Saturday, June 28, 2014

My Great Grandfather's House

     There’s a new “For Sale” sign up in front of my Great-grandfather’s old house. I just happened to stop by the place yesterday, showing it to Fred and Ida, visiting from California.
      I’d been thinking about him – and his son Al - just the day before, while reading a Rock Piles post about Moving Large Boulders {}, where the question was asked, “So, have you ever wondered where exceptionally large stones in cairns and walls might have come from, and how they were transported to the construction site?” I immediately thought of my Father’s Uncle Al and the way he danced a huge boulder, taller than himself, around my parents’ house, from one side to the other, and across the field where we pastured sheep, down that hill, to a spot by the brook. He did it all by himself (I was just a little kid at the time), always in control, the stone going exactly where he wanted, some blocks of wood, a long iron pry-bar and an even longer piece of lumber for levers his only tools.  I thought he was the strongest man in the world after that for the longest time until I eventually came to understand that these were old tricks he probably learned from his father, my great grandfather Giovanni. In my lifetime I’ve used those same tricks and a few more to move some incredibly heavy stones and timbers – and won a dollar or two betting I could do it, all by myself, just like Uncle Al.
    So the short answer to that question about Large Boulders is: Indigenous People of Turtle Island moved large boulders without draft animals the same ways other human in other places in the world did the same thing, using every trick in the book – whether they had books or not.
     Well, anyway – the overgrown shrubbery had been trimmed back or even cut down to the ground so the house was more visible than it had been recently, so I took a few photos of it and the stonework in front of it, testaments to the talents of my ancestors – here’s some of that:

      But I also drove up the driveway to a couple outbuildings where this nearby boulder took me by surprise:

    I just don’t know what to think about that one…
            Was it a recent creation or my greatgrandfather’s?
            Or is it far older than that and just left alone?
    All I know for sure is that I will never know for sure…

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Single split stone?

Well, maybe...
Seems the head stone and the carapace very probably might have been split from the same stone, the legs too perhaps, I'll have to go back again and look again.
Next time I will bring a real camera - and the tripod.

Stepping back:

Going back:
I just can't capture color of the stone - or really "pieces of the stone" - just right.
These three kind of accidentally manage to capture the color correctly
while I was purposely trying to I use the dapples of sunlight to show some detail of the elongated head and neck of this probable testudinate effigy:

Enhanced photo, with keys to the north:
Interesting polished-tool-like stone - with mineral "barnacles," you might say:
And above that, a circular sort of placement of stones, on the "wall" - that just happens to be the body, just behind the head-stone, of the Stone Serpent Effigy where I just happened to notice these details in the artistically stacked stones that extend northward for hundreds of feet:

Was I tempted to pick up that carapace stone to look at the underside, or see if the breaks in the stone line up, showing that the turtle is made from a single stone?
Yes, I was.
Did I "disturb the prayer" by doing so?
No, I didn't...
(Cell phone photo from 9/13/14)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

More Rhomboidal Badbadpotato Stones

"Counting rhomboids  in stone walls,
That don't bother me at all...
Don't tell me,
I've got nuthin' to do..."

      I may have cropped a photo or two of these fine photos I stole from Jeff's Flickr page, so I have provided both credit and a link to the original photos below each one:
I almost cut this one out of this post - and then realized the boulder could technically be considered a rhomboidal shape  since:
"A parallelogram with sides of equal length is a rhombus but not a rhomboid. Wikipedia"
But I was really looking for the "diamond" sort of placement in stone piles or stone rows:

rhomboidal - shaped like a rhombus or rhomboid; "rhomboidal shapes"
 Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University

Monday, June 16, 2014

Rhomboidal Stones

Rhomboidal Calcite Crystal 
       Rhomboid: “Traditionally, in two-dimensional geometry, a rhomboid is a parallelogram in which adjacent sides are of unequal lengths and angles are non-right angled. A parallelogram with sides of equal length is a rhombus but not a rhomboid (Wikipedia).
The adjective rhomboidal refers to both Rhombus and Rhomboid shapes.
As in: "Hey Jeff! I observe that there is a rhomboidal stone artistically placed in a stacked row of stones on the edge of an outcrop at your Flickr Photostream."

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Quartz Rhombus Stone in a Wall (from a PWAX post)

DECEMBER 29, 2011
Speaking of Walls and Rock Piles...

    I was re-reading the above post and came across this photo below:

      I said to myself: “That’s a rather rhomboid piece of quartz.”
      I’ve been paying more attention to rhomboidal stones lately, especially since Dr. Lucianne Lavin put the proper word into my head. I’d been calling the shape a Rhombus, and I was telling her about observing a small “Rhombus boulder” incorporated into a row of stones that defines the edge of an out crop recently (below):
…and a larger one somewhere else that was really, well, something else that I’m not sure exactly what to call in an extensive “cairn field,” as people say, describing a large concentration of stone mounds:
See the (mis-spelled as Enderslie) “Elderslie Preserve post here:

      And Dr. Luci mentioned that the rhomboidal shape is a design one sees on many Indigenous made Traditional baskets and incised into Connecticut Ceramics.
     On the post Peter was saying: “Someday, someone has to take the subject (of “stone walls”) seriously and really get to know the different construction styles and different topographic settings and layouts that will (I hope) make it easier to tell the difference between a more recent versus a more ancient stone wall. And I don't mean that Thorson stuff (here or here) which manages to miss the main story. But on the other hand, sometimes the walls seem pretty integral to the place, the place seems to include the ancient, and it all seems worth reporting on together…”
      Dr. Luci said much the same thing to me that day when I bought a copy of her new book for my son who lives in California (and one for me too) – and says so in print in CT’s Indigenous Peoples (2013): “Archaeologists have a good idea of the diagnostic characteristics of stone piles and stone walls related to European farming. We now need to get a handle on the distinctive traits of indigenous sacred rock sites (page 296).”
       So I’m trying to be very serious when I tell you that the purposeful inclusion of a Rhomboidal stone in a stone row or a stone pile is probably another diagnostic pattern repeated in Indigenous stonework (as it is in other forms of Indigenous artwork) here in the Housatonic watershed and beyond – and particularly if it is a Quartz Rhomboidal stone, as my good friend shows in his post at Rock Piles.
    A couple more Rhomboidal Stone observation links:
     And Ed Lenik includes a “diamond-shaped” figure carved into stone while discussing the Tiverton Petroglyphs in Making Pictures in Stone: American Indian Rock Art of the Northeast:

    Mary Gage also calls this a diamond shape:

     Then there is the possible effigy artwork aspect of the row of stones around that Quartz Rhomboidal Stone in my friend’s photo. I’ve observed numerous times over numerous years that a possible testudinate pattern of head, feet and shells occurs on both on stone piles and in rows of stones (and certain free-standing possible Turtle Petroforms) I suspect to be of Indigenous origin.
     I’ve taken the liberty of enhancing Peter’s photo, adding circles for possible eyes on suspected head stones and lines that represent the toes of forelegs:

       And it might be an understatement to say that the turtle does seem to have a place of importance among CT’s Indigenous People – and other Indigenous People of Turtle Island.
     And it might be another understatement to say the turtle does occur in other forms of Indigenous artwork.
    As does a large variety of Snakes or Serpents. A short section of stone row in the Fitchburg MA site Peter has documented could possibly be interpreted as a Snake or Serpent Effigy:
Original above from:
Enhancement below:

Above: Peter’s rough sketch, serpentinely enhanced.
             Which great serpent locally has a split or bifurcated tail?
             If that Traditional Knowledge hasn’t survived locally, then what is the nearest one that does?
         Using another of my friend’s photos, there seem to be other possible (or probable) effigies in amongst the turtle effigies, natural stones and perhaps humanly enhanced stones, purposely and artistically placed:

And I should add this, comparing it to the possible testudinate effigy outlined above in black:

      Rows of stones –or stone walls – are really just very long piles of stones – or very long rock piles…