Friday, February 17, 2006

A Small Open Chamber near Sandy Pond in Lincoln

Republished from Peter Waksman June 23, 1999

This is a short report of a small four sided enclosure in the woods in Lincoln Mass.
As with so many of the lithic structures in New England, the more closely you look at them the more you will see. In this case we were out following a stone wall and came to the place where four walls meet. They did not meet perfectly, and although there was brush and debris hiding the actual intersection, I took a closer look and noticed that the mis-aligned intersection formed a small square enclosure. So we went to take a closer look and noticed that there was a seat or platform sticking out of one wall (visible coming out from the back wall in the photo, near the center), and to the right of it a small low window (just barely visible as a space one rock to the right of the seat). To the left is an entrance formed between the back wall and one of the longer stone walls.

Here is a better view of the seat, or perhaps it is a shelf:

We decided to go inside and have a closer look and I started wondering what, if anything, could be seen out the low window. As it turned out, there was another seat directly opposite to the first one, but even when you sit in it you cannot see out of the low window, unless you bend down and put your head near the ground. From that position you can see a little piece of horizon over the slight rise twenty feet beyond the enclosure (visible in the first photo). The direction is roughly northeast, so although you cannot really see out the window, sunlight might come in, just at sunrise, on certain days of the year.

Something else you notice is that when two people sit, one on each side, the second seat is a foot or so lower than the first one. Then, when you stand up from the second lower seat, it is loose and rocks slightly - producing a knocking sound.

At this point I figured we had seen most of what there was to see, but thought it worthwhile to take a look at the outside of the wall. One rock (just out of view on top of the enclosure wall, to the right in the second photo) had a rather prominent set of scratches on it like an embellished letter 'A'.. Since none of the other rocks were scratched this way I take it that this is a deliberate glyph. Here is a photo.This is not at all the way plow scratches look. These lines are curved, superficial, and abraded. I think these kinds of lines are produced by drawing on one rock with another.

At this point, the lady I was with did something I wouldn't think to do. She started searching through the debris in the cracks between the rocks forming the enclosure. To my surprise she immediately pulled out a small amulet or charm stone (called "fishing weights" in New England Archeology).

It is made of a cream colored crystalline material, with black veins. It is not very fancy, but appears to be a genuine artifact.

On the one hand this little enclosure may have no more complicated meaning than to enclose a stray cow. But at the other extreme it may be a ceremonial enclosure with a very specific set of activitiies associated to it. These could include two people sitting across from each other, the person on the lower seat causing a knocking sound when they stand, sunrise sunlight entering in through the small window, a ritual offering in the form of stone amulet, and something else having to do with a glpyh on the enclosure wall. This enclosure sits at the head of a small dell between two ridges. The outcrops along one ridge have veins of rusty orange quartz. Small deep hollows along one vein suggested that it was pecked at to remove the material. These features, including the enclosure at the top of the dell, are all part of a lovely place in the woods, worth noticing in detail, whatever meaning or use it may have had.

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