Friday, October 28, 2011

McIntosh Reserve in Whitesburg GA

"McIntosh Reserve (Park) was formerly the residence (or rather, one of several of the residences) of a Creek Indian leader, who signed a treaty giving up Creek lands, hastening the exile of his people, which took place several years before the Cherokees had their Trail of Tears...(t)he main feature of the park is the grave of Chief William McIntosh: a stone that looks like a turtle when viewed from the right angle...(h)ere, then, is McIntosh's gravestone, in two views. If you squint just right at the lower picture, you might imagine the carapace of a turtle..."

stolen from:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Beaver Dam and Stone Row

In May 2011, beavers were building a dam at an interesting spot:
This is a beaver dam update...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Old Town Farm

The house I live in (here in Connecticut) is said to have once belonged to Woodbury's  first Doctor, Jonathan Atwood. William Cothren writes of Doctor Jonathan Atwood in his History of Ancient Woodbury:
 “The subject of this sketch came early to Woodbury. His name appears in the list of settlers as early as 1701. He is the father of all of the name in this part of the state, and many other places — a numerous and extended posterity. He was an emigrant from England. His house stood not far from the old "Town House," and he owned land on both sides of the highway, so that the present Doct. Atwood, his descendant in the fifth generation, has his home- stead on land that belonged to the first doctor of the name.

Here's that house, accompanied by a little story that sort of confirms or conflicts with that story - and I wonder if the "horse trade" was actually a "house trade," either a euphemistic use of  the phrase or a possible spelling mistake:

(There's architechtural drawings of this house that incorrectly place it on Flanders Road: which only add to the confusion.)
But there is no dispute about the location of the Old Town House mentioned by Cothren. The old “Town House” is located on Old Town Farm Road, just a few houses north of the house pictured above. A Town House was another name for Poor House. Wikipedia says: “Often the poorhouse was situated on the grounds of a poor farm on which able-bodied residents were required to work… town-run residences where paupers (mainly elderly and disabled people) were supported at public expense..."(

I took a few photos of a zigzag stone row that still had pieces of chestnut rails (and a nutting stone) on it in January '07,  The Occasional Chestnut Rail

Just this morning, I just happened to take a look at the aerial photo of that section of Old Town Farm Road (in what's called Historic Minor Town):

That red line is the zigzagstone row segment that I photographed, but note the curve of that stone row that has since disappeared (as far as I know, there's a house and lot in there now, but I may wander in there to take another look). An atypical "stone wall" for certain, with lots of other zigzag "walls" all around.
Here's a link to the online photo if you want to take a look and move around or zoom in and out, noting that I turned the photo above so that west is at the top. Here it is below as it will appear with that curve at the top/north:
(Update: there's many still existing rows - and some huge rock piles.)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Deer Head Stones

I was looking through some "google images" results found on a search using "ceremonial stone row." This (above) is one from:
Here's one from Woodbury CT on a large flat boulder...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Moravian Village with "Cellar" or Maybe a Sweatlodge

"One option for the miscellaneous items situated around the two leader’s homes is a small sweat lodge, or what is sometimes referred to as a stone cellar. The stone cellar formation is found in and about the Dutchess and Putnam county areas, and typically is a small collection of stones, many times with the appearance that there is a well-formed foundation to crawl into between the stone walls. In some cases these structures are completely above ground. Other times they are built into hill or a cliff face. Numerous theories have been given for the uses of these formation, logical reasons for their construction. In the Mahican settlement it is possible that these “cellars” served as places for one to undergo a personal spiritual experience, or perhaps a simple cleansing, like that done in a sweat lodge...We typically don’t expect to hear about the ability to practice the Native American ritual sweat lodge experience, but with Moravians by their side instead of other missionary leaders, perhaps the use of the sweat lodge or stone cellar was allowed.  Evidence suggesting this was the case, although questionable due to its fairly late recollection, is the accounts of stone piles seen along some part of the Shekomeko setting, which a local boy said he thought was linked to the use of a sweat lodge... For more on colonial stone cellars and root cellars, see:"

Stone Chamber. Town of Kent, NY by  Halberd

A little detail strikes me, a little "cultural motif" I see here and there on Turtle Island:
I think that rounded reddish stone, topped by what might be interperted as "marginal scutes," might be a turtle's head, a suggestion of an eye and a possible beak, like these two stones here in Woodbury CT below...

Turtle outline

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tumwater Fishtrap

Remnants of native fishtrap (stones); photos by Bill Yake found at:

See any similarity between this NW Coast stone structure above  and this stone structure below photographed by Larry Harrop on the East Coast?

   photo by Larry Harrop found at:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Celebrating the Ceremonial Stone Landscapes of Eastern North America

I have no idea if this will work or not:
Celebrating the Ceremonial Stone Landscapes of Eastern North America:
Open Group~Anyone (with a FaceBook account, it seems) can see the group, who's in it, and what members post.

34 Members/79 Photos/1 Doc.

"vast heaps of stones"; stone heaps or cairns

Recent photos by Rob Buchanan: Quartz Hearted Cairn

 Taken at Dicktown area, Putnam Co. NY

Friday, October 07, 2011

DECLASSIFIED: Uncle Sam; We Did It His Way

A Rap Up
By George Shrub, Rapping CIA Agent

(Print this out. Laminate it. Get a beat box, human or otherwise.
Rap in the shower. No one gets hurt.)

In the beginning, Columbus discovered America
There were Indians there
They came over from India
To throw a party for the fair-skinned Chris
I wouldn't dis ya

Chris worked for Spain, I think it's plain
Spreadin free enterprise
Which at that time was controlled by Big GovaMint
Instead of contrariwise
Like today, but as I was sayin

The colonies were conceived in liberty
They liberated a new continent
From the Indians, who under-exploited it
And besides, they were behind in the rent...

But when it came to the Indians, Mr. Jefferson said
No more land should be taken from them
So when he needed Louisiana he was careful
To buy it from the French...

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Petroglyphs and Arrowheads by the Stone Weir

Picture rocks: American Indian rock art in the Northeast woodlands - Google Books Result J. Lenik - 2002 - Art - 280 pages

"It is likely that Indian people witnessed bears fishing at this point in the river. Weirs were built at shallow points in a river where the stone needed for their construction ... The location of the bear paw (petroglyph) at the stone fish weir, its position on the rock… the Passaic River petroglyphs, a second fish weir petroglyph was reported to me. In the late 1930s, Stanley Milkowski of Paterson, New Jersey, fished at the site of the stone weir in the river located between Paterson and Fair Lawn...

Tony DeCondo at a fish weir visible in the Passaic, between Paterson and Fair Lawn, when the river is low.

Pursuing a Secret of the Passaic


Published: October 3, 2008

“I’m always on the riverbank on both sides, hoping to find something,” Mr. DeCondo said, his eyes instinctively sweeping the ground for a telltale arrowhead that would help establish a Native American presence here.

And then last year he found something — not in the mud by the river, but in a dusty box that had been sitting unseen in a storeroom in the Paterson Museum, not far from the old dye house where his father once worked. “It was serendipity at its height, just unbelievable,” he said.

After retiring he had started volunteering at the museum, cataloging a collection of 6,000 projectile points, and about halfway through he had a eureka moment: an arrowhead and two stone knife fragments attached to a neatly printed card that recorded when and where they had been found, in April 1924, in Fair Lawn, “opposite the foot of 3rd Ave.”

“Right by the weir,” he said. He also found two other arrowheads that had been discovered about 100 feet north of the weir. “I thought to myself, the spirit of the weir is guiding me here.”

The new evidence, he hopes, will bolster his case for the weir’s landmark status. For now, though, his attention has turned at least in part to another weir that was discovered several years ago half a mile downstream. “We literally bumped into it,” said Mr. DeVita of the river restoration team, who was skimming the river in a flat-bottomed boat that snagged on some submerged rocks. When the water level later dropped some more, a W-shaped weir emerged.

LeBeau Fishing Camp & Weir Archaeological Preserve
This publication was produced by the Town of Killingly as part of the Quinebaug River Trail Project and was funded by the Federal Highway Administration and the Town of Killingly.

"A large stone pile located on the east bank of the Quinebaug and extending to the eastern edge of the weir may have served as the base of a platform for fishing and related activities..."

Tuesday, October 04, 2011


“…Every successful hunter is more or less a conjuror adjusting himself to the realm of the Unknown which he senses about him…a process of independent experience interpreted out of the background of suggestion leveled upon the mind of the native by the tribally inherited pattern. He imitates the practices; he profits by the sayings and doings of his elders…

In short, he learns two things as a requirement of existence: “to work,” that is, to hunt, trap, fish, to make and use the articles employed therein; and to “operate mentu’ (Manitu),” a native term the meaning of which we can scarcely grasp, but represents something near our own notion of unseen force. The two are equally important and inseparable, according to his notion. This means the spiritual factor in industrial industry is as important a mechanical factor as a physical…”

Frank G. Speck, “Naskapi: The Savage Hunters of the Labrador Peninsula”

Volume 10 Civilization of American Indian Series 1935 (1965, 1977) University of Oklahoma Press

Finding Sacred Ground

Mapping Sacred Sites

Sunday, October 02, 2011


This dance is the first and most formal dance to be performed on the occasion of the annual ceremonies. It is in honor of a creature called Big Turtle, Dato8a', a supernatural horned reptile, denoted in Yuchi as a turtle though having a snake-like body, which figures conspicuously in southeastern mythology. This being is associated with the rainbow, storms, thunder, lightning and also disease. A stuffed deerskin effigy of the creature colored blue rested on the ground in front of the north lodge of the town square, in former times.

As I have given a more detailed account of this dance in Part One of this volume, an abstract from the original source1 will convey a clearer idea of the scene.

The dancers, grouping themselves about the leader who sings and rattles, form a compact mass and begin moving in a circle. A woman with the leg rattles, joins the throng of dancers when they start to circle in single file about the fire contra-clockwise. When the leader finishes the first song he whoops and the dancers disperse for a short interval. Soon the leader begins finding the fire, singing the introduction (A) and the dancers who have been resting, seated in the lodges on the square-ground, file in again behind him. No drumming accompanies this dance.

The following version of the song was sung by Ku'ba.

The above is a sort of gathering song which is continued as long as the dancers are grouped closely on the corner of the square-ground. The syllables are yo hyo, hd' (the chorus joining vigorously on ho').

When the leader breaks out of this group and starts dancing and rattling toward the fire he changes the tune to the following, which is continued until the end of the first dance.

(A) M.M. J = 100.

*J Repeat five times.

Yuchi and Creek Dances Speck Ethnography (1909)

(pages 201-202)



Quite naturally fishing plays an important part in the life of the Yuchi who have almost always lived near streams furnishing fish in abundance. Catfish, cu dfd, garfish, pike, cucpd, bass, cu wadd, and many other kinds are eagerly sought for by families and sometimes by whole communities at a time, to vary their diet. We find widely distributed among the people of the Southeast a characteristic method of getting fish by utilizing certain vegetable poisons which are thrown into the water. Among the Yuchi the practice is as follows. During the months of July and August many families gather at the banks of some convenient creek for the purpose of securing quantities of fish and, to a certain extent, of intermingling socially for a short time. A large stock of roots of devil's shoestring {Tephrosia virginiana) is laid up and tied in bundles beforehand. The event usually occurs at a place where rifts cause shallow water below and above a well-stocked pool. Stakes are driven close together at the rifts to act as barriers to the passage and escape of the fish. Then the bundles of roots (Fig. 6) are thrown in and the people enter the water to stir it up. This has the effect of causing the fish, when the poison has had time to act, to rise to the surface, bellies up, seemingly dead. They are then gathered by both men and women and carried away in baskets to be dried for future use, or consumed in a feast which ends the event. The catch is equally divided among those present. Upon such an occasion, as soon as the fish appear floating on the surface of the water, the Indians leap, yell and set to dancing in exuberance. If a stranger comes along at such a time he is taken by the hand and presented with the choicest fish.

As the fish are taken out they may be cleaned and salted for preservation, or roasted and eaten on the spot. A favorite method of cleaning fish the instant they are caught, is to draw out the intestines with a hook through the anus, without cutting the fish open. A cottonwood stick shaved of its outer bark is then inserted in the fish from tail to head. The whole is thickly covered with mud and put in the embers of a fire. When the mud cracks off the roast is done and ready to eat. The cottonwood stick gives a much-liked flavor to the flesh.

In the way of a comparison, we find that the Creeks use pounded buckeye or horse chestnuts for the same purpose. Two men enter the water and strain the buckeye juice through bags. The Creeks claim that the devil's shoestring poison used by the Yuchi floats on the water, thus passing away down stream, while the buckeye sinks and does better work. It is probable, however, that neither method of poisoning the streams is used exclusively by these tribes, but that the people of certain districts favor one or the other method, according to the time of year and locality. The flesh of the fish killed in this way is perfectly palatable.

It frequently happens that the poison is not strong enough to thoroughly stupefy the fish. In such a case the men are at hand with bows and arrows, to shoot them as they flounder about trying to escape or to keep near the bottom of the pool. The arrows used for shooting fish are different from those used in hunting. They are generally unfeathered shafts with charred points, but the better ones are provided with points like cones made by pounding a piece of some flat metal over the end of the shaft (Fig. 4, a). The men frequently go to the larger streams where the poison method would not be as effective, and shoot fish with these heavy tipped arrows eithei from the shores or from canoes. Simple harpoons of cane whittled to a sharp point are used in the killing of larger fish which swim near the surface, or wooden spears with fire-hardened points are thrown at them when found lurking near the banks.

Formerly the Yuchi made use also of basket fish traps. These were quite large, being ordinarily about three feet or more in diameter and from six to ten feet in length. They were cylindrical in shape, with one end open and an indented funnel-shaped passageway leading to the interior. The warp splints of this indenture ended in sharp points left free. As these pointed inward they allowed the fish to pass readily in entering, but offered an obstruction to their exit. The other end of the trap was closed up, but the covering could be removed to remove the contents. Willow sticks composed the warp standards, while the wicker filling was of shaved hickory splints. The trap was weighted down in the water and chunks of meat were put in it for bait.

Gaff-hooks for fishing do not seem to have been used, according to the older men, until they obtained pins from the whites, when the Yuchi learned how to make fish hooks of them. Prior to this, nevertheless, they had several gorgehook devices for baiting and snagging fish. A stick with pointed reverse barbs whittled along it near the end was covered with some white meat and drawn, or trolled, rapidly through the water on a line. When a fish swallowed the bait the angler gave the line a tug and the barbs caught the fish in the stomach. Another method was to tie together the ends of a springy, sharp-pointed splinter and cover the whole with meat for bait. When this gorge device was swallowed the binding soon disintegrated, the sharp ends being released killed the fish and held it fast. Lines thus baited were set in numbers along the banks of streams and visited regularly by fishermen(Pages 23-24).

(Page 45:) Almost any bird, animal or fish that was large enough to bother with was used as food. The names and varieties of such have been already given. The flesh of game mammals, birds, kandV, and fish, cu, was roasted or broiled on a framework of green sticks resting on cross pieces which were supported on forked uprights over the fire. The device was simply a stationary broiling frame. "When large hauls of fish were made, by using vegetable poison in streams in the manner described, or more game was taken than was needed for immediate use, it is said that the surplus flesh was artificially dried over a slow smoky fire or in the sun, so that it could be laid away against the future. Crawfish, tcatsd, were very much liked and quantities of them were also treated for preservation in the above manner.

Also included:

1. IdlobA'nga. FISH DANCE.

The fish, talo, for his contribution of flesh to sustain life, is honored by a dance in which the usual movements are accompanied by drum and rattle. The leader's part could not be separated from that of the chorus in recording this song.

(Page 164)
Ceremonial songs of the Creek and Yuchi Indians, Volume 1, Issue 1 (Google eBook)

Frank G. Speck (1909)