructions look recent. I don't know if an animal skull would be used in a ceremony but such items dissolve quickly in our New England woods. That moose did not die long ago, maybe 15 years? And this is what I mean by "traces of ceremony": like delicate touches of a paintbrush, these small quartz structures appear and I have never seen anything like them. It left a faint sense of weirdness.

Back at the cars, I should have asked those hunters more questions. They said "we saw you storm by".

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