Friday, April 20, 2018

Turtle Town to Turtle Town

     Imagine having the freedom to go traveling from Turtle (Clan) Town to Turtle (Clan) Town along all those old trade routes, seeing all those Algonquin Speaking relatives, ocean to ocean...
     "The distribution of Algonquian languages in North America indicates the place of origin, based on the diversity of Algonquian dialects, between Long Island Sound and Cape Cod, Massachusetts. One might argue this place of origin extended from the Albemarle Sound in North Carolina to Cape Cod, but European encroachment in those areas render available data less reliable.
      Also, the relative distributions of Algonquian languages reveal a pattern consistent with the gradual occupation of unoccupied lands vacated by the receding glaciers.v Thus, the distribution of the Algonquian languages, as well as the mt hap X2 coalescence times, establish the "arrival" of these Indians in North America to be about the time of the last glacial maximum."

In the same area, Yurok and Wiyot (the latter now extinct) belong to the Algic family that encompasses the Algonquian languages, such as Cree and Ojibwe, and which extends from the Rocky Mountains to Atlantic Canada:

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Well Researched Books about Stone Walls??

With great thanks to James and Mary Gage,
Allen in NH and Rich in VT
for inspiration

    I was thinking about stone walls this morning (“Oh what – for a change?” I can hear you say), reading a bit about them (in the section on “Historic” Stone Structures) on a web version of a “Go To Book” on Stone Structures of the Northeastern United States, noting it doesn’t take too long to do so because it mostly says: “The subject of stones walls has been documented in several well researched books. Rather than reiterate the materials in those books, this webpage with supplement previously published materials with new information not covered elsewhere.”
     I wince a little, despite my great admiration for the independent research of the blog authors, because there’s very few “well researched” books on New England stone walls out there –and because the term “historic” implies that the only real history of the area begins somewhere in the early 1500s when Verrazano sails into Narragansett Bay (I think) and makes a few notes about what he did on his summer vacation (I think – may be it was a report for some King or Queen or something).
     Well now, when I say “very few well researched books,” I mean just that since all I’ve ever really seen is a repetition (regurgitation) of the same old stuff that’s based on assumption and conjecture that’s based on the word of the early Puritans we sometimes call Pilgrims who called themselves Saints, I think. “They have no bounds,” one of the Puritan leaders says of the Indigenous People whose land he is interested in acquiring at no cost, just before passing a Fence Law to describe exactly what sort of “boundary” is a legal boundary or boundaries or “bounds.”
     There’s a lot of other myths about Indigenous People passed around and sent back to European financial backers during this time of land acquisition and righteous reasons, “They have no art,” “They worship the Devil (who the Indigenous People had never actually heard about up until then), and a whole bunch of stuff that makes up most of what you read it your old History Textbook that was based on your Dad’s old History Textbook that was based on his Dad’s History Textbook.
   But, back to this morning, I scroll down toward the Snake Wall image I’m looking for, when I see some “Lace Walls” in some photos that were taken in some blueberry fields on a Blue Job Mountain in New Hampshire, and of course I’ve got to look for some more having just had a long conversation with two different people about blueberry fields in the past week.
   I’m momentarily distracted by a possible or probable Turtle Effigy/Petroform (“Oh, what – for a change?” I hear you say again.):

And I have to do this (“Oh, what – for a change?” I hear you say once again.):
(Right) “Cartoon-like Erratic Turtle Thoughts” that we could argue about.

    And yeah, there it is again, that “historic” bias sticking it’s head out from the hard shell of American History, telling us that Indians/Native Americans/Indigenous People of the area just weren’t capable or motivated to move or build or work with stone (except for those exceptionally beautiful arrowheads and stuff). Still looking for the blueberries, a couple really fine images of stone walls snaking across the modern Cultural Landscape come my way:
   I read: “Seeing this old stonework always gets me thinking about the people who once lived on top of this hill,” and then “What a job clearing this land must have been for a man with nothing but an axe. Just as daunting would have been having to get rid of all the stumps and stones before he could plow. It must have been near back breaking labor from sunup to sundown. I’ve cut trees with an axe and built stone walls, so it’s no wonder to me that they died so young. I think they must have simply worn their bodies out.”

    And I think about that, recall what I know about those Indigenous People who were living here for a much longer period of time, firsthand accounts of Indigenous People who girdled trees and with a ring of fire felled trees – and all the rest of that Native American use of fire that is briefly condensed and in no way complete here: (“Oh, what – for a change?” I hear you say again.):
   And of course I also think about the protective Spirit Gitaskog, aka Gtaskog, Kitaskog, Kita-skog, Keeta-skog, Gitaskog, Giciskog, Gichi-skog, and Msaskog, Msa-skog, Tatoskog, Tatoskok, Pita-skog, Peeta-skog, Peetaskog, as he might be locally known in whatever part of New Hampshire this is (“Oh, what – for a change?” I hear you say again), copying and pasting the names found at
     Looking closely at one of those photos, I just have to do this (“Oh, what – for a change?” I hear you say yet again):

  The blog author writes: “I’ve built a few stone walls in my time so I know how much work went into these walls. Add to that cutting all the trees with an axe and pulling stumps and plowing the forest floor with a team of horses and it just boggles the mind. I suppose, when your very existence depends on it, you can do just about anything.”

    Well, you know that very brief period of “historic” time isn’t the only time when humans modified this landscape. It’s barely 3% of the total time humans have been there. Is it even humanly possible to build the great number of “stone walls” of the Northern United States (of America) in that time period? Especially when you consider the Indigenous-made stonework in the Northern United States of Mexico?
    My consulting associate Sherlock Stones often says something like “How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth, despite what it says in all the well researched stone wall literature?”
    Are we looking at the work of a few hundred years or the work of a few thousand years – possibly even longer? Are these “walls” markers of that Euro-American Post-Colonial Cultural Landscape or of a far older Indigenous Sacred Ceremonial Stone Landscape, later re-purposed or “acculturated, even in the (not really) well researched literature?
     Someone comments on the blog: “I always think that a stone wall in a forest is a sad sight as it represents a lot of labour gone to waste.”
   The author responds: “That’s true. Even though most of these walls were built simply as a way to get rid of all of the stones they kept plowing up, it was still a lot of work.”
    I think, on the other hand, about the negative impact of European style “plow” agriculture on the sustainable Indigenous methods of land management, striving for Balance and providing Abundance, Indigenous Forest Gardens, Gardens in the Desert Southwest and even beyond North America and Central America, Great Ancient Cities with even more remarkable Indigenous Stonework in South America (“Oh, what – for a change?” I hear you say one more time).
And then:
     I chuckle as I think: “Other Garden Solutions,” in fact...

Monday, April 02, 2018

Edge of No Great Importance

"A letter from the CT State Historic Preservation Office...stated that the wall is considered to be of no great importance, but I strongly disagree with that. The possibility exists that this row of stones may not be of Colonial or Historic origin but could rather be prehistoric in origin, built by Native Americans as part of a land management scheme that depicts a higher degree of civilization than is accepted by most archaeologists and anthropologists..."

Listening to the Sound of Distant Thunder; Angry Voice of the Great Serpent:

Videos created 2008 - calling some obvious snake-heads turtle-heads instead sometimes:

Friday, March 30, 2018

Back to a Zigzag (CT 2007)

    I just hadn't realized that Great Serpent concept in Indigenous Stonework, back in 2007. Looking for something else, I just happened upon a blog post written just as the land clearing began along this old Indian Trail, its origins going back perhaps to a time when this floodplain was a glacial lake. This morning I did a double take, wondering how had I missed this...

Listening to the Sound of Distant Thunder; Angry Voice of the Great Serpent:

   This boulder should have been a clue, down at the northwestern end of this enclosed space, the zigzag remains of that same stone row that bounds that floodplain field by the Nonnewaug Stone Fish Weir on the eastern edge, the old Indian Trail on the western side, another boulder, perhaps humanly enhanced to resemble the head of a timber rattlesnake and the Great Serpent as well - a little fanciful with a rhomboidal shape for the the Snakes left eye:
Zigzag rows of stone aren't rare in the immediate area. A short drive away is this one, similar but not identical, just one more example of zigzag stacked to resemble entwined snakes - timber rattlesnakes with flat-topped triangular heads most often:

Sometimes these snakes are realistic, sometimes not - and they aren't always boulders.
Maybe it's a slightly larger cobble.
Sometimes something about the stone, especially something about the shape of the eye already there rather than pecked into it:

Sometimes the zigzag turns linear, maybe even turns a corner and maybe the Serpent Head is not very triangular or flat on top:

Sometimes there's a sort of  Trompe l'oeil ('trick of the eye') to some of them and the Serpent, just like so many do in Great Serpent Stories, seems to change into something else as you walk around it:
Sometimes that Serpent Head will be at a slight (zigzag?) angle, and perhaps it recalls the Uktena, the Strong Looker, who knows your thoughts and intentions, who offers protection with the gift of tobacco, from the Thunder Beings who shoot fire from their eyes - and from the Great Serpent itself:
No, I just didn't have all these images fitted into my cognitive map back in 2007, just didn't know all those Great Serpent Stories I've been collecting now for sometime.
But I'm trying to learn how to listen better as the Landscape Speaks to me...

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Mark Starr Frog Effigy

I looked at this one a year ago, a photo from Mark Starr.

   I don’t find it here:, so, I guess it was an attachment from an email – and I guess I guessed that the boulder above the wall “could be a turtle,” since on the same flash drive I found this:

Well let me change my mind about that.
Look here:
That larger "spot" looks like it might have had some human help to resemble a Frog’s Ear – actually a Tympanic Membrane and not a true ear, but as close to an ear as you can get for an American Bullfrog. Or those Wood Frogs who are singing love songs in the little pond across the road from our house. 

“Weren't you just showing us another one?” the three or four people who actually read this blog might be thinking.

“Yes, I was,” I’ll reply, “That Stone Bullfrog at the Dead End of a Street.”
Yes, I know it’s not exactly where the membrane should be, but it’s close enough for me – and the artist who created it.

     Seems like just yesterday I saw another example of a bullfrog stone, a definite eye and a tympanic membrane just two details that resemble an actual bullfrog:

Mark Starr will be presenting at the upcoming Neara Conference, just after my friend Robert DeFosses, on Friday April 13, 2018 in Southbury CT.

Follow this link for details:

Monday, March 26, 2018

Weathering an Effigy

      On my "To Do" list: make giant stone frog effigy, check the state of weathering on it every 100 years or so for the next 12,000 and see exactly when on the timeline the two match up. It will give me something to look forward to in my old age...

(After I make a bear, turtle and a couple rattlesnake heads for practice, of course.)
     I’m not sure if I’ll ever follow through on this – chances are I won’t.
     I guess the best I can do is take you over to a couple effigies in the stonework around our old house, show you some above ground examples and then a few hidden from view underground...

Oh -  wait a minute – I already did:

Friday, March 23, 2018

Model of the Inwood Hill caves (Bronx NY)

Where have all the New York City Cermonial Stone Landscape Features Gone??

   “Mr. Chenoweth dug away the dirt until he found an easy entrance to a chamber in which a man in stooping posture might crawl about with some difficulty.  The chamber was dry, and the dirt on the floor was soft.  Mr. Chenoweth began turning it through with his trowel.  Many pieces of pottery, some as large as a man’s hand, a few as large as a man’s two hands, lay in little pockets of the sediment. After six hours of digging Mr. Chenoweth had all the fragments of six pots of curious forms and unique manufacture.  As he pushed ahead the next day he found a dark exit from the first chamber to a second one.  The exit was a hole in the rocks; half filled with dirt, and altogether so small that before being cleaned a man would have to crawl through it...” (NY Sun 1890)

    Princess Naomie says: "Back in the woods a bit is what’s called an Indian cave, but between you and I and the gate-post, I don’t believe Indians ever lived there. It leaks..."

     I say: “Look at the location, the path to the Creek, and think about a Stone Sweat Lodge or Pissuponck for a few moments:”

 Where have all the New York City Cermonial Stone Landscape Features Gone??
Long time passing, Long Time Ago...
Gone to WPA work crews - every one???
When will we ever learn...
     When will we ever learn...

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Serpentine in More Than One Way

    A short bit of stonework, extending from another row of stones, not a Zig Zag but more “Serpentine” you could say, undulating side to side, ending in a triangular flat topped boulder touching the little stream...
    I can find it here quite easily, this Indigenous signature on LiDar indicating a Ceremonial Stone Landscape, and even turn it so that east is at the top, just like in the photo:
Well that looks terrible. I hope you get the idea...
     And the Idea is that “This is indicative of the effigy form known as (a) Serpentine row (of stones). Quite often they  curve and meander across the landscape and usually they will start with the tail of serpent in a spring or a stream and will end with the Serpent’s head – which you see at the bottom of the screen – also pointing to water,” as Doug Harris mentions in the National Park Service Training Video (and in the transcript) which can be found here:
That Serpentine Row of Stones, enhanced for effect:

Not to be confused with Zig Zag Rows of Stones:
Some Previous Sometimes Serpentine:
Atlanta Trails - Fort Mountain State Park: hike to a mysterious serpentine rock wall:

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Back to "That Spot"

"This Spot:"
Way UP:

Sculpted Stone?