Sunday, December 21, 2014

Holt Pond Medfield

For example:

Philip Smith's Article on Georgia Stone Walls

For those of you interested in reading and downloading Philip Smith's important and groundbreaking article on ancient stone walls in Georgia, titled "Aboriginal Stone Constructions in the Southern Piedmont,," which is no longer accessible at the University of Georgia website, here is a link to it:

Second Large Stone Pile

     I took a look at this Big Heap-of-Boulders - because I could see it in aerial images. I wandered into more or less the opposite corner of the same preserve and came across a second large heap or pile of stones, cobbles rather than boulders this time, not visible from any aerial image I can find.
     I was walking along a row of stones that extends southward from a 1750 Cemetery:
Above: Not to scale mound drawn into a not to scale trail map.
Above: looking NNE
The mound is almost like two mounds joined together - or maybe a shape like the reverse of the numeral 6 or 9, possibly linked by stones in a row to the substantial southward row, but also to what appears to be a ditch extending NNW, stones perhaps piled on the eastern edge of it - it was indistinct beneath all the duff covering it, although I thought I glimpsed a little serpentine sort of structure to it.
There were also spots where it looked like stones were removed... 

Above: the larger portion.
Below the second, smaller portion: 
Hint of Effigy? 

Above: a rhomboidal stone obscured by duff and debris.
Below: Looking toward ditch. 

Row of stones leading to the substantial row:

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Places of Mystery - near Noon Hill in Medfield (2)

I was exploring another valley up to it's source and saw something peculiar:
Since we are standing here, let me explain that, to the left is what appears to be an artificial trench that drains a vernal pond just above the rise in this picture. We are looking at a rock pile built into the side of the gully and a propped boulder above:
So we walk up there:
There is the propped boulder, with a couple of piles to the left of it and maybe one behind it, to the right in back. Here is one pile behind it:
And a view back towards the propped boulder (hard to make out):
Last look:
This is a but unusual to me. I have seen piles arranged along the sides of artificially drained vernal ponds - (there is one at Minot Pratt Spring in Estabrook Woods, Concord) but no propped boulders. It is a bit like the brook at Triangle Farm Rd.

Places of Mystery - near Noon Hill in Medfield(1)

I walked up the valley from the road, just to make sure I explored that topography. And I came to a little cove with steep sides, topped with stone wall. I looked around and didn't see any rock piles and thought: "This is a pretty little cove, I would've expected to see rock piles here if anywhere". Before turning back, I stopped to relieve myself and, as I stood there, I noticed a surface of moss covered rocks on the far side of the cove that I would have missed, if I hadn't paused.
It is a big old rectangular mound. From above:
 View back into the cove:
I did not see anything else nearby. 
The woods here are extensive and I have barely scratched the surface. Little heads of valleys near the skirts of the hill, in brooks close to the Charles River are one place to look for sites. But there is plenty of inland territory higher up.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

SW of entrance to Adams Farm - Walpole

See the little mound there? We are just into the woods; a bit of field visible at top right. There were other disturbances nearby. Not too exciting.
Some other odds and ends:
Nice walls:

Eggs and Ends

Norman Muller got me started by posting this photo: “Odds and Ends” Pomfret, VT
    And you may note in the comments that Curt Hoffman said, “Norman - This wall end is strikingly similar to some which Tim MacSweeney has shown me in CT!” – which was exactly what I was thinking. I had already sent Norman an email that included an attached image that isn’t the best photo I ever took, but it shows a very similar sort of thing, possibly the one Curt was thinking of:
….This just may “possess symbolic content and contexts that can be studied from a semiotic perspective as media of communication, as stimulants and reinforcements of cultural values and behaviour, and as signs of ethnicity… a pattern of animal ceremonialism to an ongoing program of cosmic renewal and maintenance that included the animals and their "spirit masters" in the above-world as key elements,” as Michael C. Wilson writes in “The "Placing" of Identity in Nomadic Societies: Aboriginal Landscapes of the Northwestern Plains of North America” - especially since I am tempted to interpret the above as possibly an egg in the (a) Great Serpent's jaws.
    The other side of this break or gateway in this row of stones is what may be more familiar to readers here, that big triangular boulder that resembles a snake-head at the end of a stone row (although this one is obscured by another large and possibly moved boulder):
Stepping back:
     Twice is just a coincidence, they say. Have I been noticing others (or searching my old photos for more that I sort of remember)? Well, sure; here’s one more, for now:

“The "Placing" of Identity in Nomadic Societies (2005):”

Monday, December 15, 2014


An Unusual Walled Enclosure

In April 2001, I came across a curious stone walled enclosure on top of a rocky knoll in East Lyme, CT.  I drew a small map of it at the time, which is posted below, along with metric measurements of he five large boulders on the knoll and the length of the walls linking the boulders.  The small arrow to the upper left of the drawing indicates the location of the small opening.  The overall outside measurements of this enclosure were approximately 29.5' x 19.5', and inside measurements would obviously have been much smaller.

Here are the notes I transcribed at the time:  "This 'corral' is odd in that it is nearly completely enclosed, the only exception being an inverted 'V' at the arrow, which is about 1.5' wide, enough, I suppose, to shove a small animal through it.  But how to get them out?  And the boulders are all on top of this rocky knoll.  Found there?  Moved?"

Attached are four photos I took at the time, the last one being of the inverted 'V' opening.  Trying to coax a small animal out through he opening seems daunting, and climbing in over one of the boulders to capture it doesn't seem very attractive, either.

View of the opening

Any ideas what this enclosure might have been for?

More about Queen's Fort

From Charles M. Devine (for other posts on this topic, click here):
 First two photos date 1978.

 By 1979, SW bastion had been rebuilt and a spiral was added to it. In Manitou, Dix would only say it "might" have been rebuilt. No "might" about it.

As seen in second photo here, there is no spiral arm passing in front of the tree to the left in the photo. In the first photo, it would have been extending off the far right. Photo needed to cover that area better then it does, but I can attest that there was no spiral, or remnants thereof, that I ever saw prior to the rebuild. I do not know who was responsible. Neighborhood kids did like riding their dirt bikes there all the time in the 70's and 80's. Should you chose to use these photos and info, please send me a link at that time so I don't miss it. It is important that future researchers understand these changes, so the spiral extension on the SW bastion is not misinterpreted as original to the feature. I do not believe it is.

Black Pond - Harvard

Reader R.M. writes: 
This was near the trailhead of Black Pond:

Algonquin Pipeline Expansion Project

   Rob Buchanan reminded me of this Rock Piles post, writing, "Here is an article I wrote about a stone structure site that is located in one of the parks (Blue Mtn.) that will be drastically affected by the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion Project:"

Sunday, December 14, 2014


Pomfret, VT, Odds and Ends

Over the years, I've taken many hikes to sites in Vermont with the late Ernie Clifford, who was my main contact in that beautiful and fascinating state.  Rochester was my main focus, but Ernie also showed me many sites in Pomfret, the town of his youth.  

One warm July day in 2006, he took me to a site he had recently shown to a group from NEARA. As we walked along an old country path, we came upon a break or gateway in the wall, and leaning against an end part of the wall was a small standing or manitou stone, which Ernie had not noticed before.  

End view of wall in previous image

Because I feel that small standing stones often mark Indian constructions, whether they be walls or stone mounds, I stopped to study the gateway area between the walls  more carefully.  In the middle I saw a small quartz stone poking through the leaf debris, and then I began to uncover more stones, which turned out to be a circle, or perhaps an oblong, about a meter across.  Many of the stones in the circle were quartz.

Because of this discovery, and the fact that a standing stone was found leaning against the end portion of he wall, I concluded that the wall was probably Indian.  In a recent article by Ernie in the NEARA Journal, he concluded that single width stone walls in Pomfret, VT, that he studied were Indian, and this example would fit that category.

View of the end portion of the other wall

Given the fact that the wall is fairly straight, I've often wondered if this wall could have been built by Indians during the period when Vermont was beginning to be settled by Europeans in the latter half of the eighteenth century.