Sunday, February 05, 2006

A Hill Shoulder Site in Wesford

Bruce and I went up to northern Westford to visit a region of multiple rock pile sites I found in November. As I explore Westford I am coming to the conclusion that it is like Boxborough and Harvard: every undisturbed woodland has rock piles. This region is comprised of several different sites at the headwaters of a substantial brook. Some sites were by the side of the brook, so called "brook-side" sites, others were on hill shoulders, what I call "marker pile" sites. So I am going to report one site at a time.

This first hilltop site is characterized by:
  • piles in straight lines
  • piles built up on a support rocks
  • piles with quartz "blaze" or a pointed rock sticking out from the rest
  • sites occupy both a slope and a level area
It is hard to photo rock piles in a line, but here is the best I could do.
The red lines indicate piles rocks in the line. Now something important I started to realize lately is that often a single pile at will be part of more than one line. I paid attention to the part of the site I photo'd above and the piles were in this pattern:
This was a site with a fine view out to the northwest, facing northwest also to the headwaters of the brook. There were probably other piles involved and it is not easy to map or survey these kinds of sites. (I wrote about this before in the "Acton Grid".)

At this site, some of the piles had a single white quartz rock in the center.
Here Bruce is pointing to the quartz. I call these "blazes" and, to me, they seem to be a variation on the phenomenon of marker piles which have pointer rocks sticking out of them. Often they are nicely built up stacked piles. Here are some others from this site
It is rare to see anything like this close to Boston. But they are common in Boxborough, Stow, and Harvard. In fact Rt 495 seems to follow a course designed to take you through the towns with the nicest marker pile sites.

If you go back to the first photo, note that a road passes directly past the main pile. Bruce commented on this. How old are these piles?

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