The Photo Tour “Natural History Of Tomaquag Valley”

By HHA Member Tom Helmer

The HHA web site encompasses the chronological history of human activity, as in the rhyme “In fourteen hundred and ninety two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue”.

But we also are concerned with the completeness of our coverage of Hopkinton by devoting time to the “Natural History” of our town. ‘Gee, that’s really swell.’ you might be thinking, followed rapidly with a logical question along the lines of: ‘What in the world is Natural History?’

The correct answer to that question is the perplexing reply “Everything”. But to let you see on the insider’s joke, let’s look up Natural History in our trusty Funk & Wagnalls. The dictionary gives three definitions:

  1. A treatise… (Wow! Two words in and I had to look that one up! It means “A systematic exposition or argument in writing including a methodical discussion of the facts or principles involved and conclusions reached.)

O.K. Let’s start over…

Natural History, Noun,

  1. A treatise on some aspect of nature.
  2. The Natural development of something (as an organism or disease) over a period of time.
  3. The study of natural objects especially in the field from an amateur or popular point of view.

(Hey! There’s that word “Amateur” again. Check out the article “Amateur” under the “About Us” drop downs.)

This Photo Tour is prepared in the spirit of definition #3, and it encompasses the plants, animals, seasons and the star of Tomaquag Valley, Tomaquag Brook in it’s many variations, from sleepy and dull, to rambunctious and wild, in it’s rain swollen state and it’s tiny trickle brooks and marshes.

As a hiker with over 300 miles spent in Tomaquag Valley alone, I know that each of my photographs portray the beauty of our valley, but one of them also shows the ever present danger that can surprise you on a carefree stroll away from our controlled environment into the uncontrolled home of wild Nature.

In the photos, there is a “Very Cute” picture of an adorable baby racoon snuggled up at the base of my neighbor Don’s oak tree. This little bundle of Disneyesque benevolence has rabies, a communicable disease transmitted via saliva from the bite of an infected mammal to another mammal.

Without sounding like a treatise, untreated, rabies is a slow, grim, fatal disease for the unfortunate mammal infected. Humans are treated before the disease rots your mind by a painful series of shots. You help slow down the spread of rabies by making sure Fluffy and Sparky get their rabies shots.

You have to be nuts to get as close to a rabid animal as the picture would indicate. While I do qualify, I also have a real good telephoto lens, so I’m not that crazy. If you encounter a nocturnal animal strolling about during the day, leave the area immediately.

I hope you enjoy the photos. Each one was shot less than 1 ¾ miles from my front door. The woods of Hopkinton, wherever you live, and the woods near our site’s many visitors, will all contain similar beauty if you take the time to look at the Natural History that surrounds us.

The tour begins with a vernal pool in the Spring. This is where life began for many of the amphibians of the forest, like the wood frogs that spring about violently, and the salamanders and newts that try to stay out of sight. The evening air is full of the shrill calls of Spring Peepers. The bull frogs, which remain tadpoles for portions of two years and need to mature in permanent ponds, add to the chorus of the Rites Of Spring.

In the Valley, the water is high, and the marshes and wet places are active nurseries for skunk cabbage and fiddle head ferns. There are many trickle brooks, each with their own beauty, each contributing to Tomaquag Brook’s high water. Be aware that this brook puts on a disposition disguise every time it passes near an automobile bridge. It pretends to be half asleep and incapable of having fun. This is a lie! You will see the photos progressively shift from Docile to “Day after the big rain Rambunctious”.

As Tomaquag Brook in the wild is no where near a road, that means you have to hike to it, or look at these pictures. The advantage of looking at the pictures is two fold. This is the brook with really high water, and you are far less likely to catch Poison Ivy inside your home.

With Spring, all sorts of wildlife comes out of dens and burrows to move about. The deer prints are obvious, the raccoon prints need some time to notice the “Hand” of it’s front paws, and the “Foot” of it’s rear paws.

Many geese and buzzards migrate away for the winter,
but like giant versions of the Swallows of Capestrano, they return to Hopkinton.

For a “One Way History Hoot”, click on the link to Hinckley, Ohio’s annual Buzzard Day celebration! But be sure to come right back, so I hope you have already book marked our site.

Getting back to Hopkinton, on a more serious note, Spring also brings up the predator activity in our woodlands. I regularly check any muddy spots that I walk by to get the latest news on who’s been passing through. I went by this spot two days in a row. On the first day it was a clean slate. On the second day, a Bobcat had passed across the spot.

We have large Fox and Coyote populations, but like Sparky the dog, their claws are not retractable. These claws would show in the print. A Bobcat is sort of like a giant version of Fluffy, on steroids, with a bad attitude, and retractable razor sharp claws. Note that no claw impressions are visible.

Other animals are out and about as the seasons shift to Summer, then on to Fall. The forest floor is re-carpeted with leaves, giving fresh evidence that coyotes have no loyalty to fellow canines, as the dog hip bone testifies, and that deer do as they please. Sometimes the beaver fell a tree, only to have it hang up in another tree, denying them much Winter food in the bark.

And surprise, surprise, you find you have been walking a trail all summer long with a White Faced Hornet’s nest dangling over your head.

As it gets colder, the squirrels lay claim to your bird feeder, and the big, fat ones are the worst piggies!

Then, late in November or early December comes the first cold snap, and the goldfish pond is transformed into an ephemeral art work, as long and high ice crystals have sliced across the still water.

Tomaquag Towers

Towards the close of 2030, the Global Economy began to stabilize from the tumultuous events that marked the first quarter of the 21st century. Europe retreated from the hoped for “Republican Equality” of the European Union, slipping back to a three tiered hierarchy. Once again it was England and Germany diplomatically dueling for supremacy. Once again France was not in this exclusive club, but pretended she was. In the lowly third tier was every other European Nation.

The Middle East was still as described in the Book of Genesis, full of enmity and strife between hardened positions established four Millennia previous. Since the deployment of Space Collector technology, a constant flow of solar energy was microwaved to the most technically advanced nations, which immediately slashed dependence on oil. This was a catastrophe for economies based on oil export. The Middle East & South America grew impoverished from bottom to top.

Africa’s metals wealth was neutralized by Silicon Conductor Technology. This made the Space Collector possible, but also made traditional electrical products of copper, aluminum, silver and gold obsolete. The Silicon Revolution sprang from High Temperature Membrane Filtration of Quartz. Sand is mostly quartz. Sand is everywhere! Membranes were cheap! Poof! The End.

Russia continued to shrink in area while growing in prosperity. All the “Republics” of Whaazizstan and Eastern Gibru reveled in their independence from Moscow. Moscow reveled in the lack of dependants draining their treasury. It was an amazing thing to see a nation adopt the “Lean & Mean” downsizing model perfected during the economic crash of the U.S. Economy.

China, India & Japan avoided firing a lot of bullets and dropping a lot of bombs. Except for that, it was a full scale war such as only Clausewitz imagined. Gradually, India emerged triumphant.

In the United States, prosperity and optimism never returned. There was no equalizing tide rising all the boats. As Global Stability spread, only the biggest boats floated high and proud. The smaller boats downsized expectations, and fought over dwindling scraps. The U.S. turned to the “Bread and Circuses” model established by Imperial Rome. At both ends of the economic spectrum in America there was a “Leisure Class”. At the top, the wealthy did not need to work, at the bottom there were no jobs to do. Still, all citizens were provided for, cared for medically, and entertained by over 2,000 niche channels of downloadable content to pick through endlessly.

Silicon Conductor Nano Technology Circuitry gave any country or corporation which could convert to the new microscopic data link a decisive cost saving, data transfer rate, and a communications bandwidth advantage which was insurmountable. Profits for those “Upgraded” companies all skyrocketed. Traditional Giants failed, particularly in Banking and Telecommunications fields.

The key was nano links injecting insane data rates directly into Fiber Optic International Cable Networks. One such cable ran through Tomaquag Valley. Tel & D.T. Corporation bought all the homes along both sides of Collins Road from Tomaquag to Maxson Hill, Maxson Hill to the cull de sac, and all the property along Frontier Road to Rt. 95. They paid “You Can’t Refuse This” prices. Still, it was a bargain. They had multiple “On Site” Fiber Optic access points on 2 square miles of easily securable land. The plans called for hardened structures to thwart any disruption.

Even with temporary prefab buildings, they instantly became THE most important East Coast hub for international data transfer, and the Lean & Mean Global Economy was founded on Data Flow! Direct access to the I 95 Corridor was “Commuter Friendly”, but not vital. Construction began immediately on Tomaquag Towers. Down in the Valley, Tower One, 400 feet in diameter, spanned the brook at the Jedediah Davis Mill Site, and it’s steel beams leapt rapidly skyward.

The Construction Manager responsible for transforming Tel & D.T.’s property was Art Lewis, who was proven to be up to this massive assignment by an unbroken string of “On Time and Under Budget” successes stretching back eighteen years. His involvement with construction began with his first job, an illegal underage laborer for an old school ‘stick built’ carpenter. Art could hear him even now: “Pound them nails by hand into the 2 by’s, Artie, and sink em flush with the fourth blow! Every time, Artie. I don’t wanna see no ‘half dollars’ either.” Art actually missed the staccato rhythm of two framers hammering a home together one piece at a time. But he didn’t miss the slow rate of productivity that the old way, of necessity, embraced.

He paid his own way through Engineering School by working his tail off during the summer, building ‘speculation’ houses for a large developer. Everything with that guy was electric or pneumatic, and the word was always “Hurry it UP, Artie! No one will notice nuthin!” Those homes were shoddy, but boy did that guy make money! In three months each year, he made enough to cover each of his 6 years of college, graduating with an MBA in Construction Management.

His hero in those tumultuous “Viet Nam” days was the mammoth Land Developer from Texas who offered the Pentagon a deal. He said that if the Government paid him what they spent on the war for three years, during that time he would pave South Viet Nam completely, put up light poles, and paint parking lines on the whole shooting match. Then everyone could go home!

It never happened. Art still remembered his Cross Country Team Mate, Jack Foley, killed at 19.

This was his biggest job ever, but he was certain he would lead his management team and workers in making a “World Class” facility which would be so Energy Efficient that Tomaquag Towers would be selling electricity back into the Grid. His engineering data predicted that before the first shovel bit into dirt, (and promptly hit a rock!) and by the time they had the “Topping Off’ ceremony on Tower One, complete with the “No one was killed” tree at the peak, the site was producing more energy than it consumed, with only half of the Solar Hexagons laid down!

Tomaquag Towers was widely acclaimed in the Trade Publications as proving itself deserving of the exemptions awarded it by the Government. Based on specifications, the economic impact for the Northeast and the entire country, plus the economic imperative to be running first, the Tomaquag Towers Project, HIS project, was awarded the coveted “Too Vital To Fail” priority designation.

For the good of the country, local building codes were steam rollered by Washington. No snags, no manufacturing problems, and certainly no labor shortages ever delayed Tomaquag Towers. Prior to buying out those residents fortunate to be living on the Prime Zone, the Town of Hopkinton was crippled by the consequences of it’s distain for development policies. The skyrocketing costs of education and basic services fell primarily on home owners, and the Tax burden was crushing. This created a slow exodus out of town which escalated the Tax Rate.

After twenty years of bad economic news globally, the proposal by Tel & D.T. was applauded! Not only did they bring in ENORMOUS Tax Revenue, they made two gifts to the Town. The first came as a complete surprise. Companies capable of the financing for new development always demanded Tax Relief from the local governments of the prospective sites. A reverse bidding war always ensued, as desperate towns gave away revenue to insure that the new construction happened in their town. Later on they would reap the Tax Revenue. Tel & D.T. asked for no such “Stimulus”. Hopkinton had the perfect site, Hopkinton would have the Towers.

The second was beyond belief. Tel & D.T. Market Research knew the quiet desperation of the residents. Taxes were high, work was scarce, and some still clung to their woodsy way of life. Tel & D.T. made a gift of paying 25% of the Tax Obligation of all Hopkinton Home Owners, with this payment spread over ten equal annual sums. It was the Corporation’s way of very noticeably smoothing down the ruffled feathers this dramatic change caused their “neighbors”.

Well, that worked! As the Chain Saws, Timber Trucks, Wood Chippers, Bull Dozers and Land Graders smoothed all the bumps in the valley, people consoled themselves by noting they had more; a LOT more money available to them each month, and after all, Hopkinton had a lot of trees. No one was really going to miss this one little spot, especially as a family member or two or three now had steady work and a decent paycheck for a change. Things were looking up!

The occasional Grumpy Guy or Gal would demand to speak with “Mr. Lewis Himself!”, and Art had a policy that unless he was meeting with his Project Managers in the well traveled trailer that was the heart of the construction project, such local “neighbors” would be offered refreshments, a seat on the crummy couch, and “Art” will be with them as soon as he completes what he is working on now. He made it a point to not have an angry neighbor wait more than a minute or two before venting whatever was on their mind. And he always listened to them carefully.

Built into the specifications and in accord with the streamlined “T. V. T. F.” exemptions, no matter what substantive objections were presented, Art would diplomatically point out that their considerations were being addressed, and explain how they were being addressed. This usually satisfied those who needed reassurance. Those who only wanted to argue still got diplomacy, only it was pointing out the benefits the neighbor was already enjoying, while the Corporation was still paying the massive bills associated with the actual construction and wages funneling into the local economy. Art always remained unruffled, and always closed with the folksy saying: “If you want to eat omelets, you have to break some eggs.” Then he thanked the person for dropping by, and went back to whatever construction jam he left to hear the “Whine de Jure”.

The Davis Brook and Tomaquag Brook were routed through appropriately sized underground cement aqueducts. The Corporate Property was clear cut and graded. Then the Silicon Collector Hexagons were laid down. Each Hex was a prefabricated solar power generator and rainfall collector, with standard couplings for power, light, hydraulics and microprocessor controls built into each, forming a continuous solar blanket. They were ten feet across and two feet thick, and made of a strong honeycomb of reject silicon that was filtered out by the High Temperature Membranes. The small size meant they were easy to transport, and as each Hex leveled itself, the height differential between adjacent hexes was minimal. Silicon has a minimal expansion coefficient to temperature changes, and the Hex Collectors forged a rock stable, drivable, year round surface.

The Company property achieved the security benefits of paving Viet Nam, while having a negative carbon foot print. Key Installations were hardened against Terrorist Attack, and there was no cover to be had for a surprise land assault. The stout hidden defenses were classified.

The Towers used a lot of water, but underground cistern bladders stored every drop of rainwater that fell. This pure water was circulated repeatedly in the Geothermal system and cooling towers.

Valley History was honored by a working Lobby model of the Grist Mill incased in plastic, and there was a reflective pool in memory of all the Valley deceased, both Narragansett & Colonial.

Tomaquag Towers was hailed Nationally as THE Model for New Era Development. The land was productive, a net exporter of energy, with a self sufficient water supply and sewage treatment facilities. In a world where terrorism was routine, the Towers could defend themselves.

Still, in spite of all the “Green” accolades and prestigious awards, Tomaquag Towers caused a division between the “Tree Huggers” and the “Sustainable Energy” crowd, who shouted them down as being irrationally opposed to Everything! The public voted with their feet, and “The Towers” site became a magnet for other high tech companies, who formed a waiting list to lease Corporate Offices, instantly filling Tower after soaring Tower in the Perfect New Era Location.

“If you want to eat omelets, you have to break some eggs”

Art Lewis, Construction Manager, Tomaquag Towers, July 25, 2031

Without distracting from the stark imagery of what Tomaquag Towers will actually do to all Valley artifacts & wildlife, a consequence ignored by their Marketing, I want to assure you that the crushed Painted Turtle, shown in a small image on this page, was found dead on Tomaquag Road in 2004. This animal was killed by an unknown driver in what we call an “Accident”, but should honestly call an “Inevitable”. The Painted Turtle at the opening of “Tomaquag Towers” made it safely across Collins Road in 2012, because I pulled over and stopped traffic both ways on foot to let it cross safely.

Seeing The Narragansett Presence

By HHA Member Tom Helmer

Long before the intermittent European Contact in the 1500’s or the European Colonization Emigration of the 1600’s, the Indigenous People who lived here, in what became Hopkinton, were the Narragansett Tribe. They were one of many distinct Tribes living in what became the Northeastern United States.

The Italian navigator Giovanni da Verrazano explored the coast line from present day New York City, (Yes, the Verrazano Bridge is named after him.), up past the coast of Maine. Along the way he stopped for 15 days among the Narragansett Tribe.

In the year 1524, he recorded his impressions of the Narragansett in his Journal, after mapping and naming the vitally important safe refuge for the sailing ships of his day “Narragansett Bay”.

“These people are the most beautiful and have the most civil customs that we have found on this voyage. They are taller than we are…the face is clear cut…the eyes are black and alert, and their manner is sweet and gentle.”

Regarding their way of life, which was notably different from the long established “settled agriculture” of Europe, Verrazano noted their prowess at hunting the abundant wildlife in the forests. (Which were burned twice a year to remove underbrush and leaf litter, which also cut down on insect pests, producing a towering canopy of big, even huge trees, with soft, silent grassy meadows below, lacking any obstructing brush, making them ideal for silently stalking game with Bow and Arrow.)

He wrote about what and how they hunted: “The animals which are in great numbers, as stags, deer lynxes, and a great many other species, are taken by snares, and by bows, the latter being their chief implement; their arrows are wrought with great beauty, and for the heads of them they use sharp stones, in the place of Iron. They also use the same kind of sharp stones in cutting down trees, and with them they construct their boats of single logs, hollowed out with admirable skill, and sufficiently commodious to contain ten or twelve persons.”

Prior to the disastrous ravages cause by European diseases, followed by “King Phillips War”, the Narragansett were among the most powerful and populous Tribes of the Northeast. Afterwards, they were reduced to a shell of themselves.

In Hopkinton today, the Narragansett retain their Tribal Identity and distinct ways in spite of national and statewide efforts at assimilation, and thus erasure, which were spread out over centuries.

But our concern at HHA is not today’s politics. The Narragansett are an indelible part of our common history, and there is much to see of their historic presence remaining in Hopkinton’s forests.

Without a guide, it is difficult to discern the importance of various piles of “used rocks” one encounters while walking in the woods. Bob Miner trained my eye to see the “Native American Presence”, and this article and these photos are my way of passing along to you the knowledge I gained from him, refined by my experience gained in a hundred miles of walking in the silence of the “Narragansett Spiritual Landscapes” of Hopkinton.

This is important:
In this article, we are dealing with Archeological Features that do not come wrapped up with definitions, with Certain Knowledge as to exactly what is pictured. It is also vital to be aware that the places shown here must be viewed with the same respect we show for our culture’s Spiritual Places.

This is especially true when actually walking within the obvious Native American Sacred Landscapes remaining in the forest. All photographs in this article have a sacred connotation in Narragansett Theology.

If you are a hiker willing to pay the sweat equity of actually walking in the woods, feeding the bugs and encountering the bull briars and poison ivy, this article can train your eye to see the things I write about. They are out there in abundance for those who’s eyes can see. So go out and look, just as I did. And when you find them, remember you are walking on Sacred Ground.

The Archeological Features pictured here fall into six general categories:

  1. Memorial Stones
  2. Burial Sites
  3. Special Rocks
  4. Animal effigies
  5. Monumental Sculptures
  6. Recent Discoveries

I used my intuition & common sense to form the labels for each category.

I believe these labels are Correct Opinion, but the key word is always “Opinion”.

Memorial Stones

It is my opinion that Memorial Stones are an Honor Site for significant members of the Tribe or Clan, or warriors who died away from the tribal village area. There would be no body to bury, still the man would receive honor from the tribe. Memorial stones are a large rock with smaller rocks placed on top.

Sometimes, as in this example, there will be a small piece of quartz placed toward the center of the Topper rocks. Quartz was a significant mineral to the Native Americans. The addition of quartz added to the honor of the Memorial Stone. They often are grouped together. Memorial Stones come in a wide variety of sizes.

This is the Large size. Later on you will see a more detailed photo of the huge stone cairn in the background. When you walk within a Native American Sacred Landscape, often you will be among many and diverse Spiritual memorials. Keep your eyes wide, there is usually more to see than what you first focused in on.

Burial Sites

It is my opinion that there are many Narragansett Burial Sites in Tomaquag Valley alone. In the small 1.4 square mile area I mapped, there are 10 cemeteries for the 300 years of our expanding Colonial Presence. But, how far back did the Native American Presence go? Was it for a thousand years? Two thousand years? All the way back to the end of the Wisconsin Ice Age? We do not know.

However the Archaeological Investigation of the specific location of the “Indian Shelters” in 1958 gave them an estimated Shelter Occupancy age range of perhaps 3,000 years, from perhaps 1,000 A.D. back to perhaps 2000 B.C. But the Native Americans did not live in tiny rock crevasses, they had seasonal encampments, and the 1958 investigation was not looking for their population centers.

We can say with confidence that thousands of Narragansett people lived and died long before the Colonists arrived in Tomaquag Valley. In 1524 the explorer Giovanni da Verrazano estimated the New England Indigenous population to be 90 to 100 thousand people. We know the Narragansett buried their dead. Thus, there would have to be a lot of burials, using a lot of different local customs.

The book “The Narragansett”, by William S. Simmons, (part of the series “Indians Of North America”) describes a typical Narragansett burial:
“A wise elder had the responsibility of burying the dead. He would place the body in an oval pit, with knees drawn up to the chest, and the head pointed toward the southwest, the direction of the afterworld.”

A Native American Burial Site in Tomaquag Valley is often hard to see, and they are often close together.

This one is easy to see. But if I didn’t circle the other four burial sites, you certainly would not have seen them in the picture, and might not have seen them in person walking in this Sacred Landscape. In the woods, you need to keep a wide eye.

Narragansett Burials in Tomaquag Valley regularly appear as a circle of collected stones about 5 feet in diameter which are placed on top of the burial. There is a gentle mound shape to this formation, which averages about 6 inches above ground level, although I have seen them sunken down to ground level and as high as 15 inches above Ground level.

This one is hard to see. In fact, you can’t see it in the picture, you have to walk around it and look carefully among the plants & leaves.

Pointer Rocks

Pointer StonesThe next category are Pointer Rocks. These are similar to Memorial Stones, except there is a prominent rock placed to point in a specific direction.

This one has two pointers.

Pointer StoneSometimes the pointer is hidden below a larger rock.

It is usually not possible at this late date to know what the pointer was aimed at. But the Narragansett knew. They were masters of the sun, moon and stars, in every season. They did not have magnetic compasses, and they did not need them.

Throughout New England they created Sacred Landscapes with precise astronomical alignments, to the Summer Solstice, Winter Solstice, and the Vernal & Autumnal Equinox.

One of these Astronomical Observatories is located in Hopkinton. It is incredibly precise! Called “Sunrise Barrow” it is included in this article, and will be specifically featured in it’s own well illustrated article on these pages of HHA’s site, and in much greater depth in “Walking Together In Tomaquag Valley” when that e book, gifted to Non-Profit HHA, is placed for sale on this site.

Special Rocks

The next Category, Special Rocks, are somewhat rare.

Split RockThis is a Split Rock. It has been split vertically, by nature or man. This one has a separate rock inserted in the vertical opening for special significance.

This rock was split horizontally, lifted up, and small support rocks make the top rock float above the base. The animal effigy outlined in blue will appear again, but note their proximity in this Sacred Landscape.

When you are in a Sacred Landscape, look around and follow your curiosity, as there is usually much to see, spread out over a wide area.

This is an Offering Rock for placing small gifts to the Spirits. Native American Theology believed their were spirits in the air and sky, spirits in the plants and animals of the land, and spirits under the ground. They all expected a small offering on occasion. Not much, but something of value to you. In this case, the gift would be placed inside the half hexagonal opening under the very large concave roof hollowed out inside the rock

Perched BoulderThis is a Perched Boulder. Note that the foundation ledge is sloped downhill, and 1/3 of the boulder is hanging unsupported in space

UPDATE: July, 2013

An extremely close up examination determined that the stopper rock was actually an “left in site” fractured piece of the ledge. This makes it doubtful that the rock was manipulated into position, and increases the probability that it has been sitting in this precarious position as a “Glacial Erratic” since the end of the Wisconsin Ice Age, about 10,000 years ago.

Rick Prescott in front of a boulderAnd here is Rick Prescott, ever the optimist, wondering what could possibly go wrong on such a warm, sunny day in December.

Boulder with concavityThis is a Perched Boulder with a concavity for grinding corn or beans. It is located atop a High Place overlooking a broad flood plain, and is clearly a Sacred Site.

Standing Stones

This is a two foot tall Tetrahedral Standing Stone, (4 sided, 3 sides exposed, resting on the 4th underground), always a marker rock shape of special Spiritual Significance.

This one is further amplified by being within a sacred ring of surrounding stones.

There is another reason why this Stone is Special, along with the next three rocks pictured. This is the first of three rocks which are positioned in astronomical alignment over a significant distance.

Standing StoneThis is a larger Standing Stone, nearly five feet tall. This is the second of three rocks placed in an astronomical alignment. Look at it carefully. Do you see the sunlight emphasizing the stylized eye? Can you see the partially opened mouth? It is my opinion it was shaped to resemble a Whale or a Snake, “Askûg” in Narragansett. For a listing of all Narragansett words used on HHA’s web site, please refer to the “Glossary” page under the “Indigenous/Native American” button .

We will see more remarkable animal effigies shortly

This is the third & final rock that completes this astronomical alignment. This rock is an enormous Glacial Erratic boulder, and was not manipulated into it’s current position. It may have been worked to accentuate the pointy top for accuracy. The previous two stones were placed in their current positions of alignment by the Narragansett.

The home wasn’t there when the Narragansett laid out this alignment to go directly through their dining room.

I do not have the ability to determine what event was being marked in the Southern horizon at 203°.

However, I doubt this alignment, which covers a distance of several hundred yards, is an accidental coincidence.

Animal Effigies

The Narragansett sculpted rocks into Animal Effigies. This 16” figure is a simple, vague likeness. It was shown before in a blue oval. People who see this picture have no consensus of what animal is depicted, or even if it is an animal.

However, I am going to show you three more pictures, which are not ambiguous.

Bear EffigyThis animal effigy is not simple, it is artistically stylized. What animal is portrayed in this 28 inch sculpture?

We concluded that the sculptor distilled the essence of Bear, “Mosq” in the Na-ha-hig-an-sect Language. (FYI: The term “Narragansett” was imposed on the Tribe by the colonizers, Nahahigansect is the term preferred by the Narragansett.)

Look at it from that frame of mind. The sculptor was not making an anatomically correct lab model, he was artistically interpreting a powerful predator, one the tribe was quite familiar with.

My choice of the words “sculptor”, “essence” & “artistic interpretation” are deliberate. I have had a long time absorbing the Narragansett Presence in Hopkinton, and I am comfortable with attributing to them the same range of artistic ability we find on display at a current outdoor craft show or art exhibit.

Please reserve your final judgment as to whether you accept these Artifacts and Archeological Features as sculpture until after you see and digest the next nineteen photographs.

Note: In the terminology of Archeology, an Artifact is something you can pick up and easily transport.

A Feature is a construction much larger, which cannot be moved without disassembly.

Also Note: In Narragansett Theology, many of the items in a Spiritual Landscape are considered “Perpetual Prayers”. Were their rocks disassembled, and then meticulously restored in the exact same location, the rocks might look exactly the same, but the prayer has been destroyed. Please, do not mess with what you don’t understand. Leave things undisturbed when you find them.
So there you are, walking through the forest, when your eye is drawn down towards your feet. There is an animal 18 inches long sitting still before you. It looks like this. What animal are you looking at?

We believe the sculptor modeled a realistic Rabbit, “Waû-tuck-ques” in Narragansett.

Turtle CairnNarragansett artists were not content to make small sculptures of hunting animals from single stones. They also created large works of art, using multiple stones, depicting animals which were Sacred to them.

This is perhaps the most beautiful Indigenous sculpture that is known, so far, in Hopkinton’s Tomaquag Valley. So what is it?

Yes, it is a turtle three feet high, five feet wide and six feet long. The Turtle, “Tun-up-pa-sog” in Narragansett, was an extremely sacred animal to many/most Indigenous Tribes all across North America.

The Turtle was the symbolic representation of “Nooh-ka-sah-kee”, Mother Earth. Please note the cavity for offerings located below the head and to the right.

Turtle CairnHere is an enormous Turtle Cairn that is five feet high, eleven feet wide and sixteen feet long.

This cairn was circled in the background of a Memorial Rock pictured earlier. This sculpture may have two heads and two sets of front feet. Please note the ledge foundation stone has been flattened and sunk on the lower Left side, also as a place to receive offerings.

CairnAnd here is a different style of turtle art. This one is huge, sculpted from a boulder that is eleven feet long and nine feet wide.

My advice to you, should this animal effigy come to life, is simple: “Run Away!”

A careful examination in the glancing rays of late afternoon sun clearly shows the stylized eye to be shallow relief carved.

Clearly, the Narragansett artistry portrayed so far ranged from the simple to the sublime, exactly as in our personal artistic attempts to convey the wonder we see in our mind’s eye today.

But the Indigenous People also left their presence be known on sculpture that towers over their, and our, heads.

Monumental Sculpture

High Cliff CougarThe High Cliff Cougar, “Pus-sough” in Narragansett

But Tomaquag Valley has a secret that I believe will eventually force academia to rewrite the history of the Narragansett, and by extension many other Indigenous Tribes. I know those are strong words to describe our teensy Tomaquag Valley, especially when my knowledge base and education are limited.

However, I never read any report that the Indigenous Peoples of the North East
understood or utilized Geometry. Have you?

Nor have I read of them ever creating “Monumental Sculpture”. Have you?

Please consider the following opinion carefully before making up your mind.

When I first encountered the “High Cliff Cougar” in 2004, I thought it was a natural curiosity. It was a jutting outcrop protruding from the top of a twenty two ½ foot cliff deep in Tomaquag Valley.

Rhode Island in general, and Hopkinton in particular, located in the Southwestern corner of the smallest state in the USA, is not noted for cliffs. But we do have several, and this one is the home of the “High Cliff Cougar”.

My stick is five feet long, the cliff rises 22 feet above the crest of the Talus slope, which is another twenty five feet tall.

The Cougar sculpture shares this outcrop with a second Monumental Sculpture depicting either a man or a god, “Man-i-tou”, the Narragansett word for a god.

Hopkinton’s Cougar, like a real cougar or panther, has the ability to hide in plain sight. Unless you are in the right place at the right time looking at the right spot, you can’t see the shape. I waited 90 minutes for the sun to cast these clarifying, dramatic shadows in April 2004

Here is a close up of the cougar sculpture.


And here is Rick Prescott chatting with the kitty and admiring the valley floor, far, far below. He will tell you that while he calmly sat there hanging over the cliff edge, I was the one having kittens!

Our site has visitors from the Rocky Mountain States, and they will doubtless laugh and point, but by Rhode Island standards, this is a Major League cliff.
And here are a sequence of 3 photographs that help prove this Monumental Sculpture was shaped by the hand of a man who understood geometry.

Note: The original 4 videos, with their changing view points clearly show the sculpting of “The Cougar” & “The Man”. They are located in the article devoted to “The High Cliff Cougar”

Notice the eye socket is an arc segment of a perfect circle.

In this photograph, the geometry gets more complex. It shows three additional arc segments. Note that all four have a different radius.

The lower lip.

The upper lip.

Then a very sophisticated use of two different radii, meeting tangentially to form the eye socket and the forehead brow. In furniture making, this advanced shape is called a Roman Ogee.

You and your kids didn’t learn about Tangents, and this Geometric Construction, and how to draw it, until you took Advanced High School Mathematics Classes.

This photograph shows a complete circle, making five different locations utilizing five different radii in their construction.

That is my photographic proof that the High Cliff Cougar is not a naturally occurring rock formation. I believe I am stating the correct opinion that it was sculpted by the hand of man.

The next question, “Who’s Hand, Narragansett or Colonial?” is decided on the basis of the following historical argument. Again, please reason for yourself.

Among many of the Archaeologists of the Northeast, the entrenched belief is that the Indigenous People did not construct anything complex. They believe that all such objects were the work of Colonial Farmers.

But the few Colonial Farmers of the early days when Hopkinton was part of Westerly had no time or incentive to build any such inedible object.

They faced the demands of constant labor required to impose a European Agricultural Life Style on the “Wilderness of Plenty” bounty utilized by the Narragansett.

Any such sculpting project by a farmer later on would be mocked by his neighbors and recorded somewhere in the details of Hopkinton’s Town Archives.

I believe in time, The High Cliff Cougar will break down the rigid refusal among some archaeologists to accept the Native American’s craftsmanship and artistic ability, as showcased in Hopkinton. For greater depth on the High Cliff Cougar, including the original videos which I believe prove it is a sculpture made by the hand of man, please see the page “The High Cliff Cougar”, and it’s own detailed chapter in “Walking Together In Tomaquag Valley”. In my opinion, the evidence and logic are overwhelming; what about your opinion?

Further investigation revealed another Monumental Sculpture on the bottom plane of the outcrop!

This one, called “The Man”, features a “Snake Eye”, an ear or a headdress, and a natural crack utilized as a grinning mouth. His expression grows on you with time.

If you think Monumental Sculptures by Indigenous Peoples are commonplace artifacts, tell me where the next one like it is located. New Hampshire’s Old Man Of The Mountain was rocks, not sculpture. How about Stone Mountain in Georgia, built with dynamite, power tools and heavy equipment on a huge scale? How about Mt. Rushmore, also built with dynamite, power tools and heavy equipment on a huge scale? I bring up those places to illustrate the void I am describing.

There is a lack of knowledge about the Indigenous People’s Monumental Art.

This leads to a follow up question: Is there a genuine scarcity of Northeastern Indigenous People’s Monumental Art, in which case The Cougar & The Man are quite rare? Or Is there a reluctance to make such sculpture widely known to the general public?

Do you even know of another one like this?

Have you ever HEARD of another one like this?

They probably exist, but not in common Public Knowledge.

But keep in mind that unless you are looking at the right time and from the proper place, Tomaquag Valley’s Monumental Sculptures are very difficult to recognize for what they are.

This is the outcrop shot a little off from the right time & the right place.

You now know exactly what to look for, but can you see it?

This was shot in ideal conditions from only eighty feet away

Does either sculpture leap out at you?

I can’t clearly see them from this angle, and I have been over every inch. They are elusive!

The “High Cliff Cougar” and “The Man” have been hidden by a desolate location and natural camouflage to conceal them from casual observers. I not concerned with vandalism at the Cougar. It is remote, and the cliff serves as a natural, even lethal defense against the irresponsible.

However I have a great sense of Stewardship over the vulnerability of the other Native American artifacts that are pictured in “Walking Together In Tomaquag Valley”.

It took me considerable time to balance sharing these marvelous things with all of my fellow citizens, and shielding them from the irresponsible among us. I have seen the trash and tires dumped at the Indian Shelters, on public land located close to the road. Maybe you have seen similar disrespect too.

Irresponsible people are not just kids, they come in all ages.

This is a High Place Sacred Landscape. It is deep in the woods. On the left is a Ceremonial Shelter. On the right is a Memorial Stone, one of many in the immediate vicinity of the huge High Place Boulder.

What is the object in the center oval? It is a discarded beer can.

This Sacred Site was trashed by a seemingly all grown up Hiker.
I knew I could not stand guard over the entire Valley. At the same time I was not entirely powerless to protect these ephemeral objects either.

I chose to share all the Colonial Information I discovered in my maps and GPS Data. Those things are ruins already. But I chose to remove the locations of all Native American Artifacts from the Maps and GPS Data sheets printed in the Public edition of the Book, and on the HHA Web Site. The book and this article train your eye to see them, but you have to tromp the woods like I did to find them.

In the Limited Release Confidential version, all locations of the Native American Artifacts are recorded on the Maps and GPS Data. The Confidential Version has already been given to the Narragansett Tribe, the Rhode Island State Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission, Hopkinton Town Hall Archives, the Hopkinton Historical Association, and the Tomaquag Memorial Indian Museum.

However, the 1¼ square mile piece of Tomaquag Valley that I walked, GPS’d and Mapped still has many secrets to share with us. Three recent discoveries are so exciting that they require the manuscript of “Walking Together In Tomaquag Valley “ to be enlarged to include them, as well as this Web Site article for you.

Recent Discoveries

It is a preposterous belief that all the Narragansett Archeological Features are crammed into the tiny portion of town that I have explored. Even within my area of concern, in December of 2012, in February 2013, and once again in March of 2013, three new and important discoveries were made.

They are the astronomical observatory “Sunrise Barrow”, a remarkable sculpture called “Happy Girl”, built into a no longer typical stone farm wall running through the forest, and a month later, a companion farm wall sculpture named “Praying Girl”. All of these are covered in detain in “Walking Together” as well as briefly in this article.

“Sunrise Barrow”, “The High Cliff Cougar” and “Happy Girl” are also key locations in three of the four Historical Fiction Short Stories soon to appear under that section of the site.

The Happy Girl

Happy Girl“The Happy Girl” was hiding in plain sight. I considered it to be a curious open structured segment of a farm wall, because I didn’t “see” the shape last June when I first photographed it.

In August, Donna Ramos said the end rock looked like a hedge hog face. I thought it was a curiosity of natural weathering, just as I did with the Cougar. I get excited enough without making my own false alarms.

Shame on me, I didn’t follow up on her Summertime tip, as I was exhausted from proof reading the manuscript for publication.

Then, in preparing for a presentation to HHA, I included the curious face rock in a photo poster for their Annual Meeting. I showed the poster to Lauri, and immediately she zeroed in on that postage stamp sized photo, about the size of the thumbnail above, and declared it was a girl feeding an animal.

Now, with hindsight, EVERYONE sees the girl feeding an animal, but when she said it, it was a thunderbolt out of the blue!

In a bit, I came around to her thinking. The “face” was dismissed as a bonnet. But that evening I called her to say I was certain it was a face, but that it had been turned backwards at some point in time. Perhaps this happened when the work crews laid the fiber optic line nearby.

The next day, I plunged through the snow in the forest to the wall. The first thing I did was to document the incorrect placement of the head. It was still facing out behind her right shoulder.

The next thing was to look for evidence that the hand of man was involved with shaping the stone. In glancing sunlight, the recessed circle of her eye was instantly apparent. Circles are not normal in Nature

Then I looked at the nose and mouth. Straight lines also are not normal.

Here is a close up of the complete head for you to judge for yourself. In my opinion, the head was definitely shaped by the hand of man.

And here is The Happy Girl, with her head back on straight’ photographed from the side. See how her arms and hands have also been sculpted into the rock making up the wall. Note the shadows formed by more straight lines.

And here she and her animal are photographed from a slight angle. Regarding my opinion about her companion, I believe this Farm Wall Sculpture captures the mutual delight of a young girl and her dog.

Remember, that is only my opinion. But if you have ever been slobbered by your big, affectionate oaf of a dog, you are probably a believer.

As to whether it was sculpted by a Colonial or a Narragansett, who can say with certainty? I have an opinion based on evidence visible in the local Sacred Landscape that the sculpture depicts a Colonial girl created by a Narragansett during the century of enslavement to the Colonials.

But my opinion doesn’t really matter.

What does matter is The Happy Girl was made by the hand of man!

More important than that, no matter who made this sculpture, there is no debate that they fashioned an emotionally charged moment of Joy and Love using only seven rocks stuck in a farm wall.

And if that emotion of Joy is felt by you, you can’t dismiss this as “simple”.

You and an unknown sculptor have connected across a whole lot of time!

Once again words like “Essence”, “Artistic Interpretation” & “Simplicity” enter the conversation. And that thought is worthy of your meditation, whether sparked by a Colonial Farmer or a Narragansett.

Praying Girl

On the same wall, 100 feet away, is Praying Girl, discovered by Donna Ramos in April of 2013. It is my opinion that Praying Girl was sculpted by the same artist, probably depicting the same girl.
Sunrise Barrow

One of the discoveries has proven to be a significant astronomical observatory. Hopkinton has it’s own remarkable Stonehenge, courtesy of the Narragansett Indians who came before us.

The first thing I discovered is I take lousy compass bearings when my hands are frozen. So I figured I would go down to the Barrow on a relatively warm late December afternoon and screw different color reflectors to the trees at 5° bearings from the Apex. Rick Prescott teamed up with me, and we were remarkably precise, mainly because there were a lot of trees to choose from.

The theory was if I take a flash photo, I will get the sun’s disk and the bearing reflectors all on the same picture, which I can break out the bearing someplace warm. This worked out slick! I heartily recommend it to anyone else who finds themselves measuring sunrises while standing in a bowl.

We had the Pointer rock built into the barrow apex, and we calculated a bearing off of that, but I had great misgivings. Other places with Indigenous alignments usually had a “front site” rock about a quarter mile away or more. Sunrise Barrow was the astronomical equivalent of a sawed off shotgun, great up close, but useless as a rifle.

In time we estimated the barrow was aligned to the Vernal Equinox, but our compass bearing off the movable pointer rock looked wrong.

I scoured the ridge crest for any rock that might be the “front sight” to turn the Barrow into a rifle. Incredibly enough, I found a rock that might be what I was looking for. It just missed getting bulldozed away by only ten feet. Note the back yard hammock.

This was complicated by the barrow being located down in a Valley, with a hill rising a quarter mile to the East. Nautical and Astronomical tables expect you to be at sea level, looking out horizontally, not standing in the bottom of an irregular shaped bowl.

Being Mathematically Challenged, I concluded that the Narragansett didn’t have Nautical and Astronomical charts, yet they still figured this astronomy stuff out. So, if Mrs. Helmer’s baby boy wanted to find out what day the barrow was aligned to indicate, sleepy headed Tommy would have to get up well before the Winter dawn on clear mornings and look for himself, then write down the bearing and the time, assuming my bare fingers would still work.

Did I mention this would be Alllll Winnnteerrrr Looonnng? Ahh, but it’s for Science. Excelsior!

Within a minute of it’s discovery in December of 2012, I was certain this large mass of softball sized rocks, about 25 feet from the front apex to the rear step, and about 32 feet from side to side, was aligned to a significant sunrise.

We found that a boulder adjacent to the base of the barrow had a bowl pecked into it’s crown. We concluded this was where the Medicine Man painted his body before conducting the Sunrise Ceremony. Here is the Paint Pot with snow packed into the bowl.

The problem was determining exactly where the barrow was pointing, and then figuring out what was so special about sunrise on that day.

We found a Pointer Rock built into the apex of the Barrow. While it was possible to move it from side to side, throwing off it’s aim, we left it where we found it and hoped for the best, as we had no other choice. I placed a reflector on a can full of rocks which sat at the Barrow apex .

Next we had to find out where our potential Front Sight was in relation to the Barrow Axis. I rigged up a six volt lantern on a pole and waited for night. Rick climbed up on the rock, stretching every ligament in his feet, and held the lantern aloft while I navigated down to the barrow in the dark. Sure enough, I could see the lantern! HOO-Ray for enhancing brightness and contrast in the computer. We got a bearing for the rock!

Next we had to place a different color reflector (Blue) on the bearing for the front site rock. This time we had no convenient tree, so I used a strip of wood as an extender arm, and calculated where it should go by making a dual composite photo of our existing reflectors and a size adjusted wedge from the night photo. Look at the useful blue reflector on the stick, not the blue can which was a good idea, but useless in application. Archeology on a shoestring budget is all about using what you have, not what you need. We were ready for the Equinox now.

We had good weather on the Equinox date of 3/20/2013. We had thirteen of us brave temperatures in the teens to be among the what is probably the first group in centuries to stand on Sunrise Barrow in expectation of seeing a major astronomical event. Everything went fine except for one detail. The sun was slightly more than 1/2° off. You can see the blue reflector is on a different bearing than the first flash of sunrise, blocked by a big tree.

I didn’t say anything to the group at the time, but the Narragansett would have gotten it perfect, and not be off 0.55°.

Vindication came the next day, when the sun rose exactly along the Front Sight Rock bearing. It took me a few days, but I discovered why the Narragansett were aligned to March 21, and our modern world was aligned to March 20, plus six hours. Please read “Building An Equinox Clock” for the answer.

To Learn More About Indigenous Archaeology & Culture …

Please visit the following Indigenous web pages for more archaeological discoveries thru 3/14

The Fisher Property’s Indigenous Presence

Reinforcing Hopkinton’s Evidence

The Hopkinton High Place

Please visit the following Historical Fiction web pages for cultural insight, pre-contact to future

These short stories are based around existing archaeology in Tomaquag Valley

Sunrise Barrow

The High Cliff Cougar

The Happy Girl

Tomaquag Towers
This one has two pointers.

Sometimes the pointer is hidden below a larger rock.

It is usually not possible at this late date to know what the pointer was aimed at. But the Narragansett knew. They were masters of the sun, moon and stars, in every season. They did not have magnetic compasses, and they did not need them.

Throughout New England they created Sacred Landscapes with precise astronomical alignments, to the Summer Solstice, Winter Solstice, and the Vernal & Autumnal Equinox.

One of these Astronomical Observatories is located in Hopkinton. It is incredibly precise! Called “Sunrise Barrow” it is included in this article, and will be specifically featured in it’s own well illustrated article on these pages of HHA’s site, and in much greater depth in “Walking Together In Tomaquag Valley” when that e book, gifted to Non-Profit HHA, is placed for sale on this site.

Special Rocks

The next Category, Special Rocks, are somewhat rare.

This is a Split Rock. It has been split vertically, by nature or man. This one has a separate rock inserted in the vertical opening for special significance.

This rock was split horizontally, lifted up, and small support rocks make the top rock float above the base. The animal effigy outlined in blue will appear again, but note their proximity in this Sacred Landscape.

When you are in a Sacred Landscape, look around and follow your curiosity, as there is usually much to see, spread out over a wide area.

This is an Offering Rock for placing small gifts to the Spirits. Native American Theology believed their were spirits in the air and sky, spirits in the plants and animals of the land, and spirits under the ground. They all expected a small offering on occasion. Not much, but something of value to you. In this case, the gift would be placed inside the half hexagonal opening under the very large concave roof hollowed out inside the rock

This is a Perched Boulder. Note that the foundation ledge is sloped downhill, and 1/3 of the boulder is hanging unsupported in space

UPDATE: July, 2013

An extremely close up examination determined that the stopper rock was actually an “left in site” fractured piece of the ledge. This makes it doubtful that the rock was manipulated into position, and increases the probability that it has been sitting in this precarious position as a “Glacial Erratic” since the end of the Wisconsin Ice Age, about 10,000 years ago.

And here is Rick Prescott, ever the optimist, wondering what could possibly go wrong on such a warm, sunny day in December.

This is a Perched Boulder with a concavity for grinding corn or beans. It is located atop a High Place overlooking a broad flood plain, and is clearly a Sacred Site.

Standing Stones

This is a two foot tall Tetrahedral Standing Stone, (4 sided, 3 sides exposed, resting on the 4th underground), always a marker rock shape of special Spiritual Significance.

This one is further amplified by being within a sacred ring of surrounding stones.

There is another reason why this Stone is Special, along with the next three rocks pictured. This is the first of three rocks which are positioned in astronomical alignment over a significant distance.

This is a larger Standing Stone, nearly five feet tall. This is the second of three rocks placed in an astronomical alignment. Look at it carefully. Do you see the sunlight emphasizing the stylized eye? Can you see the partially opened mouth? It is my opinion it was shaped to resemble a Whale or a Snake, “Askûg” in Narragansett. For a listing of all Narragansett words used on HHA’s web site, please refer to the “Glossary” page under the “Indigenous/Native American” button .

We will see more remarkable animal effigies shortly

This is the third & final rock that completes this astronomical alignment. This rock is an enormous Glacial Erratic boulder, and was not manipulated into it’s current position. It may have been worked to accentuate the pointy top for accuracy. The previous two stones were placed in their current positions of alignment by the Narragansett.

The home wasn’t there when the Narragansett laid out this alignment to go directly through their dining room.

I do not have the ability to determine what event was being marked in the Southern horizon at 203°.

However, I doubt this alignment, which covers a distance of several hundred yards, is an accidental coincidence.

Animal Effigies

The Narragansett sculpted rocks into Animal Effigies. This 16” figure is a simple, vague likeness. It was shown before in a blue oval. People who see this picture have no consensus of what animal is depicted, or even if it is an animal.

However, I am going to show you three more pictures, which are not ambiguous.

This animal effigy is not simple, it is artistically stylized. What animal is portrayed in this 28 inch sculpture?

We concluded that the sculptor distilled the essence of Bear, “Mosq” in the Na-ha-hig-an-sect Language. (FYI: The term “Narragansett” was imposed on the Tribe by the colonizers, Nahahigansect is the term preferred by the Narragansett.)

Look at it from that frame of mind. The sculptor was not making an anatomically correct lab model, he was artistically interpreting a powerful predator, one the tribe was quite familiar with.

My choice of the words “sculptor”, “essence” & “artistic interpretation” are deliberate. I have had a long time absorbing the Narragansett Presence in Hopkinton, and I am comfortable with attributing to them the same range of artistic ability we find on display at a current outdoor craft show or art exhibit.

Please reserve your final judgment as to whether you accept these Artifacts and Archeological Features as sculpture until after you see and digest the next nineteen photographs.

Note: In the terminology of Archeology, an Artifact is something you can pick up and easily transport.
A Feature is a construction much larger, which cannot be moved without disassembly.

Also Note: In Narragansett Theology, many of the items in a Spiritual Landscape are considered “Perpetual Prayers”. Were their rocks disassembled, and then meticulously restored in the exact same location, the rocks might look exactly the same, but the prayer has been destroyed. Please, do not mess with what you don’t understand. Leave things undisturbed when you find them.
So there you are, walking through the forest, when your eye is drawn down towards your feet. There is an animal 18 inches long sitting still before you. It looks like this. What animal are you looking at?

We believe the sculptor modeled a realistic Rabbit, “Waû-tuck-ques” in Narragansett.

Narragansett artists were not content to make small sculptures of hunting animals from single stones. They also created large works of art, using multiple stones, depicting animals which were Sacred to them.

This is perhaps the most beautiful Indigenous sculpture that is known, so far, in Hopkinton’s Tomaquag Valley. So what is it?
Yes, it is a turtle three feet high, five feet wide and six feet long. The Turtle, “Tun-up-pa-sog” in Narragansett, was an extremely sacred animal to many/most Indigenous Tribes all across North America.

The Turtle was the symbolic representation of “Nooh-ka-sah-kee”, Mother Earth. Please note the cavity for offerings located below the head and to the right.
Here is an enormous Turtle Cairn that is five feet high, eleven feet wide and sixteen feet long.

This cairn was circled in the background of a Memorial Rock pictured earlier. This sculpture may have two heads and two sets of front feet. Please note the ledge foundation stone has been flattened and sunk on the lower Left side, also as a place to receive offerings.
And here is a different style of turtle art. This one is huge, sculpted from a boulder that is eleven feet long and nine feet wide.

My advice to you, should this animal effigy come to life, is simple:
“Run Away!”
A careful examination in the glancing rays of late afternoon sun clearly shows the stylized eye to be shallow relief carved.

Clearly, the Narragansett artistry portrayed so far ranged from the simple to the sublime, exactly as in our personal artistic attempts to convey the wonder we see in our mind’s eye today.

But the Indigenous People also left their presence be known on sculpture that towers over their, and our, heads.
Monumental Sculpture

The High Cliff Cougar, “Pus-sough” in Narragansett

But Tomaquag Valley has a secret that I believe will eventually force academia to rewrite the history of the Narragansett, and by extension many other Indigenous Tribes. I know those are strong words to describe our teensy Tomaquag Valley, especially when my knowledge base and education are limited.

However, I never read any report that the Indigenous Peoples of the North East
understood or utilized Geometry.
Have you?

Nor have I read of them ever creating “Monumental Sculpture”.
Have you?
Please consider the following opinion carefully before making up your mind.

When I first encountered the “High Cliff Cougar” in 2004, I thought it was a natural curiosity. It was a jutting outcrop protruding from the top of a twenty two ½ foot cliff deep in Tomaquag Valley.

Rhode Island in general, and Hopkinton in particular, located in the Southwestern corner of the smallest state in the USA, is not noted for cliffs. But we do have several, and this one is the home of the “High Cliff Cougar”.
My stick is five feet long, the cliff rises 22 feet above the crest of the Talus slope, which is another twenty five feet tall.

The Cougar sculpture shares this outcrop with a second Monumental Sculpture depicting either a man or a god, “Man-i-tou”, the Narragansett word for a god.

Hopkinton’s Cougar, like a real cougar or panther, has the ability to hide in plain sight. Unless you are in the right place at the right time looking at the right spot, you can’t see the shape. I waited 90 minutes for the sun to cast these clarifying, dramatic shadows in April 2004

Here is a close up of the cougar sculpture.

And here is Rick Prescott chatting with the kitty and admiring the valley floor, far, far below. He will tell you that while he calmly sat there hanging over the cliff edge, I was the one having kittens!

Our site has visitors from the Rocky Mountain States, and they will doubtless laugh and point, but by Rhode Island standards, this is a Major League cliff.
And here are a sequence of 3 photographs that help prove this Monumental Sculpture was shaped by the hand of a man who understood geometry.

Note: The original 4 videos, with their changing view points clearly show the sculpting of “The Cougar” & “The Man”. They are located in the article devoted to “The High Cliff Cougar”

Notice the eye socket is an arc segment of a perfect circle.
In this photograph, the geometry gets more complex. It shows three additional arc segments. Note that all four have a different radius.

The lower lip.

The upper lip.

Then a very sophisticated use of two different radii,
meeting tangentially to form the eye socket and the forehead brow.
In furniture making, this advanced shape is called a Roman Ogee.

You and your kids didn’t learn about Tangents, and this Geometric Construction,
and how to draw it, until you took Advanced High School Mathematics Classes.
This photograph shows a complete circle, making five different locations utilizing five different radii in their construction.
That is my photographic proof that the High Cliff Cougar is not a naturally occurring rock formation. I believe I am stating the correct opinion that it was sculpted by the hand of man.

The next question, “Who’s Hand, Narragansett or Colonial?” is decided on the basis of the following historical argument. Again, please reason for yourself.

Among many of the Archaeologists of the Northeast, the entrenched belief is that the Indigenous People did not construct anything complex. They believe that all such objects were the work of Colonial Farmers.

But the few Colonial Farmers of the early days when Hopkinton was part of Westerly had no time or incentive to build any such inedible object.

They faced the demands of constant labor required to impose a European Agricultural Life Style on the “Wilderness of Plenty” bounty utilized by the Narragansett.

Any such sculpting project by a farmer later on would be mocked by his neighbors and recorded somewhere in the details of Hopkinton’s Town Archives.

I believe in time, The High Cliff Cougar will break down the rigid refusal among some archaeologists to accept the Native American’s craftsmanship and artistic ability, as showcased in Hopkinton. For greater depth on the High Cliff Cougar, including the original videos which I believe prove it is a sculpture made by the hand of man, please see the page “The High Cliff Cougar”, and it’s own detailed chapter in “Walking Together In Tomaquag Valley”. In my opinion, the evidence and logic are overwhelming; what about your opinion?

Further investigation revealed another Monumental Sculpture on the bottom plane of the outcrop!

This one, called “The Man”, features a “Snake Eye”, an ear or a headdress, and a natural crack utilized as a grinning mouth. His expression grows on you with time.
If you think Monumental Sculptures by Indigenous Peoples are commonplace artifacts, tell me where the next one like it is located. New Hampshire’s Old Man Of The Mountain was rocks, not sculpture. How about Stone Mountain in Georgia, built with dynamite, power tools and heavy equipment on a huge scale? How about Mt. Rushmore, also built with dynamite, power tools and heavy equipment on a huge scale? I bring up those places to illustrate the void I am describing.

There is a lack of knowledge about the Indigenous People’s Monumental Art.

This leads to a follow up question: Is there a genuine scarcity of Northeastern Indigenous People’s Monumental Art, in which case The Cougar & The Man are quite rare? Or Is there a reluctance to make such sculpture widely known to the general public?

Do you even know of another one like this?

Have you ever HEARD of another one like this?

They probably exist,
but not in common Public Knowledge.
But keep in mind that unless you are looking at the right time and from the proper place, Tomaquag Valley’s Monumental Sculptures are very difficult to recognize for what they are.
This is the outcrop shot a little off from the right time & the right place.
You now know exactly what to look for, but can you see it?
This was shot in ideal conditions from only eighty feet away
Does either sculpture leap out at you?
I can’t clearly see them from this angle, and I have been over every inch. They are elusive!
The “High Cliff Cougar” and “The Man” have been hidden by a desolate location and natural camouflage to conceal them from casual observers. I not concerned with vandalism at the Cougar. It is remote, and the cliff serves as a natural, even lethal defense against the irresponsible.

However I have a great sense of Stewardship over the vulnerability of the other Native American artifacts that are pictured in “Walking Together In Tomaquag Valley”.

It took me considerable time to balance sharing these marvelous things with all of my fellow citizens, and shielding them from the irresponsible among us. I have seen the trash and tires dumped at the Indian Shelters, on public land located close to the road. Maybe you have seen similar disrespect too.

Irresponsible people are not just kids, they come in all ages.
This is a High Place Sacred Landscape. It is deep in the woods. On the left is a Ceremonial Shelter. On the right is a Memorial Stone, one of many in the immediate vicinity of the huge High Place Boulder.

What is the object in the center oval?
It is a discarded beer can.

This Sacred Site was trashed by a seemingly all grown up Hiker.
I knew I could not stand guard over the entire Valley. At the same time I was not entirely powerless to protect these ephemeral objects either.

I chose to share all the Colonial Information I discovered in my maps and GPS Data. Those things are ruins already. But I chose to remove the locations of all Native American Artifacts from the Maps and GPS Data sheets printed in the Public edition of the Book, and on the HHA Web Site. The book and this article train your eye to see them, but you have to tromp the woods like I did to find them.

In the Limited Release Confidential version, all locations of the Native American Artifacts are recorded on the Maps and GPS Data. The Confidential Version has already been given to the Narragansett Tribe, the Rhode Island State Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission, Hopkinton Town Hall Archives, the Hopkinton Historical Association, and the Tomaquag Memorial Indian Museum.

However, the 1 ¼ square mile piece of Tomaquag Valley that I walked, GPS’d and Mapped still has many secrets to share with us. Three recent discoveries are so exciting that they require the manuscript of “Walking Together In Tomaquag Valley “ to be enlarged to include them, as well as this Web Site article for you.
Recent Discoveries

It is a preposterous belief that all the Narragansett Archeological Features are crammed into the tiny portion of town that I have explored. Even within my area of concern, in December of 2012, in February 2013, and once again in March of 2013, three new and important discoveries were made.

They are the astronomical observatory “Sunrise Barrow”, a remarkable sculpture called “Happy Girl”, built into a no longer typical stone farm wall running through the forest, and a month later, a companion farm wall sculpture named “Praying Girl”. All of these are covered in detain in “Walking Together” as well as briefly in this article.

“Sunrise Barrow”, “The High Cliff Cougar” and “Happy Girl” are also key locations in three of the four Historical Fiction Short Stories soon to appear under that section of the site.

The Happy Girl

“The Happy Girl” was hiding in plain sight. I considered it to be a curious open structured segment of a farm wall, because I didn’t “see” the shape last June when I first photographed it.
In August, Donna Ramos said the end rock looked like a hedge hog face. I thought it was a curiosity of natural weathering, just as I did with the Cougar. I get excited enough without making my own false alarms.

Shame on me, I didn’t follow up on her Summertime tip, as I was exhausted from proof reading the manuscript for publication.

Then, in preparing for a presentation to HHA, I included the curious face rock in a photo poster for their Annual Meeting. I showed the poster to Lauri, and immediately she zeroed in on that postage stamp sized photo, about the size of the thumbnail above, and declared it was a girl feeding an animal.

Now, with hindsight, EVERYONE sees the girl feeding an animal,
but when she said it, it was a thunderbolt out of the blue!

In a bit, I came around to her thinking. The “face” was dismissed as a bonnet. But that evening I called her to say I was certain it was a face, but that it had been turned backwards at some point in time. Perhaps this happened when the work crews laid the fiber optic line nearby.

The next day, I plunged through the snow in the forest to the wall. The first thing I did was to document the incorrect placement of the head. It was still facing out behind her right shoulder.
The next thing was to look for evidence that the hand of man was involved with shaping the stone. In glancing sunlight, the recessed circle of her eye was instantly apparent. Circles are not normal in Nature
Then I looked at the nose and mouth. Straight lines also are not normal.
Here is a close up of the complete head for you to judge for yourself. In my opinion, the head was definitely shaped by the hand of man.
And here is The Happy Girl, with her head back on straight’ photographed from the side. See how her arms and hands have also been sculpted into the rock making up the wall. Note the shadows formed by more straight lines.
And here she and her animal are photographed from a slight angle. Regarding my opinion about her companion, I believe this Farm Wall Sculpture captures the mutual delight of a young girl and her dog.
Remember, that is only my opinion. But if you have ever been slobbered by your big, affectionate oaf of a dog, you are probably a believer.

As to whether it was sculpted by a Colonial or a Narragansett, who can say with certainty? I have an opinion based on evidence visible in the local Sacred Landscape that the sculpture depicts a Colonial girl created by a Narragansett during the century of enslavement to the Colonials.

But my opinion doesn’t really matter.

What does matter is The Happy Girl was made by the hand of man!
More important than that, no matter who made this sculpture, there is no debate that they fashioned an emotionally charged moment of Joy and Love using only seven rocks stuck in a farm wall.
And if that emotion of Joy is felt by you, you can’t dismiss this as “simple”.
You and an unknown sculptor have connected across a whole lot of time!

Once again words like “Essence”, “Artistic Interpretation” & “Simplicity” enter the conversation. And that thought is worthy of your meditation, whether sparked by a Colonial Farmer or a Narragansett.
Praying Girl

On the same wall, 100 feet away, is Praying Girl, discovered by Donna Ramos in April of 2013. It is my opinion that Praying Girl was sculpted by the same artist, probably depicting the same girl.
Sunrise Barrow

One of the discoveries has proven to be a significant astronomical observatory. Hopkinton has it’s own remarkable Stonehenge, courtesy of the Narragansett Indians who came before us.

The first thing I discovered is I take lousy compass bearings when my hands are frozen. So I figured I would go down to the Barrow on a relatively warm late December afternoon and screw different color reflectors to the trees at 5° bearings from the Apex. Rick Prescott teamed up with me, and we were remarkably precise, mainly because there were a lot of trees to choose from.

The theory was if I take a flash photo, I will get the sun’s disk and the bearing reflectors all on the same picture, which I can break out the bearing someplace warm. This worked out slick! I heartily recommend it to anyone else who finds themselves measuring sunrises while standing in a bowl.

We had the Pointer rock built into the barrow apex, and we calculated a bearing off of that, but I had great misgivings. Other places with Indigenous alignments usually had a “front site” rock about a quarter mile away or more. Sunrise Barrow was the astronomical equivalent of a sawed off shotgun, great up close, but useless as a rifle.

In time we estimated the barrow was aligned to the Vernal Equinox, but our compass bearing off the movable pointer rock looked wrong.

I scoured the ridge crest for any rock that might be the “front sight” to turn the Barrow into a rifle. Incredibly enough, I found a rock that might be what I was looking for. It just missed getting bulldozed away by only ten feet. Note the back yard hammock.

This was complicated by the barrow being located down in a Valley, with a hill rising a quarter mile to the East. Nautical and Astronomical tables expect you to be at sea level, looking out horizontally, not standing in the bottom of an irregular shaped bowl.

Being Mathematically Challenged, I concluded that the Narragansett didn’t have Nautical and Astronomical charts, yet they still figured this astronomy stuff out. So, if Mrs. Helmer’s baby boy wanted to find out what day the barrow was aligned to indicate, sleepy headed Tommy would have to get up well before the Winter dawn on clear mornings and look for himself, then write down the bearing and the time, assuming my bare fingers would still work.

Did I mention this would be Alllll Winnnteerrrr Looonnng? Ahh, but it’s for Science. Excelsior!

Within a minute of it’s discovery in December of 2012, I was certain this large mass of softball sized rocks, about 25 feet from the front apex to the rear step, and about 32 feet from side to side, was aligned to a significant sunrise.

We found that a boulder adjacent to the base of the barrow had a bowl pecked into it’s crown. We concluded this was where the Medicine Man painted his body before conducting the Sunrise Ceremony. Here is the Paint Pot with snow packed into the bowl.

The problem was determining exactly where the barrow was pointing, and then figuring out what was so special about sunrise on that day.

We found a Pointer Rock built into the apex of the Barrow. While it was possible to move it from side to side, throwing off it’s aim, we left it where we found it and hoped for the best, as we had no other choice. I placed a reflector on a can full of rocks which sat at the Barrow apex .

Next we had to find out where our potential Front Sight was in relation to the Barrow Axis. I rigged up a six volt lantern on a pole and waited for night. Rick climbed up on the rock, stretching every ligament in his feet, and held the lantern aloft while I navigated down to the barrow in the dark. Sure enough, I could see the lantern! HOO-Ray for enhancing brightness and contrast in the computer. We got a bearing for the rock!

Next we had to place a different color reflector (Blue) on the bearing for the front site rock. This time we had no convenient tree, so I used a strip of wood as an extender arm, and calculated where it should go by making a dual composite photo of our existing reflectors and a size adjusted wedge from the night photo. Look at the useful blue reflector on the stick, not the blue can which was a good idea, but useless in application. Archeology on a shoestring budget is all about using what you have, not what you need. We were ready for the Equinox now.

We had good weather on the Equinox date of 3/20/2013. We had thirteen of us brave temperatures in the teens to be among the what is probably the first group in centuries to stand on Sunrise Barrow in expectation of seeing a major astronomical event. Everything went fine except for one detail. The sun was slightly more than 1/2° off. You can see the blue reflector is on a different bearing than the first flash of sunrise, blocked by a big tree.

I didn’t say anything to the group at the time, but the Narragansett would have gotten it perfect, and not be off 0.55°.

Vindication came the next day, when the sun rose exactly along the Front Sight Rock bearing. It took me a few days, but I discovered why the Narragansett were aligned to March 21, and our modern world was aligned to March 20, plus six hours. Please read “Building An Equinox Clock” for the answer.

To Learn More About Indigenous Archaeology & Culture …

Please visit the following Indigenous web pages for more archaeological discoveries thru 3/14

  • The Fisher Property’s Indigenous Presence
  • Reinforcing Hopkinton’s Evidence
  • The Hopkinton High Place

Please visit the following Historical Fiction web pages for cultural insight, pre-contact to future.

These short stories are based around existing archaeology in Tomaquag Valley

  • Sunrise Barrow
  • The High Cliff Cougar
  • The Happy Girl
  • Tomaquag Towers