Monday, May 28, 2018

A rainy day

I had the day off, I left my house in the morning to go try to find some arrowheads. I went to a place on the coast, where I have found many quartz artifacts. What's this?
It's the base of what turned out to be a pretty large arrowhead. I believe this shape is known as Squibnocket Stemmed. The tip is missing, but it's nice to find something this size that is even this much intact. I found a couple of broken quartz arrowhead fragments also.
I left that place and went to go meet my friend Dave. Some years ago, Dave identified a spot near where he lives, that has yielded some nice artifacts for us over the years. In the last couple of years, I haven't found much there, beyond little fragments. This was a good day. I was excited to spot this. It was almost the exact same color as the soil.
This is a Stark point. The material is, I believe, argillite. It is an indescribable feeling to pull something like this from the ground. I was elated.
Dave spotted this broken blade lying in plain sight, just waiting to be picked up for the first time in thousands of years.
It is a shame that it is broken. Big, nice flaking, made of an unfamiliar material- a type of felsite, I imagine.
I was looking very carefully and picking up every little flake and chip. A tiny broken edge sticking out of the soil turned out to be this great arrowhead. I could not believe my luck. I don't have a lot of points like this. I think this would probably be called a Neville Variant type. The material is felsite. These big stemmed points are generally older than the smaller quartz arrowheads I usually find. There is some damage to one of the shoulders.
Here are all of our finds from that site, that afternoon. Days like that are unfortunately few and far between.
My finds for the day, back at home. It will probably be a long time before I find artifacts like these again.

Friday, May 25, 2018

By a pond

At the edge of a pond there is a pretty forest path.
 I go there sometimes to take pictures. Kids on dirt bikes use the path, too. Their tires churn up the soil, use of the path causes erosion. Looking down, I noticed a thin, sharp flake of broken quartz. This is a clue. I took a closer look. Along a short stretch of this path, about 15 feet of it, the dark soil was flecked with occasional flakes and chips of quartz. The larger chunks suggest that people were breaking down quartz cobbles to make tools. The small thin flakes appeared to me to be the result of tool sharpening. I think people lived right here, on the edge of the pond.
What's this on the path?
It's a worn out and broken Squibnocket Triangle projectile point made of a crystal quartz material. It's really beat up but is a nice material and it took a lot of skill to make this.
I think it is incredible that in 2018 it is possible to readily discern the traces left behind by people who lived in this exact place thousands of years ago. I think it is fascinating and I would like to think that others would also find it interesting to know that early man lived here at the edge of this little pond where they like to swim and fish. I think it would be great if there was some kind of sign or marker to inform people about this. I fear that it is more likely that some day machines will come and grade this trail, or put a house or building here. I imagine that many who might know of a site like this, are worried about looters coming with shovels to take the artifacts (and I am sure there are more and better arrowheads here). I imagine this place will remain completely intact, right up until the day it is completely destroyed.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

More along "south" Justice Brook

That's what I am calling the brook I walked up to A along. After that I headed south-ish and got lost again even with sunlight. It is a big hill is my only excuse.
Anyway, in a random traverse I found two different sites. One near the old road, the other near the pipeline. Not sure where. It gives you an idea how common these sites must be. At least in certain areas.
So what was interesting is that the two sites were completely different from each other, even though both had essentially the same nth stage, knocked-down, ground piles. At the first site we are looking at triangular piles made from mid sized stones and others made from lines of large stones. At the second site we are looking at circular ground piles made from smaller stones. They look quite different but I am afraid the pictures may not show it.
The first site:
A triangular pile like the ones from nearby (8th and 9th pictures here)
And several unintelligible piles, and some ones made of lines of larger stones:

From the second site a low circular pile made of small stones [sorry it is so invisible]:
I think this is a different one:
What can you make of this in the dappled light? 

I may be wrong and both sites come from a similar period. But it truly seems the second site is older. A different time, a different place, a different thought. Then check out this video from a fifty yards uphill:

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

More spring arrowheads

I went for a drive on a pleasant evening after getting out of work early. I wanted to swing by some favorite spots, where I have found prehistoric stone artifacts. There didn't appear to be many areas with a fresh surface to explore. But one slope near the water looked from the car like it had some good exposure. I got out of the car and took ten steps. Ten seconds in.
The corner is damaged but it is a nicely made triangular quartz arrowhead. I have had a few good days that start by finding something almost immediately. A nice feeling. I spotted this at the bottom of the slope.
Closer... It's very small. It has been resharpened from something bigger. I believe this is a Squibnocket Triangle.
I spotted a couple of Small Stemmed or Squibnocket Stemmed bases sticking out of the ground. It's always tantalizing to spot them like this, you hope so much that they are whole but they usually aren't. These were both broken.

This was a great afternoon. I have been on a roll lately and it feels great. The little white glass button is a relic of a more recent man. I have a few jars full of these, from picking them up over the years.

Turtle-Bird Pipe

From Tommy Hudson:

Nice juxtaposition of turtle (Lowerworld) and bird (Upperworld), in a pipe. Native tobacco is much stronger than today's tobacco, so after fasting and long periods of dancing, the practitioner can have hallucinations while smoking this type. The ritual practice is still carried out in western America and central and southern America.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

"Mystery of Stone Walls" (CT)

The enduring elegance and mystery of stone walls: Who built them and why at the heart of an ongoing debate
The Day
Published February 02. 2018
By Steve Fagin  (Photos by Markham Starr and  Carl Tjerandsen )

"Lace up your hiking boots, grab a trekking pole and set out on a woodland stroll anywhere in eastern Connecticut or western Rhode Island, and before long you will encounter a stone wall..."

Saturday, May 19, 2018

I luuuuve the woods

Stepping from the road into the woods, where light and shadow dance over the ferns.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Abutment across a gully, old marker piles, etc. in Princeton and Sterling

With reference to the map shown here and to the 2nd and 4th folds described, here is what I found in the 2nd fold. I don't know whether to call it a "wall" or a "turret" or a "linear feature" (a cop out), or something else ("abutment"?). Let's take a look at some overviews and some details.

A structure, built across the top of the gully (we are in E. Princeton):
There is a well built gap at the center. Not visible on the  right was a continuation of wall, starting with a rectangle with a hollow. So, looking back at the main feature, here is that rectangle with hollow:
The main pile is off to the left in this picture.
Here is a view from uphill:
It is more a "staircase" than a "zigzag". Here is a view from the other side:
Sorry I did not get a better picture of the gap in the middle, or the whole setup from this view over to the far side with the hollowed pile.

Somewhere in there I came across what could have been an old foundation or could have been a burial. Don't remember where:

Then later (now in W. Sterling), at or around the 4th red outline on that map, I found some old broken down piles that seemed more or less in rows and more or less evenly spaced. What I call "marker piles", which I imagine are akin to a sundial.
The piles seemed a bit triangular.

There was an old road nearby, with stones along the side.
And there was a lot going on that was obscured by the decrepitude.
It is unusual and extremely gratifying to find sites like this in Sterling, not too far from that main site I found a few weeks ago
It was heartleaf lilly weekend. With trillium!

I am going to try again tomorrow

Took the day off so I could try again to get to the locations I planned on previously - the time I got lost. Let's try a map with more definite landmarks:
I'll tell you how it goes. Meanwhile, I'll post the things I did find before getting lost.


(via People of One Fire)

Monday, May 14, 2018

Spring arrowheads

Each spring, I return to some favorite places to see if anything new has popped up. I have found some things, and will share them here in a few separate posts. Here is a typical find, from one place I enjoy visiting. The winter rains had washed a little gully in the earth, exposing some handfuls of gravel, and this. A broken quartz triangular arrowhead. Nicely made, with a point that is still sharp.
The results of an afternoon after work, in a different place. Crude and broken, almost not worth showing. But better than nothing at all.
My friend Dave and I spent some hours on a Sunday carefully searching a sandy slope near a riverbank. What's this?
It's likely that this will be my best arrowhead find for 2018. I don't have many like this. It's very thin.
Here it is cleaned up at home. It is felsite. The damage to the base has no patina and is recent- a pity. That little chip almost obscures the subtle bifurcation to the stem, but enough of it is still present for me to feel confident calling this a Neville point. I have another one of these from this same site. Neville projectile points appeared around 8,000 years ago. This artifact is very likely six or seven thousand years old. It was probably ancient when the Great Pyramid was built. The landowner enjoyed seeing this find. He's moving some dirt around in an adjacent area this month. My fingers are crossed.
All of these finds were from southeastern Massachusetts.