Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Bolton-Stow Conservation Land. Part 3 - a Ceremonial Plow Blade

by pwax
Here are two pictures of a very interesting rock pile just below the brow of a hilltop, facing east. Note the rusted piece of iron wedged between the large rock on the right and the other rocks in the pile.
This is the second unusual thing FFC found in a rock pile.
The reason I am showing both pictures is because the first picture is from before we removed the iron and the second pictures is from after we put it back. We were as careful as we could be to put it back the way it was. Now let's take a look at the piece of iron.
Well, that is a broken off tip from a plow blade. There is no field nearby here, and none on the rocky hilltop. That means someone brought the broken plow tip up the hill and dedicated a rock pile to it. In this one pile we see the whole story and, as FFC points out, we get a pretty good way of dating when the pile was built. Is it 1700s, 1800s, 1900s? Someone could tell us. This one rock pile is "holographic" of the story of the Indian Farmer - in one pile we see a context for all of the rest.

After this exciting find, we continued up the hill, seeing a few more piles. Like this one with a built in shelf:Or these ones which look to have designed shapes:
That last one could almost be two birds. These piles would be very interesting by themselves if they had not been overshadowed by the other finds at this site. Speaking of which, is this not a typical hilltop site? Well it has a lot of similarity with the east side of the Hill of 500 Cairns [Click here] or [Click here]. Both sites are along Elizabeth Brook, a 1/2 mile or so apart. But I do not get the sense of marker piles. And these previous photos, showing piles with apparent shaping of the rock or of the pile, suggest effigies - something unusual on a hillside far above the wetlands.

Then there was one last find: a nice split wedged rock.
FFC was much taken with this structure because the upper wedge points, he says, towards the 125 degrees magnetic, or August 13 sunrise - a date/direction which, they say, keeps coming up over and over again. According to Tim Fohl, August 13 has some Mayan connection or Milky Way connection which I do not understand.

But rather than end on that note of archeo-astronomy let me emphasize the presence of limestone from a nearby quarry and the presence of a broken plow tip. I think these are not astronomical. Other ideas are going to be needed to understand a site like this. Also let me emphasize my belief that the small details can be the most important.


theseventhgeneration said...

These are great observations! I am just getting around to reading your back posts, as I have only recently started looking at rock piles in NY. Sites in NY are often found with both Native American features (cairns) and colonial features (foundations) nearby and folks here are quick to attribute the entire site to colonial only. Your photos and observations are helping me to look at the fine detail of the site, and consider it with an open mind, so it doesn't get dismissed as 'just' colonial! Thank you!

pwax said...

I want to comment that in Dec 2017 my sons pointed out a bit of rusted iron on a rock with two other rocks. It was a broken wood splitting wedge. Interesting that these items were both broken.