Monday, November 08, 2010

Indian Graveyards - Concord, MA

There are three similar sites in Concord that I think of as "graveyards". Of course I have no idea if that is correct, if anything is to be found under the piles. So what I mean is: rock piles sites with 12 or so low-to-the-ground circular rock piles, each having a bit of white rock. Here are two of the larger such sites I found in Concord.

First site
This one is somewhere in Estabrook Woods. I have shown it to the most knowledgeable Estabrook experts and they did not know about it. I think Thoreau missed it. On approach:
See that pile on a rock in the rear? It is not a ground pile and not, I think, a grave. Here is a closeup from one side:The pointed rock in the middle, facing you, is symmetrically placed. FFC thinks that pointed rock is the head of a crow effigy.

Here is one of the "graves", completely non-descript but, believe it or not, most of these piles incorporate a white rock:The site is in a space between a triangle of stone walls. The crow at one corner, a completely damaged pile supported on a rock at another, and a collection four turtle-like piles in the last corner. So, here are all four "turtles":Note the pointed rock on the right, which I think is the turtle's head. From the same angle, another one:From the same angle, another one:From the same angle, a last one, more than a bit damaged, and pretty inconclusive:So the "graves" are found within the triangle, between these effigies (crows and turtles) at the corners. I have written about this before (here). The examples of white rock are not particularly spectacular.

Second Site:
If there were effigies here, I did not see them. I'll show some examples of piles with a white rock:
Many of the piles included bits of burnt rock as well as white rock. Spot the white rock, spot the burnt rock. Here is another:
Another:Closer:Another:Closer:Another:Closer:Burnt and white. See the pattern?

Some other noteworthy features at this site include a boulder with a chain of connected rocks, perhaps a "seat".And at least one pile incorporating a curious single rock that might have been specifically selected for.
Strange pits and holes in that one rock:Whether these sites are graveyards, I do not know. We have all heard there were Indian Graveyards. Thoreau wrote about their existence. But is there a description anywhere? Whatever the case, these types of sites have an identifiable character, with the white rocks and the burnt rocks and the curious rocks incorporated into the piles.

I want to mention explicitly that the piles at these sites are not evenly spaced and are not in lines. This is not a "marker pile" site although sometimes it seems that that is all there is out there.


Geophile said...

I've wondered about Indian graveyards, too. There are records of at least one person being buried in "the old Indian graveyard" but no one seems to know where it was or what marked it if anything.

Ted said...

Reminds me of a site in Montville CT. Perhaps I will send photos.

pwax said...

If you "search this blog" for Westford and/or graveyard, there are some photos of the Westford's "Pioneer Cemetery". Pictures include at least one rock pile.

Same for the Bourne "Indian Graveyard". There are rock piles there as well. I do not remember about the white rocks though.

pwax said...

...yeah. Try searching for "Pioneer Cemetery" (note spelling).