As time marches forward we are finding some pretty amazing things from the past.
In my last blog post, we talked about the new earthen mound that I recently visited. I have made several return trips and lordy, lordy what was waiting for me on the other side of this mound was astonishing.
On my first return trip I decided to walk around the entire earthen mound to see what else I can find out about it. As I reached the backside, my friend Jason Buckman and his lovely daughter Tabitha had already begun seeing other rock structures. They summoned me in great excitement to head over to them. As I arrived I also began seeing not just one but many rock structures. Even though the foliage is thick in this area I was able to quickly make out the shapes of rock mounds. I counted eight of them in a tight group and another twelve in total all around that area.
Rock Mounds on Backside of Earthen Mound
I noticed that while these mounds are very similar to the others we have found there are some differences. The first thing is the style of stacking of the stones. The stones are stacked with a shorter base radius and are more vertical in nature. Also, the method of stone stacking was in a more organized manner in order to make these mounds more compact in nature. The stones were placed in what I call a "feathering" manner. Much like a birds feather overlap one another, these stones also shared these characteristics.
Another feature that differs is these mounds have small piles of stones placed in the center of the top of the mound. Other mounds on this mountain show rocks of larger sizes were placed at the bottom the mound and then symmetrically stacked smaller stones until the top of the mound. These other mounds are also very wide at the base sometimes reaching thirty to forty feet wide. Our new mounds are no more than twelve feet wide at the base in most cases.
Next to these rock mounds are two Serpent Walls and a Serpent effigy. An effigy differs in that it is not a stacked wall at all. It is carefully placed single stones that form the outline of the image they are creating. In this case, this is an effigy of a Serpent that was placed between the two Serpent walls and flows behind the earthen mound. The image shows the appearance of a Serpent slithering up the hill and behind the Earthen Mound. It measured over four hundred feet long.
Path of the Serpent Effigy Stones behind the Earthen Mound
The Serpent Walls we discovered are located to the southwest of the earthen mound. It appears to me that the rock mounds, the Serpent Effigy and the two Serpent Walls were all created at the same time. A time much later than the Serpent Walls on the other side of the mountain. Part of my reasoning for this is I could not locate any Sun effigies at these two new Serpent walls. These walls are also more "squared off" in construction showing a different technology.
The Serpent farthermost to the southwest also has a feature of the head of the Serpent doubling back towards the tail for about twenty yards. This Serpent was difficult to find and record because right next to it is a old logging road. Road debris during its construction had been pushed up very close to the Serpent Wall giving the illusion that everything there was road debris. But, there is a gap of a few feet between the road debris and you can see the organized stacking of stones on the Serpent Wall. This wall measures 107 feet long and an average of 6 feet wide. It varies in height from four feet tall to just above the surface.
Image of Serpent Wall next to Road and Road Construction Debris
The Serpent Wall closes to the earthen mound also varies in height from three feet tall to just above the surface. It is the longest of the two at just over 300 feet long.
There is still much to learn about this new find. However, it is my belief that the rock mounds, Serpent effigy and the two Serpent walls were made long after the other mounds and Serpent walls were created during the Pleistocene. Looking at the differences in technology, style of stacking stones in both the Serpent walls and the rock mounds I believe that these rock structures were created around the same time as the earthen mound.
These Ancestors knew this has been a holy mountain for thousands of years. They saw all the amazing rock art and rock structures their Ancestors had created many thousands of years before them. They knew this was a burial site for hundreds of their Ancestors. They wanted to use it for this purpose as well using their technology. This is why the rock mounds are stacked differently as well as the different shapes of the serpent walls. I believe the Serpent effigy was simply an imitation of the Serpent walls. I have seen a similar Serpent effigy at the Spout Run site in Virginia where they used golf cart sized boulders to create a Serpent effigy climbing the hill.
What this shows us is that Bear Spirit Mountain was in continuous use for many thousands of years. The rock art of the Mastodons and Lion, Camels, Lama, Sabre Tooth Tigers, etc. show that this site began in the Pleistocene over 12,000 years ago.
However the use of earthen mound technology over rock mounds for burials transitioned during the Archaic Period. This is a period of over five thousand years between the two periods. And considering the number of burials and rock structures on this mountain found to date, it would have taken a very long time to create all of this.
In closing, on August 19th I will be bringing back our Geophysicist to conduct more scientific testing both at my site and also at the earthen mound. I am so excited to learn what we find under this mound.
One observation I do have of this mound is I noticed that around trees that are growing up from this mound and also long decayed root ball holes that there are deposits of small rocks that circle around the circumference of the tree base or root ball hole. This shows that as these trees grew, they pushed up the contents of what's below and inside the mound and they deposited right at the base of the trees.
It's my assertion that this mound is actually more filled with smaller rocks than earth. Knowing that rocks are in great abundance there and soil is not this only makes sense as well.
Small Rocks Deposited Around the Base of Every Tree on Top of the Mound
I am sure you are excited to hear about our findings of our Ground Penetrating Radar testing at this earthen mound. I'll be sure to let you know.