Thursday, March 07, 2013

First look at piles on Hubbard's Hill - Estabrook Woods, Concord MA

Reader Johnathan Brown writes:
I've been able to go out a couple of times recently into the Easterbrooks and explored (for me) some new areas. I also revisited the site on Black Birch Hill the other day when the weather was beautiful and mild.  I wanted to get some photos before the woods were blanketed again with snow.  I'll send you a few when I get the chance, but I have to run now!  (I have attached two pics. from one of the best mounds - with a marker rock on top poking through the snow.  I used some bits of twigs to outline it for contrast and my walking stick shows up in one for scale - it's 42" long.)
I came across two of the beautiful granite cornerstones with an engraved "C" on each - marking the bounds of the old Kibbe farm.  They were a really nice personal discovery!  I also found a  5 foot circle of stones piled 2-3 stones high on top of another hill that I had never visited before.  It looks like there was a pasture on top at one time - so it may be related to that activity?  

For years I mostly stuck to the many paths in Estabrook and got to know those well.  My dad was familiar with some of the features within the area, but he would've been thrilled to talk to you - he was greatly interested about any Native American presence in the Concord area, as well as Thoreau's exploits.  Now I am having fun tramping the land between the paths and there is a lot to explore!  I checked out Steve Ells companion pamphlet to the map from the library - and that is great.  It's filling in lots of anecdotes that I was unaware of or had only heard in passing.
I was up Kibbe's way on Sunday, and that's when I found the granite markers.  I did see some features while making my way cross-lots down towards the Cedar Swamp, and vicinity.  Several larger erratics or exposed ledge caught my eye - one with some evidence of charcoal burn marks.  I want to find the cellar hole as well when I go back next time, maybe venturing nearer to the super-sized new house at the northerly edge of the woods.  I'll be happy to exchange information and findings with you; I find it fascinating! 
The photo of the stone circle I sent this morning was from a hill-top just North-east of the Kibbe land, bordering the western side of the Cedar Swamp. I had never been to that particular area before, and I'm sure there's more to explore.  I think it's interesting how you can look down upon the brook and swamp from the high vantage point of the hillside.  I'll bet early native people found it advantageous as well.  The circle is just slightly outside of a half acre walled pasture at the very top of the hill.  That's why I wondered about it's origin??  In fact, I could see a succession of stone walls looking North as I moved in that direction off the height of the hill.  (The area was apparently well populated in the 18th century.) I had to turn back and make my way West following the pale peach of the winter sky.  I could see other interesting features over the crest (rocks and outcrops) but the lateness of the day hurried me along, picking my way by bog and stream to the gate and my truck on Autumn Lane.
The northerly side of Black Birch Hill is full of curious items, and I'll send along some more photos as promised.  It's hard to distinguish much detail through the snow and with a flat light, but when Spring arrives we'll have to go have a look.  Upon closer inspection the other day the mounds of earth are all similar in size, many marked with prominent large stones, and there a great many scattered in the woods. It's harder to pick out some where trees have grown up, and fallen on top of others. 
I too was wondering about the placement, and whether there was any significance to the northerly cardinal direction. Also, are there any other sites in the woods on hillsides similarly situated?  It sounds like there is.  I'll keep on looking!

1 comment :

pwax said...

Those were tree blowdowns on Hubbard's Hill.