Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Call to Land Protectors - Tonight, Nayyag's Fate Again in Play (MA)

Tonight, February 17, 2021 from 6-7 pm there will be a Zoom presentation by Massachusetts Department of Transportation (link at bottom of page) on their planned traffic circle that would demolish a unique Archaic Native legacy site, one that was recommended for the National Register of Historic Places. MA DOT is billing this as a walk-through of their plans and the "alternative selection" process.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Burial Cairns on the Mattawa River

From an account by an early fur trader, at around 22:40 minutes in:

Mysteries of the Canadian Fur Trade: Episode 1 - YouTube

Funny how such things were common place in the 1700s.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Hidden Landscapes Film and Discussion

 Via Norman:

Here is a link to an upcoming video series presentation of "Hidden Landscapes".

Site to be found in Westminster MA

 A commenter to a post from April 20, 2009 mentions a site:

"There are some really interesting stone features off the Midstate trail in Westminster which is right off the side of RTE 2A."

I wonder if someone could please go take a look. The area seems promising:

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

The Lost Forests of New England

 Not rock pile related.... or is it?

A YouTube video:

The Lost Forests of New England - Eastern Old Growth - YouTube


From part 3: what is he standing on?

I guess someone should go look at the southern slope of Mt Tom.

Monday, February 08, 2021

Alaska Science Forum: Were blue beads in the tundra the first U.S. import from Europe? | Juneau Empire

 Norman sent this link [not rock pile related]:

This is about glass beads found in Alaska firmly dated to pre-Columbus times. I love this story because the standard "peopling of America" nonsense is forced to choose: either the beads got there overland from the east coast and - how the heck did they get across the Atlantic?; or the beads came from Asia and  - who needs a land bridge?

Also, since the beads came from Venice, how did they get to Siberia before crossing the Pacific?

Sunday, February 07, 2021

Notice of a Rocking Stone in Warwick, R.I.

 Providence, September, 20th 1823.

Prof. Silliman, Sir,

It has given me some satisfaction to become acquainted with the particulars which Mr. Moore has given us in the last number of your Journal, respecting the Durham Rocking Stone. It is true, as he intimates, that there are but few rocks of this kind as yet known in our country; still, as curiosity is continually increasing, and the votaries of geological science daily becoming more numerous, it will not be long, it is believed, before they will be found to exist here in considerable numbers. I have recently visited one which is found in this State, and from its interesting character, have been induced to forward to you a description of it, together with a drawing by Mr. Moses Partridge

It is in the town of Warwick, about two hundred yards south-west of the village of Apponaug, and twelve miles in the same direction from Providence. In form, it resembles a turtle, although it is convex on the bottom and somewhat concave on the top. It is about ten feet in length, six ^ breadth, and two in thickness. It reposes upon another rock, which rises a few feet above ground, touching it in two points — the one under A, the other under B. (Fig 1, Plate 1) Upon these points it is so exactly poised, that it moves with the gentlest touch. A child five years old may set it a rocking, so that the side C will describe an arc, the chord of which will be fifteen inches. The easiest method to rock it is by standing upon it, and applying the weight of one's body alternately from one side to the other.

What renders this rock peculiarly interesting is, that when the side D descends, it gives four distinct pulsations, hitting first at E, next at F, then at G, and lastly at H. The sound produced, is much like that of a drum, excepting that it is louder. In consequence of this sound, it has very appropriately entailed upon itself the name of "The Drum Rock." It has been heard in a still evening at the distance of six miles. In the summer season, it is a place of fashionable resort for the people of Apponaug, and of the town generally.

The weight of this rock is estimated at four tons — upwards of a ton heavier than the one at Kirkmichael in Scotland, and almost as heavy as the famous Logan, in the parish of Sithney, near Helston in England. Its composition appears to be an indurated ferruginous clay, with here and there small portions of quartz. Its specific gravity is 2, 5. It has long been a subject of inquiry with the inhabitants of Warwick, how this rock came here, or by what means it was placed in its present situation. A little attention will convince any one who sees it, that it was once united to the rock on which it rests. Let A be turned round to I, and it will unquestionably be in the spot where it originally belonged. But by whom it was shifted into the places which it now occupies, is a matter of uncertainty. It has been attributed to the Indians. The removal of such a mass seems however, to have required some mechanical skill, more, perhaps, than many will be willing to allow, that the savages of this region ever possessed. As we have never had any Druids* amongst us, we shall probably never know for a certainty upon whom the honour of the enterprize is to be bestowed.

This rock is surrounded with interesting scenery. South is a dark and dismal swamp, which comprises from fifteen to twenty acres, containing the birch, the hemlock, the maple and the alder. West is a side-hill, which rises at an angle of eighteen or twenty degrees, from the top of which we have a view of the central part of the Narragansett, with several of its beautiful islands. East, a plain presents itself, intersected by a ravine, overgrown with shrubs, along which flows a small stream of water from the swamp. North, the land rises gently, and for some extent is completely covered with huge, misshapen rocks, lying wholly above the surface ; gray with moss, and exhibiting ten thousand fractures.

Very Respectfully yours,


Preceptor of the Charlesfield Street Academy.

Excerpt from: The American Journal of Science - v.7 (1824) p 200:

 (with thanks to Matt Adams)

A large site in CT

 Amazing site from Larry Harrop. It is a lesson.

ns.pdf (

Thursday, February 04, 2021

Zuni Maps (NM)


“The A:shiwi have been in present-day North America for thousands of years. Twelve thousand members of the tribe live on the Zuni Reservation today. Their sacred lands reach far beyond the reservation boundaries—trails of prayer snake and meander through the history of Emergence from the Grand Canyon and the story of Salt Mother’s migration, paths of song ascend the high buttes and tumble with the rain through the arroyo…”

Detail from: Larson Gasper, Migration of Salt Mother, 2009

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Paleo Artifacts

 Reader Scott sends links:

Providence Purchase Lands (RI)


I am not quite sure of the exact source for these interesting drawings from Greater Rhode Island Roaming, accompanied by this text:

“Confluence of the Ponaganset River and the Moswansicut River - Over the years ... via historical maps ... starting with the Providence Purchase Lands map by George Matteson.

I was mesmerized by the Providence Purchase Land map. Numerous spring locations, Indian paths, cornfields, quarry and burial site. Plus, homestead locations and plot sizes. Crazy detail!! The amount of research and effort required to build this map would BLOW.MY.MIND! 🙂

Anywho, you'll probably have to save the image onto your computer to get the best detail.”

Friday, January 29, 2021

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Isolated rock stack from Dartmouth MA

Reader Robert asks if anyone can identify this rock pile. It is isolated and located at the Star of the Sea Reserve in Dartmouth, MA. Specifically, at 41.5909° N / 70.9667° W

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

"We Think These Are Native American"

 You Tube of metal detecting near rock piles.

(3) We think these are native American Indian stone piles - YouTube

Mound Designs of Eastern MA

 Thought this might be of interest, from an old rejected article:

Variations in outline design of rectangular mounds with hollows. Styles A-D may be tall and up to 40 feet across; styles E-H are usually low to the ground and less than ~15 feet across. Style I is a crescent shape, usually ~20 feet across.


Type A (typical variations in size of rocks used, wall height, and overall size)
See figures 2, 3, 4
Blood Hill, Ashburnham
Top of Falulah Brook, Fitchburg
Western slope of Alpine Hill, Fitchburg
Southern end of Mount Elam Road, Leominster
Behind Oakmont High School in Ashburnham
Warren Brook, Upton
Peppercorn Hill, Upton
North Brook, Berlin
Gumpass Pond, Pelham, N.H.
Doeskin Hill, Framingham
Fortune Drive, Billerica

Type B (no known variations, ~25 feet across)
See figure 5
Where West Ashby Road crosses Falulah Brook, Fitchburg
East of water tower in Franklin

Type C (usually large, with typical variation in internal structure, height, wall thickness, and squareness)
See figure 6
Top of Falulah Brook, Ashby
Estabrook Woods, Concord
South end of Mount Elam Road, Leominster
Hopping Brook Development, Hopkinton

Type D (three subtypes: (a) waist high and 15 feet long; (b) as a large outline on the ground; (c) as a small outline on the ground)
See figures 7, 8
Callahan State Park, Framingham (a)
Maxant Land, Harvard (a)
Estabrook Woods, Concord (a)
South end of Mt Elam Road, Leominster (b)
Horse Hill, Groton (b)
West of Route 2, at top of Hobbs Brook, Lincoln (c)

Type E (no variation, ~8 feet across)
See figures 9, 10
Where West Ashby Road crosses Falulah Brook, Fitchburg
Where Richardson Road crosses the brook between Wright Ponds, Ashby

Types F, G, and H (found as outlines or pavements on the ground. They are ~8 feet across, hard to make out and the types blend into each other.)
See figure 13
Nashoba Brook trail off Braeside Ave, Acton
East of Rt 2 at top of Hobbs Brook, Lincoln
Scott Reservoir, Fitchburg
Where West Ashby Road crosses Falulah Brook, Fitchburg
Top of Elizabeth Brook, Harvard
Top of Hobbs Brook, Lincoln

Larger forms of type F
See figures 11, 12
Woodbridge Road, Carlisle
The brook between the Wright Ponds, Ashby
Apron Hill, Boylston

Type I (typical variations in size 10-30 feet, made from small rocks)
See figures 14, 15
Scott Road, Fitchburg
Ballard Hill, Lancaster
Nod Brook, Groton
Horse Hill, Groton

#15 (view downhill)

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Woods Hole Golf Club Driveway

You see the darnedest things. These bumps have credibility because there is a more undisturbed site in the woods fifty yards away.

But if you wanted to tell me these are just debris, I wouldn't argue the point. You can see a common design feature suggested by the two larger rocks at each end of the bump.

Newark Earthwork - from Brad Lepper

From Lepper: Fort Ancient similar but different from the Newark Earthwork (

Thought I'd show this because - of course! - these were the people who built our rock piles. They used soil because they did not have rocks and, for some reason, they went big.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

'It's Been Erased': Stockbridge Mohicans Retell, Reclaim Their Story In Berkshires

 By NANCY EVE COHEN • JAN 11, 2021


A cairn on Monument Mountain, where the Stockbridge Mohicans left stones in the 1700s. It was looted in 1840 and later reconfigured.

“The Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians today are based in Wisconsin. But their homeland spanned the Housatonic and Hudson river valleys, and stretched from Manhattan to northern Vermont.

Over the decades, members of the tribe have come back to the Berkshires to protect cultural sites…Hiking up Monument Mountain, in Great Barrington, I come across Chris Graham, and his dog Sophie. I asked if he knows why it’s called Monument Mountain.

"I don’t," said Graham, who hikes here often. "I know that there’s the monument at the top of it, the inscribed rock."

That inscription describes the donation of the land to The Trustees. But the name — "monument" — refers to something left behind by the native people, explained retired Stockbridge police chief and local historian Rick Wilcox.

"There is an actual pile of stones or a cairn on the far side of the mountain. It was along the Indian trail between Great Barrington, Sheffield and Stockbridge. They would travel by that path and when they went by it, they would drop a rock on the pile," said Wilcox, on a walk up the mountain.

It’s considered a sacred site. But treasure-hunting vandals looted the pile in 1840. It was later reconfigured, but it’s not well-marked. Before we found it, Wilcox took me to the wind-swept summit.

"They call this part Squaw Peak," Wison said.

But "squaw" is now considered a derogatory slur. The Stockbridge Mohicans have asked the Trustees to change the name to “Peeskawso,” meaning virtuous woman. The Trustees is doing that, as well as renaming a trail and adding signage to better reflect tribal culture.

As we descended, Wilcox pointed out the monument — the stone pile, around 5 or 6 feet tall.

"It’s wonderful to be able to see it. And it’s unfortunate that it was desecrated," Wilcox said. "You know, so much of their history has been hidden or wiped out, and so this I guess is in some ways an example of a piece of their history that was kind of brought back to life."

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Hawaii's "First Ones"

 They manage to find rock piles in Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest for comparison. Too bad they did not look in the east.

Sidestep: Rock piles (

Upside down Manitou Stone

 The sister of a friend writes:

These were taken [In Northhampton MA] around 11:45 am, so the sun is in the south.  The front of the stone faces due north (I used my compass).

It's on the north side of a hill, facing downhill toward a wetland area, about .25 miles at the bottom of the hill (See last photo).

Above to the SW is the top of a rocky knoll.  And there are many large and small boulders  all the  around and down the hill -- which is why this whole area is sometimes called "The rocks."
Ruff was kind enough to be my model, for perspective.

As you can see there are now that obvious human-made markings on the face of the stone,but the shape is suspiciously symmetrical.

Sunday, January 03, 2021

Experiencing Stone Rows and Stone Piles at Gates Pond in Hudson, Massachusetts


“Check out possible Native American stone rows and stone piles in a quick visit to the north end of this beautiful public area and reservoir in Hudson, Massachusetts. Head into the woods with Mike Luoma and discover some of the elaborate stonework hiding amongst the trees and along the wetlands.

Probably the best time to experience a stone row that runs alongside a swamp is during the winter. The water is low, it's too cold for insects to be flying around, and the poison ivy isn't so much of a problem. Mike's suspicions he's found an ancient indigenous stone effigy row are rewarded by the elaborate work he finds at the end of the row's first length.

Mike believes he's also found an indigenous stone pile, as described on the blog Rock Piles run by Peter Waksman ( Mike credits Peter and the blog with early discoveries in stone - and a map of stone works at Gates Pond Mike memorized for the day's excursion.”

Saturday, January 02, 2021

Year in Review - 2020


Invisible mounds in Woods Hole. Here is one. Can you see it? 

More Mounds at Sippewisett (Biggest mounds found (with the help of Johannes Raatz) yet on Cape Cod:

Tributaries of the Three Mile River, Taunton. Little piles in the woods.
Ash Brook Swamp, North Cumberland RI. Little piles in the snow:
[Somewhere around here a PANDEMIC STARTED!]
No new sites
Revisiting the Kibbe (Kibby) Cellar Hole. Plenty of mystery.
Revisiting Manitou's "Boulder Ridge":
No new sites but continuing the argument for publicizing sites rather than keeping them secret.
[No one talks about the downside of keeping sites a secret. It means you are being anti social and are not pursuing science. Vandals are kept out but those holding the secret become the vandals - to all practical purposes.]
No new sites
I was told about a site in Mendon Town Forest. Hollows of different ages. (Note the quartz "window")
No new sites
Seems the only news was the casting down of Holliston's George Washington Stone
No new sites
A few minor sites and the ongoing discussion of turtle shaped rocks and piles.
Tommy Hudson reports on the Mountain View II site.

I found a little site in Canton, driving down Rt 24
So that was the year. Things are winding down and the pandemic didn't help - although it can't be blamed for my not getting out in the woods more. 

It is sort of sad how, with or without a pandemic, the excitement of discovery and a world in which new sites are actively pursued may already be passing on. The subject cannot be new forever.

Happy NEW year.

Concord Mound? X marks the spot

This is a stretch of Rt 62 in Concord, with the Great Meadows to the left and Hanscom Airfield to the right. About at the location of the crosshair, there is a mound of dirt. It is about 12 feet tall above the surrounding ground.

At the time, when I looked at the top of this bump, I thought someone had already been there and dug a hole in the top of it. Now I am not so sure of that interpretation. So for the record: there is a mound in Concord at about that spot. Perhaps someone will go check it out.