Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Pliocene Pussy Cat Theory

The first European settlers showed up in the area where I live in 1659, 351 years ago. The first Native American “settlers” showed up 10 or 15 thousand years ago (or 14, 649 years earlier). Modern stone building theory says that except for rare occurrences, the first guys built it all – or taught the Indian survivors of all those epidemics and wars how to do so since they’d work cheap.

The closer you get to Plymouth Rock, the more time you can give those European people, up to an extra forty years, to have accomplished this feat so that they can take credit for building an estimated (in 1871) 252,539 miles of stone walls in New England and New York which is enough stone wall to encircle the earth ten times.

That 1871 date messes up my math above. Those Europeans lose about 100 years of valuable stone building time. They must be pretty tired, building all that quarter million miles of stone “fences” in only 251 years.

I take some comfort in finding this article that shows me how the theory came about:

"The Pliocene Pussy Cat Theory" by Lorenzo L. Love

Monday, March 29, 2010

Flanders Nature Center

Some humanly stacked stones at an out crop...

(That green above and below is the field at the crossroads on the bing map below..." 

The next outcrop to the west, also shows similar stone work...
3/23/2020: The photo above turns out to be the heads of two "striking" or "raised head" snake effigies recorded in "Stone Prayers" by Curtiss Hoffman (2018) as part of the Nonnewaug or CT Cluster #3. The other snake effigy that this post begins with wasn't included in the book but I believe Curtiss has recorded it, shared it with the CT State Archaeologist and CT Historic Preservation Officer as well as with some Tribal Historic Preservation Officers.
This link below will take you to a more recent post that features both:

Looking east between the two, the middle modified for a cart path I believe:
Looking south, on top of the outcrop - and I think incorporating the bedrock - is a short low concentration of stones representing something non-testudinate (snake? bear? moose? mythical creature???)  with it's snoot pointed north: 

Down where the wetland starts I did NOT find the zigzag rows I almost always find around "the break-out zone," but a kind of gentle rounded more serpentine sort of row with those carefully stacked cobbles and small boulders that give it that "Indian Look."
Below: Single Stone Turtles???

Note the pointed quartz piece in the light colored cobble. It's another pattern that I seem to be noticing in various locations...

And right nearby, just above the row:

Turns out that this little bit of woodland was a field in 1934, some of these stone rows visible in the photo...

This is really no help: and neither is the topographic USGS with it's inaccuracies in the out crop details (at least at this point, my own cognitive map not yet established really). 

So the car was parked at the Black Square, the modified stone row end below at the Yellow Square. I mean I think it is; it will take some time to put the place into perspective...

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mr. Turtle Again

      Looking at this photo from "theseventhgeneration," I noticed a stone that makes me think of one type of "turtle foot' that I often find on petroforms, here as a wedge in a split rock. I added an outline and an eye of the "head stone" (actually unsure from the photo if it is a separate stone) for maximum testudinate effect to this petroform with a "low dome" carapace that reminds me of a snapping turtle - like the one excavated by chickens up by the old chicken coop in my yard. These two fellows have a similar left front fore leg, the one above pointed toward the aft end of the turtle, the 'chicken yard snapper's" pointed forward...

A few feet away is a second snapper, exhibiting many similar shapes, including that left foreleg...
And we'll travel down to Woodbridge CT for another turtle petroform that has an extended foreleg:

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers

Principles and Purposes of NATHPO (NATHPO is guided by three main principles)

Tribal Sovereignty – the inherent right of Indian Nations to self-government

Confidentiality – recognition of the need to respect the confidentiality of information regarding Native cultural and ceremonial practices and places of religious or cultural significance.

No boundaries – NATHPO recognizes that the cultural and heritage preservation interests of Indian Nations and their peoples often extend far beyond the boundaries of present-day reservations -- often crossing state and national boundaries -- and stands ready to assist in activities relating to transboundary cultural and environmental issues.
image above from: Publications

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Somewhere in Woodbridge CT

I had walked around here (and posted pictures) in May of 2009 several times, but to return when the leaves were down was quite an experience. There would be lots more photos but my camera batteries lost their charge. There is so much stonework here that you can't swing a cat without hitting something - and it doesn't have to be a long tailed cat.

Three views of a split filled pedestaled boulder with standing stone...

Stones on boulder, two views... 
If you think you see stone piles in the distance when you enlarge these, you are probably right.
So many stone piles, so little time...

Friday, March 05, 2010

Grandfather Rock & Majorville Cairn

Image No: PD-87-10-10 Title: The 'Grandfather Rock', Cluny Earthlodge Village archaeological excavation, Blackfoot (Siksika) reserve, southern Alberta. Date: 1960 Photographer/Illustrator: Glenbow Foundation

Remarks: The site, located 100 km east of Calgary on the Bow River, was excavated under the direction of H.A. Huscher of the Smithsonian Institution. Not a fireplace, the top of this large pile of stones could be seen in front of one of the housepits before excavation. Probably constructed for religious purposes, the rock pile may be the counterpart of sacred Grandfather Rocks of the Mandans. Subject(s): Archaeology / First Nations - Dwellings

Image No: B165-A-1 Title: Majorville Cairn south of Bassano, Alberta. Date: September 15, 1960 Photographer/Illustrator: Glenbow Foundation; Remarks: Medicine wheel recorded by Richard "Dick" Forbis, Glenbow archaeologist. Looking north. Borden number EdPc-1. Subject(s): Archaeology / First Nations of Alberta - Religion and mythology

Thursday, March 04, 2010

magic pile

Water color of an Assinboin Indian magic pile by Karl Bodmer.
The Assinboin believed these piles helped attract the buffalo.

Date. circa 1836

"The Assiniboine, also known by the Ojibwe name Asiniibwaan "Stone Sioux", and the Cree as Asinîpwât are a Native American/First Nations people originally from the Northern Great Plains area of North America, specifically in present-day Montana and parts of Saskatchewan, Alberta and southwestern Manitoba around the US/Canadian border. They were well known throughout much of the late 1700s and early 1800s. Images of Assiniboine people were painted by such 19th century artists as Karl Bodmer and George Catlin. The Assiniboine have many similarities to the Lakota (Sioux) people in lifestyle, linguistics, and cultural habits, and are considered to be a band of the Nakoda or middle division of the Lakota. It is believed that the Assiniboine broke away from other Lakota bands in the 17th century..."

Imaginging Head-Smashed-In
Buffalo Drive Lanes (pg 75) includes a search for stone piles...

There was once a very poor woman who was married. She was the second wife. She had a buffalo-robe. It was all full of holes, it was so old. Her moccasins were as old and ripped as mine.
This woman went after wood. While she was gathering wood, she heard some one singing. She found a buffalo-rock that was singing. It sang, "Take me! I am of great power."
The camp of Indians was about starving. They were near a buffalo drive. She told her husband to call all the men, and they would sing and bring the buffalo back. Her husband asked her if she was in earnest. She said, "Yes," and asked him to get a small piece of the back of a buffalo from the Bear-Medicine man. She told her husband how to arrange the lodge inside in a kind of square box with some sagebrush and buffalo-chips. She told her husband to ask some men to come, and to ask for the four rattles they used...
One of these buffalo-rocks began to sing, after all the men were seated, "The buffalo will all drift back." So this woman asked one of the young men to go beyond the drive and put a lot of buffalo-chips in line; then they were to wave at them with a buffalo-robe about four times, and at the same time to shout in a singsong. At the fourth time they (the buffalo-chips) would all turn into buffaloes and go over the drive, which they did.
The woman led in the singing at the lodge. She knew what the young man was doing. A cow-buffalo took the lead. The woman was singing about the leader that would take them over the drive. All the buffalo went over the drive and were killed. She sang a different song: "I have made more than a hundred buffalo fall over, and the man above the earth hears me."

Journal of American folklore, Volume 24 By American Folklore Society

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The Manyberries Cairn

Archaeology on the edge: new perspectives from the northern plains
 - Google Books Result: manyberries carin


Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Monday, March 01, 2010

Taking apart a rock pile without taking it apart

I’ve been thinking about “Taking apart a rock pile without taking it apart.” Studying something with out destroying it. Looking outward rather than inward

Or maybe I’ve been thinking about studying a petroform in its context to the larger cultural landscape, paying attention to what may be not only a rare view of a Late Woodland Village, but an incredible amount of remnants of the Native American Stonework that still exists in and around it.

Bear Stone Petroform(April 2009 photo TMS)

I’m looking in a field guide to stones in New England that says a boulder is larger than 256 mm or about 10 inches. A cobble is defined as less than a boulder but more than 125 mm or 5 inches. Here is a stone concentration composed of a large boulder that might be a glacial erratic, but also possibly placed there by more than one person (although I know that a clever person could do it alone), another boulder and a cobble. The large boulder is four times as long as it is wide so it might be a boulder fence or part of one that has elsewhere disappeared but it is inside the riparian zone of a swamp that drains both north and south that is bordered by zigzag stone boulders on both banks in both directions. The second boulder is a quartzite stone, which seems to resemble a large animal head. I mistook it at first as a cow skull when I first saw it in 1997. Possibly the stone was humanly enhanced to more resemble a bear, which is my impression of which animal it might be. Besides the enhancement of ursine features – and a nice “natural” diagonal streak of lighter color across the face of the stone – there is also a hole pecked on top of the head stone.
  And it seems important to mention: the bear's head is balanced on the boulder. It will rock for awhile if you touch it...
 The cobble has multiple pit marks or cups on its upper most surface, angled toward a concave side that just happens to be curved inward enough for a person to place a quahog shell, perhaps in which tobacco has been placed, on the boulder surface below it and have it stay in place. If I chose to take my drill type fire starter with me, I could take some balled up and fuzzy cedar and place it over those cup marks, feel around for one of them with my Sangwhikan and get some fire going on the cedar tinder. I could breathe on it to get it going – even if it rolled down the stone into the shell. If I wanted to, I could put that shell on top of the bear’s head where it would neatly click into place, just as easily as it did the first time I tried it after reading Gladys Tantaquidgeon in "Folk Medicine of the Delaware and Related Algonkian Indians (1972,1995)" (pg. 60): "Wild animals, as pointed out by F.G. Speck (1931: 28-29), are in general considered to exist in clan relationship with humans. The latter are said to be "kings among animals." Clean pure animals of the forest are referred to in terms of human relationship and their spirits must be propitiated before they can be sought for food. If the supernaturals are appeased through sacrifices, the animals will allow themselves to be taken, but if the proper ceremonies are not carried out, they can never be approached by humans. Therefore, a hunter is obliged to pray and sacrifice tobacco before starting on the hunt...

The Delaware consider the bear and deer to be the greatest of all animals. The bear is also called "Our Grandfather." Both animals are considered closely akin to the Indian, but the Delaware believe that the bear has the most human-like traits..."
To the south of this stone concentration, this petroform is another, lower to the ground but greatly resembling a deer, the other “greatest of all animals.”

Cross an interesting historic ‘stone ford” to the north of the petroform, and the stream, and its zigzag borders, lead to other streams with similar stonework and eventually these streams become diverted to flow around an area of land where a local history documents stone burial mounds before joining itself again – along with a stream that originally flowed into it that not far away flows over a series of waterfalls. On that little “island” that may well be the burial grounds, is also a stone concentration of boulders, that may function as a “medicine wheel,” a place to center yourself in the Universe, but that’s another petroform story…