Meanwhile, I have not been posting as regularly as in the past. Blog readership is about 1/2 of what it was a year ago. There was that particularly sad episode of people removing the top of a hollow cairn to satisfy a misplaced curiosity about contents. On top of this, I became clearer in my conviction that these large rectangles with hollows are burial mounds. The sense that I am not always welcome to be clambering around on them was particularly strong up there in NH - where the woods are glum. And now I am glum and not sure whether I want to keep up the hunt. For now, I believe I can ignore readership drop-off, ignore the occasional "educated" vandal, and maybe I can hope to find sunnier woods.
Before the snow shut down exploring, I visited a site on an island in Bowers Brook Harvard. This was a sort of "smoking gun" because of the impossibility of a practical reason for building careful rock piles on an island in the middle of wet marsh.
Found the first truly nice collection of "mounds with hollows" in the part of Dover, MA called "Powissett"
I contacted the Trustees of Reservation, who own the land, and they distinguished themselves by a complete lack of interest.
Also in March, I was invited to Harvard to see a lovely spot:
It was here I became aware of the idea that these mounds may have a lingering smell, detectable by dogs.
The way dogs guard a position on tops of these things is eerie.
April (the snow seems to have cleared by now)
Franklin State Forest has several sites, along the headwaters of Mine Brook. For example these old mid-sized domes:
Strawberry Hill in Acton, turned up a first example of a rectangle with hollows, from this part of Acton:
Amazing examples from College Rock (not a new discovery but a new part of this extensive rock pile "region")
Snow is long gone now. One sweet isolated example from Benjamin Hill Shirley:
And, speaking of Shirley, what was probably the most noteworthy site for me this year was an un-expected brookside "berm-and-mound" from Spruce Swamp Brook:
The reason this site was noteworthy is that it is in Shirley, where there is not much to be found, AND it is of an unusual configuration, running towards long messy berms. Later this last year, I started associating such berms with the more northern sites in Ashby and southern NH. In retrospect, this site in Shirley may be more of that general nature. This was also a site where I saw a different kind of "smoking gun" consisting of rock piles in a brook valley that had been completely silted over:
This was about when I was confirming that the Fort Devens stone wall map was a useful guide to rock pile sites. Like Duck Pond Ridge in Groton:
Large, fern-covered mounds at Hager Park in Westminster:
East of Watatic Pond, Ashby. A fine set of large debris-covered mounds:July
A few odds and ends around Sippewissett in Falmouth.
The best of NEMBA: a Milford site at the center of a planned casino development:
The largest and, arguably, best stone mound of the year. From High Ridge Wildlife Management area in Westminster. A big mound with a shallow hollow on top and a short stone wall extending from it:
It was also around now that the phrase "Mayans in Georgia" got some currency from the publications of Thornton and the "People of One Fire". We had some fun with the phrase but, in the end, I urge people to treat seriously the whole topic of pan-American mound building cultures. Also paying more attention to terracing.
Extended the Blood Rd sites in Groton to include places north of the Crystal Springs entrance. More outlines with hollows:
Also, visited Woodbridge CT and also I gave a talk in Harvard.
More unexpected mounds from the Rubin Land in Boxborough (unexpected cuz I thought I already explored that, but was schooled by a reader)
Whittemore Hill in New Ipswich, NH:
It is in these northern lattitudes where the rectangles with hollows are replaced with "elongated berms with bays". Also saw them at Blood Hill and in northwestern Willard Brook:
Many beautiful things at Codman Hill in Harvard:
Wondrous but depressing structures from Dunklee Pond in Hollis, NH:
And many other small sites and odds and ends, everywhere in between.
Christmas and New Year's vacation continues and the snow has a decent crust by now. Maybe I'll still have some more finds before the year is done.