Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Hilltop site in Bolton

by pwax
Continuing the description of sites in the Bolton Conservation Lands at the edge of Stow:

After finding the site with the gurgling brook, I continued uphill, with the thought that I would get to one of the summits. When I got up there I headed southwest. There was a site on the southwest part of the summit, just like on many of the other hills nearby. As I first approached there was a damaged place in the stone wall and what looked like a rock pile on a support beyond that:
Although I thought it was clear that the wall was damaged, some of the tumbled rocks fell far from the wall and almost appeared to be deliberate structure. This begins a pattern that was repeated at this site - of a wall re-used for other purposes. In this case, stepping through the break in the wall led to a small area of low ground piles and low-to-the-ground supported piles.
[Digression about alignment chasing and why it is not much better than the donation pile "myth": because it suppresses curiosity about the topography and it supresses cursiousity about the site characteristics and single pile characteristics - all under one oversimplifying umbrella: the only characteristic is to be at this spot along the line. Alignment chasing suppresses study of the details.]

There were perhaps twenty piles. Here is one my feet found where my eyes could barely see it.

There was a suburban neighborhood on this hilltop, and I could hear the kids playing nearby. I was thinking all through the trip here - through South Acton, through Stow, into Bolton, that people are quite oblivious of this history of the land they now occupy. And it made me think about my own goals and why I am looking at rock piles, and why am I getting so nearly fanatical about it. My answer is that my goal is to make the American Indian re-appear. We have heard about how the Indian "vanished" - and given the general obliviousness this is a good word. But in reality how could they, who lived here for 10 thousand years, not leave some traces or anything that would not be erased by a mere 300 years of our European occupation? One goal is to make the American Indian "un-vanish".

A stone wall runs along the eastern side of the site. It looked as if an original wall was built and then someone, more hastily, piled loose rocks along one side of it. Later still, someone came along and made a couple of "nests" in the lose rocks along the wall:
These two were right next to each other. I should have tried for a panorama shot but there was a tree in the way.

1 comment :

pwax said...

For the record, I think American Indians were here before the last glacial expansion. I have stone tools from Massachusetts which seem to have been through one glaciation cycle - suggesting they were made before that cycle. I have other stone tools from California which I am very confident went though one or more glacial cycles. (As discussed in "Concord Lithics"). Anyway, that puts people in Massachusetts at ~25K BP and possibly also in the earlier inter-glacials ~60K BP or more.

I am told some Indians do not believe there was a glacier. I think there was.