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Does anyone have any insight as to rock art left by the Lenape in and around the Delaware Gap area? About a year ago I visited a famed rock shelter near the town of Bevans, NJ. When looking closely at the walls and ceiling of the shelter for remnants of its past native inhabitants, I came across two excellently preserved hands prints(Left and Right) on the underside of one of the ceiling boulders. They are located in a spot that is easy to see if you know where to look but extremely easy to pass right by without ever seeing them. In addition, time has worn the red paint some and they could easily be mistaken for the usually redish rock lichen/algae/dust that grow on many of the rocks in the area. I was able to take many pictures of the shelter and hand prints but sadly(and embarrassingly) I can't figure out how to attach any to this post. If anyone would like to see them, I can send them via email or upload them on to a post with a little instruction. As the rock shelter goes, it is perfect. Its close in proximity to what was the Minisink to Navesink trail, the village areas just south of Minisink Island, a water source a few feet away, and postioned in a way to catch most of the days light and none of the prevailing winds. A keen eye can see the remnants of past fires on the walls and also charred earth just an inch or two underneath the surface soil. And just as a disclaimer, I am not an arm chair archeologist or some self glorified grave robber. I take only pictures, leave only footprints, and in a place like this I have only respect and admiration in my soul. I'm posting this here in hopes that someone has interest because most of the people I know just tune me out when I tell them about things I've found in the forrest.
id like to see what you saw that day..
id like to see what you saw that day..
Be kind of cool to see it too. The area you're in is really full of history.
Max Schrabisch did a partial excavation of the main Bevans Rockshelter in 1913, and Dorothy Cross led a team in the second excavation of the Bevans Rockshelters (there are actually four - a main one and three smaller ones), in 1931. The first Bulletin of the Archaeological Society of New Jersey published an article titled, "The Bevans Rockshelters," by Dorothy Cross, which contains many illustrations (drawings and photos). There is no mention of any hands appearing on the ceiling. [ASNJ 1 (July, 1948), pages 13-25]
Ed Lenik's book, Picture Rocks, makes no mention of this rockshelter and its "hands."
So, I wish you would post these pictures, here. This may be an important discovery you've made.
Last edited by sschkaak (Nov-16-2010 07:38:pm)
In the 1950's, when I was a student, and later a staff member of the summer camp of the New Jersy School of Conservation, (childrens' summer camp and adult Outdoor Education classes) on one midsummer weekend break, I went with several staff members to different Sussex County, NJ arch. sites.
I remember going into the Bevins Rock shelter.
I don't remember seeing any markings on the walls/ceiling of the "shelter" - but we didn't have flashlights and other gear with us to do a thorough exploration. And when somebody mentioned snakes at the site ---- I got out quickly!!!
Wanishi for the memory,
Thanks for the responses. I would be happy to post the pictures on this forum, if I could figure out how. Im the meantime I created a photobucket account and uploaded them. There are two pictures of the hand prints and one looking at the beginning of the shelter facing west or towards the direction of the delaware. I've read Max Schrabisch's description of his partial excavation of the site and you can see evidence of this when looking at the soil on the floor of the shelter. I've also read the arechological bulliten as well for any mention of these prints but found nothing. They are very old looking as you will see from the pictures and their location in the shelter is such that is it plausible that this could be the prints of one of the sites inhabitants from long ago. They are in a position that no weather could effect them much. The best way to view them is to practically lay down in the shelter and look up. Even then they are almost tucked away under the rock ceiling of the first room of the shelter. I"m happy to have found a place where people are interested in this, as I am. I know the woods, streams and rocks of the Delaware water gap area very well and despite the lenape people having been forced away long ago, anyone who has the interest can still see visible remnants of the past all over the area. So with that said, have a look and let me know what you all think. If the links do not work, please let me know and I'll try again.
Hand prints: A)
Thanks. You should go to photobucket and rotate the rockshelter picture to the left to bring it upright.
The hands look like modern graffiti, to me. But, I'm not a trained archaeologist, either. Hard to believe nobody saw these before.
ah glad to see the pictures posted correctly. Just for clarification the prints are found in the actual Rock Shelter, not the partially adjoining "Rock House" which I have also heard is of Lenape construction and possibly a more recognizable archeological site in Bevans. A partial wall, as well as ruble are all that I can see that is left of the Rock house thats above and slightly west of the shelter on higher ground. I would guess that the shelter was in use long long before the rock house was even constructed being thats its of natural make and given the length of time people are said to have inhabited the surrounding area. If you didnt realize the shelter was there and only visited the Rock house, you would never see it, as its hidden by a cleft in the rock. As for snakes, there are plenty in the area and in the rocks, as well as many bear dens in the immediate vicinity. But I always take their presence as a good sign. I always believe that if you walk in the forrest with only good feelings and completely unafraid, then you will never be troubled. I have held this belief all my life and have never once had a problem even when very close encounters have happened. But I wouldn't go grabbing a rattler by the tail just to shake his hand.
Thanks to sschkaak and his OCD and improving computer geekness lol. It was hurting my neck trying to see it.
sschaak, in one of your previous posts you mentioned " the first bulletin of the Archaeological Society of New jersey" and an article titled " The Bevans Rockshelters" by Dorothy Cross. My question is, can you tell me anywhere online where i could print out any such article, or download it? Ive also been looking ( without success) for "the Indian Site Survey" a Works Progress Administration project sponsored by the State Museum and directed by Dr. Dorothy Cross. If you could point me in the right direction, I would be very greatful. Thanks!
I don't think it's available online; however, you can order the ASNJ Bulletins, on CD, for a very reasonable price. Here's the address: http://www.asnj.org/cds.html . I have Volume I of The Archaeology of New Jersey, by Dorothy Cross, but I don't have this Indian Site survey. (Though I have a few books on the subject, archaeology is not really my strong suit.)
Last edited by sschkaak (Jan-08-2011 10:48:pm)
Just visited the site today, and the hand prints are visible on the lower overhang at the main rock shelter. Quite a site.
There is no way all those archaeologists and other visitors, over the years, could have missed these handprints, if they were there earlier than the past few years.
Modern Graffiti. Too many temperature fluctuations and too much moisture for any type of pigment to stay on longer than a few decades.
As for the 'Indian Site Survey', it was decided not to republish it in a effort to curb looting and potholing. A day late and a dollar short.....