Saturday, November 10, 2018

Somewhere in the White Mountains of New Hampshire

I am sitting on a slab of rock, with smaller rocks propped up around the edge. When I was about 5 years old, we did not think about stonework and archaeo-astronomy. Apologies, my Dad did not understand things like cleaning the camera lens.

Anyone recognize this spot or the background mountain?

Boulder Mortar (Watertown CT)

On the Bulldozer Edge
At the Hamburger Edge of my Hometown: 

Monday, October 29, 2018

Another Wrentham Pavement - Sheldonville example

Leaving Birchwold, driving back towards the highway on 121 I glanced left and saw this under the phone lines [at the cross hair on map]:
I parked hastily and went to look. To the left of it was a smaller pile:
And to the right and downhill of it there were some other features. But first:
I note that these "pavements" are neither rectangular, nor do they have much in the way of hollows. Here we are downhill from it:
Looks like a small circle in the background.

It is interesting to find this example of a pavement. Compared with the ones down the road at Birchwold it is in much better shape and some auxiliary piles are visible, suggesting related functions.

Back at Birchwold, Wrentham

Thought I would continue my walk from the other day, went back to Birchwold an passed the nice "Wrentham Pavement" I photo'd in different light:

Again I admired the red Wamsutta rock:
Here is an example of its use as a wedge in a split:

Here was another pavement:

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Where bedrock gives way to sandy lowlands, north of Providence RI - a prediction

If you look at a topo map of where MA meets the corner of RI, you will see "uplands" developing to the north of brooks and rivers leading down into Woonsocket, Pawtucket, and Providence. You can see a shadow across the middle of the map where the "hills" are colored differently - inside the blue outline. I mean in places like Cumblerland RI, Plaineville, Wrentham, and Foxborough.

Having seen what I am calling "Wrentham Pavements" in Wrentham, I predict that the same will be found in all of these towns. It is easy to imagine people living by these waters, heading as far uphill as possible to make mounds - and there the mounds are today.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Wrentham begins to reveal itself - Birchwold Farm and the Wrentham "Pavement"

I drove a bit further from the highway to a place on Rt 121 in southwestern Wrentham called "Birchwold Farm". Previously, in this direction, I got to Red Brush Hill and was disappointed. This time, I went a little further to this place, stepped into the woods and found rock piles. That's always nice.
This first rock pile combined some interesting "geologies" seen in other places. The tourmaline granite, familiar from Sterling:
And the red rock of the Wamsutta formation, familiar from Randolph:
I think the red rock is bedrock here. I stepped over towards the parking lot (having parked south of it on 121) and noticed a loose "pavement" mound:
 This is 15 yards from the parking lot. Another view.
It was tempting to rush off south into the conservation land but I was having such success, I turned back to look along the bluff that overlooks the open field there and found other beaten down mounds. No need to look further, they are right there in the bushes. In fact the whole 'bluff' had loose mounds forming a pavement and overlooking the lower wetter areas to the southwest:


The "gem" of these, from above:
And from below:
And from a distance, easy to see from the field below:
Aww....Wrentham.

The observation is that loose mounds along a bluff, overlooking a wetland, are the same type of mound that I saw last time in Wrentham, just north of here over by the store outlets. I compare these to what I called "Ravine Culture" from up north, closer to New Hampshire. Loose "pavement" along bluffs occur throughout Massachusetts - from Webster woods in Falmouth to East Wachusett Brook in Princeton and Blood Hill in Ashburnham. I think they are harder to see when there are newer rock piles around to distract one's attention. But down here in Wrentham, they are a pure expression - the only game in town. And so you notice them. 

To be honest, there were fields nearby and not a very strong argument against "field clearing". To do what I can to argue the case (1) argue from similar architecture nearby; (2) argue the quantities of local bedrock in the mound; (3) argue from the mounds being uphill from the field; (4) argue that field clearing creates mounds, not pavements; (5) argue that field clearing produces rocks of different sizes and that these mounds are composed of rocks that are all about the same size - so the wrong size distribution of component rocks. At the end of the day, these arguments contain useful observations but also keep the "field clearing" hypothesis alive.

I walked around for a bit longer, it was late in the day, and I did not get as far south as I hoped. There is plenty more exploring to be done along that brook, which is one of the brooks leading down to Diamond Hill Reservoir, and further waterways leading down into Pawtucket, Rhode Island. From the looks of it, Pawtucket and Fitchburg are similar in being the meeting place of many brooks and rivers. I will try to hunt out those headwaters.

I had a pleasant hypothesis confirmation when I went a little eastward into a north-south valley [right hand side of the map fragment] and looked to the left along the slope I was coming down, seeing nothing, then looked across the valley to the far slope and a little uphill - just to be scanning the flanks of the headwater valley - and seeing another tumble of rocks spilling over a bluff.
Closer:
Since it seems to be a well defined type of mound, common in Wrentham, let's give a name like Wrentham Pavement. Other suggestions?