The last few days have been very productive in finding and investigating newly found structures and art.
Last week Jason Buckman located a long line of rocks that from the road we suspected might be the fourth serpent wall effigy. We were really excited to take a closer look. As we were preparing to leave I told our crew that on the way back I will stop and ask the homeowner where this rock structure is for permission to look at it closely. We drove on and just a few hundred yards away stopped at an outline glyph I wanted to show Jason. As we were finishing looking at it a black SUV pulled up and stopped. The driver looked at me and instantly recognized me. We had met about a year ago in front of our land.
He told us that his teenage boys were hunting nearby and didn't recognize our vehicle and became nervous and called him. So at their request he was just checking out who was back this remote road. As we renewed pleasantries I asked him to remind me which house he lived in. He told us and immediately Jason & I looked at each other and smiled. The property this gentleman owned "is" the same property we wanted to investigate and obtain his permission to do so later in the day. I would say this is an amazing coincidence except things like this happen on a regular basis to me on this mountain. When I told him what we wanted to do and asked him if he minded if we walk and study the structure he told us "come there anytime you want." We promptly thanked him and continued to our property.
When we returned a few days later we gathered our Archaeological tools and Ingrid, Jason, Jimmy Watson and myself set about clearing debris away from the rock line. Jimmy and Ingrid focused on the main rock line structure while Jason & I got down on hands and knees to clean around a circular ring of rocks.
As Ingrid & Jimmy cleaned the debris off the rock line structure it became evident that this is not a serpent. We counted (9) ground cairns that were mostly in a row with a slight bend. The other three serpent effigies we find that the top of the walls are generally the same height. This row of rocks clearly showed high points and then tapered off to the next cairn where it repeated. These are rock mounds. The difference is these (9) cairns are placed very close to each other. Most within ten feet of each other. Over time, each cairn has had its rocks then slide off and outward with the help of rain, ice, and of course gravity. This creates the impression of a "line of rocks" from a short distance. In reality they are separate mounds. See photo below.
Series of mounds
Another undecided conclusion we came to is these cairns don't appear to match the others that we have seen. The close proximity they are placed to each other and the pattern of stacking differs. The question of "where" and "why" did so many rocks appear here as rock mounds has yet to be answered.
A second bit of evidence is the circular ring that Jason & I excavated. Once the ring was cleared it looked conspicuously like a modern ring one would build for a campfire. The stones were stacked about three high. I did not see any evidence of charcoal or burned edges of rocks. It may have not been used for fire. It may have even been used by modern American Indians in some manner. There is also much less lichen growing on these rocks usually indicating recent handling. It is located to the south east and about twenty feet from the relative center of the ground cairn group. South East is a marker for the Winter Solstice so perhaps it was created for this purpose. Jason uncovered a large stone in the center of the circle the circle that amazingly fit into a groove of another rock. Perhaps this was used a sundial. See photo below.
At this point I and our team are leaning towards the hypothesis that these structures are more modern than the Pleistocene Period. And that is certainly ok. I also want to add that just a few feet from the circular pit is a road that was created over 150 years ago as a wagon wheel road. There are many layers of different occupations on this mountain. Separating them is our challenge. I have requested for our site Archaeologist, Jack Hranicky to come out and give us his opinion on this and he agreed to do so.
After spending half a day working on that project we decided to scour some of the nearby cliffs. We knew we didn't have much time because rain was moving in.
Jason & I climbed through some nasty wineberry vines to the base of a long line of continuous sandstone vein of large rocks. As we walked along the edge we discovered (6) new petroglyphs. Jason found the Serpent petroglyph with a Rodent in its mouth. I discovered the Horse and Rhino faces as well as the boulder with two human faces carved that I named "Silly Faces." See photos below.
Pretty amazing art! Of course we will be visiting Bear Spirit Mountain more frequently as the leaves fall and the foliage goes to sleep for the winter. We can get much more done this time of the year.
Lastly, I want to close with an amazing piece of Jasper I found last Sunday at a friends back yard. Jasper was a very important and sought after rock for American Indians. It is one of the hardest rocks found in this area making it perfect for tool making. Jasper also comes in many colors therefore it was prized for making art out of it.
This piece of Jasper was carved into the image of a Wolf's head. Even more amazing is how they used both man-made carved lines and the natural lines of the rock to portray the eye, ear, mouth and even the nostril. Taking it to another level they even carved an image of a smaller Wolf head lifting its head towards the sky in a howling position. I named the rock "Howling Wolf." I can only say that I know my Ancestors led me to this rock. The odds any other way of finding it at a friends back yard are just too astronomical. A'Ho
See photo below