Saturday, March 30, 2013

Faces in the Stones

Surfing off of Peter's recent posts { & }, I came across an image in a Google Search that "got me" - this time in a good way.
Above: A photo from:

{From a Flickr Set called: 2008.11 Noanet Woodlands (part of Hale Reservation) that belongs to Wade Roush (the photos, not the woodland) that I found here:}

Mr. Roush starts his photo set with some fine photos of Historic Stonework that sort of recalls stacking stones almost as you would bricks or blocks…

…but then he (and his very good looking dog) walk out along a Rock Wall that is built in a very different manner, something described here and there as an "abandoned wall" or a "primitive wall," depending on what you are reading about New England Stone Fences and who wrote (or plagiarised it):
I think this wall has that “Indian Look,” that placement of stones, that artistic stacking of stones, that recalls the shapes of animals, often just the heads but sometimes the complete animal. What I find most often is the form of the Turtle, perhaps the most easily made sort of Petroform, which may not be all that surprising on a continent that was, and still is, called Turtle Island. I see them as Cultural Icons of the Native Americans who were shaping the landscape (as all cultures do) since at least 3000 B.C. (and probably a lot longer than that), according to the Reservation’s Website {}:

The land now occupied by the Hale Reservation literally abounds with early Indian and colonial history. The main Reservation Road, Carby Street, was originally known as “Old Indian Path” and on early maps it was part of an Indian trail that led from a large Indian settlement in Dedham to Strawberry Hill near the Westwood-Dover line, and on eventually to South Natick. Early records show that the “Plains of Powissett” (the land surrounding Powissett Peak and certain sections of the Charles River) were favorite hunting and fishing grounds of at least six different tribes of the Powissett Indians, and as late as 1763, a few Indian families could still be found in Dover. At least nine ancient, felsite quarry sites have been identified on Reservation land, which indicates that the ancestors of the Powissett Indians also were frequent travelers or residents of the area. The felsite was fashioned into arrowheads, spears, and other objects. Archaeologists from Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology have determined that these sites were being used by ancient man as early as 3,000 B.C. — the date associated with the building of the Egyptian pyramids…”
And of course the “Stone Wall Myth” is repeated once again:
“During the 1700’s, most of the Reservation’s land was cleared of timber and used extensively as pasture. This accounts for the extensive stonewalls throughout the area. They were used to mark property boundaries as well as to confine livestock.”
If you have ever visited this blog before, you might have noticed that I think that there are more Native American made stone “walls” that have either been taken apart to be used elsewhere, carelessly bulldozed or are explained away by the Myth and I’ll keep writing and rewriting this over and over until I get it right and convince at least one person who might take it seriously to get this fact recognized. (A random sample of this ranting occurs in a search of this blog:
And as I say above, Cultural Icons appear in these Indian made stone rows (which are not to be confused with “boulder rows”). And sometimes a human-like face appears in these rows, possibly “spirit faces,” just as they do on stone mounds, just like all the other Icons. The first historic writer claiming to have found these spirit faces called them “Indian God Stones.”

(A photo of Page 173 “Manitou” by Mavor and Dix)
This fine website, Native Stones {}, has a handy list of a few of these effigies:
Rev. Ezra Stiles (president of Yale), The Literary Diary of Ezra Stiles:
·         January 29, 1789: At E. Guilford 28th I visited an Indian Stone God which lay in a Fence about half a Mile East of Mr. Todds Meetinghouse . . . . Mr. Phineas Meigs died about 1781, aged c. 73. He told Rev. Jonathan Todd (born 1713) that he removed this stone God from the Bottom of the Hill at the Edge of the Swamp, and put it into the fence. It was removed about twenty Rods. I judge it a Ton & half weight. Mr. Benjamin Teal gave me an account of a Fort or Inclosure by Earthen Walls about 21/2 Miles N.W. from this Image, 30 or 40 Rods long, two Rods wide Trench, Wall ten feet high Inside next a Swamp & five feet next the Hill, being on a Declivity .
·         May 19, 1789: "View[ed] an Indian Stone God [at Springfield, MA], similar to ours in the College Library.
May 22, 1789: "Visited Rev. Mr. Huntington [at Middletown] who went & showed me another Indian stone God about half a Mile East of his Meetinghouse.
·         September 19, 1794: "[On top of West Rock in New Haven] I spied a carved or wrought stone, which I know to be one of the Indian Gods, of which I have found about or above twenty in different places from Boston to Hudsons River, and particularly between New Milford on West and Medfield Massachusetts on East.
·         October 22, 1793: "Aged Deacon Avery of Groton Pockatunnek tells me that the Mohegan Indians once had Idols : that in the great Reforma 1741 as he called it those Indians brot in & gave up to the English a number of stone & wooden Idols ; & have had & worshipped none since.
I’ve wandered into some places in Woodbridge CT that Stiles also explored and possibly found one he might or might not have noticed as well:

Another in Woodbridge, not so blurry, more human face-like: 

Here’s a photo from Rock Piles, taken by my friend Peter, from that post mentioned before:

I thought I saw a rather human like stone on one of those mounds and cropped it here to show you:
Going back to Mr Roush's fine set of photos, I'll repeat this one:
And show you the detail that "got me," perhaps yet another Spirit Face:

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