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TOPIC: Piles of rocks- indian mound

Piles of rocks- indian mound 1 year 6 months ago #80570

I guess these piles of rocks about 2 ft tall im finding on our hunting lease are indian mounds. I have found artifacts around them. My question is why are these piles here and would it be worthwhile to dig in them. Thanks
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Piles of rocks- indian mound 1 year 6 months ago #80579

  • clovisoid
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If you are in Texas, they are probably what most of us call rock middens. Depending on where you are, they could have been used for roasting sotol bulbs and other veggies or just overburden from quarrying chert.

Lots of collectors in Central Texas do very well in burned rock middens, but I've seen some that are really littered with nice tools & points, and others that are littered with burned rock and flakes.
Last Edit: 1 year 6 months ago by clovisoid. Reason: spelling editor wanted to change sotol to stool
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Piles of rocks- indian mound 1 year 6 months ago #80585

clovisoid Im in central texas, thanks for the reply. Why do these middens get so tall from the natural lay of the land if they are fire pits?
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Piles of rocks- indian mound 1 year 6 months ago #80673

Do you have any pics of these?
Thanks chris
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Piles of rocks- indian mound 1 year 6 months ago #80710

  • Bone2stone
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:welcome: :welcome:

Good question.
Let me ask you a question. If you were a NA and moved into an area where there were rocks scattered everywhere would you put all these scattered stones in one area or would you leave them as is?
Placing them in an area where you knew they were out of the way you would not be kicking them as you walked through the area, in the dark.
They did not have flashlights so if these stones were in one area.....
Least we not forget they did not have steel toed shoes or boots.
A lot of the "middens" that we find in Texas are areas where waste was disposed of and sometimes things found in them were intentionally hidden there. This is my shared opinion and has been debated by experts and amatures alike for years.
There have been instances when they used stones as grave fill to prevent predation. Animals digging up the remains as fodder. This circumstance would only apply if the stones were all about the size of your fist not surface but pit fill. This is one circumstance to avoid there would be very little or nothing in them other than grave goods and the NA remains. Durring my digs I have found three of these and have learned that if you are digging along and run into a "subsurface" where no stones are present and suddenly find stones carefully placed dig around it.
Most were just waste and convenience "piles" or ranchers clearing the area is another hypothesis/theory.
Hope this helps.

Jessy B.
It is a "Rock" when it's on the ground.
It is a "Specimen" when picked up and taken home.
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Piles of rocks- indian mound 1 year 6 months ago #80715

  • Bolen Bevel 1
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Do your rock piles look anything like these.We have em all over Georgia.They are very common around old homestead places.Farmers would pile them up while clearing there fields.
002.JPG
Last Edit: 1 year 6 months ago by Bolen Bevel 1.
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Piles of rocks- indian mound 1 year 6 months ago #80723

Bolen, The Hill Country of Texas landscape is covered with smaller rocks than your pic. These mounds I find are in places I know are not "the rancher clearing land" and I most always fing artifacts. If they are firepits for roasting sotol,agave, or acorns, I wonder why there is no depression in the middle. Also I have never dug in a mound. This past weekend I found a nice 3" point partially covered with dirt on the mound. This mound is almost completly coverd with overgrowth and hard to see. It is at the bottom of a deep canyon where the fingers of the canyon come together. There is a small spring within 75 yards.
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Piles of rocks- indian mound 1 year 6 months ago #80774

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Comma shaped stone mound, RI. Photo taken in 1979.


image_2013-04-11.jpg


As I recall, this stone mound is about 60 feet long. It also has a trianguloid shaped stone set against it. That stone is on the right side of the mound as seen in the b/w photo. I'm 6' and standing next to it for scale. In the same general area of the first mound and quite a few more.




image_2013-04-11-3.jpg
Last Edit: 1 year 6 months ago by CMD.
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Piles of rocks- indian mound 1 year 6 months ago #80782

Cmd is that pointed stone a marker of some sort?

I found one like that by some rock mounds in southern MI

There are about 30 rock mounds on a hilltop overlooking a lake

The closest development is about a half mile away

Any ideas
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Piles of rocks- indian mound 1 year 6 months ago #80785

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michigandigger wrote:
Cmd is that pointed stone a marker of some sort?

I found one like that by some rock mounds in southern MI

There are about 30 rock mounds on a hilltop overlooking a lake

The closest development is about a half mile away

Any ideas

Been many years and I don't have the material in front of me, the triangle shaped stone at the smaller mound pointed East. I believe the one at the larger mound was pointing North. Lower on the hillside, there are 100+ conical mounds on a slope above a stream. From the same site, a long elliptical shaped retaining wall mound, backed with fill of smaller rocks.


image_2013-04-11-2.jpg


Well preserved conical mound in a group of 100+ on a southern slope above a stream. About 4 feet high.


image_2013-04-11-4.jpg


Here is some reading material:

www.neara.org/images/pdf/platformcairns.pdf

www.stonestructures.org/html/cairns.html

It has gradually become apparent that some stone mounds, at least in the Northeastern states, are native related and not simple colonial field clearing. Groups like NEARA(see link) have long had an interest in separating the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, or older mounds vs. more recent mounds related to field clearing.

www.neara.org/
Last Edit: 1 year 6 months ago by CMD.
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Piles of rocks- indian mound 1 year 6 months ago #82123

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Regarding the sheer size of the piles, remember that the tribes who used these midden piles were in the region for some thousands of years. It takes a while to pile up this much debris, and this was no weekend collection or even a collection of some 100 years.
The flat top of Abert Rim, in Lake County OR is absolutely covered with rings from the homes of NA who used the region for about 10,000 years. These can be seen when flying over them in a small plane. They overlap, and complely cover the mountain top for miles and miles in all directions.
Midden piles can be fond in a lot of places, and often where there is an abundance of chips, and partials, is a place where older natives would teach children how to make their tools. Imagine a child holding an imperfect piece up to the teacher. Not perfect? Dump it and start again. Broke while you were working it? Dump it and start again. If a hunter broke a knife, he only had to sit down for 10 or 15 minutes to make a new one, right on the spot. That skill was gotten from making hundreds of points, blades, knives and axes along with other tools sitting in a circle with other children, and working and working.
While my wife was visiting with a NA man at a rendezvous, he was idly flaking a large flat stone. As they finished their conversation, he handed it to her to examine. It was a beautiful reddish flint arrowhead shaped work, about 4 inches long, and about 2.5 inches across, with fine deeply fluted edges. She started to hand it back to him, and he said, "No, it is a gift." She replied "That's not a gift, that is a blessing." I could see that her gratitude was appreciated.
He had made this from rough stock in about 10 minutes of quiet visiting, standing, with only a couple of small tools.
I think sometimes the skill of these artisans in making the tools of their livelihood is under-apreciated.
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Piles of rocks- indian mound 1 year 6 months ago #82166

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hankpac wrote:
Regarding the sheer size of the piles, remember that the tribes who used these midden piles were in the region for some thousands of years. It takes a while to pile up this much debris, and this was no weekend collection or even a collection of some 100 years.
The flat top of Abert Rim, in Lake County OR is absolutely covered with rings from the homes of NA who used the region for about 10,000 years. These can be seen when flying over them in a small plane. They overlap, and complely cover the mountain top for miles and miles in all directions.
Midden piles can be fond in a lot of places, and often where there is an abundance of chips, and partials, is a place where older natives would teach children how to make their tools. Imagine a child holding an imperfect piece up to the teacher. Not perfect? Dump it and start again. Broke while you were working it? Dump it and start again. If a hunter broke a knife, he only had to sit down for 10 or 15 minutes to make a new one, right on the spot. That skill was gotten from making hundreds of points, blades, knives and axes along with other tools sitting in a circle with other children, and working and working.
While my wife was visiting with a NA man at a rendezvous, he was idly flaking a large flat stone. As they finished their conversation, he handed it to her to examine. It was a beautiful reddish flint arrowhead shaped work, about 4 inches long, and about 2.5 inches across, with fine deeply fluted edges. She started to hand it back to him, and he said, "No, it is a gift." She replied "That's not a gift, that is a blessing." I could see that her gratitude was appreciated.
He had made this from rough stock in about 10 minutes of quiet visiting, standing, with only a couple of small tools.
I think sometimes the skill of these artisans in making the tools of their livelihood is under-apreciated.


Great info, and a great memory for you and your wife. Speaking strictly of the piles I posted photos of, I do wish to point out that they are not middens. Nor workshop debris. They required time to construct, whether singular event or added to over time, as many cairns were, I don't know. I don't believe they represent colonial field clearing. Tribal historians in this area have traditions associated with certain cairn fields in this region, including, in one instance, a site that is both a ceremonial space and site of significant engagements in King Philip's War(1675-76). I suspect the ones I showed from RI are prehistoric cairns, but I don't know their purpose. They are all glacial cobbles from the immediate areas, no knapping material at all. Middens makes me think shell middens, which are different naturally. The midden piles you speak of in Oregon sound really impressive, would love to see them..
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