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In fact, Ted Timreck pointed out there's a spring that actu-
ally emanates from one end of that quartz seam. That, too,
makes it very powerful.
In fact, a wall over a stream is one of the most incredible sites
I think I've ever seen up there (Figure 12). There is a substan-
tial wall that was built on top of the stream. But first a stone
culvert was constructed to contain the little brook, and then
flat slabs were put over that, and then they built the wall on
top of that. So you see it curves up to the slope--wow!
I first showed it to a friend of mine, an expert on
pre-Columbian art. I took him up to the Smith site. He said,
"You know, that represents a water serpent." The others
didn't know what the hell to say, when he mentioned that.
I think he's probably absolutely right.
I'd also like to point out a petroform that I found on the
Miner farm, among some cedar trees. Petroforms are
boulder outlines--circles are common--but at the Miner
farm I found what I believe is a petroform turtle (Figure
13). The ledge it is on is covered with moss and lichen,
and the petroform itself is heavily patinated with lichen.
I believe this feature is very ancient. I'm reminded of
another petroform (Figure 14) that Larry Harrop found in
a vernal pool in Charleston, Rhode Island, after the water
had evaporated. More attention should be given to this
kind of stone feature.
Remember we were talking about you had known somebody
who had made some cairns? What's the story behind that?
Yes, in the town of Knoxlyn, Pennsylvania. Bill Sevon, the
geologist, told me about this. He was driving around and
spotted these things in this guy's backyard. I went there
and it turned out that the owner's father or grandfather
built them in retirement. They're incredible (Figure 15).
There wasn't much lichen on them, which is a clue that
they weren't that old. But impressive.
So you can't always accept that if you find a big cairn that
it was built by the Indians. It might have been built later.
The Gages [Mary and James Gage] have come up with
that book, The Land of a Thousand Cairns. They conclude
that some of these features were built during the colonial
period. The Indians were still around and they were still
practicing their old ways. You know, I don't think it's cut
and dried like that. I'm sure a lot of those cairns predate
when that area was settled.
So in terms of your advice to what NEARA should do, the
dating seems like the top priority, I guess.
Of course. All of this is just talk. I've done a lot of research
in my life. I've written like three dozen articles of various
types in the work that I did as a conservator, study in
ancient early Italian painting techniques. I've worked in
libraries most of my career, and I know the kind of thing
that really makes sense. For NEARA, what makes sense is
to come up with some dates. What's the point of doing it?
It's fun, yes, but I have a different mindset. I need to know
that I have some real information on what I'm looking at.
What is it? How old is it? Who built it? Things like that.
Figure 13. A turtle petroform at the Bob Miner farm in Hopkinton,
Rhode Island. Photo by Norman Muller, 2006.
Figure 14. A turtle petroform at the Francis C. Carter Preserve in
Charlestown, Rhode Island. Photo by Larry Harrop.
Figure 15. Modern cairns in Knoxlyn, Pennsylvania. Photo by
Norman Muller, 2011.