Monday, May 21, 2012


A. Gail Merian

Anne Dyjak and I represented the Chenango Chapter of the New York State Archaeological Association at the annual South Otselic Fishing Heritage Day, Saturday 19 May 2012.


Saturday, May 19, 2012


Donald A. Windsor

No evidence connecting Native Americans with stone piles in Chenango County has been found.  Until now.  Kathy Klopchin found a projectile point within a half-mile of the stone pile site in the Melondy Hill State Forest in the Town of Afton on Sunday 25 March 2012.  I described this site in my book cited below.

Our Bullthistle Hiking Club was plodding along a very muddy logging road that was sloshed by a large vehicle.  Kathy noticed the point on the side of the rut where it was splashed out.  She marked the location on her GPS.

The point seems to be made of rhyolite, according to several of my colleagues in our Chenango Chapter of the New York State Archaeological Association.  Rhyolite is a volcanic rock.  Volcanic rocks range from the very hard glass-like obsidian to the fluffy pumice.  Rhyolite is gritty and does have a purple form.  The nearest natural source of rhyolite is a well-known site near Gettysburg in south central Pennsylvania.

The identity of the point remains elusive because it seems to match illustrations of several types.  I narrowed it down to being either a Lamoka or a Susquehanna Broad.

Lamoka points are found more often west of here in the Finger Lakes region and beyond.  Susquehanna points are more apt to be found here in the Susquehanna River watershed.  Although a Google search of {  Lamoka rhyolite } turns up several photos matching this point, Ritchie does not associate the two terms.  On the other hand, Googling { Susquehanna rhyolite } turns up many hits and Ritchie does associate those two terms.  In fact, on page 54 he states that, "In Pennsylvania, nearly all points of this type are said to be made of purplish rhyolite derived from outcrops of this metamorphosed volcanic rock in Franklin and Adams Counties, near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  This material also composes a large number of the New York specimens ..."  Both point types are from the Archaic Period, Susquehanna (1200BC - 700BC), pages 53-54, are from the Transitional and Late Archaic; whereas Lamoka (3500BC - 2500BC), pages 29-30, are from the Early Archaic, page 10.

Therefore, the evidence cited above seems to favor the identity of this Afton point to be a narrow version of a Susquehanna Broad point made of purplish rhyolite.

Of course, finding a single point a half-mile away does not actually connect the stone piles to the Native Americans.  However, it is our closest connection so far and does inspire us to keep searching.

References cited:

Ritchie, William A.  A Typology and Nomenclature for New York Projectile Points.  Albany, NY: State Museum Bulletin 384.  1961, revised 1971, reprinted 1989. 

Windsor, Donald A.  The mysterious stone piles.  In:  Souvenirs of Yesteryear.  Exploring Chenango County, New York.  Norwich, NY: Self-published.  2009.  Pages 12-14.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Donald A. Windsor

McElligott, Corey C. ; McElligott, Darren, C. ; McElligott, Patrick R.
Water Man.  A Native People's History of the Northeast.
Guilford, NY: Waterfalls Press.  2011.  Unpaginated [354 pages]

This is truly a wonderful book and I thank the authors for publishing it.  Now this information resides in the public domain and is available to all who seek it.

Actually, I envy Pat -- and you will too, when you read it.  Why?  Because Pat had the privilege of carrying on all these fascinating conversations with Onondaga Chief Paul Water Man (=Waterman).  However, you can rejoice, because Pat's sons, Corey and Darren, described them for you.

Whereas this book provides interesting (hard to put down!) reading, it does have several pesky drawbacks which, unfortunately, will hinder its use as a reference.  It lacks the standard book features: verso, contents, cited references, and index.  The most distressing omission was the absence of page numbers.  Consequently, I recommend that readers do what I did, write in their own page numbers and construct their own index.  Admittedly, these are not tasks that someone paying $30.00 for a book should have to do.  But, for me, it was worth the trouble.

Over the years, I learned many concepts from Pat.  Now, I have a document to back them up.  For example, the use of  burial mounds is based on the idea that a person springs from the womb and should return to the womb when life is over.  Burial mounds resemble the bellies of pregnant women in the supine position.  Up to now, I have not been able to document that concept.  Now I can, on page 106.  I still remember when Pat first told me that, because it made me look at landscapes differently from then on.  Chenango County is richly endowed with possible burial mounds.

This book is full of remarkable information and I strongly urge you to read it.