Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Removing stones from rock piles for "safekeeping"

In the previous post [see here] Norman describes a "Gorget on a Rock Pile" and mentions that there was an unusual "gorget" stone found in the pile. Later the State Archaeologist removed the stone for safekeeping.

I think the ethics of removing a special rock from a pile for "safekeeping" needs some discussion. Does anyone have any opinions about this? I remember Doug Harris, in a YouTube video talking about how removing a rock breaks the "prayer"  - only to then watch him remove a rock and put it back. Clearly removing a rock permanently, and taking it off to a place where they have presided over the destruction of many wonderful things, hardly qualifies as "safekeeping". 

Like any ethical question, I doubt there is a good answer. I just think the state carting off treasures should be done with reluctance. And who the heck is the State Archaeologist anyway? Why does he get to destroy the rock pile? To me it is inconceivable that these are the right people to make that call, or to be the keepers of special ceremonial rocks. Generally such objects are poorly documented, not accessible to the public and, basically, lost for good. I would give you odds, that a member of the public, today, would have trouble even getting to see the "gorget".


Saturday, June 18, 2022

Gorget on a rock pile

From NormanMuller:

In 2011 I was with a small group of NEARA members in Rochester, VT, which was led by Ernie Clifford.  We visited site R7-8, which is called the Beaver Pond site, near the larger Smith site.  We walked about a bunch of platform cairns and then came upon a low, long cairn on a rise overlooking a small brook and swampy area.  One member of our group saw a stone object resting on top of a large stone in the cairn  (`02-1702), and lifted it out for all to see (0060).  It turned out to be a preform slate gorget.  There was a bit of lichen at one end, and the surface that had been resting on the boulder had a rust color, evidently from the fact that slate contains some iron and it had oxidized out over time.  The gorget was also of poor quality, and had a number of deep scratches on it.  Obviously it was discarded because of this.  Most gorgets are perforated, but this one was not. 

I returned to the site the following weekend to photograph and study the gorget more carefully, placing it on a grey cloth and photographing top and bottom and one of the sides (0026).  I then placed the gorget back to where it was originally found.  Later, the National Forest archaeologist removed the gorget for safekeeping in Rutland.

This simply emphasizes that one should study cairns carefully.  You never know what you'll find.

Monday, June 13, 2022

“Stonewalls in a Gully” (VT)


Josh Smart
 Hidden Vermont

Why don't they have stone arrowheads in Europe?

I cannot find any pictures of elegant stonework from -say- France that is any more recent than those fine Solutrean blades. But what were the Europeans doing around 10K years ago? Just a little puzzle. I did see some fine things from Spain, so what is true?

Saturday, June 04, 2022

Our Vanishing Ceremonial Stone Landscape (CT)

    Apparently, I’m documenting Our Vanishing Ceremonial Stone Landscape more than anything else these days. Similar to Eric Sloane writing and sketching about a romantic colonial past, I’m instead blogging about and photographing disappearing features of an Indigenous Cultural Landscape that only a tiny percentage of people are aware of, think is somehow “interesting,” much less worthy of recognition, study, and preservation. I’ve been documenting for years the disappearing Nonnewaug Stone Fish Weir, miles and miles of stonework under power lines being ground up for road beds, stones popping out of retaining walls at the family home, and now a simple tree fall that knocked apart a formerly very beautiful “Stone Prayer” on a hillside somewhere close to the Madison/Killingworth town line.

    In a recent Face Book post, Karen Lucibello Daigle recorded a bit of video, perhaps in late winter or early spring, of some tree damage to this Káhtôquwuk or Stone Prayer that I took a look at once back in 2016:

Captures from Karen’s video, cobbled into an image:

Some more images of mine from 2016:
(Note the Manitou Stone above, the "Healing Diamond" below.)

A couple other images in my most recent "K-WORTH 2022" folder:

Thursday, June 02, 2022

A last word about Canonchet

In the previous post, we saw a low rectangular mound that was different from the nicely built biscuits surrounding it. I forgot to mention one other out-of-sync pile, consisting of a layer of small rocks on a support boulder:

When you are extracting rocks from the ground, there will always be smaller ones. A characteristic of field clearing is that there are many smaller rocks mixed in with larger ones. That same size distribution was present pre-historically and it seems there was something that could be built from smaller rocks. I think I have seen this before without noticing it - a special, solitary, pile made from much smaller rocks.