Monday, January 24, 2022

Hopkinton_012.2_1 Snake Effigy Gone Wild


Ceremonial Landscapes Research, LLC works for and consults with federally recognized Tribes to support Tribal traditional values by protecting and preserving ceremonial landscapes.

Historic Survey and Inventory of Stone Features Located Within the Manitou Hassannash Preserve, Hopkinton, RI. 

Martin, Alexandra; Eva Gibavic, Kenneth Leonard, and Richard Prescott. July 2020.


Thursday, January 20, 2022

Quick overview of Native Stonewalls by Mark Starr


"This video is a very brief look at some of the differences between the stone walls built by Native Americans and those built by farmers in Connecticut, east of the Connecticut River. This is a very large topic, and only partially dealt with in such a short slideshow, but should hopefully give the viewer a feeling for the major differences."

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Ancient Indigenous Fields

 An inadequate effort has been made to search for ancient fields

   “To observers in the sixteenth century, the most visible manifestation of the Native American landscape must have been the cultivated fields, which were concentrated around villages and houses,” writes  William M. Denevan in the Pristine Myth: The Landscape of the Americas in 1492. “Most fields are ephemeral, their presence quickly erased when farmers migrate or die, but there are many eye-witness accounts of the great extent of Indian fields. On Hispaniola, Las Casas and Oviedo reported individual fields with thousands of montones (Sturtevant 1961, 73j. These were manioc and sweet potato mounds 3-4 m in circumference, of which apparently none have survived. In the Llanos de Moios in Bolivia, the first explorers mentioned percheles, or corn cribs on pilings, numbering up to 700 in a single field, each holding 30-45 bushels of food (Denevan 1966, 98). In northern Florida in 1539, Hernando de Soto's army passed through numerous fields of maize, beans, and squash, their main source of provisions; in one sector, 'great fields . . . were spread out as far as the eye could see across two leagues of the plains (Garcilaso de la Vega 1980, (2) 182; also see Dobyns 1983, 135-46).

"Field borders" of unknown age... 

    It is difficult to obtain a reliable overview from such descriptions. Aside from possible exaggeration, Europeans tended not to write about field size, production, or technology. More useful are various forms of relict fields and field features that persist for centuries and can still be recognized, measured, and excavated today. These extant features, including terraces, irrigation works, raised fields, sunken fields, drainage ditches, dams, reservoirs, diversion walls, and field borders number in the millions and are distributed throughout the Americas (Denevan 1980; see also Doolittle and Whitmore and Turner, this volume). For example, about 500,000 ha of abandoned raised fields survive in the San Jorge Basin of northern Colombia (Plazas and Falchetti 1987, 485), and at least 600,000 ha of terracing, mostly of prehistoric origin, occur in the Peruvian Andes (Denevan 1988, 20). There are 19,000 ha of visible raised fields in just the sustaining area of Tiwanaku at Lake Titicaca (Kolata 1991,109) and there were about 12,000 ha of chinampas (raised fields) around the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan (Sanders, et al. 1979, 390). Complex canal systems on the north coast of Peru and in the Salt River Valley in Arizona irrigated more land in prehistory than is cultivated today. About 175 sites of Indian garden beds, up to several hundred acres each, have been reported in Wisconsin (Gartner 1992). These various remnant fields probably represent less than 25 percent of what once existed, most being buried under sediment or destroyed by erosion, urbanization, plowing, and bulldozing. On the other hand, an inadequate effort has been made to search for ancient fields…”

The Pristine Myth: The Landscape of the Americas in 1492 - William M. Denevan

"Field border" of unknown age, the largest boulder in those rows of stones... 

      My observations are centered in and around where I live, a contact era village site in a still rural section of
town (which is a rare thing in itself, something one would tend to think might attract some archaeological investigation). The "stone walls" here have a high degree of probability of being part of those "relict fields and field features that persist for centuries and can still be recognized, measured, and excavated today. These extant features, including terraces, irrigation works, raised fields, sunken fields, drainage ditches, dams, reservoirs, diversion walls, and field borders" - particularly those "field borders" of stone that recall the Great Serpent...

Showing posts sorted by relevance for query agricultural fields:

Monday, January 17, 2022

Uktena and “On Its Head”

(Added Eyes and Antlers)

      “According to Mooney (1900:458- 459), the name Uktena is derived from akta, or eye, and implies being a “strong looker,” as everything is visible to it (i.e., it can see thoughts). From the same root is derived akta'tĭ, “to see into closely” which is also the Cherokee word for a magnifying lens and telescope. So the name Uktena implies that it sees thoughts and it does so in an accurate way; knowledge that comes in useful to predict enemy tactics. The horns and crystal on the Uktena’s head are called ulstĭtlĭ', literally “it is on its head,” but when they are in the hands of the medicine person it becomes ulûñsû'tĭ, or “transparent.” So considered together, the changing names and contexts for Uktena horns and crystals imply that the thoughts on the head of the snake became transparent to the person who possessed it.”

“The Socio-Economic and Ritual Contexts of Petroglyph Boulders in the Southeastern United States.”

Johannes (Jannie) Loubser, PhD, RPA Stratum Unlimited, LLC

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Just for the Record

Above: Slide from Power Point Presentation by Timothy H. Ives

“A Brief Social History of Stone Heaps”  Apr 23, 2021

Just for the record: My first name is Tim, not Timothy.

Just for the record: I was a NEARA member for one year although I wrote up some guest pieces for the online magazine.

Just for the record: That “Indian Cave” may be an example of a stone sweat lodge rather than a hypothesized sheep barn since “Indians did not build with stone until taught to do so by European settler colonists” - in this part of the world, anyway.


Just for the record: One of those stone features in Pennsylvania mentioned in “Stone Rows and Boulders; a Comparative Study” by Norman Muller } 

has a “preliminary” date of 500 BCE attached to it:

Also Just for the Record, Me in 1984:
Also Just for the Record, Me circa 2014:

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

What IS Wrong with Our "Stone Walls?"

 “Most of us today have had no experiences to challenge that view.”

    Here’s another article I somehow missed until just this morning, from somewhere in Massachusetts, where I think I may have seen one or two photos of suspected Indigenous Stonework, if I recall correctly:

 “What's Wrong with Our Stone Walls?” - Acton Historical Society – (11/16/2019)

   Of course this article tells that “One of New England’s familiar sights is a stone wall in a forest, a remnant of land use in days gone by.”

   Of course this article tells us: “Based on what we can see, many of us assume that farmers would have removed the many rocks from their fields and stacked them in two- to three-foot-high walls to delineate their property from their neighbors’ or to serve as a barrier to animals.  The former landscape that we envision would have been open fields and gardens surrounded, if not by wooden fencing, by relatively low stone walls.”

   Of course this article tells us: “Most of us today have had no experiences to challenge that view.”

(Lifted from a presentation extremely critical of Ceremonial Stone Landscapes:
A Brief Social History of Stone Heaps:
(Above: a similar low "Snake Gateway" in Woodbury CT)

   Of course I am going to disagree with that statement, thirty plus years into experiences that have caused me to think very critically about challenging the idea that “stone walls” arrived sometime after 1492 or 1620  or perhaps the time when Indigenous Homelands turned into Plantations in the New England town you might perhaps live in, have visited or plan to visit.

    The Acton Historical Society tells us: “Visitors to our recently refurbished landscape are surprised to discover that above our stone walls at the Hosmer House are crossed, wooden poles.  Why would we ruin the look of “iconic” stone walls?”

   I’ll partially credit the Historical Society for telling us: “As it turns out, while our imagined Massachusetts farm landscape is not entirely fictitious, farmers often supplemented their rock walls with wood to make enclosures higher and less likely to let animals escape.”

   Of course I am going to disagree when they repeat this same old story: “According to Robert Thorson’s Stone by Stone, a hybrid fence of stone on the bottom and wood on the top was very common.  The stone walls, in many cases, were “linear landfills” to give farmers somewhere to put the rocks cluttering their fields, and the wood raised the height of the fences to the 3.5-5 feet considered necessary to block the movement of animals.”

    In my experience, in my neighborhood, where an English Plantation collided with a Late Woodland/Contact-era Indigenous Village known as the Nonnewaug Wigwams in 1672 (or 1673), the oldest of the “stone walls” may have already been there, separating yet connecting sections of land. One could say that here in Nonnewaug (and beyond), “Stone walls parse the land into finer pieces, creating diverse microclimates and ecosystems and opportunities for creatures of all types,” as Robert M. Thorson is quoted as saying in “Stone Walls are a Habitat All Their Own” by Joe Rankin (Mar 16, 2018), found here:


    The Acton Historical Society closes their article by telling us that “(The) new walls are a reminder that we need to keep our minds open to learn more about the lives of Acton’s former residents.  Even commonly-held ideas of how things were in earlier days may simply reflect the fact that our frame of reference is very different from theirs.”

   Of course I am going to tell you that yes we do need to keep our minds open about the lives of the former residents of what has been called New England (and beyond)for just a few hundred years.

   Of course I am going to invite you to consider that some “stone walls” and other “stone structures” are beginning to reveal construction dates that go back hundred and even thousands of years, as more sites are investigated, especially when optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) is being used to test soil samples:

Showing posts sorted by relevance for query OSL:

   Of course while I don’t have the financial means to pay for OSL tests of the soil beneath all the “stone walls” in my neighborhood (and beyond), I can afford to pay attention to certain patterns I and others observe in the stacking of stones, particularly if the row of stones begins with a boulder that resembles the head of a snake in my neighborhood (and beyond). Some of those low stone walls may have been around long before wooden rails were added to comply with early Colonial Settler fence laws…

Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Acton: