Monday, July 02, 2007

Faint traces (at best) on Forest Hill in Dunstable

Intrigued by a lone hill in conservation land, I drove to Dunstable to check out Forest Hill. Well this was not a good way to use up the Saturday exploration time-slot. There was no clear entrance to the conservation area so I had to sneak behind some houses and along the edge of a swamp to get in and the hill was covered with poison ivy and and it looked like it had been farmed and all the soil washed away. What was left was pretty scrappy and there were few if any signs that Indians might have come back to restore the place. But down in the swamps at the foot of the hill I saw rock-on-rock in a couple of traditional settings.
On the southern side of the hilltop were a number of tumbled down piles. If they had all been near the top I would have guessed each "pile" was one cartload of dumped rocks from, yes, field clearing. But they appeared all the way down the slope and, around midway down, it seemed like a peculiar place to drive a cart. So there is a faint chance these are Indian piles.
If you did not know any better this would seem to be a bonifide ceremonial rock pile. Given the shape the hill was in, I doubt it.I have to keep reminding myself to not expect much from Dunstable. I have been there before and it is a mostly sandy place. But this Forest Hill has enough rocks that one could not make that objection. So I wonder what is different about Dunstable? The place was harshly and quite recently used. A lot like Andover. Someday we can hope to put together a history of post contact Indian activity on a town-by-town basis. My sense is that the Indians are long gone from places like Dunstable and Andover. That they were still around pretty recently in places like Acton, and even more recently in Stow, Harvard, and Bolton; and that they are probably still around in places like Holliston.

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