Friday, September 18, 2015


An Open Letter to People Who think I haven’t found The artifact That will change ARCHAEOLOGY as we know it
    Sounds grandiose, doesn’t it? While delusions of grandeur have always made me feel better about myself (as one of Lily Tomlin’s characters in “The Search for Intelligent Life in the Universe says), I’m really just using a literary device to respond to something that I recall having seen before on an online magazine that just happens to be called “Timothy McSweeney’s Internet Tendency:”

Dear People Who Think They Have Found the Artifact that Will Change Archaeology As We Know It,
I am currently in the 25th grade. If you ask me to identify your artifact please do not call me “little lady” or turn to face the undergraduate male standing beside me to answer the question I just asked you. It is also bad form to send me an email with a subject line THANK YOU FOR HELPING ME WITH MY PHALLUSPENIS HAMMER. I realize that you are appreciative of the long and uncomfortable half hour we spent together as I explained why your stone maul could not be both “nipple topped” and “phallic” at the same time. I am, however, a state employee, the university reads my emails, and my boss is getting the wrong impression.
If you are planning to contact me to identify your artifacts perhaps you could consider the following advice:
  • If your only description over the phone is that “it fits nicely in your hand,” it is not an artifact. If it was an artifact you would say it looks like an axe, or an arrowhead, or a stone phallus and then I would know I was in for another uncomfortable half hour (see above).
  • If you found a dinosaur egg in a stream bed it is not an artifact, it is a fossil. Please contact the Paleontology Department. If that stream bed is full of similarly shaped rocks, if there are in fact “hundreds of ’em,” you have not discovered the lost dinosaur egg graveyard. My attempts to talk you through the scientific reasoning behind why this is not the case have obviously been a complete failure.
  • If you found a petrified heart or eyeball or any other organ see reference to dinosaur eggs above. Also, expect some laughter if you reach a paleontologist by phone.
  • If you have found a footprint preserved in stone that belonged to Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yeti or any other scientifically unconfirmed beast, please write to the Mammalogy Department.
  • If you found a tool made by one of the aforementioned creatures, we are still debating whether or not you have contacted the right department. And it is not an artifact.
  • Similarly, do not contact me about finding pieces of UFO’s. Archaeologists study artifacts made by humans, not extraterrestrials.
  • If you insist upon believing that “the man” is for some reason controlling the publication of archaeological discoveries, why are you writing to the employee of a state owned institution to unveil your unprecedented find? I really do not appreciate being accused of being owned by the aforementioned “man,” being a liberal and slightly socialist leaning scientist. If you already believe that I am going to cover up your discovery, why call?
  • If a crystal is speaking to you please get help. Similarly, if you have found mud people in your backyard I suggest you call a specialist. I am happy to hear that your sister is concerned about you crawling around on your hands and knees looking for their tiny coffins that hang from tiny ropes. I also can do nothing about Taiwan Satellites (although you enclosed an excellent sketch) and the Blackhawk helicopters circling the YMCA.
  • As the museum where my office is located for some reason does not sort our mail according to the new 9-11 commission recommendations, please include a return address on your package. Otherwise I will be forced to open your letter/tin foil wrapped package with tweezers and a scalpel while wearing gloves and a protective mask. Although this is highly entertaining for the undergraduates who work in my lab it is unlikely that I will take your request seriously.
  • Please do not call me if you are drunk, or if you wish to fly me to an undisclosed location in the desert on your private jet to view a large stone circle. If it is such an important find, why will you not tell me where it is? I can only assume that it is because “the man” was listening in on our conversation and thus please refer to the discussion above.
Don’t get me wrong, I really do want to see your cool artifacts. However, I must tell you, that more than half of the people who come to see me actually just have plain old boring rocks. That’s not a judgment. I am sure the Geology Department will be interested in seeing your rocks. At least that is what I will tell your adorable 8-year-old son when you bring him to my office to identify the “artifact” he found that “fits so nicely in his hand.”
Really, why do you torture me so?
Stephanie Evans

So here’s my draft of a response I’m working on, so far:
Dear Ms. Stephanie Evans,
    I think I have come across what could be considered artifacts that could possibly change Archaeology as we know it here in the State of Connecticut and other places in what has come to be known as New England (and New York and Pennsylvania and – well, maybe I just should say the “North East”).
   I thought I’d sent send along a picture a photograph few photographs of probably the best example I have of one of these types of artifacts that looks like could possibly be said to possibly resemble a serpent snake Great Serpent Horned Serpent Uktena a zoomorhic petroform geoglyph (possible) reptile with a (possibly) triangular head and a long body, much like a snake’s (or eel’s), head at the end of one of our CT’s famous Colonial Stone Walls.
(Photos #1 & 2) 

    Since I am reasonably sure that this object could be defined as a boulder, I can assure you that it does not fit in my hand. I’m pretty sure it is neither a dinosaur egg nor an actual petrified snake (although it does seem to have the suggestion of having an eye, much like an actual snake might, in the same relative position). As far as that point about mythical “scientifically unconfirmed beasts” goes, I am unsure if you are asking me to send this along to Reptile-ologist or a Myth-ologist rather than you. Perhaps the Myth-ologist would be best since there are lots of myths about snakes/serpents that humans have all over the world – have you ever heard of any myths about great big snakes (maybe an old myth would call them “serpents” or “Great (Big) Serpents”)? Here in America, I mean. I wonder if somewhere in the world there might be a big huge one, maybe even visible from a plane or the space shuttle or something...
    I’m not sure about the tool aspect of the head and wall – other than being in a way an agricultural tool that is used as a “property boundary or animal containment device,” as “The Man” (or expert when it comes to stone walls at the Connecticut State University) says a seeming stone fence can only be. That's not the "man" you mean is it?
  Actually, coincidentally, I do in fact have a quartz crystal that I found in a place where ATV’s had ripped up the landscape, up by a waterfall named for the "last Indian Chief" in these parts, not too far away from this artifact/stone wall thingy. It makes no noise what so ever (much less talk) but I did see something on YouTube about these “Herkimer Diamonds” and “Ceremonial Sites” by an archaeologist with a beard – but I digress.
   There hasn't been any UFO activity that I am aware of (lately) in the small town where this (boring rock) boulder is located. Does a big green meteor crashing into a lake nearby count?? The firemen looked around the lake hours later, but couldn't find anything...
   I can’t mail the artifact/boulder to you, first of all because the cost of postage would break my budget and besides, these fellow archaeologist colleagues of yours tell me to leave things “in situ” or the archaeological value of the possible artifact would be compromised. While I know that “seeing snakes” is often associated with alcoholism and delirium tremens, I do not even usually have the one or two drinks per day that my cardiologist recommends, so I rarely drink as much as I ought to. I have no private jet either and while not a circle, this stone wall intersects with other stone walls with more interesting snake-like features.

   So I took these photos on days when the temperatures were low but not below freezing, seeing as how you mention that you’d really like to see my “cool artifact/boring rock.” Maybe I am reading too much into it, who knows - even though it seems to be a repeated pattern I am finding in many other places. My adorable granddaughter who appears in some of these photos has just turned five years old – do I need to wait until she is 8 for you to tell her what you think about this artifact that could possibly change Archaeology as we know it??

It's another Serpent (Uktena or "Strong Looker") Looking Sideways at You:

And I'll take my tongue out of my cheek long enough to mention that you could plug serpent, snake, grey serpent, ophiomorphic petroform, Great Sepent and even stone wall into the search this blog box up in the top left hand corner and find out what I really think about the Stone Wall/Serpent Subject, being in the "25th grade" myself (a way of saying that I've been at this for 25 years now). 

1 comment:

  1. A lot of that Westwoods stuff was made by quarrymen in the last century. But there are more interesting stone structures you may have missed. There are stone carvings near lost lake and one is supposedly much older and perhaps made by native americans. It's by a stone sink off the white trail. There is a beautiful old well almost hidden by large rocks. As for native Americans, are some burial cairns near Peddelars park on Orange, including a split rock Cairn that is right by the caves where I have found quite a few arrowheads. Also many stone rock piles facing West at Peddlars park entrance. Heard of pottery found near there. Also, check out the Balance stone at the entrance to the old Guilford Archery range off of Route 80 north of timberlands to the right of the entrance to New England trail. Same spot there is a great cave that's well dug about a quarter of a mile up the trail... Good stuff on your site here.