|Petraform Snake Zig-Zags|
"..I caught the last half of an episode of America Unearthed, which was looking at Snake Mounds. They compared one in Ohio with one in Scotland, and another in Iowa, I think. It reminded me that [there was] a "petraform snake" that I always wanted to see, and a few other indigenous art works that I'd heard about. So before the leaves came out, this was a good time..
"In the meantime, I received an email from Hopkinton's Historical Association (I'm a member now), that they were having a "Pre-Tour" of the Pelloni Preserve. This is conservation land with numerous cliffs that were utilized by Native Americans in the past ".This Preserve is located in the Tomaquag Valley, which is in Hopkinton, Rhode Island. Donna was invited to check out the sites with a small group before they started giving historical tours of the area. It turned into a day-long adventure into Native American sites, not far from her ancestor John Porter's farm.
|The old wagon road with a stone bridge from the Colonial Era|
The first picture in this blog is of the petraform snake they found. Bob, one of the people on the "Pre-Tour", said he'd hunted these woods for years and never even saw the snake until one day when the light was just right and there it was! If you look closely you can see the head is at the bottom of the picture. The stones are laid out in zigzag form.
Just beyond the snake is a large rock in the shape of a turtle shell. Donna says there are a lot of these types of stones in the area.
|The Orchard Farm driveway on the way up the trail|
Donna tells me these rock sculptures are not intricately worked, like ones we might find by artists today. Native artists tended to see a rock or stone that already had a specific shape and would add some small touches - such as an eye - to enhance what they saw there.
|The High Cliff Cougar|
Below you see the other side of the Cougar. Donna says when you stand under the cliff this creature appears to be looking down on you. She said it was disconcerting... which was probably the point!
There were numerous small caves or grottos among these cliffs.
These caves would have afforded protection for indigenous people and animals, too.
The tour group found a curious gap which could have been a hunting blind or possibly used for defense.
|Under the Puma's Eye|
Below: early artist scratchings and gouges in the rock.
|Artificially created gouges in the rock face|
Below, the stone chair:
|The Stone Chair|
Ms. Spears runs the Tomaquag Museum
This stone circle was full of very worn stones. It was a nice place for the group to sit! It faces East - which means it was oriented to one of the significant sunrises, Summer Solstice.
|A Prayer Seat or Council Circle?|
Ms. Spears gave educational commentary during the actual tours on May 18th. The main purpose of the Pre-Tour was to show her around. She ended the actual tour in May with a traditional Narragansett prayer, which is a prayer that is sung. Donna said it was really nice. That's Bob, the guy with the boots, in the orange cap.
Below you see a quite distinctive part of the high places:
Donna notes that there were some standing stones on the left. (See above, looking up on the left)
|Stone Rows and a Door|
It's not readily apparent from the photos, but according to Donna, there was a long-curved row of stones and a doorway of sorts.
It sets your imagination to work, doesn't it? What was this place? Wouldn't you love to go back in time and see what it was really used for?
|The stones curve off into the woods|
|More of the stone wall|
This photo (below) is of my friend Donna. It was taken at the old Porter Farm south boundary wall and gate. The Porter family are some of her early American ancestors. They're also related to my step-mom Merlene.
It's a small world when you do Family History Research!
|Donna at the Porter Farm Gate|
Thanks, Donna, for this fun walk in the Connecticut woods!