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TOPIC: What about cairnes?...

What about cairnes?... 3 years 3 months ago #20226

  • cgode
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Anyone have any knowledge about those rock piles found in the Northeast....they're called cairns and there is very little found when googled. There is some info called the "Hammonnassett line" which stated these rock piles start in Montauk NY and run in a line through Conn. into NY State in a Northwest direction.These rock piles are found all over my area and they don't seem to run true to the line described.....I don't have any pics but would very easily be able to get some if anyone wanted. My main question is who the heck made these, some people believe it was the colonists and others firmly believe it was native Americans.....just curious if anyone had an opinion....thanks.
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Re:What about cairnes?... 3 years 3 months ago #20244

  • RyanVa
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I think they'd be good places to look around myself. They're interesting by themselves even without association to prehistoric occupation imo. I've come across several in the mountains of Va. and Wv. Most of these are historic I believe and used to cover springs, my guess to keep animals out? There's one pile of rocks that was placed on a ridge near me I think may be prehistoric. The vantage point where this cairn is unique because you can see the valley to the west, the river, and three waterfalls in the surrounding area, a strategic spot for a landmark. It could be a burial site I think. Next time I'm up there I'll get some pics.

Here's a link to a good site on cairns, niches, chambers , etc. some occupied by natives. Most of them are in your area, a few detailed site reports as well. Really interesting site I think.

www.stonestructures.org/html/prehistoric_structures.html
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Re:What about cairnes?... 3 years 3 months ago #20249

  • pkfrey
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Are the " cairns " your referring to near an open plowed field, a short distance into a wooded area? If so, then what you have are rock piles from the field. Back in the early days, farmers would drag a flat wooden device behind the team of horses, and load all the larger rocks from the field on the flatbed, then pile them as high as they could in the nearest woods. Here where I hunt arrowheads, there are hundreds of these rock piles, and the old timers still insist they are burial mounds. They should be checked closely however, I found many good mortars and hammerstones mixed in these rock piles.
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Re:What about cairnes?... 3 years 3 months ago #20250

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Great link Ryan, thanks.....I guess according to the link they're saying cairnes were built and used by both colonists and native Americans.....everyone I've talked to felt strongly one way or the other but never both.
Gungyswamp in Conn. (which is mentioned in the link)is a very weird place.....went once with a friend, spiritual kinda guy and he was totally freaked out.....said the whole place was evil.....he is not the first person I have heard say that either......kinda weird!!!
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Re:What about cairnes?... 3 years 3 months ago #20252

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pkfrey, no fields around the vast majority of the ones I've seen.......most located well into the woods, scattered around. Quite a few on the top of ridges but there are some in the valleys as well. The fields around here are usually lined with stone walls....we have a lot of rocks here in New England!!
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Re:What about cairnes?... 3 years 3 months ago #20253

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We have stone "walls" here like Paul talks about, farmers built them here. I here of people finding axes, pestles ect...I find lotsa rocks! All the good stuff long gone.
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Re:What about cairnes?... 3 years 3 months ago #20260

We have quite a few rock piles in Maryland, I never considered them to be native made though. More likely they are field clearing or wall building piles, both activities were very common in the mid-Atlantic region. Something I've noticed from studying archival photographs from the mid to late 1800's is that almost every forest you see now in the state of Maryland, is new. The old forests were heavily logged, or completely clear cut. However, they have grown back so densely, that they would seem to have always been there, despite the fact that only 70 years ago, most of them were fields. It pays to keep the forest history, and potential for being a field, in mind when you come across rock piles, especially piles with no clear structure.
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Re:What about cairnes?... 3 years 3 months ago #20263

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Buildsthefire! Thought you lived in Australia????
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Re:What about cairnes?... 3 years 3 months ago #20269

Used to live in Minnesota and Maryland, recently moved to Australia, doing my fair share of artifact hunting along the way ;)

Beware that "America's Stonehenge" site. The site they reference heavily is actually a 18th-19th century agricultural site, that was also used by a man who modified the site heavily to publicize it as a pre-Columbian Irish monk site. The earliest known refernece is from 1907, saying it was used as a homestead, with the "caves" being constructed for food storage by the homesteader.
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Re:What about cairnes?... 3 years 3 months ago #20272

  • Hoss
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I am leaning heavy toward what Paul said. Farmers clearing rock. I can tell you this too in Connecticut a lot of the rock clearing was attributed farming. There was a lot of rock clearing due to the search for iron during the Revelutionary War.

There was a book written by a guy named Barry Fell called America BC. It talked about Gungywamp and Moodus and a lot of other places in New England with Cairns and Dolmen. I read the book and it was quite interesting but proved nothing solid. Fell is an Oceanographer and was trying to promote his theory that Europeans were here long before the 1492 date. He is not an Archaeologist!
In Fell's book there are pictures of Dolems in New England and that simply could have been done by our last glacier. Big rock melts out of a glacier and lands on smaller rocks.
There are a lot of Root cellars pictured too but because they face a certain direction they were said to be in alignment with the solstice. I say if you find 100 root cellars your going to find more than a few facing the same direction. Maybe even right at the sun at sun-up on the Solstice.
Just cuz you're paranoid don't mean they ain't out to get you
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Re:What about cairnes?... 3 years 3 months ago #20273

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Minnesota to Australia!!! Talk about culture shock!
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Re:What about cairnes?... 3 years 3 months ago #20274

Haha no kidding Turkeytail :P

I agree with Hoss, I've been browsing this site, and to be honest not much of it holds any water. There's a section where they have pictures of unworked rocks, saying because they are generally a triangle shape they have been places there by native people for ceremonial purposes. I think people are quite removed from the history of their region, and because it's not a structure made of concrete and metal, they jump to conclusions. Settlers transformed the landscape more than we realise, especialy now that we don't clear the fields and forrests like we used to.

It would be one thing if they found several of these types of sites, in conjunction with native artifacts. But to this day, they havn't recovered any points, pottery, or bone tools associated with these places. Infact, they've found quite the opposite, colonial and even post 1830's artifacts.
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Re:What about cairnes?... 3 years 3 months ago #20368

  • CMD
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Chris, you bring back a lot of memories for me when you mention New England cairns.
The New England Antiquities Research Association(NEARA)is the principal organization in this area that studies cairns and things like dolmens, chambers, etc. Back in the late 70's and early 80's I was very active with them and served as the research director for the Rhode Island chapter. During that time we mapped an extensive cairn field in the RI Audobon's Society's George Parker Woodland in Coventry, RI. We found no smoking gun evidence to support any one theory. I suspect a mixed heritage where much of this is concerned. Many are colonial, some may be native. A lot, but maybe not all, dolmens or perched rocks can be attributed to glacial events. This organization actually enjoys a good deal of respect among at least some regional archaeologists. The state archaeologist of Rhode Island was the featured speaker a few years back when their Fall meeting was held in RI. The most exciting thing I found in the years I was active with NEARA was a possible Norse inscription located on Narragansett Bay. There's a couple of photos of this so-called "Narragansett Bay runestone" in the RI section of the photo gallery on NEARA's website. IMO, it's the best runestone known from New England and though I may be biased, I suspect it dates no later then the 1300's A.D. I was a devil's advocate in those days, arguing against rather sloppy research by Barry Fell and others. I always felt that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence to back them up. Fell's books look like they were thrown together in a week.
In 1989, James Mavor, a research scientist at the Woods Hill Oceonagraphic Institute, and Byron Dix co-authored the book "Manitou: The Sacred Landscape of New England's Native Civilization." More then any other work, this swung the tide away from ascribing ancient structures(if they're ancient)in New England to early explorers from Old World civilizations to instead a consideration that the chambers, dolmens, cairns, etc. were the work of Native Americans. Well, whatever the truth of the matter, here's a link to NEARA's website. You may find it interesting, the photo gallery includes all the New England states.

www.neara.org/

Charlie
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Re:What about cairnes?... 3 years 3 months ago #20386

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Awesome Charlie!!....it's not every day you put forth a question to find a previous research director!!....how cool is that!!
Great link charlie with lots of cool stuff on it, I had wondered who/when these were made and like I said, everyone had their own opinion but no scientific proof to back it up.I guess it will remain somewhat of a mystery for now, thanks for the info neighbor! :)
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