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Posts Tagged ‘archaeology’

Can You Help Us with Darkwater (formerly Darky) Lake?

Monday, April 30th, 2012
submitted by: Bob Evans

Darkwater Lake has two sites, both near the south end of the lake.  One is on the west shore and the other on the east shore.  While the images on both sites on Darkwater Lake can be fairly easily seen, there is evidence that the site has been repainted since the original images were painted on the cliff.  We discussed evidence for repainting in the Northwoods Pictograph Bulletin for Darkwater Lake.  We would like to find photographs taken decades ago to compare the images  across time.

Photos would only be of interest if they were taken at least in or before the 1950’s.  Not only would we like to see if there is evidence or repainting but images on this site appear to be of different time periods, or perhaps to have been painted with different pigment or binding agents.  Images that are very bright right next to ones that can hardly be seen bring this question to mind.

If you have in your family photo albums or old records, old photos of this site we would like to hear from you.  If you are aware of people who might have paddled this area prior to the 50’s we would like to know how to contact them.  If you have any of this information, please contact us at info@northwoodsmemoriesmmp.com  or call us at 405-721-6474

Thanks.

Can You Help Us With the Site On the West Side of the Entrance to Kawa Bay, Kawnipi Lake?

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012
submitted by: Bob Evans

On the west side of the entrance to Kawa Bay from the main body of Kawnipi Lake, there is a site containing two very faded images.  One is a canoe and the other is a four legged animal, probably a Lynx.  We have found those images and visited them many times.  They are on a surface of rock that runs somewhat north and south.

BUT what we need is very specific and not related to those images.  Just to the south of these two images and on a rock surface running roughly east and west (i.e. “just around the corner” from the two images) and distanced from the known two images by ten feet or so is a flat rock surface with some erosion patterns on it.   These erosion patterns are due to some rock surface that has been removed leaving a much lighter color of rock showing.

We are looking for photographs of this surface taken perhaps a decade or more ago.  One probably would not photograph this surface, but if a photograph of the two known images was taken from some distance away, it might also show the surface about which we are inquiring.  So, if you have photographed this surface, or if you photographed any surfaces in the area while looking for the two known pictographs, you might have the surface we seek in your photos.

The bright white erosion areas are easliy seen.  If you have photographed these areas and see any of these bright white areas on a light tan surface would you contact us at  info@northwoodsmemoriesmmp.com   or phone us at 405-721-6474.

Thanks

Can You Help Us With the Fishdance Lake Site?

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012
submitted by: Bob Evans

The Fishdance Lake site is also referred to as the Kiwishiwi River site.  We have already completed the  Northwoods Pictograph Bulletin for the Fishdance Lake site.  When we visited the site, a number of very well known images can be easily seen.  However, in examining the cliff from end to end, we found a number of less recognizable areas of the rock definitely showing red pigment.  When we prepared the bulletin we did extensive processing of photos of these areas and were able to demonstrate  many images not easily identified with the unaided eye.  Yet there were still some pigmented areas not recognizable with photo processing. 

All of the pigmented area processed photos are included in the bulletin.  We would still like to find photographs taken several decades ago that might show some of these images less decades of weathering.  Since Fishdance Lake is a very commonly traveled lake, we would hope someone would have photos taken some decades ago.

If you have phtos of these areas or know of someone who might, please contact us at info@northwoodsmemoriesmmp.com or call 405-721-6474.

Thanks for your help.

Can You Help Us With the Jordan Narrows Sites

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012
submitted by: Bob Evans

The Jordan Narrows sites are on the north side of the channel between Jordan Lake and Ima Lake.  There are reports of as many as three panels of pictographs.  On our several trips to the site we have searched inch by inch and taken numerous photos of areas where red pigments can be seen.  We have subjected those photos to extensive photo analysis attempting to show the images.  We are certain we have found two panels and possibly a third but the third is not conclusive.

 

But even with photo analysis, we have not been able to conclusively demonstrate individual images clearly.  There are many reports of specific images but we have not been able to verify any of them.

We have spoken with a number of outfitters and long-time paddlers who viewed this site decades ago and several have said that the images were quite clear as recently as 30 to 40 years ago.  But none of the folks with whom we have spoken have taken photos or made drawings.

So we need help.  If you have photos taken decades ago or know of folks who might know of people who might have photos or drawings of these images, please help us with that information.   email info@northwoodsmemoriesmmp.com  or call 405-721-6474.

Thanks

Looking for Pictograph Help

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012
submitted by: Bob Evans

Progress on the book is being made, but slowly.  Some image processing in black and white is difficult.  When images are specific, such as a canoe, or a cross, or a figure, we are able to select the red image from the background, change it to B&W and then do any one of a number of things to make it easily visible.  In many cases, however, images are abstract and the exact form of the image is not obvious.  While we want to show these images, they cannot be easily lifted from the background and showing them in place is difficult.  But we are persevering and getting better.

In the mean time we are going to try an additional approach.  Many of the unclear images seen now, and in the twenty-five or so years we have been studying them, were once much more clear.  In the course of our work we have visited with many paddlers who viewed a site thirty or forty years ago when it was much more clear than now.

So we are going to ask you, our readers, to help us.  Following will be a series of posts about specific sites where we will describe sites or parts of sites where information in the form of photographs may have been recorded many decades ago.  If you have any of this information or old photos, or know of those who might, please contact us.  While we are constantly searching the net for more information, you may know of references with old photos or diagrams about which we are not aware.   We will, of course, recognize the sources of the information when we publish.

So please read the posts about what we would like to locate and help us out if you can.

A Newly Reported Pictograph Site on Cirrus Lake

Friday, September 23rd, 2011
submitted by: Bob Evans

Late last year we received an email from a friend about some notes from a conversation with Sean Walshe, now deceased, who was the Quetico Park Naturalist for many years.  That note was from the ’80s and had been forgotten until some files were cleaned out and the note found.  While the notes were somewhat confusing, it described a Lynx, like on Darky, and contained a description of the location of the site.  Note that one other  site on Cirrus Lake has been known for many years. 

This past summer we went to the described location and found the site.  It contained one simple image that appeared perhaps to be the body and head of an animal, and could have been a Lynx. We hoped that with some photo processing, we could see the rest of the image.   On arrival home we did some preliminary processing but were not able to identify any other part of the image.  More processing will be done prior to its inclusion in the Cirrus Lake chapter of our book. 

We searched the rest of the cliff face and found no other images.  We photographed much of the surface of the cliff and will examine it with photo processing techniques.   If any other images are found, they will be included when we write the section in our book.

Every time we visit and study a site newly described to us and not previously reported in common references, it provides us with an opportunity to understand more about the culture of the people who left these images on the rocks.  We also become more aware that these images are going away.  The rest of the image of the Lynx has, evidently been eroded away since it was observed in the 80s.  We have expereinced the urge to record all of these sites as they now exist, knowing that every passing period of time makes them less visible.  The loss of these spiritual images is a very unpleasant feeling. 

The complete story of the site and how we learned about it will be included in the Cirrus Lake chapter of our book.

A wonderful experience at the Beaverhouse pictograph site.

Monday, August 15th, 2011
submitted by: Bob Evans

Early last July we made a trip to the Beaverhouse pictograph site.  We had been there several times before.  But this trip was special.  As many of you know we made the commitment six years ago to revisit every pictograph site we had visited in the last few decades and to visit every known site we had not visited.  During the course of that incredible challenge, we have met some wonderful people who are interested in pictographs and the culture and religion of the people who put them there.  A few years ago we made contact with Jon Nelson and his wife Marie.  They were rangers in Quetico, first at the Beaverhouse entry and then at Cache Bay and finally at Prairie Portage.  After leaving the Ranger position, Jon reentered graduate school, completed a master’s degree in archaeology, and worked as an archaeologist in Quetico for some time.  He recently published an incredible book, Quetico: Near to Nature’s Heart.  That book is reviewed in an earlier post here.

Jon put me in contact with Glenn Nolan, who was also a Ranger at the Beaverhouse entry some time ago.  Glenn is Native American.  He first reported the pictograph image at the Beaverhouse site that is up high on the cliff and is multicolored.   It is a white and red image of a caribou.  When we first visited this site, we did not find the image.  On corresponding with Jon, he told me of conversations with Glenn that resulted in Edwina and I meeting up with Glenn and his wife, and Jon and his son and daughter-in-law at the Beaverhouse site.  (more…)

“Quetico: Near to Nature’s Heart”, by Jon Nelson

Friday, August 27th, 2010
submitted by: Bob Evans

This book is unquestionably the best book I have read about Quetico Provincial Park.  Jon and his wife Marie were Quetico Rangers, first at Beaverhouse, then Cache Bay and Prairie Portage.  After his tenure there he returned to Graduate School for a Master’s program, I believe, in Archaeology, and worked as an archaeologist in Quetico for several years.  During that time he interacted with and got to know a number of the First Nation citizens of the Lac La Croix community.  As we are very much interested in the pictographs of the area, his multiple comments on this aspect of First Nation culture and religion were very interesting to us.

This book relates a broad range of topics from the early geological and natural history of the time when the glaciers of the last ice age were retreating from the area now Quetico, to contemporary issues with the park.  It is divided into sections allowing the reader to read sections of interest in any order.  To me, with my woefully inadequate knowledger of pre-history, the readings on the early post-glacial era and the Paleo-Indians were fascinating.  For the biologist or the reader interested in biology and ecology, the chapters in part three relating to ecology, tell the stories of lichens, orchids (yes, orchids in Quetico), moose, ravens and forest fire ecology along with other topics.  As a biologist and biochemist myself, I found these chapters fascinating, well written, and full of interesting information.  I learned a great deal from them. (more…)

“Reading Rock Art” by Grace Rajnovich

Saturday, April 24th, 2010
submitted by: Bob Evans

The complete title to the book is “Reading Rock Art:  Interpreting The Indian Rock Paintings Of The Canadian Shield.”  It is an excellent resource for people wanting casual reading to learn more about the pictographs of canoe country but it is also a scholarly work with an excellent and extensive bibliography for those who want more intensive study of this subject.  We have used both the text and the bibliographic references extensively in our research into the Quetico and Boundary Waters pictograph sites.  This book is cited as a reference in nearly all of our publications.  The Northwoods Pictograph series of informational bulletins for use in the field (see pictograph pages on our website)  contains extensively referenced work by Dr. Rajnovich.

Grace Rajnovich is an archaeologist who spent fourteen years in field research before writing this excellent book.  Her academic preparation (B.A. from  York University, M.A. in English from University of Toronto, M.A. in Anthropology from University of Manitoba, and Ph.D. in Anthropology from Michigan State University) is excellent, but don’t get the idea that this is a hard-to-read book written in academic jargon.  Her well-rounded approach to the content not only presents interpretations of many figures found on the rocks of the Canadian Shield, but weaves the figures and their meanings into an overall discussion of the culture and religious practice of the Native Americans who painted these messages on the rocks.  (more…)

South Hegman Lake Pictograph site: Authentic or not?

Monday, September 28th, 2009
submitted by: Bob Evans

When we were in Ely, summer of 2008, I had a conversation with Steve Piragis, owner of Piragis Northwoods Company and the Boundary Waters Catalog.  I was introducing him to our fledgling series of Northwoods Pictograph bulletins.  In the course of the conversation he asked me about the South Hegman Lake site and if I thought it was real.  While the North Hegman Lake site is well known and authentic, we had not heard about the South Hegman Lake site.  He had recently heard of the site and he had visited it and taken some pictures.  He offered to send me the pictures from the site and references to the site location.

His account with pictures was printed in Boundary Waters News, their on-line newsletter, Fall of 2008.  He sent me the pictures and I reviewed them.

Then in May of 2009, Edwina and I visited the South Hegman Site on an easy day trip.  During that same week in Ely, we crossed paths with Steve again when we were eating at the Chocolate Moose.  He asked me about my opinion of the Island River Site.  He wondered if the very large green and gray images were authentic.  We visited briefly about them before moving on to breakfast. (more…)