Friday, April 04, 2014

The Stonewall Dilemma 2014

Ask a Three-Year Old Child, "Do you see the Bear?" and see what happens.
     The idea that Indians built stone walls here in what we now call New England is a tough sell. Often when I’m explaining to someone just why and how, I’m pretty certain that the person I’m talking to is trying to diagnose which Mental Illness they should label me with. I’m pretty certain the last person I was talking to decided that the delusions, plus the admission that I’ve got thousands of photos of repeated patterns of artwork in the stonework, all added up to Schizophrenia.

    Oddly enough, the main reason that the whole idea that the Indigenous People of this particular corner of Turtle Island did not build “fences” and “bound” or own property comes from a group of people who were also experts at identifying witches. These very early settlers were also convinced that it was God’s Will that they should own this vast and empty land, very certain that God was using diseases to kill off every 9 out of 10 Native People just for them to be able to acquire free land and set up manorial fiefdoms, just like the royalty had in England – the place they were fleeing religious prosecution from, evidently so that they could become the prosecutors here. Even old Roger Williams who defended Indigenous Property Rights by addressing the burning practices of Native landscape management didn’t look too much into it because he feared his soul would be contaminated by close observation of those practices that were probably very much like Renewal Ceremonies documented elsewhere on the continent.
My first Stone Bear sighting (revisited last month) was in 1996.
Do you see the Bear?
Look a little closer:

     Since thousands of my own photos (of my delusions and maybe even possible hallucinations) aren’t quite enough to convince people I’m onto something, I often draw upon, sometimes quite literally, other people’s photos. It has become a habit for me to start my day by checking to see what’s up on Rock Piles where many people contribute photos of atypical stone concentrations. In fact it’s a statement by my friend who maintains that blog that sort of prompted this post. Every once in a while he says that he should pay more attention to the “stone walls” that are often components of the larger “site.”

     And there I am putting quotes around certain words, as people do when they question the way a certain term is used. Lately I find myself saying, “Rows of Stones” in place of “Stone Rows,” mostly because there are many definitions of “Stone Rows,” including one that has gaps between boulders or as Wikipedia puts it: “A stone row (or stone alignment), is a linear arrangement of upright, parallel   standing stones set at intervals along a common axis or series of axes, usually dating from the later Neolithic or Bronze Age. Rows may be individual or grouped, and three or more stones aligned can constitute a stone row.” It seems to be a definition that is European based and totally ignores that fact that any other people anywhere else in the world would do such a thing.
Stolen Eric Sloane Image with some delusion ranting added

     And I find that Professor Thorson in exploring Stone Walls defines a Stone Fence as about chest high, or the height the “minimum legal height of a fence in colonial times (page 59),” while a stone wall is shorter and often no more than a collection of stones that accumulated by a wooden fence at the edge of a field where those stones were dumped. I read into that statement that early colonials could legally turn an Indian made row of stones into a “proper” fence by adding wooden rails over those stone that were most likely fuel breaks around places important to Indigenous People for a variety of reasons that includes those concentrations of stone mounds that may be either graves or memorials to many generations of people who lived here since the retreat of the glaciers.

     It’s a little ironic that Chapter 7 of Exploring Stone Walls is called “Layout and Purpose,” since the first blog post that shows up in my friend’s blog when entering the word “wall” into the search field is an amazing little sketch about the layout of a certain place – a Sacred Site by definition – by my friend who thinks he lacks the skills to properly study stone walls or, as I like to put it, Rows of Stones. I think my friend underestimates himself as I look at the photos from “Monsters, Gods, or Rocks of Power? (Site A at Sawyer Hill/Gates Pond) {  and the other posts about the Place in that same month, as well}. And I won’t argue use of the word site since it is a feature that should be designated a Sacred Site or a Special Place on a larger Ethnographic Cultural Landscape ( a nice definition of which can be found here: ). My friend shows features in the stone mounds that mirror those in the rows of stones that enclose the Sacred Site, at the same time highlighting other features found in other equally Sacred Places.
Above: Row of Stones (or stone wall) and Stone Mound (or Rock Pile);
Below: White Stone in Mound...
...and the corresponding White Stone in the Row (Wall):

PWAX 2014 Photo
"Portal" above compares to my image below, used at:

PWAX 2014 Photo

      And I guess I’ll say that selling these Rock Piles as Indian made is just as tough a sell as suggesting that New England’s iconic Stone Walls are too, especially when property ownership of land is concerned. Consider another of the  "proofs" of Colonial times, typical of this excerpt from "Reasons and Considerations Touching the Lawfullness of Removing Out of England and into the Parts of America" by Robert Cushman written in 1621: (The Indians) "...were not industrious, neither have art, science, skill, or faculty to use either the land or commodities of it; but all spoils, rots, and is marred for want of manuring, gathering, ordering etc…(The Indians) do but run over the grass as do the foxes and wild beasts (Cronon, Changes in the Land - page 56) ." The dominant group, as they invaded a country to appropriate its land and resources, was quick to determine that Indians were sub-human minions of the Devil ( You might have read that before, when I used that statement here:

      As I look at the remnants of what stonework still exists now, after all the re-use of stone plundered, what’s covered up by being dumped upon or bulldozed out of the way in the last few hundred years, I wonder how indeed did the Landscape look back in 1621 and even earlier, back before Columbus invented going to the Bahamas…


  1. Anonymous11:02 AM

    We have seveaL corins and rock piles as weil as specific p iles with cap stone Each corin we have. Has a white stone in them.(Key) stone is what it is refered to by the indeginous people. If you look at the maps of corins in arizona they,match and date back, over one thousand year to the corins in the northeast.this includes the corins in the dakotas.

  2. Thanks for the comment - where are you located? I'd love to see some photos.

    1. Anonymous5:57 PM

      Worcester ny as you can tell I am new to the computer end of this but not the corin or rock formations I am now trying to figuer out how to post photos for you and get them posted

    2. Anonymous6:09 PM

      Worcester ny as you can tell I am new to the computer end of this but not the corin or rock formations I am now trying to figuer out how to post photos for you and get them posted

  3. Anonymous7:51 PM

    I was hoping you received the pictures I emailed you. You can post them if you wish

  4. Even checked my Spam folder and can't find an email from you. Try again of you like ..