Friday, December 24, 2010

Water Serpent Effigy

Petroglyph at Emden, Maine (Fig. 17).
     "Two years ago one wet spring weekend, I invited a friend and colleague, Dr. John Pohl, to join me at a meeting with the Green Mountain National Forest archaeologist, Dave Lacy, and others to discuss the prospect of future study of the Smith site and other cairn sites in the vicinity.  At site R7-2, after we had walked the length of the wall-over-the-stream, John Pohl was asked what he thought of it, and he forthrightly said that it reminded him of a water serpent.  John is an expert in pre-Columbian art and archaeology, and is also a consultant to the Moundville Mississippian site in Alabama.  His comment illustrates the gulf between those who have a thorough grounding in American Indian cosmology and religion, and are not afraid to entertain original thoughts about perplexing issues, and those who are trapped in the paradigm that says the Indians had no stone building technology before the arrival of Europeans with their superior knowledge in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.  Most archaeologists in the Northeast view structures of this sort as the crazy design of some misguided colonial farmer, and cannot get beyond this viewpoint.  For instance, since an area north of the Smith site was said to be gold country in the 19th century, one suggested that the culvert was a sluice to separate gold from the dross, similar in construction to the flue of the Ely Copper Mine in Orange County, Vermont (Neudorfer 1980: 52).

      If we can get beyond the mental barrier that says the Indians had no stone building technology, then the connection that Pohl proposed makes eloquent sense.  Snakes or serpents are common to the mythology of many Indian tribes from South and Central America, where it is the feathered serpent.  In North America it is the water serpent.  As the Vastokases have written, “the dwelling places of these great snakes are the insides of hills near lakes, where underground passageways provide access to the water” and the meaning of snakes to the Algonkians was multi-layered.  “They may represent the powers of evil and darkness in their manifestations as fish-tailed or horned monsters, but they can also signify the energy of life and the powers of regeneration; in myths they sometimes function as vehicles of transition for the soul’s journey to the netherworld” (Vastokas & Vastokas 1973:95).   To Barnouw (1977:18) “great horned serpents appear as entrance-way guardians.  The bridge crossing over a river into the land of the souls is a serpent disguised as a log.”  Images of these creatures appear in the Peterborough petroglyphs (Fig. 16) and in a petroglyph at Emden, Maine (Fig. 17), among other places.  Interestingly, the Kennebec River in Maine, in the Algonkian language, means serpent (Brinton 1868: 108)."
Taken from:
 A Possible Water Serpent Effigy at Site R7-2, Rochester, Vermont

Copyright © 2007 by Norman E. Muller


 

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Stone Row Turtles from Some Old Photos

At the top of the page was this photo:
       It is what I think of as "Turtle One," the first "can't be anything but a turtle petroform" I first photographed back in 1997. Three Archaeologists so far have claimed to see no possibility of human enhancement to the large four foot long boulder or any placement of any other stones as part of an effort to form a distinct resemblence to a Box Turtle.
It's a glacial erratic, of course...

Shortly afterward, I photographed these down along the present day road that was originally an Indian Trail.
I don't know if these survived the road reconstruction of 2007.
I'll have to look when the stone starts melting...



Sunday, November 28, 2010

Speaking of Orbs

My wife Roberta once captured some Indian ghosts on film in the Arizona desert many years ago at a place called Gila Bend. We drove about 60 miles out of our way just to see these stones - and have a smoke break, since we couldn't smoke in the van Roberta's brother Fred was driving. No UFO's were spotted...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Petroforms

Petroforms are shapes and geometrical patterns made from arranging large rocks and boulders, often over large areas of open ground…” Accessed from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petroform November 16, 2010
Manitoba Turtle Petroform by Stan Milosevic:
    “While the exact cultural origin of the boulder figures laid out on the table rock of the Whiteshell (Provincial Park) is unknown, they are believed to be prehistoric and may represent the ritual activity of Algonkian speaking groups. The turtles, snakes, humans and geometrics represented here cover nearly the full range of variation in North America sites of this kind. For this reason, and because of the limited styles of effigies which occur elsewhere, it may be that this phenomenon was diffused outward from the Whiteshell, particularly south and west through Minnesota, the Dakotas, Iowa, Nebraska, Montana and Alberta. There are no fixed interpretations of the figures. There are many levels of understanding, therefore, many ways to interpret the teachings.”
And then there’s Bob Miner’s Turtle Petroform Photos from Voluntown CT:
In Connecticut, it is thought that there are no petroforms or Native American built stone “walls.’ The stacks of stones were merely left there by early colonists and farmers, in this case from about 1700 on, for building stone fences – rather than building the actual structures people call "stone walls" in books that reinforce this erroneous - and bigoted - opinion.
Where the heck is Hell Hollow?
Well, let’s see:
The area's argricultural past?
 “Hell Hollow is a valley on the Voluntown/Plainfield border in the Pachaug State Forest… Part of the valley's mystery originates from its curious name, but demonic names are somewhat common in Connecticut; there are over 25 places with "Devil" or "Satan" in their names (Donohue and Petersen). It appears that the valley…was named because of its poor land; the rocky soil imposed a hard life on those who settled and farmed there. The poor land quality is the reason why the Pachaug State Forest is so large. The state purchased much of it during the Great Depression in the 1920s and 1930s. Less productive land was more likely to be sold to the state while better land was kept by the owners; much of the better land is still farmed to this day. An article in The Hartford Courant of October 18, 1935, notes:
In this whole area, [Allen W. Manchester, Regional Director of the federal Resettlement Administration] said, there are but 30 families now living, all of them in the tract around Voluntown where the largest purchases will be made. The land there is stony, sandy and hilly, poorly suited for farming. Only two of the 30 families make a living wholly from the land and they do not want to try it again. The others are part-time farming families, about half of them of native Yankee stock. Some are newcomers who have bought small farms in a "desperate attempt to find a living." They have been "even less successful than those who have been failing for years on the same type of lands."


{Above: aerial survey of Connecticut 1934 photograph #02463}
Life in this area has always been a struggle for a bare existence, Mr. Manchester said. The Connecticut General Court sent a committee to look it over in 1700 and got a report that it was not suitable for settlement. Nonetheless, soldiers who had served in the wars against the Indians were given the land as payment. Voluntown, said the director, means volunteer town, after these early settlers."

Fooling around with Bing Maps, you can see some interesting stonework…



… and look at some random details by zooming in on the 1934 Aerial photo from CT State Library http://cslib.cdmhost.com/custom/aerials.php

Saturday, November 06, 2010

John Lubbock

What we see depends mainly on what we look for.
 --Sir John Lubbock
       John Lubbock was a wealthy English gentleman of the 19th century who dabbled in archaeology, among lots of other things. He is probably best known for his books On the Origins of Civilisation and Prehistoric Times, in which he coined the terms paleolithic and neolithic. He was an early proponent of ethnoarchaeology; studying modern primitive peoples to understand prehistoric ones.”
      British banker, politician, and antiquary, later Lord Avebury, best known to archaeologists as the author of Prehistoric Times (1865, London). Lubbock became interested in archaeology at an early age and as a close friend of Charles Darwin was an early advocate of evolutionary thinking in his approaches to archaeological material. He published Prehistoric Times at the age of 35, introducing two new archaeological terms—Palaeolithic and Neolithic—as subdivisions of the Stone Age. The book went through seven editions, the last in 1913, and was enormously popular. It drew on ethnography to help interpret the archaeological material, and it also touched on one of Lubbock's other interests, the preservation of archaeological remains. Lubbock was the architect of the first ancient monuments legislation in Britain finally succeeding in getting the Ancient Monuments Protection Act onto the statute book in 1882 after nearly a decade of negotiations. Outside of his archaeological life, Lubbock was a successful banker and a hard-working Liberal MP. Amongst his other successes in parliament was the introduction of a bill to establish bank holidays.
[Bio.: A. Grant Duff, 1924, The life-work of Lord Avebury (Sir John Lubbuck) 1834–1913. London: Watts & Co]
"Our duty is to believe that for which we have sufficient evidence, and to suspend our judgment when we have not."
The quotation "We may sit in our library and yet be in all quarters of the earth" is widely attributed to Lubbock. This variation appears in his book The Pleasures of Life: "Not only does a library contain "infinite riches in a little room," but we may sit at home and yet be in all quarters of the earth."
He carried out extensive correspondence with Charles Darwin, who lived nearby in Downe. Lubbock stayed in Downe except for a brief period from 1861–1865, when he moved to Chislehurst. Both men were active advocates of English spelling reform, and members of the Spelling reform Association, precursor to the (Simplified) Spelling Society.[citation needed] Darwin rented ground, originally from Lubbock's father, for the Sandwalk wood where he took his daily exercise, and in 1874 reached agreement with Lubbock to exchange the land for a piece of pasture in Darwin's property.[8] When Darwin died in 1882, Lubbock suggested the honour of burial in Westminster Abbey, organising a letter to the Dean to arrange this, and was one of the pallbearers.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Some "South of the Snake Head" Turtles

Two views of a small "stone row turtle."
The extended right foreleg caught my eye as a little bit unusual, the triangular head and big blocky left foreleg as more typical and recognizable as repeated patterns. 

Another small stone row turtle with a solid single stone carapace, a roundish head fitted into a nutchal notch, possibly a right foreleg of similar looking stone... 
This one I've posted before:


Here it is from 11/11/09 without the sunlight spoiling the photo:

Twins?
Similar blocky carapace stones of the same material, just like the two heads below each?
Two more in same row from a year ago:

Above: single solid carapace stone and head;
Below: the very end of the row, a large end stone with a carapace stone placed on it...

 See:

  • More Squiggles &




  • Snow melting on Stone Rows for more on this stone row.
  • Wednesday, November 03, 2010

    The Elusive Snake

    I had to go back to look at the possible end stone snake head (if that's what it is) in a frozen spring, a turtle and a snake. The inset above shows the location of the stone as a white dot, at a break in the stone row, now as it was in the 1934 photo I'm using because the stone rows show so well. I'm sure that when I took the photo of the stone in the snow, I had planned to return to the stone and look at it some more. But lately, although I've gotten reading glasses, the handwriting on my mental notes isn't any easier to read. I've walked by it many times since 2009 but just couldn't figure out why I hadn't really looked at it...


    Above: I walked past the spot, all rose bushy and covered in dead fall.
    Below: I moved a whole bunch of stuff off the stone...


    Behing the large head, I noticed a former chestnut post...
    .. and a turtle.

    Wednesday, October 27, 2010

    More X and More

    Walking clockwise (or sun wise) around the Chicken Yard Stone Mound One...


    ...I wonder, "Is it an eye on a turtle head or a spot on a turtle shell?
    Is it both??"
    "Where did the chip come from? Is it here on purpose to balance the stone or is it just a chip?"  

    Back almost where I started, I could make a convincing musk turtle with a big fat head by moving that "5 o'clock stone" back just a few inches. And is that another broken open stone and that little crystal the head of yet another of those sort of turtle effigies???