Monday, February 23, 2009

A modern rock pile site - Southern Bolton, MA

I was walking in southern Bolton, scoping out the eastern side of a small pond, with the thought that in this area many of the small bodies of water have rock piles along their eastern sides. As I crossed a snow slope, the walking got too delicate and I slipped then almost slipped again; so I turned straight uphill and saw a rock pile I would have missed:
Looking more closely nearby, there were others:and then still others further away,I thought one looked somewhat fresh:Then with this one: Hey, there is dirt and debris lying on top of the snow, fallen from that upper rock!So this pile was made after the snow, in the last couple of weeks.

I look at the site and the way the piles are placed at the top and bottom of an outcrop, almost evenly spaced, several of them right at the edge of the "cliff", and it seems like a standard sort of rock pile site. A number of what I call "marker pile sites" are like this with piles along an outcrop.So I am thinking this is a recently built site, or at least recently added on to. Then I noticed the snowshoe tracksLet's look at some more pictures and think about that.As far as I know this site is built correctly. Although the piles are not situated in straight lines, still when I looked at the video [click here], I got a sense of things lining up and that was slightly convincing. So to me this is a real ceremonial site and not a whimsical rock stacking by the trailside.

Looking back at the outcrop from the south, the pond is to the left.


Chris Pittman said...

This is extremely interesting. It is one thing to think about sites that might have been built in the middle of the twentieth century, but to think that this is a "real" site that was built in 2009 is almost mind-boggling. If we theorize that native Americans built these sites for ceremonial purposes, the continued creation of these sites would almost have to indicate an unbroken tradition handed down orally from prehistoric times to today. That alone would be amazing. But if native Americans wanted to make rock piles, why build a "new" site instead of adding on to the existing sites that (we theorize) were sacred to their ancestors? What was going through your mind as you explored this place? What is your opinion about who built these piles and what this would mean?

pwax said...

Well I agree. What was going through my mind was a combination of curiosity and the feeling of intruding.