James JosephWriting can be difficult and it can be fun. Here, I can write about anything that comes to mind, modern or ancient. I hope you'll join in with your comments.

November 13, 2009

Evidence of Native Americans in Many Woodland Locations

It’s amazing how many places you can find evidence of the past out in the middle of the woods. Stone walls, old foundations, abandoned wells and even cemeteries can be found in wooded locations far from the nearest roads or paths. Most of these are from historical towns and homesteads that were simply abandoned due to disease, attack, or economical changes such as lumbertowns where the trees have all been cut, or mines that have been played out.

Possible Indian Cairn

Possible Native American Cairn

While there’s plenty of evidence of early European activity, there are also stone formations related to Native American interests that date back thousands of years. Here in Maine, much of the forested areas have never been developed to the degree that construction would devastate or cover many of the ancient sites. Here’s a photo of a possible cairn, often used as a monument of sorts. Each of the rocks in this cairn are perhaps a minimum of 100 pounds and greater than 14″ in diameter. James Gage (www.stonestructures.org) thinks this may be a Native American cairn due to it’s proximity to several dozens of similar structures in a small area of perhaps less than an acre. Other indicators are the unusual amount of vertical stones, most of which are wide at the base and come to a point.

Unusual Marker stone in the woods of Maine

Unusual Marker stone in the woods of Maine

Here’s another photo of a very unusual marker, just a few hundred yards from the large group of cairns. This marker is unlike any of the other vertical stones in the area, and almost appears to be sculptured. Lying on the ground next to it is what I thought to be a long, triangular post, perhaps used as a pointer for a geographical or astronomical location.

Unusual stone marker found in the woods of MaineUpon removing the upper leaves and spongy forest debris, it actually comes to a knife-like or feathered tip. Once I hit a sandy type soil, I stopped digging in the event there were any artifacts or evidence located below. The marker itself is approximately 3.5-4′ tall. There’s no indication as to who put this marker in place, but it is one of the most unusual I’ve seen. It’s approximately 1,200 feet from the nearest road, and that road actually followed an ancient Native American trail very closely, that was hundreds of miles long.

By most accounts, the first Americans in the Northeast go back no more than 11,000 years. However, that’s due to the available evidence. 12,000 years ago represented the end of the last glacial period. That glacial period started about 30,000 years ago, peaked 18,000 years ago, and began to recede. But, that doesn’t mean that there couldn’t have been any inhabitants prior to 30,000 years ago. I suspect that most of the evidence would have been destroyed by the glacial extension. While the last glacial period seems to have lasted about 18,000 years, the actual ice age began 70,000 years ago. While we may have passed the end of the last “glacial period” some time ago, technically, we may still be in an “ice age”.


  1. I think I’ve been looking for you;
    I must confess, I don’t read much fiction anymore. It seems too often to be too contrived, formulated, or preachy. I tend to escape into nonfiction, history in particular, for all the same reasons I should be reading fiction; drama, intrigue, and beleive it or not humor.
    (The French left some men overwinter to build a fort and start a colony. When they came back in the Spring; there they were – gone! The fort was half finished, tools left lying about, guns and provisions missing. A few freash graves, but nothing to account for the balance of men – no bodies to be found. What happend? Pirates? The English? The Indians? The French left on good terms with the local inhabitants in the Fall, so there was no reason to jump to conclusions. When they went to the native village to make enquiries, they went well armed just in case.At the village, they were greeted quite warmly by the Indians and somewhat warmly by thier own men.It turned out that as Winter wore on, the men lacked enugh food, provisions, and – from the onset – women. The natives were more than gracious in sharing all of these needs.
    I imagine the poor men had to be grudgingly dragged back by thier ears to finish the fort.)
    As for drama, I suggest two blogs I came across; Norumbega Reconcidered:Mawooshen and the Wawenoc Diaspora – and – Remembering the Tarratines and Nanapashemet.
    I like to look for tangible connections to History.I don’t dig,I just take pictures and leave footprints(size 13s). This is what lead me to your blog site. I’ve been searching the internet looking for places colonial and precolonial. I’ve known of a few Indian forts in Maine, and John Goff’s blog – Remembering the Tarratines and Nanapashemet – has made me realize that there was more than just the few. I hope to discover more of these sites along with sacred sites not just to touch history, but to somehow preserve it.
    Now for the fiction. There is a great dramatic story in the Tarrantine Wars, the facts just need to be teased out a little more. Part of the problem with history is that most of the people living it, didn’t write it down. Those that did, wrote only what pertained to their perspective. History is often forgotton or revised with facts tossed out because sources are thought to be unreliable.
    I digress, the Tarrantine Wars was a time of nexus when the age of exploration was coming to an end, and colonization about to start.It was a time of a clash of cultures wich reverberates to this day. Europeans stood by as native tribes practiced ruthless horrors on eachother – they’ve seen this played out befor on thier own home soil. I doubt either side realised what horrors nature had in store.
    I hope you as writer can help honer these folks by telling thier story.

    Comment by Rob Sirois — January 18, 2010 @ 4:24 pm

  2. Thanks for your excellent comments, Rob. Yes, it’s just as easy to get lost in non-fiction as fiction. Yes, there were Indian forts in Maine. There were also as many as 50 settlements throughout New England prior to the pilgrims landing in 1620… there goes that long-lived slab of “historical” baloney.
    Have you read Kenneth Roberts books? Arundel, Oliver Wiswell and others were written mostly in the 1930’s. According to Harvard historians (I read that somewhere), Kenneth Roberts’ novels were closest to the actual historical facts. Quite interesting, particularly the portrayal of Benedict Arnold leading an army up the Penobscot River on a catastrophic mission to take Montreal from the British. Later he organized the building of a navy on Lake Champlain to confront the British Navy and prevent them from dividing the colonies in two by attacking and taking New York. Oliver Wiswell is another of his novels, but from the loyalists’ point of view. Extremely interesting. I particularly like Kenneth Roberts because he was blackballed by the media and publishing industry for his unconventional and blatant portrayals of the Revolutionary War.

    His views about the true causes of the war are incredibly enlightening if true. Same as it ever was. Drugs and money… the British started taxing and confiscating ships carrying rum and narcotic drugs such as opium and coca. That was the last straw. Hmm… sound familiar?

    At any rate, I did get a bit preachy in Shadow of the Serpent, but what the heck, it’s just another melodrama with a different point to make.

    Comment by Jim — January 18, 2010 @ 5:53 pm

  3. Thats a twist I never thought of – were the colonies horning in on the opium trade with the Brittish? – We certainly were after the revolution. Johhn Adams said something to the effect that men shouldn’t be confused with angels; there goes your proof.

    Comment by Rob Sirois — January 21, 2010 @ 7:29 pm

  4. From what I remember reading, the British had imposed a tax on certain cargo such as rum, opium, coca and other drugs some 20 years prior, but never actually enforced it. Then, they suddenly started imposing the tax and confiscating ships that had cargo with no proof of paying the taxes. This infuriated the American shipping magnates, who took their argument to the colonists whom they had been steadily feeding incendiary news and conspiracies about the crown’s suppression of the colonies. I just find it extremely curious that like all other wars that were ramped up over idealogy, it’s really about the money and the power. Idealogy is used as a tool to inflame rather than as a way to improve lives. Would you say that’s human nature? Or just a twisted propagandist move exploited by those who tend to seek power.

    Comment by Jim — January 24, 2010 @ 10:58 am

  5. I was about to agree with you, then I thought about it; I don’t need to have an idealogy to inflame me, having my pockets raided for other people’s revenue would do just fine. “What do you mean those trees with the broad arrow mark now belong to the King! They’re on my property which I stole from the Indians fair and square!”
    Here in New England, spite for the Mother Country was started almost from the beginning. Fist came the religious zealots who couldn’t conform to the Kings Ideas of religion. Then more religious zealots, fleeing England after Cromwel’s failed theocratic dictatorship. After the religious zealots came, yes I must say it, even more religious zealots. This last group of zealots were the kinder more gentler zealots(new and improved?), the Quakers, who were kicked out of England because they possessed the silly notion that all men were somehow created equal.
    Add to this mix hoards of dispossessed Scots and Irish cleared from their homelands to make room for sheep, and the cream of England’s prison systems; one has to wonder why trouble didn’t start earlier.
    England was expanding it’s empire and often couldn’t deal with all it’s problems concerning the colonies. Often the colonies had to take it upon themselve to deal with things. During the French and Indian Wars, many of the armies were supplied by the colonies themselves.Many forts were built with colonial funds and staffed with coloial volunteers. The Crown did contribute where it could, but couldn’t do everything everywhere. The colonies had to become selfsufficient and deal with the complexity of problems. Massachusetts which started out as a haven for zealots found it had to accommmodate a wide assortment of people and came up with a document to protect them from heavy handed laws; the freedom to worship as one saw fit was paramount.
    I’m inclined to believe the idealogy was grown and fostered long before the revolution, not to mention the bit of spite. When England’s problems with France seem over for a while, it moves to reassert controle over its colonies. Some of the efforts by England, if I may use the phrase again, were heavy handed.
    So was it about the money? That was as big a factor then as it is now. Every one in power would do well to remember what was told to George Bush Sr.”It’s the economy stupid!”

    Comment by Rob Sirois — January 28, 2010 @ 12:17 am

  6. It was about the money and the power. I once read that many of the religious zealots went to the Netherlands, where they could pretty much have what they wanted. Those that came to the colonies were also interested in the “free” land. Land was bought by underhanded legal tactics such as handing a passing Native a basket of fish for a plot of land that had absolutely nothing to do with his tribe. That constituted fair compensation to draw up a legal deed. But this generally put the new owner on the battlefront. So, they would tell others in England about all the free land in order to sell properties and put some distance between themselves and the front.
    The French and Indian war lasted about 100 years, and it was fairly brutal. It’s barely remembered though, as there were other wars after it with the Cherokee, the Sioux, Apaches and on and on. A sort of ethnic cleansing (hmm…) in order to obtain new territories. Strange how our point of view is so different concerning others affairs, than they are about our own.
    Oh, and religious freedom back in the 1600-1700’s was certainly not afforded to Catholics or the Native peoples. Guess religious freedom is a bit of a stretch.

    Comment by Jim — February 7, 2010 @ 2:25 pm

  7. Hello,

    Came upon your blog searching for “unusual stone marker” photos. In Pennsylvania, I discovered a similar shaped stone but had strange markings on it’s surface. Here’s the story:

    In 2007, I was exploring a forest at Loyalsock State Park in Sullivan County, PA. I came upon a stone that seemed to be “out of place” and had unusual markings on three of its’ surfaces. The stone was about 28” x 18” x 24 tall and the top had two “[“ groves, both about the same size and depth and at the back, there was what appeared to be a symbol that resembled a hieroglyph, that looked like it was etched upon it, about 1/8” deep. These markings did not look to be natural but man-made. Some have suggested that the “[“ marks are quarry marks and a gentleman at the Pennsylvania Council of Professional Geologists emailed me back and wrote: “None of us think it’s natural, but its great distance from anything known to have quarrying activity is a puzzle”.

    Please email me if you’re interested in viewing two photos of this stone.


    Comment by N. Gagnon — August 1, 2010 @ 6:51 pm

  8. Strengthened social relationships and kinship bonds are proposed by Caspari and Lee following their study of 768 fossilized teeth from a variety of sites. They noticed they were finding a higher proportion of specimens from sites less than 30,000 years old than from older sites. Their calculations point to the number of older people surviving quadrupling about 32,000 years ago (in the Upper Paleolithic and after the demise of the Neanderthals). That is, there was a sharp increase in the proportion of grandparents. They say that significant longevity came late in human evolution and its advantages compensated for the disabilities and diseases of older age. They add that their research provides evidence for the previously-existing theory that modern humans predominated because they were wiser with the wisdom they had accumulated over a long life. This is a complementary theory to the ‘grandmother hypothesis’. Together, these factors could have promoted the expansion of populations, creating social pressures that led to the growth of trade networks, increased mobility, and more complex systems of co-operation and competition. In this way, modern civilization could have been born, said the scientists. The reports of their research say nothing about why the advantages of longevity kicked in at this time.

    Comment by Marilyn E. Oneal — May 20, 2013 @ 7:41 am

  9. Jaynes believed that all ancient people had a bicameral mind, and that this was a common condition of humanity only 3,000 years ago. To provide evidence for the idea, Jaynes pointed to modern day schizophrenics, who sometimes hallucinate voices, as modern-day inheritors of the remnants of bicameralism. Then he turned his eye to history, and pointed out that the earliest religions generally had a variety of spirits, rather than a unifying god. This was evidence of a multitude of gods made up by a multitude of people. Some earlier cultures had a tendency to hear the immediate voices of deceased family members, and even to keep corpses clothed and “fed,” because they still heard their family’s voices as if they were alive. Jaynes even pointed to bicameralism in the Bible. In the Book of Amos, one of the earliest books, there is no personalization of the narrator, and there is no look at the motives of feelings of anyone mentioned. The book is for the most part a transcript of what God said, what God wanted, and what God would do to anyone who didn’t obey. Later books looked much more closely at the psychology of the people involved. Jaynes also pointed to ancient Greek texts. In earlier editions, the gods appeared to the human heroes and either forced them into foolishness or guided them to make the right decisions. These “gods” were the minds of the heroes themselves. Only in later texts, Jaynes claimed, did the style change and the heroes themselves become capable of making their own decisions and harboring their own thoughts.

    Comment by Joni V. Spence — July 2, 2013 @ 11:54 am

  10. The first Aboriginal people arrived on the north west coast of Australia between 65,000 and 40,000 years ago. The archaeological evidence suggests that Aboriginal people had contact with Macassans and the people of southern Indonesia for the past two thousand years exchanging ideas, technology and culture. Aboriginal people eventually populated the entire continent of Australia developing a subsistence economy hunting birds, fish and animals and harvesting edible plants.

    Comment by Rosanna Hendrix — July 14, 2013 @ 8:36 am

  11. As far as humans go, both Homo sapiens (that’s us) and our closest cousins ( Neanderthals ) knew how to create stone-tipped spears, which leads to the conclusion that our ancestor, a species called Homo heidelbergensis had this know how and then passed it on. At 500.000 years old, these findings are quite likely to belong to this ancestor – Homo heidelbergensis lived between 600.000 and 400.000 years ago.

    Comment by Patrice Buck — August 23, 2013 @ 5:51 pm

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