Sunday, August 30, 2015

Quartz Boulder, Flaked

On the forest floor..a large boulder, dripping wet while the rest of woods is dry. Leaning closer, I saw that one side of it had   been chipped away. (pecked?) ..bits at a time..The woodland debris surrounding the boulder is a foot deep. I pulled some away from the cut face. 

Massachusetts Cairns

A couple more Cairns from the woods...outside, over there....

Friday, August 28, 2015


A small collection of rocks. about 2 feet by 2 feet,  arranged into an effigy.....almost overlooked as a "cairn."

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Very Large Cairn

Giant Glacial Boulder serves as the base for this Cairn. This could not be a "field clearing" cairn because the builder had to climb down a steep rock strewn slope,  bordering a vernal brook, to place the stone.  

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Massachusetts Cairns 4 & the Perseid Meteorite Shower

The 2015 Perseid meteor shower peaked on August 11, 12 and 13. 

August 13th: The Green Corn Festival.

Coincidentally, it was on August 14th, on an evening walk through the woodland trail near my home, that the angle of the setting sun illuminated the stone piles and cairns in a most curious way. 

(From D. Harris, 2008: The Great Falls 2008). 
"Celestial observations made by tribal members, tribal representatives, scientific analysts, and field researchers in August 2007 revealed that the observation point marked by the stone features was aligned with the setting sun during the HEIGHT OF THE PERSEID METEORITE SHOWER. 
The passage of the meteorite shower from northeast to southwest during this astronomical event is of great importance in the cosmology of Eastern tribes. (Scope of Work 2008: The great Falls 2008). (Turners Falls Ceremonial Hill Site.) "

Effigy on boulder

Side view of a "seat." 

Turtle effigy.: nose facing left; .and 1/4 of the entire body"

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Massachusetts Cairns 3

This appears to be a ceremonial site. All the components are there. South facing slope near a Great Pond, bordered by brooks formed by spring run-offs.  The large Split Boulder. Curved rows of stones, facing the split boulder. Nearby  another Split Rock", "plugged."   A Stone Wall with no logic to it's beginning or ending,  bordering the run-off of a spring.   At least three complete circles of stones of different sizes, with a corresponding sized  quartz rock in the center.    There are at least  5 turtle effigies on cairns, a couple of frog effigies, a snake, and the  single large Bird effigy. In an almost direct line, approximately 300 feet apart and heading north, are piles of stones. There is no known property line in the oldest deeds to correspond with the placement of these piles.  

Split Rock filled with stones. 

Frog Effigy on Cairn

Large split boulder.. face on;  it's middle is covered with woodland debris but it extends about 15 feet,. 
Ring of Stones surrounding the large Split Boulder, above. 

Row of stones on ground facing the large split boulder, above. 

Turtle Effigy on Cairn

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Massachusetts Cairns 2

Effigy,  on cairn: Split representing the mouth, with sliver of stone for it's tongue. Note the ridged stone serving as his backbone. 
  Unfortunately, some,  buried under centuries of  woodland debris,  are mostly below ground and  unrecognizable.

Cairn with turtle shaped head, and a flat rock  (almost) upright in the center. 

Small circle of stones with quartz rock in center the size of a basketball.  

Cairn, about 4 feet long, 2 feet high, almost covered with moss and woodland debris; flat rock on east side; the tree had grown up behind it;
There are bits of quartz rock layered on the side; I scraped away some leaves.

SERPENT WALL: At first I thought this was a stone wall to no-where, but the larger foreground rock suggests  an effigy for sorts.
In addition to the cairns in this area, there are stone piles, some with quartz, spaced at regular intervals,  perhaps 300 feet apart, on a north-south axis. st.  

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Massachusetts Cairns 1

The first photo is a wide view: on the far left there are three cairns.  There is also one in center foreground. Following the ridge from left to right, there are three more  along  a semi circular line.     In the early 19th century there was a farm further east along a road, and the cairns may be simply evidence of "field clearing." However, the distance from the old cellar hole; the location in the terrain and the arrangement of each pile, with the inclusion of a quartz  rock to many of the piles are more suggestive of NATIVE CONSTRUCTIONS, similar to those found in other areas around New England and suggest an earlier origin.
A pretty stunning bird head effigy stone on top of the cairn, with the beak to the left and a large, distinct eye.
Effigy and cairn; the base boulder extends another 4 feet or so and is covered with woodland debris. 

Cairn: Looks like two turtle effigies, on on top of the other.
"The turtle carries the prayers of the people on it's back." 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Massacusetts Cairns: Where the light comes in...

One evening, when the sun was low in the west,  in an area where I've walked for over 40 years, I noticed that the light from the sun struck an array of rock piles, revealing that many of those rock piles had a white quartz in the center.  Returning home, I "googled" "Rock Piles Western Massachusetts."

One web page: "Wildcat Hill Cairns," had photos of a landscape which mirrored the one near where I live.

A description of the  "Wildcat Hill Cairns" in Ashland, MA matched the description one could make of the many rock piles and cairns.

"Stone pile sites can be found all over Massachusetts.  In some cases, the stones are carefully arranged on top of exposed boulders.  In others, they appear loosely piled on the ground.  Often, they are found in large clusters of similar appearance.  While some may be the result of field clearance, many are found in areas so rocky that “field clearing” would have been futile. There are some early New England accounts of Indians building "donation piles", in which travelers add a stone or stick to a pile to honor an ancestor or local spirit.  Elsewhere, stone piles are associated with vision quests.  Wildcat Hill, located in Ashland not far from one of John Elliot’s praying villages, may have comprised a ritual landscape with upwards of a hundred devotional cairns, all on the west slope of the hill. If you visit a stone pile site, enjoy the ambience and take care not to disturb any of the rock formations, which contemporary Native Americans believe still carry prayers to Mother Earth."