Monday, December 31, 2018

Year in Review - 2018

The year 2018 was slow, with fewer new sites than in the past. I am exploring less, the drives are getting longer, and I moved my base from Concord to the Cape. These days, I only explore on weekends when I make the drive back and forth.

New sites were reported from Georgia and South Carolina and, generally, public awareness has continued to expand, both at the state level and the town level. The Native Americans and Doug Harris have been rolling out aggressive outreach campaigns.

-- SITES --
(near) Nod Brook Groton
Howard Brook in Northboro - some fine sites along the brooks of the "Fish and Wildlife" area, south of Mt Pisgah.

"Debunking Stone Wall Myths"
Excellent argument on "crazy" stone walls not being post-colonial

South Justice Hill - the best and only large site I found this year.

There were several smaller sites in the valley between the hill and S. Princeton center:

I start exploring to the south, in place like Foxboro and Stoughton:
I explore southern Franklin State Forest:

Still further south at the edge of Wrentham: - mounds (still) have hollows:
September, more Wrentham [no more hollows]:
I get a little miffed about the spread of fake history:

I start calling damaged mounds "Wrentham Pavements":
and (in November)
They seem to all be like this, from Wrentham on south. However, fresher mounds were still to be seen in that area.

Finally, a major site is seen, shown to me by reader "bd" in Wrentham State Forest. It has many varieties of "mound-with-hollow", mostly of the mid-sized sort. From classic:
To multi-chambered:

Also, the kind of "pavement" I am have come to expect in this part of the state:
[or perhaps not? The typical "Wrentham" style is a pile spilling over the edge of a bluff, above a wetland.]


Cairns and Copper Mines: Drummond Wisconsin.

Chatahoochee National Forest:
Pickens County, SC:

Some links:
Finger Lakes area of NY 
A Wall Site in Bartow Co., GA
Poconos Rock Piles 
Another Stone Complex (GA) 
Rock Piles on a Farm in Saskatchewan 
Ontario "Megaliths" 
Mounds with hollows - headwaters of the Susquehan... 
Negwegon Stone Piles - Michigan 


"Let the Landscape Speak:"

Doug Harris's schedule gets filled:

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Some good 2018 memories

2018 was another tough year for searching for arrowheads. In recent weeks I have spent hardly any time searching. Looking back at the things I found this year, I do have some nice memories. Here are the results of three good days from back in May and June.

On a Friday after work I visited a favorite spot. The weather was perfect, I was in a good mood and I have very many times had some luck on Friday evenings, starting my weekend. This one was really easy to spot.
Totally exposed and just waiting to be picked up.
I like the asymmetrical shape, with one strong and one weak shoulder. The shape of the base is somewhat suggestive of the Orient Fishtail type but I have found several quartz Lamoka and Squibnocket Stemmed points at this site.
There were some other fragments out there to find too. Pretty good for a short walk.
One morning after some heavy rain I stopped by another favorite spot. It didn't take long to spot this quartz stemmed point. This place has produced many Lamoka, Wading River and Squibnocket Stemmed points, mostly quartz with just a few made of argillite or quartzite.
This is a nice complete point, still sharp. It is small but thin and nicely made.
This was nearby.
It is the same shape as the other one, but thicker, a little chunky. The material is gray, a sort of smoky quartz. There is damage to the tip.
As usual, there were some broken points to find also. It is a good feeling to search for arrowheads and actually find something.
The best 2018 find I have to show is not even mine. It was found by my friend Dave, at a site he discovered. Earlier in the spring I had found some nice stemmed points made of interesting materials at this site, which I posted about here and here. Dave had found a big broken blade but not too much else this year. That all changed when he happened to see this. But was it damaged?
This beautiful Neville point is made of a striped felsite that I believe comes from Mattapan. I also have a nice Neville in this material from this site but this is the best point I have seen found there. This is about as nice of a point as someone in Massachusetts is likely to be able to find, in my opinion. I was happy for Dave and it was fun seeing this come out of the ground. Neville points appeared about 8,000 years ago, they seem to have been most common 6,000-7,000 years ago.

I hope everyone has a great New Year and finds plenty of whatever they are looking for in 2019!

Friday, December 28, 2018

Old Mill Brook - Plainville MA

Reader bd also showed me an isolated mound near the trail at Old Mill Brook:
It was big:
With several smaller dimples around a large well-defined hollow. Note that the inner wall is well built:

Hawthorne Brook - Plainville MA - part 3

Continuing from here.

We walked back out. There was another mound with hollow and satellite piles near where we parked:

Then we finished the walk and went to a different place. 

Later, on my driving back out, I stopped to look at a "roadside attraction"- a mound visible from the road - at the northern end of the woods between George Street and the Hawthorne Brook. Near the 'H' in 'Hawthorne'.

This is a typical mound "with tail". Rounding out an incredible collection of different styles of mound.

Hawthorne Brook - Plainville MA - part 2

Continuing from here, we enter a space "choked with rock piles" I was getting overwhelmed:
From the looks of it, these dry ridges and dells are short walk uphill from the brook. 

Here is a smaller rectangle with a hollow:
Here are some interesting structures along the outcrop

And here is a double-chambered mound (just like in Callahan State Park)
Here is another smaller "box":
As earlier, we have small satellite piles and a trail passing through:
Note how someone has marked the beautiful vertical-sided pile on the left with a pink ribbon:
Here we are up on top of the ridge. I don't know what to make of this any more:
Cuz now we come to the big pavements, what bd called "terraces":
Another view:
Note the bit of retaining wall.

Here is a pile with a "tail" consisting of a loose group of larger rocks connected to it on the right:
Another tumbled-down pavement:
This part of the site reminded me a lot of Pratt Hill.

Other things built against the outcrop:
Leading over to more pavement with retaining wall. Check this out:
Looking back:

And let's take a moment to look at this last pile:

What does it mean to leave a rosary by a mound?

Hawthorne Brook - Plainville MA - part 1

I was shown a superb site by reader bd, who felt it was time to let people know about this place. I found it a bit confusing because it had nicely preserved mounds with hollows - like "up north" [in Fitchburg], but you could see their affinity with more decrepit pavements - like "down south" [in Wrentham]. Plainville is the next town south of Wrentham and this complicates my attempts to distinguish north from south. Too bad about the theory, here is the data.

Between George Street and Hawthorne Brook, is essentially non-stop mounds "with hollows" including standard variations such as: free standing "pyramids", decrepit piles with tails (of more than one variety), double- and multi- chambered mounds, wall corner mounds, and large pavements. To me this suggests the site was used over a long period of time. Notably missing were the smallest form: the "lazy 9s", boxes, and other 8 foot across varieties. Also missing were the sort of well built "cairns" that one finds up north in a cluster around a spring, or in a group along a trail. I did not see any single rock-on-rock or split-wedged rocks. No propped boulders or prayer seats. So one thing that distinguishes this Hawthorne Brook site is that it is a very "pure" signal.
As you can see from the map, this is an area of little knolls and small brooks. It is very rocky and as soon as you drive in there you think: "man! this is good-for-nothing/perfect-for-rock pile territory". It is not clear how these woods might have been used in colonial times, except the land is too rocky to plow. There were no cedar trees to suggest it might have been an open field, so my guess is that it was a wood lot. It was easy walking throughout, with blueberry bushes between oaks. In any case I think this area saw light land use, because the mounds were more or less un-damaged. Some were more decrepit than others - providing an opportunity to establish chronology.

Here is the story: bd proposed a walk and we met at a conservation land parking lot. He then led me on an hour or so walk where we saw non-stop mounds made from small cobbles and occasional larger rocks. Next to almost each mounds, there were smaller piles on the ground, evenly spaced and  in a row. I call these satellites "marker" piles and often find them in association with larger mounds. The area was also full of stone walls going every which way.

I'll just show the pictures and make a few comments. First we went down into a little valley with low piles hidden in the saplings, then along a trail to this beauty, a rounded pyramid:
It looked over the valley beginning to the right of this picture. Here are the "marker" piles going on up the valley:

And another mound closer to the top of the valley. Note the style is different from the previous mound.
We go up to the corner of the walls. All the mounds seem to lie along the trail.
Then we came to a big rock overlooking a kettle hole. Clearly people know about these mounds. We'll see other evidence later.

Here is another, more like a pavement.

Along the same ridge but on the back slope, this older form, pile backed by outcrop:
In this case the "hollow" is a space between the outcrop and the cobble enclosure.

A typical wall corner:

Another archetypical rounded pyramid:
A perfect example.

After that, we walked out and across the street to another part of the area. I'll put it in a separate post.

Part 2 and Part 3.