Monday, March 12, 2007

Some sites in Ashland, MA - part 1

I went south of the Mass Pike to explore, hoping to avoid snow. This took me to Ashland, MA. Instead the crust was just slicker than usual. I had barely stepped into the woods, when I saw a large mound of some sort and was very happy to see it was a large rock pile:Here is another view: This a bit reminiscent of the large "roadside attraction" in Harvard, which I illustrated a couple of weeks ago [Click here]. They certainly look similar in the snow. But this 'mound' has what appears to be damaged structure, which you can see a little in this photo: Perhaps there was an inner 'cist'. This is a little different from the pile in Harvard. Also unlike other large piles I have found, which often are isolated, here there seemed to be a few other structures nearby. This looked a bit like the remnants of a viewing location or "seat":But check out the rock it is sitting on:Look closely. That is quartz and not snow on the rock. Really impressive up close. And also nearby, the hint of another pile. Seen closeup, I wish this was cleaned off a bit: Later in my walk I found smaller, more typical, rock piles. These initial larger 'mounds" could be outlying features of the same site, or could represent work of a different culture. I don't know how to tell; just that these big piles are different.

Also nearby, a pretty little stone lined spring. As usual, the piles are near where water comes out of the ground.
After this I explored outward from this site. In a couple of places I saw other isolated rock piles. I also explored around a prominent knoll. With this tree growing near the top of it, I am confident this was a place where people looked out over the scenery.
There were a number of prominent outcrop/knolls visible from this first one. So I was wondering if possibly the big 'mound' would be visible from here and whether it was substituting for a natural outcrop - filling in a gap in the 360 degree view from this spot. Now, pay close attention because that is a thought that gets echo'ed over and over during the weekend, which I will try to describe in part 2.

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