Friday, October 24, 2014

Stonewall (rebuild) Workshop (Killingworth CT)

     It was another “Looking for Something Else and I Found This” Situation that brought me to someone’s photos about a 2 day stonewall workshop that involved rebuilding an old “stone wall.” It happened five years ago and I don’t want to embarrass the people who participated.
    They really didn't understand what that row of stones was, what it was actually composed of.
     They didn't know that it was an Indigenous made stone construction.
      Read just about any book about stone walls and you won’t find this type of “wall,” actually, properly and technically a “fence,” described in those books. At best you’ll find it described as a haphazard collection of stones tossed out of a field and possibly stacked in a double row in a rather random matter, because there isn’t anything random about it, excepting that some stones may have been actually added after people began plowing and clearing the field of stones.
     I hypothesize that Indigenous People in what is now known as New England built miles and miles of what are known as “stone walls.” I’ve been field observing “stone walls” for over twenty years, that Indigenous-made perspective in mind, looking for repeated patterns that suggest an Indigenous (Indian or Native American) origin.
    Just as some authorizes say about other rock art in this region, representations of the turtle and the serpent are the most common (Ed Lenik somewhere or other comes to mind) signatures of Indigenous constructions. Representations of turtles seem most numerous (and it’s a whole other story that there are many rows of stones that I interpret as actually being representations of serpents – petroforms really). I've never kept a count of exactly how many I've come across and it’s been a learning process as well as I continue to learn new forms, different patterns…
  It took just seconds to spot a beautiful stone turtle effigy or representation; sometimes I will enhance a photo to emphasize eyes or a mouth, legs or shell, but I don’t think I have to in this case:
(Carapace or shell above a headstone looking sideways toward the camera, a dark crystal of the reptile's right eye, a vien of dark minerals in the stone recall a mouth and two forelegs.)

Another obvious testudinate effigy included in this row of stones, triangular headstone at the nuchal notch of a carapace stone (and is that a rather rhomboidal xenolith just above the notch?):
A (red?) possibly quartzite turtle head stone with well defined eye peeking out from the far side: 
A view of the rebuilt wall with an older row of stones in the distance:
(Note the "wave" in the older construction, a wave not unlike the rims of some Indigenous Ceramic Pottery found in the NE that I and others have observed in many "stone walls.")
Another view of the finished stone fence:
(To the left of the finished fence, a stone with the suggestion of eyes, another with a "vee" to suggest a turtle beak, another pattern that occurs often in other stones observed over the years:)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Lenik's Rhomboidal Turtle


Making Pictures in Stone: American Indian Rock Art of the Northeast

 By Edward J. Lenik

(Curt suggested to me a while back that scutes have been represented as rhomboidals...)

Little Golden Turtle

    In the only pleasant dream I had last night, I went back up the hill to that outcrop with a beautiful  remnant row of stones perched on it, just to look at certain little turtle effigy with (as far as I can see) a golden-colored quartz left foreleg and head (I'm sure it was because I'd had to resort to my cellphone camera for the dramatic series of photos that follows here, moving in closer and closer).
    Don't see it? 
    Try now:
(Google+ automatically backs up my cellphotos and adds effects - unasked:)
I guess I did notice the golden quartz in the "wall" about the time I took this photo, with my real camera before the battery died, while looking for those effigy patterns of stones with the suggestion of eyes, headstones and forelegs and all the rest:
And then the next frame, closer, two separate stones of the same material, representing a left foreleg and a head stone behind it:
The carapace stone would be the stone directly above the head and foreleg, that recalls high domed box turtle-like shell, probably...

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Miller's House Woodbury

Lame attempt to fix an out of focus photo: 
Same deal with possible bird-like effigy:

I'll go back for this one, possibly another bird:
Below: Testudinate?
I've been getting a lot of milage on this Rhomboidal shape: 

Red Rhomboidal - Bethlehem CT

Above: close up.
Below: stepping back... 
It is the sort of row of stones that travels over a bedrock outcrop.

Looking for effigies, I think I may have found a rather nice one: 

Flickr Album: 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Reading Lesson 2

In the photo above you can see the large stones of a retaining wall I had always thought of as being a colonial construction, made up of stones taken from the zigzag rows of stones that borders this edge of the old Indian Trail that became my road. Up until the 1930's when a tractor shed was built, the new stones connected to zigzag rows at both ends. They show all the signs of metal stone working tools being used to build the wall...
Here's another stone construction in Washington CT that I had previously dismissed as typical of post contact stone fences numerous times. Had I paid more attention - and noticed a bit of what looks to be a lower and perhaps serpentine row of stones (or two). In the past, I may not have recognized all the patterns and effigies etc in this row of stones. Here's a Flickr Photo album that contains a few photos of this fence:
 My intuition tells me it is an Indigenous post contact construction that manages to connect to the older stonework at a bedrock outcrop, but I don't really know for sure. 
Note that the face of both constructions slope back at the same angle and remember that both may possibly connect to older pre contact Indigenous Stonework... 

I took the photo below at the site above because of the diagonal striations on a rhomboidal stone, remembering my friend Peter also finds those diagonals occurring as a pattern occasionally on stones:
The next day, about to get out of my car, I glanced over at the retaining wall where I noticed there was a very similarly striated rhomboidal stone incorporated into the wall:

I noticed another sort of pattern of stacking some rather flat similarly colored stones occurs in both, a sort of side view of a possible effigy:
Maybe it does say something like "We (a rhomboid on wampum belts often signifies a band or a nation or a Central Fire) are still here" and maybe still connected to the stonework of the past...
I'm going to say it points to Indigenous People continuing a tradition, whether the newcomers saw and understood it or not. There was a Village nearby at my house around the first few decades of 1700 and I now suspect members of the Nonnewaug band built that retaining wall. The other one in Washington, I'm guessing might be much later, but if it's possible that to date that stone fence and track down the builders, I strongly suspect that they are of Indigenous ancestry.
Above: to the right of top of rhomboidal stone, possibly two forelegs and a head.
Below: another?

Above: retaining wall Woodbury
Below: Capstone Washington