Machias petroglyphs include images of European sailboats coming to shore, one with a cross near the boat, indicating the natives’ understanding of Christianity as a separate
religion from theirs. Some vessel images are so detailed, individual boats have been iden tilled by scholars. Since images were carved by shamans, or holy men, animal depic tions often deer and moose-indicate pos sibly asking the spirits for good luck on the hunt, or paying respect to the animals.
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To protect their integrity, none of the sites are mapped and they are under the protection of the Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT). Land around the Picture Rocks was returned to the Passamaquoddy tribe in 2006, after 400 years. Guided kayak tours to explore some of the petroglyphs of Machias
Bav are available out of Machias. since they can be viewed from the water. MCHT hopes to develop a management plan that balances daytime recreational use of some of the pro tected properties with the needs of tribal people and archeologists.
Inland, Lovell is the site of drawings depicting humans, including two stick-1ike figures with raised arms. The technique used to create these drawings is called “pecking” or “dinting” with the artists probably using a stone tool The site, about 1,000 years old, is a rock formation overlooking a lake in an area frequented by the Abenaki.
Middens, or shellfish shell heaps, help archeologists ascertain the habits of long ago shore dwellers. Maine has or had many middens up to 38 were identified in 1891 and later archeologists counted as many as 2.000 on the coast of Maine ranging from 2.000 to 4,000 years old but some were destroyed before their historic worth was determined and protections could be put in place. One in York, in southern Maine, also contained human bones, indicating possible cannibalism.
The largest and best known midden is in Damariscotta, called the VVhaleback Shell Midden. This pile of oyster shells was once more than 30 feet deep, and also includes other artifacts from Native American life, including animal and fish bones, ceramic pots, and stone tools. In 1692. some of the midden was used to make lime to build Fort William