John Hansen Mitchell wrote a book "Tresspassing" about the history of the Sarah Doublet Forest in Littleton. Originally the land was the entire praying Indian village of Nashoba and it was whittled down bit by bit until an old lady, Sarah Doublet, was the only remaining person on the land - which she traded with some tavern keepers in exchange for room and board until her death. I think that is the outline of the story.
In one part of the book Mitchell discusses a "serpent mound" snaking back and forth through the woods. For a number of us, this discussion was one of the things that first got us out exploring the woods looking for unusual mounds and - as it turns out - rock piles. I eventually located what I thought Mitchell must have been writing about and for several years I have been under the impression the so-called "Serpent Mound" was actually a berm of cobbles that was curved but was not really "snaking through the woods". Well I have a couple things to announce. One is that I was wrong, Mitchell was right. I took a closer look at his mound this weekend and it does indeed curve back-and-forth and has at least two points of inflection along it. The second announcement is that there are at least two more long curved (although not necessarily re-curved) rock piles in the same vicinity.
Here is the best shot I could get of Mitchell's "Serpent Mound". Note the "head" at the far right.
Here is a detail of the "head":
I was exploring in the same area, around Fort Pond in Littleton, this weekend. I figured other woods near the Sarah Doublet Forest might be just as interesting. In fact I came across a major concentration of large-scale effigies which is, as yet, private property. It definately should be part of the Littleton Conservation land.
I will give you a site description in a bit. For now I want to show you these "serpents" - actually long, curved, low, rock piles, with a prominent larger "head" rock at one end. Here is one of them. This view from below is the best shot I can get showing the entirety of the pile.
And then here is another nearby.
I realize that these last two piles are not very similar. This last one is a good deal like what Geophile mentioned as a "whatsit" or a "fishtail". It almost seems like a road edge - stabilized on the slope; or like a bit of terracing. But it is not any of those things. Here is another view:
I am probably completely mis-identifying this pile. I like it a lot because I was looking for "whatsits" and here I finally found a good one. It may not be a serpent or even an effigy. However, it was near another "whatsit", and I strongly favor the idea that these are representations of different subjects.
[I am sorry for the lousy picture, barely giving a sense of the overall pile.]
At any rate, I wanted to leave you with two thoughts. One was that this new site is an important adjunct to what we see at Sarah Doublet Forest - and which Mitchell made famous. The other is that collections of large effigy-like rock piles can contain serpents as well as turtles.
Mitchell also mentions a turtle pile near his "serpent". There are actually two piles that could be turtles. I think this is the one referred to in "Tresspassing".
An entire post could be written about this pile - including its location near the "serpent"; the damage it has - suggesting someone looked for buried treasure in it; the single white cobble on its back. For now, let's just note it is built a few yards from the head of the "serpent".