Monday, October 30, 2017

Which Shutesbury “Chamber” Is It

"You're not in Scotland (England and Ireland) Anymore")
Interesting photo, a round entrance into a "Stone Chamber:"
   I’ve got this idea that the entrance to many “mysterious chambers” are actually very much a representation of a Timber Rattlesnake’s eye, sometimes but not all the time surrounded by stones that look very much like the scales around the eye of the snake that serves as the model for the Great or Horned Serpent. This shape - and it's size - makes me think of a person crawling into the small entrance of a sweat lodge as well...

     “Which one is it?” I wonder – then, with a couple clicks of my mouse, I find myself looking Mary and James Gage’s Stone Structures page on their website: “Monks” Chamber - and I think "Thanks again Mary and James, you made another question very easy to answer."
    I search for some similar images, click away and end up here: 
     Below the photo it says:
 Monks Cave
“Scattered all across New England, the debate still rages...monks caves as a monument to a bygone era when missionary monks from Ireland came to the new country? Or they as simple as colonial cellar holes? No one seems to hold the answer to this, but they're fascinating nonetheless!”
(No mention of Indigenous People is made, despite the fact that they’ve been around the area for more than 10,000 years. No mention made of the widespread use of Sweat lodges/Pesuponcks often mentioning Medicine People and Great Serpents that are recalled in numerous Indigenous stories all across Turtle Island, many of them collected here on this blog...)
I look for a few more images, stumble on somebody’s monetized web-site, hawking his numerous books and sporting all sorts of ads for other stuff as well.
   Briefly mentioning the Ancient Geeks, the author of the books for sale repeats a statement I hear often, “The New England chambers are dead ringers for those built by the Culdee Monks of Scotland, England, and Ireland who adopted the building style from their Celtic ancestry.”

   “And which ones would those be?” I wonder, highlighting the sentence and searching Google images for a possible example. I’ll be durned if I can find one that looks anything close to a “ringer,” living or dead, coming up with examples of the Behive Chambers associated with the Culdee Monks.

     Enter "Sweat House" or "Sauna" and you get examples of similar structures our whole Human Family has made all around this big blue world. If you ignore those found in the Western Hemisphere, I think your well rounded research might be just a little less than perfectly round...

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Not in Scotland Anymore

The Narraganset Deputy Tribal Historic Preservation Officer takes the stage and he says:
"Let’s get one thing straight: you’re not in Scotland anymore.
They are not cairns (he pronounced it “Karns” and not “Karens”).”
He explains: “That’s a European word.
They are not rock piles or stone piles, not anything else,
They are Manitou Hussunash,
Sacred Stones, Spirit Stones.

      And he adds something to the effect that there are many words for stone in many dialects, many Indigenous languages, says “I saw another one on a street sign on the way here, Quassuk.”
     And then I know he drove to the place on the Old Connecticut Path, the Old Indian Trail, now CT Route 6, and turned onto what’s now CT Route 47, passed by Quassuk Road, just before the bridge over the Weekeepeemee (Basswood) River. 
Quassuk, Qussuk =  ‘stoneQussukquanash = Stones
Manitou Quasskquanash = Sacred Stones, Spirit Stones
    I didn't drive in that way. I drove the back road short cuts, or so I thought - I took a wrong turn and saw my first Connecticut moose run across the road, ducking into the brush with an extra burst of speed when I honked my horn so I wouldn’t drive into him...

  Another time, another place, another transcript:  "Ceremonial stone landscapes. Anybody here, never heard the term? That’s great, we’ve got a few, a few takers. Ceremonial stone landscapes. Monatuhasanik (Manitou Hussunash), spirit stones. We are attempting as best we can to be bilingual in dealing with ceremonial stone landscapes. What I found was that when I tried to speak English to other tribal people about what we were saying in our protective enclaves, they didn’t know what I was talking about. I realized that it was a simple problem. It was not resonating in their spirits. When I would use words like, ceremonial stone landscapes. But Monatu, spirit, Hasanik are stones in groups. Our stones are identified as ceremonial stone grouping, as you see here, as opposed to stone piles, because in our tradition stones are our grandfathers. If in fact your talking about grandfathers who are congregated out in the field, you would not call them a pile of grandfathers. At least, I wouldn’t. I couldn’t get away with that, so Monatuhasanik, spirit stones or ceremonial stone groupings in English..." 

“Aside from small concentric stone works, qusukqaniyutôk (‘stone row, enclosure’ Harris and Robinson, 2015:140, ‘fence that crosses back’ viz. qussuk, ‘stone,’ Nipmuc or quski, quskaca, ‘returning, crosses over,’ qaqi, ‘runs,’ pumiyotôk, ‘fence, wall,’ Mohegan, Mohegan Nation 2004:145, 95, 129) define spaces, while świhwákuwi (viz. świk+wāgawi, ‘it grows around,’ Unami Lenapeuw, Zeisberger 1995:151, 173; świ, ‘three’ for 3-sided - Mohegan Nation 2004:98) form open ellipses that the author considers roughly equivalent to the “nave” of a Christian church, and sunś nipámu (‘marker stone’ Narragansett, Harris and Robinson 2015:140, viz. sunś, ‘stone,’ nipawu ‘stand up,’ Mohegan Nation 2004:100, 83) serve as indicators. Individual deaths and memorial services for those persons are marked with waûnonaqussuk (Natick Nipmuc wâunonukhauónat – ‘to flatter,’ Trumbull 1903:202, verb stem wâunon- ‘honor’ + qussuk ‘stone’ = wâunonaqussuk – ‘honoring stone’ + quanash pl., also Narragansett wunnaumwâuonck – ‘faithfulness, truthfulness,’ wunna, ‘good,’ wáunen, ‘honor,’ + onk, abstract suffix, O’Brien 2005:37, Wawanaquas- sik, ‘place of many honoring stones,’- Nochpeem Mahikkaneuw/Wappinger, Ruttenber 1992b:373).

cairn is a human-made pile (or stack) of stones. The word cairn comes from the Scottish Gaeliccàrn [ˈkʰaːrˠn̪ˠ] (plural càirn [ˈkʰaːrˠɲ]).

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Long Distance Turtle (and More)

Still looking for turtles (and more)
 in some long distance photos
from Anna Rorabacher Szok in New Hampshire:

A Rhomboidal Stone...
...sometimes says "Great Serpent."

Thank you, Anna!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

We don’t know all the stories

We don’t know all the stories
  - I certainly don't -
But I have heard that
What you must do is
  Let the landscape speak for itself
As you pause and stand at
What you were told is the farmer’s cart path
By two big boulders at the gateway
   As you see the round bright white eye
Polished into the stone
You listen to the landscape as you look to the other side
And you hear without any words:
You are standing at an entrance to a Sacred Place
Two Uktena with heads turned to look at you

As you enter that Sacred Place
And, remember, every place is a Sacred Place
And it’s only later that
The story comes to you
Strong Looker knows what is in your head and heart...

The boulder that is Grandfather Turtle
Beaver’s footprints on the shell
Above the smaller stone that is the Turtle’s head
Suddenly silently speaks a Creation Story
That you remember hearing inside a Pow Wow circle
As Sacred Smoke rose while the Elder spoke...

The zigzag row of stones carefully made
      Becomes serpents entwined

The stone pile prayerfully stacked
     Holds a small turtle on its shoulder
As the landscape begins to speak for itself

As you begin to learn to listen...

Inspired by:

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A Stones Throw

 April 16, 2013  

“I often ask my students to pause and consider several questions as we explore the environmental history of this country.

What is our relationship to the past? Is the past over?
What is memory? Can it be owned?
How do we know what we (think we) know?
Who are “we”?

“Most common are rock structures built by European colonists and their descendants who, after displacing native peoples, changed a native landscape. One can find cellar holes of homes and barns, remnants of mill dams and raceways, boundary markers, wells. Most ubiquitous, though, are the stone walls that thread Leverett’s woodlands (Editorial Note: if you listen to Robert Thorson’s conjectures!).”

   One more question occurs to me: Why do we assume that “Most common are rock structures built by European colonists and their descendants who, after displacing native peoples, changed a native landscape. One can find cellar holes of homes and barns, remnants of mill dams and raceways, boundary markers, wells"?

   (A friend writes: "There is no need to question the land, the place where one finds oneself. The answers are all freely available - Creation is always speaking and being. Rather, always question oneself. Am I listening? Can I see? Am I present? Who else is here? Am I fulfilling my responsibilities as a part of the Great Mystery or have I (again) separated myself ?")

   I think about a certain stone on a certain "stone wall" that I recently photographed (again), placed in a similar way: 

Two photos, two different foci, above so the first Puritan minister's home shows,
below so that it doesn't. 
This is the gateway entrance/exit to the supposed and assumed cart path where this stone is located:
But if I travel north along the road, another entrance may be another cultural clue:
The "Uktena" overlay:
"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 (Jannie Loubser - E-mail communication July 21, 2015). " - Uktena "strong-looker"

     I take a look back at the webpage and find:

    Lauret Savoy writes and photographs across threads of cultural identity to explore their shaping by relationship with and dislocation from the land. A woman of African-American, Euro-American, and Native-American heritage, she is a professor of environmental studies and geology at Mount Holyoke College. Her books include The Colors of Nature: Culture, Identity and the Natural World (Milkweed Editions), Bedrock: Writers on the Wonders of Geology(Trinity University Press), and Living with the Changing California Coast.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Snow Snakes

     I don’t know why it never occurred to me before this morning, but the diamond-like rhomboidal designs on a Snow Snake, triggered a little “Aha!” moment, very similar to suddenly realizing the diamond-like rhomboidal stones of many a “stone wall” might be a diagnostic of an Indigenous made Ceremonial Landscape Feature – a “Snake Wall” or a Great Serpent Petroform...

From the Games file:

Thursday, October 19, 2017

What Not To Do

    Someone just up the road from me invited me to stop by his home on the edge of a Land Preserve to take a look at some piles of stones and the rows of stones around them. I’m thinking about just when I can actually stop by and it got me to thinking about private land owners and what to do if they suspect that there is or are Indigenous Ceremonial Stone  Landscape (CSL) features on their property – and what not to do, I suppose.
     And maybe “What Not To Do” is more important.
11.)    Don’t take it apart! The stone pile (row of stones) as is the artifact, a CSL feature. Some stone piles do turn out to be graves and a federal law prohibits digging up any grave anywhere (without permits or, as just seen recently at Standing Rock, a Presidential Proclamation). A respectful archaeologist immediately stops his or her permitted excavation when something is found that may indicate a grave. Jannie Loubser: “Excavation of Feature 1 and Stone Pile 1 was terminated as soon as prehistoric ceramics and lithics were recovered from the feature fill. The shape and dark coloring of the central Feature 1, together with a ceramic pipe bowl fragment recovered from within, strongly suggested that the feature represented a prehistoric Native American Indian grave. In compliance with NAGPRA and Georgia State laws concerning cemeteries, all work was terminated and the Forest Service was notified as lead agency for further instructions. After telephone discussions with Alan Polk from the Forest Service it was decided to back-fill the feature along with all the associated items. All artifacts, charcoal, and soil fill were carefully returned to their original locations within Feature 1. Soil was filled back into the excavated area and stones were carefully replaced on the pile...”

22.)     Don’t move it! Doug Harris of the Narragansett Indian Tribal Historic Preservation Office: “Stones, it was believed as the oral history tell us, could resonate with the voice. So if you prayed into a stone and you placed it on the earth mother’s body, you would be communicating to her and that communication or that prayer would continue to resonate. One of the things that we are very much against is movement of these stone groupings because if you move them then the prayers are broken and the powerful balance and harmony that the medicine people have sent down to us as the reason they were doing this would be broken. Then the balance, the precarious balance that we are in with our earth mother would be in worse shape, we believe.”

33.)    Don’t add any stones to a SCL– just plain common sense, you could say. Some people on private property feel moved to add some Mystery as a sort of selling point for a ten dollar tour you could say:

44.)    Don’t jump into all that Pseudoscience stuff – it’s a waste of time and, especially, a waste of money. Don’t encourage Those People...

"Pseudoarchaeology can be practised intentionally or unintentionally. Archaeological frauds and hoaxes are considered intentional pseudoarchaeology. Genuine archaeological finds may be unintentionally converted to pseudoarchaeology through unscientific interpretation. (cf. confirmation bias)
Especially in the past, but also in the present, pseudoarchaeology has been motivated by racism, especially when the basic intent was to discount or deny the abilities of non-white peoples to make significant accomplishments in astronomy, architecture, sophisticated technology, ancient writing, seafaring, and other accomplishments generally identified as evidence of "civilization". Racism can be implied by attempts to attribute ancient sites and artefacts to Lost TribesPre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact, or even extraterrestrial intelligence rather than to the intelligence and ingenuity of indigenous peoples.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Stone Serpents & Mexed Missages (from your television)

(Looking at something I started working on in early June 2017)
Snake Effigy by Carol Hicks
     So (back in June 2017) I saw the art work above, related to a link to a web page that included the words “Archaeologists Discover Hundreds of Ancient Stone Mounds in Alabama: Stone Mounds, Stone Walls, and Stone Snake Effigies Are Concentrated in Choccolocco Mountains” by Dr. Greg Little in the Google search preview. So I take the click bait and read what turns out to be an ad for a guide book to public Indian Mound Sites in Alabama and note that:
   “In 2017 the author visited the Morton site and several others in the area with Dr. Holstein. Since his initial reports, Holstein’s research team has found many more stone mounds and stone wall features in the area and he asserts that there are likely thousands of more stone mounds to be found in the many unexplored mountains in the region. (But then I read the next sentence, rolling my eyes if I recall correctly:) The present author has seen hundreds of stone walls in the New England states, which were made primarily by Colonial farmers. The stone walls in Alabama are clearly different from those in New England. There is no doubt that the stone features in Alabama are Native American... Some of the most impressive Native American constructions in the region are huge effigies of snakes formed from large stone piles and boulders. During our 2017 visit to the sites we saw several of these. However the most impressive is a 196-foot long snake effigy formed into a cobblestone-like, flat walkway on the top of Skeleton Mountain adjacent to Ft. McClellan. In 2004 and 2007 it was confirmed by archaeologists to have been a Native American construction.” - Alternate Perceptions Magazine -
    So I poked around to find something else by by Dr. Greg, checking out his credibility you might say, and I find: 
Mar 1990 by Gregory L. Little
Paperback $ 11 71 $19.95 - Only 1 left in stock - order soon!
     I guess I poked around a little more for some free information since I wasn't about to buy anything I wouldn't "buy into," if you know what I mean. I had quickly found more:
    “In 2014 I introduced significant evidence for ruins uncovered off the coast of the Bimini and Andros Islands in the Caribbean Ocean. The attached images, are present, unedited, and reveal complexes, and pyramidal structures on the bottom of the ocean. My guest, Dr. Greg Little, working with a grant from A.R.E. made numerous trips to the Caribbean based on the readings of Edgar Cayce, and uncovered startling evidence of high civilization. We'll also discuss the mound builders connection to Atlantis and the pyramids of Central and South America.
   Gregory L. Little, EdD, part Seneca, is author of the authoritative guide to America’s mound sites, Illustrated Encyclopedia of Native American Mounds & Earthworks and co-author of Mound Builders. Both he and his wife (Lora Little) have been featured in documentaries on Discovery, Learning Channel, History Channel, Sci-Fi, MSNBC, and National Geographic.”

    And I remember thinking about TV documentaries, how to spot reliable sources, and how I'd love to see Harry Holstein and other people who seriously study Ceremonial Landscapes get some publicity - and funding -  especially from any of those entities featuring the UFO guy (with the exception of the Sci-Fi Channel) in documentaries that seem to be sending out mixed messages, or "mexed missages" quoting a former president of the United States of America, promoting "junk science" that many people, including myself, think are just a little more than just "tinged" with racism.
   And I thought about how many times over the years that I've attempted to talk seriously about Indigenous Ceremonial Stone Landscapes with some really credible and knowledgeable people whose research has influenced me and wondered how many just assumed I was going to leap into UFO's or Giants or some of the other very silly sort of things that sell much better than than what is more likely the truth about these stones I'm so interested in...

    But still I remember being stuck by that illustration, a Snake (or Great Serpent) Effigy, the jewel on it's head emphasied and the stone "seat" placed nearby and included in the wonderful illustration by Carol Hicks - and those words that I had underlined:  "The present author has seen hundreds of stone walls in the New England states, which were made primarily by Colonial farmers. The stone walls in Alabama are clearly different from those in New England."
     Dr. Greg, I suspect, was clearly either not looking at the same "stone walls" that I look at or really hasn't looked at all. Maybe he had been relying on any of the many works on "New England Stone Walls," based on folklore rather than any real science or close observation...

   Along with the bare bones of the post, I found I had done a little doodling based on Hick's drawing:

Carol Hicks does link to  a version of Harry Holstein's paper:
and so did I, back in 2015:

Monday, October 09, 2017

Indigenous Peoples' Day Message 2017

Published on Oct 8, 2017

A Message Celebrating the Declaration by Northampton and Amherst, MA of the Second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples' Day, replacing Columbus Day. Sacred Lands are under attacks, while First Nation cultures and languages are at risk of extinction, but Native Americans are taking hold of our future through community building, data recovery, education and cultural/historic preservation.

Saturday, October 07, 2017


    “Spirit Stones” or ceremonial stone groupings in English

    Over the years, approaching 27 of them, I’ve been observing stones on the landscape around my home, in my town and well beyond that most people never give a second thought to. “It’s just a rock,” most people say as they shake their head and move along. I’ve had my mental health questioned, sometimes silently but also out loud, from good natured kidding to outright derision, from family and friends to a number of acquaintances and strangers, some of them considered professionals, archeologists and anthropologists, stone masons and surveyors.
    But still I persist and still I search for information about stones on the landscape, ranging from outright fictions to solid science and everywhere in between. Sometimes I’m even pleasantly surprised to find some gratification when I find, in other peoples’ research, some verification of what I’ve been conjecturing about my observations  – sometimes even wondering if I’ve influenced someone’s professional interpretations of stones on the landscape or Ceremonial Stone Landscapes as this science is starting to be known as...

    Here’s one more that I just recently became aware of, some of what is presented leading me to believe someone is paying attention to things I post and link to here on this blog:
“Ceremonial Stone Landscapes of New England and Developing Best Practices to Assess Submerged Paleocultural Landscapes” from the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, a division of the National Park Service.
You can read it here:
You can watch it here:

There's another posting on the site that I think I've linked to before, entitled "Ceremonial Stone Landscapes:"

It also has a YouTube video (the source of the images above):