background image
Next Page
kame that had been carved to this particular shape.
Certainly, soil had to be added to it. There was a fellow in
town in the 1960s who quarried at the mound and found,
like eight feet down, a layer of willow twigs. He went
down another eight to ten feet and found another layer of
twigs. And he kept these twigs in mason jars in his house.
I heard this all from Jim Parrish. I thought, gee, I've got to
find those mason jars. Well, the man died and apparently
his house was sold and everything--mason jars, you know,
they heaved them.
So at least we know that this type of material was incorpo-
rated into the mound, probably to stabilize it in a certain
way. The Indian authorities don't want anything touched.
I've gotten wind that, no, you can't dig into this mound
anymore, but I think some digging can be done respon-
sibly, because we need dates. How old is it? How are we
going find out a date for it if we can't obtain material that
we can date?
But what we need, for all of this kind of work we do, we
need dates. And once we have some dates, that's some-
thing for a good case.
Yes, so you were up at the Smith site in Vermont? The farm?
And you said that they did do a study of that not too long ago?
Like a year or two ago. University of Vermont came down
to assess.
What did they conclude?
They studied a small number of cairns. They were only there
for about a week. John Crock was one of the archaeologists
in charge. He wrote this report, which was submitted to a
Green Mountain National Forest archaeologist, who hasn't
acted on it, but the report more or less concludes that the
cairns that they studied are agricultural in nature.
And on what basis was that?
They simply concluded that the mounds were "agricultural"
because they are on abandoned farm land. The archaeolo-
gists simply can't accept that unusual stonework predates
the colonial occupation of the land, and so they twist their
evidence into knots to fit this preconceived notion. Yet the
site is loaded with deliberately placed quartz, and manitou
stones are found here and there. This the archaeologists
don't bother to address.
There were two people who were also investigating the
site, one of whom was Una MacDowell, who's from Northern
Ireland and trained as an archaeologist, and Phil Hilts, who
was a science writer. He was in charge of the journalism
department at MIT, I think. The two of them together had
studied two of the cairn sites
on West Hill, one of which
is the Schenkman site that
contains the wall over the
stream, an incredible site,
and then the main Smith
site, on which they have
recorded about 160 different
structures of different sizes
and shapes (Figure 7).
I did a study of the deeds for
that property, putting all of
them in order. It turns out
that when it was first bought
by Smith in the early 1840s,
only four acres of land had been cleared. The cairns, of
various sizes, extend over an area of fifty or sixty acres.
That, to me, is proof that these things were not built after
*pation of the hill by
the colonists.
Did it talk about him using the land where those cairns were
for anything?
In his daybooks he mentions exactly the kind of operations
that he was doing at the time. He was cutting a lot of wood
for charcoal, charcoal burning. Plus he had various crops.
Figure 6. A 2015 LiDAR image reveals a prominent rectangular
mound near Great Barrington, Massachusetts. [MassGIS Data:
LiDAR Terrain Data Index, 2016]
Figure 7. Norman Muller in front of a cairn at the Smith site in
Rochester, Vermont. Photo by Pete Muller, 2015.
Figure 8. A page from the
Smith Farm Daybook, 1847.
Photo by Norman Muller.