Indeed! These are definitely exciting times for Bear Spirit Mountain.
We have been very active in both promoting this treasured site and also physically working at the site itself. In the last few weeks we have visited the Bluemont, Virginia festival, and the TMG 25th anniversary company fall festival in Purcellville, Virginia. We are scheduled to visit several more fall festivals in the next few weeks for book signing and I also am giving a lecture to the Virginia Archaeological Societies annual conference in two weeks.
One the things I will address at this conference to the Archaeologist, Anthropologists and Geologists is the absolute lack of interest among the academic community to study Pleistocene period American Indian sites. Over the last year I have personally spoke to at least five Archaeologist in West Virginia. They either showed complete indifference or admitted that while they know a lot about "modern Indians" they know very little about anything that is from the Paleo period or older. When I pushed them and asked them why don't they come out and learn at my site they state they are afraid their reputations will be tarnished if they publish something with errors in it.
It seems incredulous to me they take this approach for how do you learn if you don't get out into the field and using sound Archaeological methods and techniques record and publish what you've learned? It's a defeatist approach. But, I hope to change a few minds and generate some more interest.
By comparison, my site Archaeologist, Jack Hranicky, RPA, is retired. Yet this man is currently still actively working, recording and publishing four Pleistocene period sites. And, he has identified five others that could be from the same time period but need further research. Albeit while officially retired. I think some of it to is a lot of the younger Archaeologists are less physically active in the field and spend more time behind their desks. One Archaeologist told me that the reason she "couldn't" visit our site is because it was a few hours drive from her location.
Well enough about what "can't" be done, I am focusing on what is being done. We have been blessed to pick up so much support from good people like you who are genuinely interested in this site. My book is doing well. Thank you to everyone who purchased it.
So, what's new at Bear Spirit Mountain? Well, plenty.
To start with over the last two years since we bought this site I have learned so much. Jack has taught me so much in the field on how to find and record new glyphs or structures. He has corrected me many times when I made mistakes. He has shown me how to photograph and measure each new find. How to record GPS coordinates. In essence as he says "I have created an Amature Archaeologist." And I am proud that he considers me in this light. It's an honor coming from him.
Recently I have visited several other places that as I looked around I have identified pictographs. Just a few years ago this would not have been possible. We have to remember that our Ancestors walked these lands we walk on now for tens of thousands of years. They left traces of their civilization and art everywhere. We just don't know what to look for as a society. Until we do. We learn. And then our eyes are opened to how amazing our Ancestors are. I will keep looking.
Still reading? Ok, good. so let's talk about more news.
Yesterday, we visited our site. I had targeted several petroglyphs that were well known, but needed some work. They had a lot of ancient lichen and moss growing on the rocks. I knew if we could delicately remove the lichen and moss we could see them more clearly.
So, we worked on four of the glyphs and we were really amazed how much better they looked. We discovered a new Mastodon face that was covered under lichen on one rock. We also made a new find of an altar rock that is part of the "Resting Buffalo" outline glyph. Very exciting stuff!
I am really looking forward to the next few months at Bear Spirit Mountain. When the leaves drop our team will be back up on the mountain exploring. We still have sixty percent of this mountain and the two other mountains that are connected to it to explore yet. I know there is so much more waiting to be discovered. And this time, I am better trained and prepared to document and record our findings.
So, stay tuned! I will keep you updated on this treasured place.