From Mary Gage via James Gage:
Steve Dimarzo, Pete Dimarzo and Todd Carden have been meticulously examining stone structures. They take the time to photograph every structure from all four sides and top down plus close ups of features. They are constantly looking for features. It has paid off. During this year’s field trips they came across two niches with closing stones. Closing stones are small flat, thin stones fitted to an opening. One was found at a low niche (fig.1) surrounded by piled up stones resembling a horseshoe shaped cairn (Long Pond, Rockville, RI). The second closing stone (Voluntown, CT) was found at another low niche (fig.2) but this one had a surprise. The niche opened up into a hidden chamber. The structure looked like a cairn from the exterior (exterior 4’ L x 2’ H). To start one of the guys tested a short rectangular stone and found it loose. Upon pulling it out he found a niche. For some reason, perhaps because they had found an open shaft / cairn at another site, he decided to feel around inside (fig.3). To his surprise there was an open space inside. They then removed a single top stone and were able to view the chamber inside (fig.4). This chamber was low and made up of rectangular bars so it had straight walls like a shaft which it was originally taken to be. A hint that it was not a shaft was the irregular way the top was set up under the capstone. Out of curiosity I asked Steve to be on the lookout for other structures like this one but with corbelled walls. Steve remembered a site they had documented last spring (North Road Site, Hopkinton RI). I had major surgery last spring so Jim and I had not gotten to those sites yet. At this site the guys had found what looked like a cairn with a loose capstone. Upon removing the capstone they found and photographed a chamber with corbelled walls. In the photographs one small stone looked like it could be a closing stone, so I asked the guys to back and check it out. Todd went back this week and raked the leaves from around the base of the structure. He did not find a closing stone instead, he found a large lintel stone with a low opening (approximately six inches high) under it leading into the chamber (fig.5). Congratulations to Steve, Pete and Todd. They have discovered a new structure the Miniature Chamber a.k.a. the Hollow Cairn. Mary Gage
Fig. 1 – Rockville, RI – The yellow rod points to a closing stoning blocking the opening of a low niche.
Fig. 2 - Voluntown, CT – This is an overall view of a miniature chamber with the closing stone lying in front of the opening.
Fig. 3 – Voluntown, CT – Feeling around inside to discover the hollow interior of the miniature chamber structure.
Fig. 4 – Voluntown, CT – Interior of the miniature chamber as seen after removing one of the roof stones.
Fig. 5 – Hopkinton, RI – Overall view showing low opening into this miniature chamber.
Fig. 6 – Hopkinton, RI – The hollow interior is revealed after one of the roof stones is removed.
Fig. 7 – Hopkinton, RI – Close-up photo of interior after removing roof stone.
Photos courtesy of Steve Dimarzo and Todd Carden (used with permission).