Thursday, March 20, 2008

Propped Rock

by theseventhgeneration

This small structure is near a creek branch that runs into the West Branch of the Delaware River. It's the first rock I've found that is propped by 3 supports, but it has me baffled by its small size. Nevertheless, I believe it has several features that are noteworthy. All the more reason to believe it's man made.

The shape of the propped rock and the direction of the elongated rocks around the structure. They run, generally, north/south:

[Update/correction: the direction is east/west]

The 3 supporting rocks underneath are triangular.

The supported stone has lots of character. Intersecting lines and some other interesting chip or notch are in this view.

I went back out today, after a light coating of snow, and the natural line on the top of the rock struck me differently this time. When I first saw it, I thought it was somewhat of a feminine suggestion, but now, with the snow, it looks more serpentine, I think.

I made a rough sketch of the structure as an attempt to illustrate that there are only 3 rocks supporting the top rock, even though there are other rocks nearby and/or underneath that look like they are touching.

[Update/correction: the direction indicated in the diagram is east, not north]


Norman said...

How big is the boulder? There is a boulder in Stephentown, NY, resting on four or five slightly cone-shaped supports. This have said this is a manmade construction, but when I saw it last year, I concluded differently. To me, this boulder could have come to rest on the supports naturally. Perhaps your example has been altered, but one must be careful coming to this conclusion.

Norman said...

I meant to say "Others have said..."

James Gage said...

All these small structures have one consistent characteristic: They all have an open space underneath them. America's Stonehenge site (Mystery Hill, North Salem, NH) has numerous examples of these structures. They served one of three purposes (1) offering niche [a space to place a ritual offering in], (2) spirit portal, (3) combination offering niche and spirit portal. The basis for these interpretations are covered in depth in the book "America's Stonehenge Deciphered." Many of these small structures were designed to blend into the landscape and are easily missed. Once you seen a few, you will eventually begin spot them more easily. As a generally observation, when found there are in most cases only 1 or 2 of these per small to medium size site. And of course, not all sites have them. Many of these structures have a notched standing or open split in a boulder / surface bedrock / outcrop within a couple of hundred feet or less. There is some consensus that these notched standing stones and splits in stone can be interpreted as spirit portal features. These offering niche features were arguable used to place a perishable offering (tobacco, food, etc) in to call a spirit into the sacred ceremonial site to participate in some sort of ritual.

James Gage

pwax said...

My friend for Carlisle ("FFC") is always trying to get me to look at small structures. He thinks they are important and, although I remain somewhat oblivious, I suspect he is right.

theseventhgeneration said...

The top stone is probably about 30 lbs or so, small enough that one person could lift it, but it would be difficult to carry very far.

This structure is in, what I would describe as the 'outskirts' of the large rock pile site (Delaware State Forest). The rock pile site is just up the hill from this (about 2/10ths of a mile away).

I did photograph a strange looking standing stone near this structure, but I haven't posted it because I wasn't sure about the context. This general area is very wet, rocky, and there is also an old logging road near the creek, so it's not an undisturbed area. That just adds to the complexity.

pwax said...

I rarely find things except next to old roads.

Geophile said...

I've seen one similar to this, up at the Railroad Drive site before the property was built on. In that case the supported stone seemed to point in one direction. I was never 100% certain it was placed, but it was in the middle of an area where five or more large stone piles were closely placed.

pwax said...

Really nice diagram.