Monday, September 26, 2016

Tippin Rock Tips

(Species Specific Squamation vs. Pareidolia)
“We tried several different spots and the big stone rocked slowly back and forth nearly every time, so the legend of Tippin Rock has proven true...”
The whole story here:
     If you think you "see faces" in the Tippin Rock boulder, it might be considered pareidolia (when the mind perceives a familiar pattern of something where none actually exists). I'm looking instead for what might be weather worn human enhancements to the stone based on squamation (the arrangement of scales on an animal). Note the squamation on the face of this “Ornate Eastern Box Turtle:”

Squamation: 1 : the state or condition of being scaly or scaled. 2 : the arrangement of scales on an animal : scalation. ~ www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/squamation

Friday, September 23, 2016

Stone Great Serpent Search


  “Serpent Stones is an interpretation of an ancient game believed to have been played by the Aztecs over 600 years ago.” ~ https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/119165/serpent-stones
   “Stone Great Serpent” in the search box brings me to some Google Images.

No surprise at the image, but check the sources using the photo of the Great Serpent Mound. Lots of ancient mysteries types (insisting anyone but Indians made it), a bunch of New Age opportunists, and the obligatory aliens from space people chiming in.
   But here’s the credible people (maybe), saying, “Serpent Mound...is the largest documented surviving example of an ancient effigy mound in the world. While part of the tradition of effigy building among some American Indian cultures in what is now the eastern United States, this site is the greatest masterpiece of that tradition both here and elsewhere in the world. The sinuous, artistically-striking monumental sculpture is more than 1,200 feet long. Its scale and elegance are without peer. It embodies fundamental spiritual and cosmological principles that still resonate with many today, including astronomical alignments that mark the seasons.” http://worldheritageohio.org
“The entire worldwide list of around 1,000 properties can be explored on an interactive map, the main page claims, so I take a look at the USA section. I end up here, reading, “Poverty Point Monumental Earthworks bear exceptional testimony to a vanished cultural tradition, the Poverty Point culture, centered in the Lower Mississippi Valley during the Late Archaic period, 4,000-2,500 years ago. This site, which dates to 3,700-3,100 BP, is an outstanding example of landscape design and monumental earthwork construction by a population of hunter-fisher-gatherers. The mound complex is a singular achievement in earthen construction in North America: it was not surpassed for at least 2,000 years (and only then by people supported by a farming economy). The particular layout of the complex is unique to this site. The natural setting of this inland settlement was an important factor in the site’s establishment and longevity. The location provided easy access to the Mississippi River valley and the hardwood forests along its margins. Although rich in edible resources, the setting lacked stone, a critical raw material for tools and other objects. Thus, an extensive trade network for rocks and minerals from hundreds of kilometres away played a key role in the Poverty Point phenomenon.”
     Now I live somewhere where stone was readily available.
     Peppered into those Google Image results are quite a few of my photos, as well as others who have been kind enough to allow me to use their photos.


     Just like Matt Bua in Talking Walls, I am suggesting that we pass by the stone remnants of a World Heritage Site, here at the Eastern Gate of Turtle Island, once one of the world’s largest gardens, guarded by Stone Great Serpents in a setting that didn’t lack stone.

      I’m suggesting taking another look at all those "stone walls" again with 12,000 years of Traditional Ecological Knowledge in mind...
(Larry Harrop photo)
...while remembering the many Great Serpent stories.
(Also a Larry Harrop photo)

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Next Gateway to the North (Bethlehem CT)

      Walking along the eastern stone border of an old Indian Trail, heading north from the striking Grey White-eyed Great Serpent Gateway (http://wakinguponturtleisland.blogspot.com/2014/12/grey-serpent-gateway.html), there is another gateway. As you walk along the seeming “Estate Wall” of the former property of the town’s fist Puritan minister, you can note that some of the stones used are quite colorful. The quartz stones shown above, could be said to be possibly representative of a marking of a rattlesnake – and thus a marking of the Great Serpent who knows the intentions of the person entering the gateway. I have to borrow and use the word “Uktena” or “Strong Looker,” borrowed from the Tsalagi or Cherokee language. That triangular stone before it could also be the head of a smaller snake, a course of stones laid down not as a “brick or block-like” course of stones – something you might expect to find in an Estate Wall supposedly built in that brief Golden Age of Stone Wall Building, and maintained at least for part of the time leading up to the present.
       These white quartz stones could also be said to mimic or resemble a high domed shell (carapace) and head of a box turtle, sort of along the lines of multiple images (images within images?) that can be found in other Rock Art:
   A suggestion of an eye and mouth – eyes on the upper, mouth lower – purposely placed to suggest a “zoomorphic” or more specifically a “testudinate” head, combined with the shell like stone of similar stone, which is sometimes a repeated pattern that suggests Indigenous construction:
Step back:
Then step way back, and observe the White Box Turtle in the center of the photo:
    The next gateway to the north, the intended focus of the post:
    Looking to the left, one could interpret this as a variation of the serpent theme, using flatter stones obviously (stacked on what may be an older serpent below the uppermost):

      Turning to the right, an almost identical stone, possibly disturbed a little, but still conveying the impression (the Indigenous builder's purposeful intention) of an Uktena seeming to look at the person entering the gateway:


Bear in mind that this is just an observation of a repeated pattern. Call it an "artistic pattern" if you like, but also remember that Native Americans used iconography to infuse the power of Turtles or Great Serpents or anything else into what isn't mere decoration in a wide variety of media. These protective Serpents guarded the area in numerous ways, I conjecture, including control of the fires that maintained the paths or trails and whatever was enclosed by them (as some people suggest that earthen mounds do where stone isn't readily available).
What would some well funded research tells us about the age of these rows of stones??


Previous related posts (but certainly not all of them):


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Preacher’s Preserve (Feral Euonymus) CT


   You might miss that striking Grey Serpent (with the white eye) I've shown numerous times as you drive by in mid-July, swallowed in Feral Euonymus and poison ivy, as well as all the Virginia Creeper and low hanging branches. I confess that I moved some plants aside to take this photo: 
  I followed some connecting rows of stones, more Feral Euonymus all over the rest of the row of stones, hiding some mounds of unknown origin, until I got to a place where you walk inside a double row of stones. I was still looking for and finding stone snakes and turtles. And speaking of snake eyes, I found this one, standing out because the head stone was a light colored stone white and smoky grey quartz if I'm not mistaken:
No need to draw in or overlay an eye or a mouth for this stone snake head, the features are there and I suspect the person who placed the stone "just so" did it purposely, eye on the upper side and mouth below, maybe helped a little by some skillful chipping to further enhance a rather rhomboidal eye (or pupil) and a rather realistic representation of a mouth:
The true color didn't show up in my view screen - a green tint to everything when I looked at my images, so I tried the option of black and white in the camera settings:


If you look for more examples to make you wonder if there is a purposeful "serpent stacking" going on rather than random coincidence and accidental placement, you'll find them, maybe less striking but surprisingly similar, a different variation on a theme or pattern, both large and small:
Step back from the last one - note that Manitou-like stone - but this may show a stacking method that may be Indigenous rather than later European - a place that became the home to the first Puritan minister in the days of the Great Awakening. There may be some later re-stacking that happened in the last 300 years - maybe some as recent as the week before last - maybe fallen stones never replaced, maybe a little "borrowing" but still the original row of stones, a larger protective Great Serpent composed of smaller effigies, some snakes, some turtles - perhaps a human-like stone and more that I don't really understand...



And then, farther down into the preserve, this feature (photographed at an earlier date) makes me at least wonder about water management and maybe cranberries - whatever else may be growing: