Friday, August 31, 2007

More Masonville and Afton

Kathy sent me some more picture of cairns from this area. They are very nice examples.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Masonville and Afton

I was inspired to start this blog because I was reading the Rockpiles blog and I saw the power that it had to document the existence of native stonework and for it's power to connect people that are interested in this topic. I was please when a new reader "Kathy" contacted me with information about stone piles near her home in Masonville and Afton.

I love the dog in this picture:)

This appears to be a cluster of stone cairns. If I remember correctly Kathy said this group is located near a spring that runs into the Delaware River.

Kathy also sent pictures of some beautiful stone walls found in the same area. Although I do suspect that native people built stone walls I doubt that these are pre-columbian. 1000 years of trees falling, etc... would probably have deteriorated a narrow (compared to a pile) wall. Its hard to understand the function of a stone pile but it is easy to understand the function of a stone wall. That makes it easier to justify why a pioneer or farmer would spend time creating them. I think there are two reasons why stone walls are often found near stone cairns. One, there are usually lots of rocks in the ground where cairns are built. Two, farmers probably moved existing cairns and built walls with the stones.

My hope is that Kathy and others in upstate New York can document all of these stone structures before they are lost forever.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Hidden Landscapes

I'm not exactly sure what this project is but it looks like a video documentary that explores new evidence about the lives of ancient people. It looks like it will be very well produced and informative. I can't wait to see what they produce. You can watch the trailer at this web site:

Monday, August 20, 2007

Italy Hill

Technically Italy Hill is not a part of the Hi-Tor Wildlife Area but I am adding information about the Stone Structures on Italy Hill in this post. I have been looking for stone piles on Italy Hill for tens years. I had found stone piles to the East in Friend and to the West on East Hill. It made sense that there would be some in between. Until last week I hadn't had any luck. It is a big wild hill and hiking the whole hill would take a good deal of time. Just when I had given up looking for them they found me. I was Geocaching last week and a large cairn was right next to the cache site.

With a little exploring I found about twenty cairns in this area. These cairns are deteriorated. They also seem to have originally had a unique feature. They appear to have been large circular platforms with smaller circular platforms built on top of the larger base.

One pair of piles is also unusual because two piles are connected. There is a large Maple growing right out of one of the piles.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Finger Lakes Trail Geocache

I went Geocaching today on a hill that I have searched for stone piles for the last ten years with no luck. Low and behold right next to the cache site there was a large cairn. With a little exploring I found a line of 13 cairns that followed a ridge line. I had a feeling that there were cairns somewhere on this hill. I had found cairns on the hilltops to the East and to the West of this area. Some of these cairns were quite large. There was a unique pile or set of piles where two stone piles actually touched they were so close together. I will add a video clip next week. It is always exciting to find a site like this. It is nice to know that I can practice archeology right in my own backyard.

Monday, August 13, 2007

More about who created these stone cairns.

In a previous post a reader "Norman" left a comment that stated his belief that the Adena were not associated with stone structures. He felt that the Hopewell culture was more directly connected to the culture that created these stone structures. The information that I included in my previous post that addressed the question of who created these stone cairns was derived for the most part from the writings of David Robinson.
David passed away a few years ago and his wisdom is sorely missed. He like myself was an amateur archaeologist. Like anyone interested in past cultures he attempted to assign a label to the people that he was trying to understand. I have read many of these labels: Adena, Hopewell, Owasco, Massawomeck, Woodlands, Burial Phase 1, Burial Phase 2. I understand the need to do this but I also think it is a flawed concept. I think about the community that I live in. We might identify it as an Anglo-Christian community, but that is misleading. We have a strong Mennonite community as well as people who have African, Chinese or Mexican heritage. The world is not black and white.

So what do we know? There was a culture that lived in this area before the Seneca. They have been called the Owasco culture. They are believed to have spoken the Algonquian language. David Robinson felt they were connected to the Adena

The Owasco were descendants of the Adena. The Once mighty Adena were in a regressed state when their culture changed enough so that archeologists considered them to have become a different people, the Owasco, around 1000AD in New York State, according to William Ritche> Even if they had been in a more regressed state than the later Adena, the Owasco were different from, and seem to have been more advanced, except in warfare, than the tribes that later made up the Iroquois. This was taken from David's article "The Seneca Serpent Legends" in the summer 1998 issue of the Neara journal.

Maybe it is more accurate to call the previous culture Hopewellian. To date I don't know the answer. Who ever made these structures seemed to have a connection with people in New England, Delaware, Georgia, etc...
The reason that I created this blog was to connect with people that can provide information about these ancient people and share ideas like Norman did. I love a mystery and riddles. I look forward to hearing from other readers.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Stone Pile Cluster

I went for a hike today to video tape a cluster of stone piles that I had found last year and was surprised to find a dozen stone piles that I hadn't found before. I will have to go back when the trees are bare to mark them with my GPS. This puts the number of stone piles or cairns in the Hi-Tor area over up over 300. I have found many references to other places in America where these stone monuments are found but I have never heard of one area with so many individual piles. Some readers may have noticed that some of the pictures and videos show stone piles that aren't as nicely constructed as ones from Pennsylvannia or New England. I think the reason for this is the bedrock in this area. The bedrock is a fragile shale. My guess is that it changes the appearance a little. The 13 cairns shown in the latest video clip are circular. They start at a spring that forms the beginning of a small creek bed that eventually leads to the Susquehanna.

New Video Clip

I really enjoy the video clips on the Rockpiles blog. Since I have the equipment and sometime off this summer I am going to add some video clips to this blog. The stone pile shown in this clip is located at the top of a hill. This hill has a double row of stone piles that extend up to this large one at the crest. This is just a theory but this line seems to follow the path of the sun. The cairn or pile this four foot tall, ten feet across, twenty five feet long. The uphill section seems added and circular.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Who created these stone piles?

Obviously we can only guess. After years of research and borrowing the ideas of Arthur C. Parker the first New York State Archeologist who was a Seneca and lived on this hill, and the ideas of David D. Robinson a wise person who shared my fascination with this mystery I will propose a theory.

Long before the Seneca a people that have been called the Owasco lived on the hills around the Naples area. The Owasco were associated with the Adena culture that survived in the Northeast for around a thousand years. I believe the Adena people are the people that practiced stone monument construction all over the eastern parts of America from Georgia to Maine. They are more famous for the earthen mound structures they created in Ohio and W. Virgina but I believe they also left behind thousands of stone cairns throughout the Eastern United States. The Owasco were just the local sub set of the Adena culture.

The Owasco lived in the valley around Naples. They had a council bowl in Clark Gulley and a fort on the top of the hill across the valley. They built stone monuments on the hills that rise above the Naples valley. Some where probably ceremonial, some were trail markers, and some were burial cairns.

If my theory is correct these stone monuments are cultural artifacts that have survived the modern era. Although they are not as big as the Pyramids of Giza or the as sophisticated as Petra or as grand as Teotihuacan they represent the same thing. A clue to who we were.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Clark Gulley

A discussion of stone piles in the Hi-Tor area has to include the the area around Clark Gulley. The Native American history in this area is rich and mysterious. The "oldest" Seneca village Nundawao was located at he mouth of this gulley. Years ago my old friend David Robinson told me that he had found stone piles like ones on his property in the Southern tier near Clark Gulley. After a good deal of searching I found the stone piles that he reported. They are located in an area that David called the council bowl. There nineteen stone piles in a line that follows the base of a steep bank. Three of the piles are large. The rest are small and get smaller as the the line goes to the back of the bowl. The first stone pile is still fairly well structured. It has a round end, a rectangular center section, and a rectangular tail at the other end. I will try to post a link to a video clip that documents this stone pile as it exist today (8/2/07 to be specific).

I haven't ask the readers of this blog for feedback to date but I am interested in hearing from other that have something to add to the discussion.