Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Moosehorn Rd, New Salem MA

As we are driving south on Rt 202 I spotted a low rectangular platform pile out the car window. "There's a rock pile" and then I saw another and before we could find a good place to stop we had passed the site and gone down to the next side street which was Moosehorn Rd. So we turned around, drove back, parked and got out to take a closer look.
We found several small piles in the woods before coming up to the one I had spotted.

There was another larger pile in there but when I saw it was integrated into a stone wall I erased the picture of it. [Later on I am sorry that I did, because the site had several low walls running through it and obviously part of it] But then as we followed the wall it broke off into separate rock piles much too large to be single drops from a loaded cart. But I could not tell if these might be agriculture related:
But soon I was not giving the "agrarian" hypothesis any more thought.

I decided to take a look over on the other side of the road and went over because I saw what looked like a very substantial pile there right at the edge of a gully, similar to that Big Pile from Fielding Farm Rd that Jic showed me last week. But soon I saw that there were some other large platform piles in here.
The nice thing, though, was that the big piles were intersperced with smaller piles which seemed just as important to the design of the site. In this next picture the pile has a large white feldspar stone in the foreground, seeming to align this pile with another further back which Bruce is looking at. We are on a nearly level terrace above a gully which is curving around behind where Bruce is standing.
But even as we saw these smaller piles, bigger piles were looming in the background. What a wonderful experience that is when you start to suspect greater wonders still. And there they were: monster piles.
You can see these are very large piles, almost the largest I have seen and definately the only ones this size that are nicely made from smaller cobbles. Rectangular and obviously very old and broken down. To me this site had the feel of a mound-builder complex.

Between the large piles, more small ones; obviously part of the organizartion of the site.
Here is one more platform and a detail of the white quartz at the top of the pile.
This site was on a terrace overlooking a gully and facing east and southeast across and down the valley. Bruce pointed out a prominent hill blocking the view to the north east. This hill divided the eastern sky. I was very impressed by several things about this site. It seemed undisturbed and still in its original form. There were about 6 large rectangular platform piles. There were low stone walls integrated into the site (although I payed them no attention). There large platforms were intermixed with smaller piles, and the location would have had a spectacular view to the east and southeast if there were not trees in the way. To me this site was reminiscent of the monumental sites seen in Pennsylvania and Vermont - just a bit like Oley Hills. I have seen broken down rectangles almost as large as these - in Weston and Carlisle, and smaller ones all over, for example in Boxborough. But here was an entire undisturbed example of - may I say- a particular rock pile building culture. Almost pristine. Still monumental. I think Bruce and I were proud to find this site. We know someone will come back and study it someday. Also it is within the boundaries of the Quabbin Reservation, so it is reasonably protected.

1 comment :

Norman Muller said...

Interesting that you say the largest pile has a "mound builder" feel to it. I'm coming to that conclusion myself with the platform cairns I've been studying.