Sunday, March 31, 2019

Box Turtle in a Water Wall

Observe the smooth stone above;
Observe the curves that resemble
the head of a box turtle below:
Observe the symmetry of the marginal scutes
above a turtle's head:

A Snake row of stones,
a Horned Serpent as they say,
Linked to this row of stones on the riverbank,
A trace of it visible in a LiDar image:
Observe that on the ground, "in the field,"
The snake seems to end at the Big Tree:

Observe the Upper End
Of the taller segment
Where it meets a lower and perhaps older row(?)
Walking back,
A view looking west,
Thin lines outlining the row of stones,
A circle around a boulder:

Friday, March 29, 2019

Stone Snake, Big Tree (Bethlehem/Watertown CT)

  This Big Snake Petroform has it's head by the river,      
As you get closer you can see better, 

 A Manitou Stone, leaning back towards a triangular flat topped boulder:
There's a "horn rest" stone where perhaps in the past antlers were placed,
and the Big Snake becomes a Horned Serpent...

(Here's one for you: Do you think that white quartz once rested on the head of this Probable Petroform - in front of that sort of stone I've taken to calling a horn rest?)
The Snake seems to end at this huge old Tree reaching up to the sky:

But an old photo shows that there was once more stonework on this hillside: 

Leafless view of the Big Tree, circa 1965: 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Line of (Disturbed) Stones”

The Desecrated Stones of Nonnewaug Wigwams

   It's the last dying day of Winter. By the time the sun sets later Spring 2019 will have just begun.
I guess it was back in 1990 that I first watched the Equinox Sunset, standing in the Heart of the Nonnewaug Wigwams, looking across the old planting fields toward the Fish Weir, noting when the sun touched the hillside above a sort of triangle of stones.

East "View Stone" - looking east:
Equinox Observation Stones:

Possibly the Summer Solstice Standing Stone/Marker Stone:

  I was already looking at some very poor Lidar Hillshade images of a place nearby, so I swung down a little and got just as equally disappointed, looking to see if I could spot these boulders I drew:
    What stands out most in the image above is that ditch that goes back to the 1850's at the top and the 100 year flood damage from the mid 1990's that took out the zigzag rows of stone on both sides of that stream. For a brief few weeks of time after that flood - when for an even briefer few hours of time the floodplain resembled the ancient glacial lake it once was at maximum flood - water flowed back between serpentine and zigzag rows of stones on this "hillock." 

   The only row of stones that stands out is one that has a sad story behind it. Strands of rusted barbed wire festooned with the occasional disintegrating piece of surveyor's tapes, covering over remnants of the older serpentine rows of stones in a seemingly long forgotten apple orchard snake through and are nailed to wooden posts and trees along this linear segment of stones that really do appear (atypically in an area where most "stone walls" are more carefully - and artistically -stacked) to have been "tossed along a property line" that exists to today.

Here's how Woodbury CT Historian William Cothren recorded the story:

Friday, March 15, 2019

Premise 01

If the stone wall begins with something that resembles a snake's head,
then there is a high degree of possibility that it may be
an Indigenous construction worthy of further investigation.

Or maybe:

   If the Qusuqaniyutók (‘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), begins with the head of  Gitaskog - or Tatoskok - Gtaskog, Kitaskog, Kita-skog, Keeta-skog, Gitaskog, Giciskog, Gichi-skog, or Msaskog, Msa-skog, Tatoskog, Tatoskok, Pita-skog, Peeta-skog, Peetaskog, Jipijka'm, Jupijkám, Tcipitckaam, Chipitchkam, Chepitchcalm, Kchi Pitchkayam, Ktchi Pitchkaam, Chepechcalm, Chepichkaam, Chepitchkaam, Che-Pitch-Calm, Chepichealm, Jibichkam, Jipijkma, Chepitkam, Ktchi-Pitchkayam, Kci-Athussos, Kitchi-at'Husis, Kici Atthusus, Kichi-Athusoss, K'cheattosis, Ktchi at'husis, Atosis, Mishiginebig, Mishi-Ginebig, Meshkenabec, Msi-Knebik, Kichikinebik, Kichiginebig, Mishi-Kinebig, Mishikinebik, Misikinebik, Meshkenabec, Mshignebig, Kchiknebig, Mshiknebik, Kchiknebik, Kichiknebik, Kchiknebig, Kchiginebig, Mshiginebig, Misi-Ginebig, 
Misiganebic, Miciginabik, Miciginabig, Micikinebik, Mecikenäpikwa, Maeci-Kenupik, Maec-Kenupik, Meqsekenaepik, Misikinubick, Misikinubik, Meshe-Kinebik, Meshekenabek, Misi-Kinebik, Mi'shikine'bik, Mi'siki'nipik, Misikinebik, Msi-Kinepikwa, Msí kinépikwa, Misi-Kinopik, Ktchi-Kinepikwa, Me'cigenepigwa, Misiganebic, Mi:'s-kenu:pik, Msi-kinepeikwa, Kinepikwa, Misikinipik, Psikinepikwa, Psikinépikwa, Genay-big, Mah-she-ken-a-peck , 
Maneto, Mnedo, Mnito, Mneto, Manetoa, Manetowa, Manet8wa, Kiche Manet8wa, Kichi-Manetowa, Kichimanetowa, Mji-Mnito, Mje-Mneto, Maxa'xâk, Mëxaxkuk, Maxaxak, Maxa'xak, W'axkook, Uktena, Uk'tena, Unktena, Ukatena, Uktin, Uhktena, Unktehila, Uncegila, Unhcegila, Unktehi, Apotamkin, Aputamkon, Appodumken, Appod'mk'n, Apodumken, Abbodumken, Apotampkin, Apotumk'n, Aboo-dom-k'n, Apotamkon, Apoatamkin, Aboumk'n, Weewillmekq, Wiwilomeq, Wiwilmekw, Wiwilmeku, Weewilmekq, Wiwillmekq', Wiwilameq, Wiwilemekw, Wiwila'mecq, Wewillemuck, Wiwiliamecq', Wiwil'mekq, Wiwilmeku, Wee-Will-l'mick, Wee-wil-li-ah-mek, Wee-wil-'l-mekqu', Omachk-soyis-ksiksinai, Omahksoyisksiksina  - or any of the "Horned Serpents
    "...a type of mythological freshwater serpent common to many tribes of the eastern United States and Canada...usually described as huge, scaly, dragon-like serpents with horns and long teeth...possessing magical abilities such as shape-shifting, invisibility, or hypnotic powers; bestowing powerful medicine upon humans who defeat them or help them; controlling storms and weather, and so on...venerated as gods or spirit beings in some tribes..." then it is most likely an Indigenous construction worthy of further investigation.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Record of How the Record was Recorded for the Record

Or: Why is my eye drawn here?

Here's an article that keeps popping up around me:
 "Old Stone Walls Record the Changing Location of Magnetic North" by John Delano - Distinguished Teaching Professor of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, University at Albany, State University of New York
 March 12, 2019
         "When I was a kid living in southern New Hampshire," Professor Delano tells us, "my family home was on the site of an abandoned farmstead consisting of massive stone foundations of quarried granite where dwellings once stood. Stone walls snaked throughout the forest. As I explored the deep woods of tall oaks and maples, I wondered about who had built these walls, and why. What stories did these walls contain?"
As nature reclaimed farmland, stone walls continued to mark historical boundaries. John DelanoCC BY-ND

             I can immediately identify with that, wondering about, while wondering about, these iconic stone walls, rows of stones that do indeed seem to snake across the landscape on this northeastern corner of the continent.
              I wondered,  "Who built this wall (that begins with a Big Snake's head)?" - but for just a little while:
So did my associate, Sherlock Stones:

         Delano continues, tells us that, "Decades later, while living in a rural setting in upstate New York and approaching retirement as a geologist, my long dormant interest was rekindled by treks through the neighboring woods. By now I knew that stone walls in New England and New York are iconic vestiges from a time when farmers, in order to plant crops and graze livestock, needed to clear the land of stones. Tons and tons of granite had been  deposited throughout the region during the last glaciation that ended about 10,000 years ago. 
         By the late 1800s, nearly 170,000 subsistence farming families had built an estimated 246,000 miles of stone walls across the Northeast. But by then, the Industrial Revolution had already started to contribute to the widespread abandonment of these farms in the northeastern United States. They were overgrown by forests within a few decades.
        During my more recent walks through the woods, on a whim I used a hand-held GPS unit to map several miles of stone walls. And that was how I realized that in addition to being part of an American legacy, their locations record a centuries-long history of the Earth’s wandering magnetic field."
         Well now, there are several things that bring the term Pretzel Logic to my mind when I read this, especially when further along into the article, Delano says: "Here’s the logic. When settlers were piling up those stones along the boundaries of their plots, they were using property lines that had been laid out according to the surveyors’ compass readings. Using LiDAR images, the bearings of those stone walls could be determined with respect to true north and compared with the surveyors’ magnetic bearings. The difference is the magnetic declination at the time of the original survey.
Historical maps and surveys underscore the orderly way plots were divvied up from the landscape in a grid.

        For example, the original surveys divided New Hampshire’s Stoddard township into hundreds of lots with boundaries with magnetic compass-bearings of N80 degrees W and N14 degrees E in 1768. As the land was cleared for farming, owners built stone walls along and within those 1768 surveyed boundaries..."
         Of course the differences in magnetic north declination shows up in those surveys from 1700 and records the magnetic changes up to the present every time a new survey is made but there seems to be a great number of assumptions affecting the conclusion that this has something to do with determining when a row of stones was actually built.
        First off is the assumption that the premise is true that "stone walls in New England and New York are iconic vestiges from a time when (colonial and post colonial) farmers, in order to plant crops and graze livestock," began piling stones for the first time ever in this virgin wilderness populated with nomadic savages. In a mere 100 years or so a relatively small population of people of European descent (or their slaves, indentured servants and employees), armed with compasses, built a vast number of miles of "stone fences," only to abandon it all - or a great percentage of all those farms.
       Our old friend Wikipedia tells us that the proper term for Pretzel Logic is "Circular reasoning," (Latin: circulus in probando, "circle in proving" - also known as "circular logic") is a logical fallacy in which the reasoner begins with what they are trying to end with. The components of a circular argument are often logically valid because if the premises are true, the conclusion must be true. Circular reasoning is not a formal logical fallacy but a pragmatic defect in an argument whereby the premises are just as much in need of proof or evidence as the conclusion, and as a consequence the argument fails to persuade. Other ways to express this are that there is no reason to accept the premises unless one already believes the conclusion, or that the premises provide no independent ground or evidence for the conclusion. Begging the question is closely related to circular reasoning, and in modern usage the two generally refer to the same thing..."
   If you start with the assumption that only Post Contact people built stone walls and state a bunch of facts that may only be folklore and conclude that only Post Contact people built all those stone walls, then you've made a complete circle right back where you started, leaving out any evidence to the contrary. 
   Sounds like Pseudoscience if you ask me, leaving out the largest populations of suspects with the largest window of opportunity and attributing the "stone walls" to some supposedly advanced (white) civilization with supernatural abilities.
    I may not live long enough to see someone pay for a scientific archaeological investigation to determine a possible age for these rows of stones in what's become known as New York and New England, but I do know a possible Cultural Clue may be showing if the row of stones begins with a Big Snake's Head, such as my friend Anna in New Hampshire captured in these photos:

There's more photos of suspected Indigenous Ceremonial Stone Landscape features from Anna here:
Variation in Woodbury CT:

And this is a search for more New Hampshire related possible Indigenous stonework: