Thursday, April 19, 2007

Thanks Rob B.

While looking at the river, I did see someone I know drive by who stopped to talk and got his permission to look for something else - and found some other stuff...
In my memory, it was quite different. But there were nice old rows and new stuff all mixed in.
Details to come...

More Flooding

This is the other end of the river at left, below the upper end. I wanted to capture some of the zigzag rows I think are very old along the main river - that kept the banks from eroding- but couldn't get to any good spots. Many are now gone, so here's a bit of zigzag by the roadside that resembles it...

Monday, April 16, 2007

Flood waters roar

(Left: Patterson Fish Weir
during the spring old tire migration as the tires head upstream to spawn, I imagine...)

As I walk to my dumpster, cleaning up the flooded basement, I hear the river loudly roar as I haven't hear it roar in a long time.

I wonder how much fishweir is dissappearing, what artifacts are headed downstream, and I sigh and go back to the house...

Nice image of “natural” v-shaped weir and the "fish camp" beside it. That fish camp side of the river I hear roaring is what is being eroded away by the today's flooding.

A PDF teaser, followed by a book that may soon be released:

Fishweirs by John Connaway provides an outline of the antiquity and use of fishweirs throughout the world, a more extensive overview of the use, distribution, and regulation of fishweirs in North America, and a detailed review of the fishweirs of Mississippi, both prehistoric and historic. Fishweirs is the most comprehensive and detailed compilation of information about the subject now available, and will serve as the foundation from which other works on the subject will report.
Release date: Spring 2007.

Testudinate weir stones (modern):

Fish weirs on another continent:

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Oldest Stone Circle

Olduvai Gorge: Showcase of Early Man's Technology

Boyce Rensberger

"One of the most remarkable clues to the life style of early man at Olduvai is a circle of stones that Mary Leakey considers to be the remains of a hut of branches anchored at the base by the stones. It is about 14 feet in diameter and, at about 1.8 million years, is the oldest known man-made structure. No others like it are known. This is a plan of the excavation that also revealed a living floor with stone tools and bones of animals killed for food..."

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Waterbury Fences and Fire

That Waterbury History again; fence spec's and preventing burning of fences (that must be wooden and probably zigzag I'm guessing) by burning, a practice which gets abandoned later on...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Ring of Fire

Too wet to safely climb up on House Rock (or is it Rock House), here's some more from the The Town and City of Waterbury, Connecticut by Sarah Johnson Prichard. Somewhere, in another history I can't recall the name of or locate, this story is prefaced by a part of the story missing below. I recall that Patucko - or Potucco (the spelling used by the town for "Potuccos Ring Road" when I drove by it last week)- had been drinking with some white hunters when he decided to show them how Indians used fire to hunt...
pg. 33


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

“The Rock House” (part one)

Call this part one of: “The Rock House.”
I’ll start with stuff I had found and copied years ago that now has been digitized within the last year. I walked up there a few days ago, without a camera, with that cultural landscape thought in my head. The newest components are ATV tracks and those little plastic bags one associates with crack cocaine, Blue Moon White Ale bottles with orange slices in them, and a hemlock brush screen across the entrance of “Leather Man’s Cave.”
I think the first time I was ever there was 1970 or so, when we used to camp in one of the many other “caves” up there, known collectively as the Leather Man Caves. My school vacations were spent camping in “Chimney Cave.” Identifying the names of each cave (with help at one point from Carol Hanny – see and in particular), led to the puzzle of what to call the big rock that isn’t a rock shelter or a cave – and isn’t the Rock House pictured below – which is actually the entrance to but not the cave known as Chimney Cave. The excerpt below was very interesting – and gets more interesting the more you look at – or the more I look at it, through the lens of Turtle Vision:

The Rock House
The Town and City of Waterbury, Connecticut
By Sarah Johnson Prichard
Vol. 1 by Sarah J. Prichard and others; v. 2 and 3 ed. by J. Anderson, with the assistance of Anna L. Ward.Published 1896 The Price and Lee company

But in the same history, you'll find:

Walking the Mattatuck Trail, this description fits in with Leather Man Caves - or the Old Hunting Caves. The Leather Man was camping in old rockshelter sites, each about a days walk from each other.

And I think that "Mantoe" is most likely a form of the word "Manitou."

So I'll take some pix of what I designate as "Rock House,” possibly a shortened form of "Manitou's House Rocks."

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Cultural Landscape

Sometimes you find yourself not just walking around the neighborhood or a place that looked interesting on a map, taking photos of rocks and stones, but actually observing the layers of an everchanging cultural landscape.
It’s a phrase that I came across somehow, cultural landscape, so I googled it and found:
“Cultural landscape is defined as the human-modified environment, including fields, houses, churches, highways, planted forests, and mines, as well as weeds and pollution.

A cultural landscape defined as:
"a geographic area, including both cultural and natural resources and the wildlife or domestic animals therein, associated with an historic event, activity, or person or exhibiting other cultural or aesthetic values."
In the USA, there are four general types of cultural landscapes, not mutually exclusive: historic sites, historic designed landscapes, historic vernacular landscapes, and ethnographic landscapes.
“The cultural landscape is fashioned from a natural landscape by a cultural group. Culture is the agent, the natural are the medium, the cultural landscape is the result. Under the influence of a given culture, itself changing through time, the landscape undergoes development, passing through phases and probably reaching ultimately the end of its cycle of development. With the introduction of a different, alien culture, a rejuvenation of the cultural landscape sets in, or a new landscape is superimposed on remnants of the old one” (Sauer’s, 1925).”

So what about all these photos of rocks and piles and rows and boulders that you find here and at “Rock Piles” - and all those links? Are we all just a bunch of lunatics or are we observers of “Ethnographic Landscapes?” That is, “…landscape(s) containing a variety of natural and cultural resources that associated people define as heritage resources. Examples are contemporary settlements, religious sacred sites and massive geological structures. Small plant communities, animals, subsistence and ceremonial grounds are often components.”

It’s not just limited to us, the amateurs; here’s a few things I came across:

Culture Contact Studies: Redefining the Relationship between Prehistoric and Historical Archaeology
Journal article by Kent G. Lightfoot; American Antiquity, Vol. 60, 1995

Archaeology is poised to play a pivotal role in the reconfiguration of historical anthropology in the United States. Ideally suited for studying long-term change that transcends the boundary between prehistory and history, archaeology provides a common baseline for comparing the recent past to the deep past. A strong grounding in prehistory is critical for understanding the full magnitude of European exploration and colonization. We now recognize that Native American societies were undergoing cultural transformations before their first face-to-face contact with Europeans (Deetz 1991:5-6; Wilson and Rogers 1993a: 6). Prior to any written observations, many native societies were already responding to the widespread exchange of European goods (Trigger 1981:11-13), the rapid spread of alien plants and animals (Crosby 1986:145-194), and the assault of virulent epidemics (Dobyns 1983:25-26; Dunnell 1991; Perttula 1991:514-515; Ramenofsky 1987:173-175; Upham 1986). The implication is clear - any historical anthropological study that attempts to understand the long-term implications of culture contact must consider the archaeology of pre-contact contexts. Without this prehistoric perspective, one cannot undertake comparative analyses of cultural transformations that took place before, during, and after European contact and colonialism.

Developing a research design that explicitly addresses the identification of ethnographic landscapes is one of the greatest challenges of landscape research. Since they constitute social and symbolic constructions of the Natural environment, ethnographic landscapes do not cur-respond necessarily to material evidence of land and resource use as do archaeological or historic landscapes (Pendery, 1998). This phenomenon is particularly true among American Indian tribes and Euro-American communities whose traditional life ways did not significantly modify the land in a permanent, or an archaeologically obvious, manner. Reliable identification of ethnographic resources, consequently, requires cooperation between the cultural groups and federal agencies of a particular land management project… Our informants have found the maps to be a stimulating and satisfying vehicle for describing their landscapes… Ethnographic landscape work entails working on-site and closely with the people of the landscape. Our methodology, therefore, is guided by the following objectives:
1. To let Indian people evaluate the sites or resources first-hand.
2. To furnish as much background information on the site as possible (e.g. maps, archaeological reports, photographs) to assist them in their evaluation.
3. To provide a standardized instrument for data collection that reflects their concerns, their areas of knowledge, and that matches their ability with the English language.
4. To give them the opportunity to speak freely by including open-ended response opportunities in the interviews.
5. To develop a system of data recording that captures, to the greatest extent possible, all comments and recommendations, consequently, facilitating further analysis and reporting tasks.
The site visit, involving tribal elders, is the most important aspect of data collection because seeing what is being studied is a mnemonic stimulus for assessing specific resources (Stoffle et al., 1990a). Respondents often recognize familiar landscape features and biotic communities, recall oral histories, and relate resources to traditional practices more thoroughly than if questioned off-site. Our respondents were encouraged to set their own pace and take as much time as they felt was necessary before beginning the interviews.

Earthmovers of the Amazon by Charles C. Mann

“Although these still unnamed peoples abandoned their earthworks between 1400 and 1700 C.E., Erickson says, they permanently transformed regional ecosystems, creating “a richly patterned and humanized landscape” that is “one of the most remarkable human achievements on the continent.””

Cultivated Landscapes of Native North America. William E. Doolittle. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. XV and 463 pp., maps, diagrams, photos, and index. $55.00 paper (ISBN: 0-19-823429-1).
“Doolittle's book is notable on two fronts, not only is it encyclopedic in its description of former agricultural systems of North America, it is also an insightful treatise on how to conduct historic research on sometimes (quite literally) ephemeral land use patterns. Through Doolittle's careful historicism we learn how best to reconstruct past landforms…