Sunday, March 29, 2009

Copper Collection Leaves Many With Questions

(click to enlarge)

Richard "Stoney" Burke displayed the above copper collection at the Che-Hanna Rock and Mineral show this weekend, and it got ALOT of attention.

It raised alot of questions as well.

I need not explain what he claims it to be, because he also had that information there with his display:
(click to enlarge)

I am no scientist and so it is not up to me to say what is "authentic" or not - but from the 500 pieces being found on very small platform to where they all are today.... these are only a few of the questions that arise when someone looks at this pristine copper grouping.

First and foremost of questions is why it is a secret where the site is that they actually came from.

Within hours, members of SRAC brought up a recent article in Fogelman's "Indian Artifact Magazine," about a copper collection that seems to be the same as the one above as well. Fogelman reports that a "friend/aquaintance in New York has been buying purported Native Copper implements from a source/friend in Michigan." He goes on to say that even he became "skeptical of both the story and the artifacts." Some of the reasons that he became skeptical were that EVERY type of copper artifact known of as well as some NEW forms were represented on that platform, and that one in fact could be identified by another of Fogelman's friends/associates as a spear that they personally had made. It was later sold at a yard sale.

I have to be honest. Gary Fogelman and I do not have much in common...I have been to affairs where he has stayed clear of me - I would suppose because he knows I do not agree with buying and selling artifacts. But I will say that Gary was right to put a piece in his magazine about this collection, and I thank him for at least trying to alert his readers about this questionable collection that is out there being presented as scientific material...

I have to agree that the display that I saw seemed PERFECT, and as one of the collector's friends came by and asked me what I thought of the display, I simply told him that it was very nice ART. He immediately got upset....and asked me why I said such a thing...I simply told him that if they were unwilling to allow anyone to study the site or the artifacts - it has no scientific significance...without it it is merely art. While he wanted to continue the debate, I declined.

As I left the event today I decided that the biggest question that this whole ordeal raised for me was what exactly does it take to get people to realize that archaeology is not a commercial business - but a SCIENCE -
?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

SHOP SRAC LOGO ITEMS


Tons of SRAC Logo items are now available online!

Support SRAC while getting some great items and gifts today!

http://www.cafepress.com/SRAC


Sunday, March 22, 2009

This Friday, March 27th - Nina Versaggi Presents at SRAC!

Archaeological investigations by the Public Archaeology Facility during the past 30 years have discovered a wealth of information about the people who lived in our region. Versaggi will discuss the early humans that lived here and what their life looked like during what is known as the Late Archaic (4,000 - 1,000 B.C.).

Using the foundation established by early archaeologists, such as William Ritchie and Robert Funk, our results add diversity to interpretations about the Late Archaic, and ask provocative questions for future research. The talk will start with a geographic model of the starkly different landscapes in New York; discuss the base of Late Archaic interpretations (Lamoka and Brewerton cultures); add PAF's recent research on the Vestal Phase; and conclude with interpretations of how people could have used their material culture for purposes other than purely functional tasks.

This will be a very informative and interesting discussion that will give the audience a better understanding of the people who used many of the items found in the SRAC Exhibit Hall. Doors open at 6 pm. Admission is $4 for adults and $3 for SRAC members and children under 18. Exhibit Hall admission is free to all attendees.





Cahokia Copper Axe Stolen!

If any of you have been watching the news lately, you cannot help but understand how ignorance and greed are undermining America. And if you think that this exists only in the financial sector of the Unites States, you are sadly mistaken...

As you know I posted a pot from the Washington Boro site that was sold on eBay just last week. Whether it was stolen or not, in my opinion, the fact that it is acceptable to sell archaeological evidence on eBay and in auction houses or anywhere else is unacceptable and is allowing the thieves among other sellers to have a place to "unload their goods." I think that the SAA and all the state archaeological societies need to work towards creating a plan to work with the federal, state, and local govts to ban selling archaeological evidence.

Some issues that remain to keep this from happening are issues such as defining what a Native American "artifact" is - example - the difference between replicas and "art" as opposed to scientific evidence...and the difference between collecting and SELLING, and so on...My personal opinion is that until professionals and collectors learn to work together, the sellers get to play in this arena without anyone having a way to stop them from taking archaeological evidence like the pot from Washington Boro or the axe from Cahokia and selling it to a buyer. But if not US, then who?

Until then, here is the latest tragedy below- reported from William R. Iseminger, Asst. Site Manager/Public Relations, .Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site. The following images are of the actual celt that was stolen. (Click either image to enlarge them.)

(pictures supplied by Vincent Barrows - Cahokia Historian)

Please note that the fabric impressions are quite striking and may very well make this axe VERY identifiable. Please keep your eyes out and forward this to all auction houses and buyers as well as all other collectors and museums who might come acrossed it- - -I am sure that this axe will reappear and if we all keep our eyes open, maybe we can get this back to Cahokia where it belongs.
"We recently discovered that a copper celt (axe) had been stolen from one of our exhibit cases. The thieves apparently were able to compromise the security of the case at the "Fiber" display. It was solid copper, 5 inches long, 2 | inches wide, and 7/8 inch thick. One side had fabric impressions on the surface caused by the copper oxidizing and incorporating the pattern of the cloth or bag in which it originally had been wrapped. There was a catalog number on it, 19 x 862. Please keep an eye out for this axe and if you see it or something similar for sale, please contact us.

This comes at a time when we are understaffed due to budget cuts but we are taking special steps to make sure all the cases are more secure. Other than some minor vandalism, this is the first artifact theft at the Interpretive Center in the 20 years since it opened."
William R. Iseminger,Asst. Site Manager/Public Relations
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site
30 Ramey Street
Collinsville, IL 62234
Email: cahokia.mounds@sbcglobal.net
Web: www.cahokiamounds.com

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Having Input and Saving Sites in NYS

Recently, there was a discussion going on among the members of the NYSAA forum that I thought would be good information for anyone interested in preserving sites in New York State.

The following is a portion of the information provided by Doug Mackey, Vice President of the New York Archaeological Council. Please read and share. You may contact Doug via email at dmack89@nycap.rr.com with any questions you might have.

"Anyone interested in archaeology and the preservation of sites should really become familiar with the NHPA (Section 106) process, how it works and how they, even as just interested public citizens, can have input to that process for any project. (Any 106 project is supposed to seek public comment and information, so if you know of sites that are endangered, you have the ability to speak up during that process and ask that the impact of the project on the site be considered, and that alternatives be considered).

Unfortunately, too many folks have not availed themselves of this opportunity, either because they do not want to be bothered, or they simply are not aware that they have the right to make comments. All too often by the time someone decides to speak up, the process has progressed beyond the point where their comments could be helpful.

It seems that most times folks expect the SHPO(State Historic Preservation Offices) to do all the work, but unfortunately, there are many times when the SHPO is not even aware that an issue (site) exists because it has not been reported to them. This sets up an unfortunate loop where the consulting archaeologist hired to do a survey (if one is even called for) checks the SHPO/State Museum records and even (hopefully) talks to the local historian - but information on a site is not known to any of them. The report is then submitted indicating that no sites are present and the SHPO can only review the information provided. It is often only at that point that local avocational archaeologists, collectors, or even academic archaeologists at colleges, universities or even local museums - come forward to complain that a site they know about will now be destroyed. Unfortunately, by that time the agency and the applicant can argue they have done their due diligence and move forward.

I encourage everyone to make the effort to learn a little more about not only the NHPA (Section 106) process, but also NEPA, another federal law that mandates consideration of historic resources (including archaeology) and also provides for public input, as well as other regulations that might be helpful for other types of (non federal) projects - in NY we have the SHPA (Section 14.09) for State projects, and SEQRA for local projects. As a final note, everyone should be aware that each of these laws apply to any projects that might have a federal (or state or local) involvement of any kind - funding, permitting or approval - and not just to projects actually undertaken by a federal agency. As a result, even a private housing development - if it needs a federal permit (i.e. wetland, water quality, etc.) falls under NHPA.

I would encourage everyone interested in preserving sites for the future to make an effort to learn something about this process, to understand how they can get involved, and how they can make a contribution to saving sites. These same laws mandate the consideration of historic buildings, and the community interested in those buildings have made very effective use of the opportunities provided over the years (National Trust for Historic Preservation, Preservation League of NY, Municipal Arts Society, etc.), unfortunately those of us on the archaeological side have not been nearly as coordinated or successful, at least in most eastern states. Having advocacy groups for archaeological sites, similar to those that exist for structures, taking an active part in making comments might help to raise the overall awareness about and perception of the importance of archaeological sites to agency and local officials that at present do not understand that importance."

A few places you can go to find some more info include -

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation -
Working with 106 http://www.achp.gov/work106.html (a bit technical for anyone just starting out); and
A Citizens Guide to Section 106 Review http://www.achp.gov/citizensguide.pdf

Nina Versaggi then sent me a note to add to this informtion as follows:

"As an addendum to Doug Mackey's note, the New York Archaeological Council and the NYSAA have a joint initiative called, the Archaeological Site Preservation Initiative (ASPI) - http://nyarchaeology.org/mainpages/ASPI/ASPI.htm

The Archaeological Site Preservation Initiative (ASPI) is a joint program of the New York Archaeological Council and the New York State Archaeological Association. The goal of this program is to help educate local leaders about the importance of archaeological sites in general and more specifically about their local resources that may be endangered by proposed projects. ASPI sends letter to lead agencies and contacts other local individuals and programs to help illustrate to lead agencies that there is a constituency concerned with what happens to archaeological resources. In recent years they have succesfully raised awareness of the presence and importance of archaeological resources to a number of communities. ASPI relies on local individuals to contact them when sites are threatened. Remember that to be effective, notification to the lead agencies (and to ASPI) should occur early in the review process.

Often our heritage is lost, not through deliberate destruction, but through ignorance. The Archaeological Site Preservation Initiative (ASPI) seeks to preserve archaeological and historic sites:

  • by raising awareness of archaeological and historic resources in local communities,
  • by providing a place where questions about archaeology, local history and preservation can be answered.
If people are interested, there is contact information on the web site."

Nina Versaggi
President, NYAC


On behalf of SRAC, I want to thank Doug and Nina for providing the information for all of us.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Che-Hanna's Gem and Mineral Show

Ted Keir and Deb Twigg at last years show

The 40th Annual Che-Hanna Rock and Mineral Club Inc. "Gem and Mineral Show" will be on Saturday, March 28th from 9am - 5pm and Sunday March 29th from 10am -5pm this year. It will be held the Athens Township Vol. Fire Hall, 150 Herrick Avenue, Sayre, PA. Click here for directions.

If any of you have not attended before, you just don't know what you are missing! Click here to view last year's posting and pictures from the event.

This year's event will have OUTSTANDING GEOLOGICAL EXHIBITS presented by Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the Paleontological Research Institute. There will also be a silent auction of minerals from the Carnegie Museum, florescent mineral presentations, door prizes, fossil identification, gemstone faceting demonstrations, geode cutting, a kids mini-mine, cabochon making, and of course a fantastic display of Native American artifacts exhibited by SRAC!

But most impressive to me the first time that I attended this event was that filling the whole back area (huge and where they have wedding receptions, etc,) was an incredible amount of dealers offering minerals, fossils, lapidary, jewelry and hobby supplies. You won't believe your eyes!

Hope to see you there!

Donations are requested upon admission: Adults $3, Students $1, under 8 - FREE.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Iroquoian Pottery with Faces

(note: you may click any of these pictures on this posting and enlarge them)

In February 2009, I did a presentation on a site called the Murray Garden. This site was discovered in 1882 when workmen were digging a drainage ditch from the then home of the would be founder of the Tioga Point Museum in Athens, PA, Louise Welles Murray and her husband, Millard. Many facets of this site are quite interesting, but I wanted to concentrate on the pottery with faces on them for this posting. One of the pots (recovered in pieces) is shown above.

There was one pot that was 4 1/2 inches high that was recovered from the Murray site. Here is a picture of that one:These pieces were written up by Christopher Wren in 1914 where he said the following:

He also pointed out that the one face on the pot was actually made to look pushed or deformed and added that there was an Iroquoian legend that he had been told might actually have explained why the face looked the way it did...


(click the image to enlarge to read story)

I have been told that this is also the legend of the "false face," but will leave that up to the reader to decide.

As I studied this site, I also tried to see what other Iroquioan and Susquehannock (who were Iroquoian but bitter enemies of the Iroquois) pottery had faces...this is what I found:

#1.)

In fact, as I was just reading my latest issue of "American Archaeology" by the Archaeological Conservancy, I learned that pottery with the same designs were found at America's first French colony, Fort Charlesbourg-Royal (founded by Cartier and Roberval, 1541) in what is now Quebec City.

2.)
This full body design along with the face in this pottery is coincidentally much like another piece found at well known site in PA - known as the Washington Boro site:


Come to find out, the Washington Boro site was reported by Cadzow(below) in 1936 to have faces on every vessel:
The Washington Boro site was dated by Dr. Barry Kent in his book "Susquehanna's Indians" at 1600 - 1625 AD. Here is some of those pots from this site that were described above:

Strange as it seems, Kent dates the Athens (Murray Garden) site at 1570 - 1600.

This difference in dating occurred even though both are shell tempered and both were found with European trade goods....and even though the face effigies on Susquehannock pottery reportedly only occurred between 1600 - 1625 AD...



This following copper/brass spiral is a European trade item and was found alongside the faced pottery in Athens, PA and reported by Harrison Wright of the Wyoming Hostorical Society in 1883. These spiral pieces were made by breaking up European pots and reworking the material into these shapes.

(spiral artifact found by Harrison Wright
in 1883 at the Murray Garden site.)

Using the information here, that is that faces on Susquehannock pottery only occured between 1600 and 1625, let alone the European trade materials associated with them, I date the Murray Garden site (even though I am not a professional) at 1600-1625. It is my hope that someday soon we will have an official date with more scientific research backing it up. But this will take preserving the artifacts that we have. As you know - SRAC is dedicated to this cause.

As I am writing this, there is a Susquehannock pot with faces on it out there on Ebay which claims to be from the Washington Boro site discussed above. As you know from my last post, I am so opposed to the commercialization of this scientific evidence and am opposed to the sale of these items, as is the Society of American Archaeology. This is what prompted me to write that post because I saw this pot and recognized it from my research on the Murray site.

This is the description for the pot - and - it just was sold about an hour ago...for $1,035.


"EXCEPTIONAL IROQUOIS SUSQUEHANNOCK POTTERY VESSEL MINIATURE OR CHILD'S SIZE. 4 1/4 INCH HEIGHT,3 3/4 INCH RIM WIDTH.RIM INCISED WITH TWO CASTELLATIONS AND WITH TWO HUMAN EFFIGIES WITH OPEN KNEES,INCISED HORIZONTAL AND VERTICAL DECORATED COLLAR.FOUND IN WASHINGTONBORO,LANCASTER COUNTY,PENNSYLVANIA.PERFECT UNRESTORED CONDITION.PICTURED IN INDIAN ARTIFACT MAGAZINE VOL 9-2 FRONT COVER.EX COLLECTION OF FENSTERMACHER,FOGELMAN,JOHNSTON.GUARANTEED AUTHENTIC.YOUR SATISFACTION IS GUARANTEED.7-DAY RETURN FOR ANY REASON.Priority Shipping and insurance is 15.00 within USA for this item.I accept Pay Pal.Thank you for your bids."

I hope that after this post today you can understand what I was trying to say in my last post a little better. Taking artifacts (EVIDENCE) from sites and selling them is a detriment to archaeological study and just the wrong thing to do.

Tell me your thoughts.




Saturday, March 7, 2009

Buying and Selling Artifacts...An American Tragedy

While writing this post, I have to admit right up front that I am not a collector, nor a professional scientist, and I have never worked at a "dig" professionally or otherwise. I am just a person who has a passion about our prehistoric past and preserving what we can of it - and while this might seem like a simple task to tackle, the controversy over buying and selling artifacts, it certainly is not simple and that all I can tell you is what my personal perspective on the situation is....here goes....

I believe that it is a conflict of interest to have anyone who sells artifacts to be involved with scientific archaeology....Working a site and selling artifacts is unacceptable.

Last month I did a presentation about the Murray Garden - a site that was worked on in the 1880's - -before archaeology even was a profession. The purpose of that presentation was to share the all but lost information about a "people" that once lived in our region, but were annihilated by the Iroquois; and the last handful known to be alive were wiped out in 1763 by a bunch of murderers called "The Paxton Gang." At that point, the Susquehannocks, as a people, were taken from us.


A hundred years before this horrible event, they lived here and left their imprint upon our region. The evidence of these people can be seen and celebrated at SRAC today. To me, just as much as any other person in the history of this community, whether they were a red man, white man, or any other color, they are a part MY region's heritage.

My presentation on the Murray Garden brought a crowd that left the lecture area with standing room only and I was proud to share the knowledge that I had gained while studying this site which gives us a glimpse of the Susquehannocks and what they were doing while they were here. Some of the artifacts that I discussed were pieces of shell-tempered pottery that had faces on them alongside copper spiral-shaped items. This evidence and other items actually led me (as a non-professional) to date the site at approximately 1600 - 1625 AD. If you wonder why this is so important to me - you just have to visit my first website, http://www.spanishhill.com/ to know that I have been passionate about this part of our history and prehistory for a long time and have traveled all over the country searching for answers.

Let's just say that Spanish Hill is a site that has inspired me, and has taught me that we do not have all the answers yet, and that more work needs to to be done...and the only way it can be done is to save evidence and its relativity to the site where it was found. NOTE: Auction blocks do not count as provenience btw...and I know just from some of the collections SRAC has had donated, that when "auction" is associated with an artifact's past that it will be questionable whether or not it can ever be used in serious research.

Meanwhile, some professionals claim that within the next decade more serious work will be done here to ultimately figure out what Spanish Hill and it's ten acres enclosed by an earthen wall and interior ditch was used for, and exactly when the Susquehannocks abandoned their villages in our region. But let's face it, ten years is a long time for more evidence to be picked up only to be sent to the auction block...

Today - The Susquehanna River Archaeological Center is 5 years old and has preserved ten collections (SOME WITH THOUSANDS OF ARTIFACTS) to date. All of this was done without the transfer of one dollar to any collector, and I take pride in our community of collectors that understand that these artifacts are not "pretty rocks that can be sold for alot of money," but EVIDENCE of a people that lived here. Whatever they decide to do in the end with their collection, I feel quite confident that collectors and members of SRAC are of like minds with us about the importance of preserving the evidence and the sites that they come from.

I tell you all of this so that you can understand why when I saw the following auction occurring today it prompted me to post this.

"The Robert Johnson Artifacts Collection; & Related Library, Part II
Friday, March 6 Library - 4:30 pm
Saturday, March 7 Artifacts - 10:00 am

Artifacts and the related extensive library on Archaeology, Anthropology, & Ethnography all removed to be sold at Hesse Galleries, 350 Main St., Otego, NY sales gallery.

Sale includes authentic Pre-historic & Early Historic Artifacts, many from NY State. Plus an outstanding collection of fifty "art objects": polished and knapped stone faux artifacts.

Saturday Session: Artifacts from the Robert Johnson Collection: Over 300 lots including 17th c. Iroquois items, Pre-historic stone, baskets, bone, silver, wooden items, metal trade items, etc."

...and I could go on and show you the items on Ebay and so on, but you get the idea....

This is something that makes me have to ask the following question:

Are there any professionals involved in buying and selling; and if there are, why are there no rules in place that would cause them to lose their professional license or ability to work at any archaeological digs? Isn't this an obvious conflict of interest??? And should ANYONE involved in buying and selling artifacts be allowed to be involved in state associated archaeological associations, digs or research?

While some say that there is simply "nothing we can do," SRAC made at least a small effort the minute we opened our doors. The following signs are hanging up in our Center:


I would be happy to add to SRAC's membership form any formal statement that is adopted by Pennsylvania and/or New York State Archaeological associations showing their opposition to the selling of archaeological evidence.

BTW - - here is the official statement of the Society for American Archaeology concerning this:

"The Society for American Archaeology has long recognized that the buying and selling of objects out of archaeological context is contributing to the destruction of the archaeological record on the American continents and around the world. The commercialization of archaeological objects - their use as commodities to be exploited for personal enjoyment or profit - results in the destruction of archaeological sites and of contextual information that is essential to understanding the archaeological record. Archaeologists should therefore carefully weigh the benefits to scholarship of a project against the costs of potentially enhancing the commercial value of archaeological objects. Whenever possible they should discourage, and should themselves avoid, activities that enhance the commercial value of archaeological objects, especially objects that are not curated in public institutions, or readily available for scientific study, public interpretation, and display."

http://www.saa.org/AbouttheSociety/PrinciplesofArchaeologicalEthics/tabid/203/Default.aspx

Tell me your thoughts.





Wednesday, March 4, 2009

"Peoples of the Late Archaic" By Nina Versaggi

Archaeological investigations by the Public Archaeology Facility during the past 30 years have discovered a wealth of information about the people who lived in our region. Versaggi will discuss the early humans that lived here and what their life looked like during what is known as the Late Archaic (4,000 - 1,000 B.C.).

Using the foundation established by early archaeologists, such as William Ritchie and Robert Funk, our results add diversity to interpretations about the Late Archaic, and ask provocative questions for future research. The talk will start with a geographic model of the starkly different landscapes in New York; discuss the base of Late Archaic interpretations (Lamoka and Brewerton cultures); add PAF's recent research on the Vestal Phase; and conclude with interpretations of how people could have used their material culture for purposes other than purely functional tasks.

This will be a very informative and interesting discussion that will give the audience a better understanding of the people who used many of the items found in the SRAC Exhibit Hall. Doors open at 6 pm. Admission is $4 for adults and $3 for SRAC members and children under 18. Exhibit Hall admission is free to all attendees.





Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Falling "Ladder" Or "Shaking Tent Ceremony?"

As I had hoped, some readers did in fact send me some other amulet and gorgets with the commonly named "ladder" symbol on them. One in particular though is quite interesting and when Vince Barrows sent this to me I was elated because I had seen it several years ago on my first trip to Aztalan in Wisconsin visiting the mounds up there but my camera battery had died and so I asked the people at the Aztalan museum to send me an image, but it never came. Last night I got to see it again and immediately remembered why I was so upset that I didn't get pictures that day: (click the image to enlarge it to read the text below it.)

This one ALSO seems to have a ring falling downward as well. This at first led me to think that it was again representing the same as the other two we have discussed recently. As you might recall this amulet below is in the SRAC/Cowles collection: (note the one "ladder straight up and the other toppling over next to it... )


But then I read the text below the first image....and now I have to say that I am not sure that the shapes on either amulet ARE ladders and at least the one in the Aztalan museum seems to be representing something else altogether as the text below it suggests. It may seem like I am haphazardly changing my mind here, I know, but strangely, when I read this it last night, I recalled reading in the Jesuit Relations a story that seems to represent the "Shaking Tent Ceremony"... I will let you read the following and decide for yourselves:

Note the LARGE Ring in the second paragraph falling.....is the etching on the Aztalan piece showing the ring falling from the tent during the Shaking Tent ceremony described below it?

Jesuit Relations: Vol. VI Québec 1633–1634
**Jesuit Relations are annual reports and narratives written by French Jesuit missionaries at their stations in New France (America) between 1632 and 1673. They are invaluable as historical sources for French exploration and native relations and also as a record of the various indigenous tribes of the region before the influence of settlers and missionaries had changed them. Published originally in Paris in annual volumes, they were translated and edited by R. G. Thwaites (73 vol., 1896–1901).

" Furthermore, they believe that there are certain Genii of light, or Genii of the air, which they call Khichikouai from the word Khichikou, which means light " or " the air. " The Genii, or Khichikouai are acquainted with future events, they see very far ahead; this is why the Savages consult them, not all (the savages] but certain jugglers, who know better ,,,than the others how to impose upon and amuse these people. I have chanced to be present when they consulted these fine Oracles, and here is what I have observed.

Towards nightfall, two or three young men erected a tent in the middle of our Cabin; they stuck six poles deep into the ground in the form of a circle, and to hold them in place they fastened to the tops of these poles a large ring, which completely encircled them; this done, they enclosed this Edifice with Castelognes, leaving the top of the tent [49] open; it is all that a tall man can do to reach to the top of this round tower, capable of holding 5 or 6 men standing upright. This house made, the fires of the cabin are entirely extinguished, and the brands thrown outside, lest the flame frighten away the Genii or Khichikouai, who are to enter this tent; a young juggler slipped in from below, turning back, for this purpose, the covering which enveloped it, then replaced it when he had entered, for they must be very careful that there be no opening in this fine palace except from above. The juggler, having entered, began to moan softly, as if complaining; he [page 163] shook the tent at first without violence; then becoming animated little by little, he commenced to whistle, in a hollow tone, and as if it came from afar; then to talk as if in a bottle; to cry like the owls of these countries, which it seems to me have stronger voices than those of France; then to howl and sing, constantly varying the tones; ending by these syllables, ho ho, hi hi, guigui, nioué, and other [50] similar sounds, disguising his voice so that it seemed to me I heard those puppets which showmen exhibit in France. Sometimes he spoke Montagnais, sometimes Algonquain, retaining always the Algonquain intonation, which, like the Provençal, is vivacious. At first, as I have said, he shook this edifice gently; but, as he continued to become more animated, he fell into so violent an ecstasy, that I thought he would break everything to pieces, shaking his house with so much force and violence, that I was astonished at a man having so much strength; for, after he had once begun to shake it, he did not stop until the consultation was over, which lasted about three hours. Whenever he would change his voice, the Savages would at first cry out, moa, moa, " listen, listen ; " then, as an invitation to these Genii, they said to them, Pitoukhecou, Pitoukhecou, " enter, enter. " At other times, as if they were replying to the howls of the juggler, they drew this aspiration from the depths of their chests, ho, ho. I was seated like the others, looking on at this wonderful mystery, forbidden to speak; but as I [51] had not vowed obedience to them, I did not fail to intrude a little word into the proceedings. Sometimes I begged them to have pity on this poor juggler, who was killing himself in this tent; at other times I told [page 165] them they should cry louder, for the Genii had gone to sleep.

Some of these Barbarians imagined that this juggler was not inside, that he had been carried away, without knowing where or how. Others said that his body was lying on the ground, and that his soul was up above the tent, where it spoke at first, calling these Genii, and throwing from time to time sparks of fire. Now to return to our consultation. The Savages having heard a certain voice that the juggler counterfeited, uttered a cry of joy, saying that one of these Genii had entered; then addressing themselves to him, they cried out, Tepouachi, tepouachi, " call, call; " that is, " call thy companions." Thereupon the juggler, pretending to be one of the Genii and changing his tone and his voice, called them. In the meantime our sorcerer, who was present, took his drum, and began to sing with the juggler who was in the tent, and the others [52] answered. Some of the young men were made to dance, among others the Apostate,12 who did not wish to hear of it, but the sorcerer made him obey.

At last, after a thousand cries and howls, after a thousand songs, after having danced and thoroughly shaken this fine edifice, the Savages believing that the Genii or Kichikouai had entered, the sorcerer consulted them. He asked them about his health, (for he is sick), and about that of his wife, who was also sick. These Genii, or rather the juggler who counterfeited them, answered that, as to his wife, she was already dead, that it was all over with her. I could have said as much myself, for one needed not to be a prophet or a sorcerer to guess that, inasmuch as the poor creature was already struck with death; in [page 167] regard to the sorcerer, they said that he would se the Spring. Now, knowing his disease, - which was a pain in the loins, or rather an infirmity resulting from his licentiousness and excesses, for he is vile to the last degree,—I said to him, seeing that he was otherwise healthy, and that he drank and ate very heartily, that he would not only see the spring but also the Summer, if some other accident [53] did not overtake him, and I was not mistaken.

After these interrogations, these fine oracles were asked if there would soon be snow, if there would be much of it, if there would be Elks or Moose, and where they could be found. They answered, or rather the juggler, always disguising his voice, that they saw a little snow and some moose far away, without indicating the place, having the prudence not to commit themselves.

So this is what took place in this consultation, after which I wished to get hold of the juggler; but, as it was night, he made his exit from the tent and from our little cabin so swiftly, that he was outside almost before I was aware of it. He and all the other Savages, who had come from the other Cabins to these beautiful mysteries, having departed, I asked the Apostate if he was so simple as to believe that the Genii entered and spoke in this tent. He began to swear his belief, which he had lost and denied, that it was not the juggler who spoke, but these Khichikouai or Genii [54] of the air, and my host said to me, " Enter thou thyself into the tent, and thou wilt see that thy body will remain below, and thy soul will mount on high." I did want to go in; but, as I was the only one of my party, I foresaw that they might commit some outrage upon me, and, as there were [page 169] no witnesses there, they would boast that I had recognized and admired the truth of their mysteries.

Now I had a great desire to know the nature of these Genii; the Apostate knew nothing about them. The sorcerer, seeing that I was discovering his mines, and that I disapproved of his nonsense, did not wish to explain anything to me, so that I was compelled to make use of my wits. I allowed a few weeks to pass; then, springing this subject upon him, I spoke as if I admired his doctrine, saying to him that it was wrong to refuse me, since to all the questions which he asked me in regard to our belief, I answered him frankly and without showing any reluctance. At last he allowed himself to be won over by this flattery, and revealed to me the secrets of the school. Here is the fable which he recounted to me touching the nature [55] and the character of these Genii.

Two Savages having consulted these Genii at the same time, but in two different tents, one of them, a very wicked man who had treacherously killed three men with his hatchet, was put to death by the Genii, who, crossing over into the tent of the other Savage to take his life, as well as that of his companion, were themselves surprised; for this juggler defended himself so well that he killed one of these Khichikouai or Genii; and thus it was found out how they were made, for this One remained in the place where he was killed. Then I asked him what was his form. "He was as large as the fist," he replied; " his body was of stone, and rather long." I judged that he was cone-shaped, large at one end, and gradually becoming smaller towards the other. They believe that in this stone body there is flesh and blood, for [page 171] the hatchet with which this Spirit was killed was bloody. I inquired if they had feet and wings, and was told they had not. " Then how," said I, " can they enter or fly into these tents, [56] if they have neither feet nor wings? " The sorcerer began to laugh, saying in explanation, " In truth, this black robe has no sense." This is the way they pay me back when I offer some objections to something which they cannot answer.

As they made a great deal of the fire which this juggler threw out of his tent, I told them that our Frenchmen could throw it better than he could; for he only made a few sparks fly from some rotten wood which he carried with him, as I am inclined to think, and if I had had some resin I could have made the flames rise for them. They insisted that he entered this house without fire; but I had happened to see some one give him a red-hot coal which he asked to light his pipe.

So that is their belief touching the foundations of things good. What astonishes me is their ingratitude; for, although they believe that the Messou has restored the world, that Nipinoukhé and Pipounoukhe bring the seasons, that their Khichikouai teach them where to find Elks or Moose, and render them a thousand other good offices,—yet up to the present I have not been able to learn [57] that they render them the slightest honor. I have only observed that, in their feasts, they occasionally throw a few spoonfuls of grease into the fire, pronouncing these words: Papeouekou, Papeouekou; " Make us find something to eat, make us find something to eat." I believe this prayer is addressed to these Genii, to whom they present this grease as the best thing they have in the world. "


http://puffin.creighton.edu/jesuit/relations/relations_06.html

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Written Record of a Cataclysmic Event?

Many of us have been patiently awaiting more information from the initial reports of the nano diamonds that have been claimed to be the result of a cataclysmic event 12,900 years ago.

Reuters reported:
"Minuscule diamond fragments found in a sediment layer dating from thousands of years ago are bolstering the theory that a catastrophic comet impact wiped out many forms of life in North America, including what are thought to have been the first human settlers of the continent, the so-called Clovis people. The nano-diamonds are buried at a level that corresponds to the beginning 12,900 years ago of the Younger Dryas, a 1,300-year-long cold spell during which North American mammoths, saber-toothed cats, camels and giant sloths became extinct. The Clovis culture of American Indians also appears to have fallen apart during this time." [Reuters] To read my full report click here.

We also know that other events have ravaged the northeast throughout time and that more reports are out there about some of them. The point that I am trying to make is that one has to wonder what effect these events would have had on the survivors or those that may have traveled into the areas where evidence of the event(s) may have occurred. When it comes to the prehistory the Northeast, I for one have always assumed that there was no written record/evidence of any cataclysmic events and that there was only oral histories to reference.

Let me state this very clearly right now that I am not a scientist.

Many of you have seen the following amulet that was found below Spanish Hill, in South Waverly, PA. I have studied this site for several years and was published in the PA Archaeologist concerning it in 2005. It is my opinion that the hill is a ceremonial space not unlike Fort Ancient in Ohio, complete with a large area (ten acres) enclosed with embankments with inner ditches which have been used to define a ceremonial space versus a defensive one....

But let's get back to the amulet that is made of blue slate:(see more images here)

This is the one side:


I wonder if this image can allow you to see the left side area that shows one tall structure standing straight up and the other to the right toppling over. I have looked at this hundreds of times and wondered what it meant...and if the other engravings on this amulet are part of this story as well...

To me, one cannot help but wonder why the one is clearly toppling over...

And so as I was looking over "Stone Ornaments" by Moorehead, and I found another incised piece found in New Jersey on page 62 shown below, I decided to write this post today: (click here to download)Clearly, this amulet from the Tooker Collection also shows one tall structure standing straight up and another next to it toppling over...

This makes me ask if there is possibly a Native American legend or myth that this would be relative to and/or if it relates to a cataclysmic event that occurred or was believed to have occurred sometime in our past.

Remember, SRAC's amulet was found in South Waverly, PA (border of PA and NY) and the Stone Ornaments piece was found in New Jersey, making me believe that we may find more in this region if we were on the lookout for them...Personally, I have to wonder how many of these designs can be found in the Northeast and if they indeed are referring to a cataclysmic event that was either witnessed or believed to have happened at some time in our past or was warning of a future event.

Chances are that we will never know all of the answers, but I thought it worthy enough to share this information with those that might have an interest in sending me more information which I will post here - allowing all of us who are in search of answers to learn more.