Reader Ted Hendrickson writes:
Recent visits to Gardener's Lake Chamber site and the Pike/Marshall preserve in Ledyard, CT has us wondering about stone walls and niches. On the shore of Gardener's Lake, just over the Bozrah town line is this chamber, reported on by many others.We decided to explore the area and came across some stone walls built off to the south of the road lining walls that lead to the site. They had the appearance of enclosures for animals, being squarish spaces with openings appropriate for gates. Noticed that built into them seemed to be purposeful niches.
Or were they spots that stones had fallen out of or been removed?
We weren't quite sure. These walls enclosed a space about 30 feet square with two openings. Interesting.
Last weekend we hiked in nearby Ledyard, CT, up a north-south lowland flanked by two ridges. Along the east side ridge we spotted this wall.
It ran roughly east west quite a distance in a pretty straight line, tall and single stone thick as it rose to the top of the ridge. As it hit the rock outcrop at the ridge edge, it stopped with a tall face and what appeared to be two niches built into this west facing terminus.
The wall picked up again at the base of the rock face and continued across the wetland and seasonal stream, up the next ridge and terminated several hundred yards beyond into a swamp. Here is the niche face in the distance from the other side of the wetland up the other rise. You can see it in the center with the wall continuing below.
The niches were positioned to face the setting sun, although the rays at this time of year fell a little from the south, perhaps the summer solstice would be a direct hit? Just north of the wall end was what appeared to be an enclosure that extended from the wall had stones running along the outcrop drop-off. Roughly triangular in shape, it too had an open view over the wetland to the west.
A hundred feet north of the wall niches and enclosure was a propped boulder sitting on the same steep ledge with its open side facing the wetland to the west.
We searched for any other signs, expecting to perhaps see some rock piles or cairns, but did not spot anything else, except perhaps a propped boulder (?) on the west ridge on the other side of the wetland.
It is a nice area to hike with marked trails, but surrounded by development and some farms.
Any thoughts appreciated. We are trying to learn.