Thursday, June 12, 2014

Quartz Rhombus Stone in a Wall (from a PWAX post)

DECEMBER 29, 2011
Speaking of Walls and Rock Piles...

    I was re-reading the above post and came across this photo below:

      I said to myself: “That’s a rather rhomboid piece of quartz.”
      I’ve been paying more attention to rhomboidal stones lately, especially since Dr. Lucianne Lavin put the proper word into my head. I’d been calling the shape a Rhombus, and I was telling her about observing a small “Rhombus boulder” incorporated into a row of stones that defines the edge of an out crop recently (below):
…and a larger one somewhere else that was really, well, something else that I’m not sure exactly what to call in an extensive “cairn field,” as people say, describing a large concentration of stone mounds:
See the (mis-spelled as Enderslie) “Elderslie Preserve post here:

      And Dr. Luci mentioned that the rhomboidal shape is a design one sees on many Indigenous made Traditional baskets and incised into Connecticut Ceramics.
     On the post Peter was saying: “Someday, someone has to take the subject (of “stone walls”) seriously and really get to know the different construction styles and different topographic settings and layouts that will (I hope) make it easier to tell the difference between a more recent versus a more ancient stone wall. And I don't mean that Thorson stuff (here or here) which manages to miss the main story. But on the other hand, sometimes the walls seem pretty integral to the place, the place seems to include the ancient, and it all seems worth reporting on together…”
      Dr. Luci said much the same thing to me that day when I bought a copy of her new book for my son who lives in California (and one for me too) – and says so in print in CT’s Indigenous Peoples (2013): “Archaeologists have a good idea of the diagnostic characteristics of stone piles and stone walls related to European farming. We now need to get a handle on the distinctive traits of indigenous sacred rock sites (page 296).”
       So I’m trying to be very serious when I tell you that the purposeful inclusion of a Rhomboidal stone in a stone row or a stone pile is probably another diagnostic pattern repeated in Indigenous stonework (as it is in other forms of Indigenous artwork) here in the Housatonic watershed and beyond – and particularly if it is a Quartz Rhomboidal stone, as my good friend shows in his post at Rock Piles.
    A couple more Rhomboidal Stone observation links:
     And Ed Lenik includes a “diamond-shaped” figure carved into stone while discussing the Tiverton Petroglyphs in Making Pictures in Stone: American Indian Rock Art of the Northeast:

    Mary Gage also calls this a diamond shape:

     Then there is the possible effigy artwork aspect of the row of stones around that Quartz Rhomboidal Stone in my friend’s photo. I’ve observed numerous times over numerous years that a possible testudinate pattern of head, feet and shells occurs on both on stone piles and in rows of stones (and certain free-standing possible Turtle Petroforms) I suspect to be of Indigenous origin.
     I’ve taken the liberty of enhancing Peter’s photo, adding circles for possible eyes on suspected head stones and lines that represent the toes of forelegs:

       And it might be an understatement to say that the turtle does seem to have a place of importance among CT’s Indigenous People – and other Indigenous People of Turtle Island.
     And it might be another understatement to say the turtle does occur in other forms of Indigenous artwork.
    As does a large variety of Snakes or Serpents. A short section of stone row in the Fitchburg MA site Peter has documented could possibly be interpreted as a Snake or Serpent Effigy:
Original above from:
Enhancement below:

Above: Peter’s rough sketch, serpentinely enhanced.
             Which great serpent locally has a split or bifurcated tail?
             If that Traditional Knowledge hasn’t survived locally, then what is the nearest one that does?
         Using another of my friend’s photos, there seem to be other possible (or probable) effigies in amongst the turtle effigies, natural stones and perhaps humanly enhanced stones, purposely and artistically placed:

And I should add this, comparing it to the possible testudinate effigy outlined above in black:

      Rows of stones –or stone walls – are really just very long piles of stones – or very long rock piles…


  1. Tim -
    Check out the scutes on the shell of a turtle!


  2. Well, okay - I can see that some central or vertebral scutes on some turtles resemble a flattened (double truncated?) sort of rhomboid. In a world of infinite possibilities, it's possible that that might be so. But you could also call it a sort of stretched out hexagonal shape then...

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  4. Sometimes you will find a diamond/rhombus on the middle of a turtle's back in Algonquian images. It also appears as a main shape in abstract Algonquian art. The Four Grandparents form a diamond -ESWN. The Four Grandparents combined with Turtle Island (mother earth) form the plane on which we humans live. Diamonds- also rhomoids - are seen in the art alone and in combination. Sometimes stone groups are laid out in repeating diamonds. Definitely a major design element. Speck wrote a book on Penobscot art that deals with motifs, a good source. :)