Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Petroforms are shapes and geometrical patterns made from arranging large rocks and boulders, often over large areas of open ground…” Accessed from: 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

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