Thursday, September 27, 2007

Rock piles from Wellesley College Campus

I was invited by Ji to see some rock piles she had found in the woods at the edge of the Wellesley College campus. It is an area of ups and downs of glacial till. There are eskers and the campus contains natural lakes as well as man-made ponds. On the backside of one hill, in the shade, a couple of indistinct clusters:And then this beautiful structured pile
Although the pile may have been damaged, it is tempting to see the upper rock as some kind of "head". But also note that one of the inner rocks is a vertical flake. In the end, I think the upper rock is displaced from the otherwise continuous ring of rocks. There is even a space for where it might fit in the ring.

The Town of Wellesley and the College Campus are very prosperous places that have seen a lot of recent and less recent development - a lot of wear and tear. It is almost miraculous that a well preserved rock pile would be sitting here, only a few feet from a path used constantly by strollers and joggers.

Native American Festival - Saratoga NY

Reader rklopchin writes:

There is a Native American Festival at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center this weekend. This link has the details:

http://www.saratoga nativefestival. org/2007/

If you click on the "Teachers" tab, there is a Curriculum Guide that has "The Story of the Great Stone" on page 5. At the bottom of the Teachers tab, there are Links to Internet resources & informational sites. They are pretty interesting. I am going to forego posting the link on my blog because there is not much Munsee Delaware/Lenape related in the links. However, there are links for Iroquoian and Algonquian information. I liked the graphics and pictures at this link:

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Goodbye to the Harvard/Bolton woods

I went south through the woods and returned via a trail:

An interesting structure

I featured this in one of the video clips yesterday: a kind of rock-on-rock made from a single rock with a broken piece twisted to the side so to as to overhang. It looks a bit like an animal.There was another smaller one up the slope but the photo did not work. Its existence re-enforces that this is not a random feature but a deliberate one. This is "looking out over" the same wetland to the west as in the previous post but further to the south.

Rock-on-rocks and sites within water break-out zones - Harvard, Bolton

I was going south, traversing a slight slope with lower wetland to my right (to the west) and higher, drier, pine sapling woods to my left. Came across a pair of rock-on-rocks and then found a little cluster of piles, each with no more than a handful of rocks. Most of the slope had been eroded and had little topsoil - so it was hay-scented ferns except where the saplings got too dense. Here are a couple of the rock-on-rocks with similar structure: One comment is that these are big rocks, too big for me to lift. I noticed a couple of rock-on-rocks where the upper rock has a shape that I think is significant. Both rocks have an extended "neck". I used to believe this was a "heart" shape. But I don't know what it is. I just believe there is a deliberate shape similarity here and it is not a coincidence. Here are some of the more complex piles. I think these have all been pretty bashed around. This kind of site, with numerous rock-on-rocks in a wet place is yet another kind of rock pile site. I do not know anything much about its function but it appears different from the previous site I reported.

Big pile in Harvard woods

Here is a big "shoulder" pile that could well have been a field clearing pile. It was at the edge of a level area and not too evidently organized. It could have been ceremonial also, since the whole area has rock piles that could not be from field clearing.
Here is another view of the lower edge of the tumble of rocks.
And here is a view of the upper surface:

A small rock pile site in Harvard MA

This is one of those inveitable little sites you see so frequently in the woods behind people's houses out here in Harvard and Bolton, that you wonder: do the people living there notice these rock piles? And if they do, do they have any idea how common these little sites are in the rest of the Town?

I went in the conservation land entrance and then hung a right off the trail, putting me behind people's houses as I went down the hill towards the wetter lowlands. I wanted to turn back because I didn't see anything and then, at the last moment I saw this on the other side of a stone wall:
And then I realized it was a small site of rock piles supported on the few boulders in there. There were not too many boulders but most (all?) were being used to support rock piles.
Note the rubber tires in the background.
At this point I was so paranoid about being in plain sight of the houses that I had to move on and not take many more pictures. A couple more similar piles.
Finally the site played out up the little valley I was following.

I do not know what this site is an example of and was not paying good attention to the landscape because of the paranoia; but this is a good example of one particular kind of site: all the piles have a common look, a common basic architecture. It is too bad I did not pay attention to the topography before high-tailing it out of there.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Videos from a nice fall walk in Harvard and Bolton

The circle of the sky

Roaming through Bolton and Harvard. What pretty woods and fields. I could not resist this although the photo leaves a lot to be desired. See the path straight forward?


The meeting is in New London CT, details at the NEARA web page

It appears the Sunday Fieldtrip includes some rock piles sites.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Along the trail in Bolton Conservation Land

Speaking of yellow, here we are on a "yellow dot" trail in one of the Bolton Conservation Lands. A few supported rock piles and a sense of an alignment coming off of a boulder. This is a pattern I described the other day from Sterling (CLICK HERE).

Yellow rock piles - Harvard MA

Saturday, on my way out Rt 111 to where I planned to explore, I passed a patch of woods that I could not remember why I had not explored already and, since almost any patch of woods is worth exploring in "never disappoints" Harvard, I figured I should make a quick stop and take a quick look around. When I stepped into the woods there were some rock piles made from the local bedrock which is so full of iron and other materials as to make for interesting yellow colored rock piles.
I could not tell if these piles were ceremonial or not. There had been some pretty vicious earth moving in there and these could almost have been just a bit of soil pushed together by a bulldozer.But here they are, sort of evenly spaced, and sort of in line; as if the hill in the background was a high point for looking down towards them, in the usual pattern for marker pile sites.

The yellow of the piles was set off nicely by the yellow of the leaves. Yellow seems to be the first color of the fall. Let's have one more look at that:

Friday, September 21, 2007

Rinebeck Cairns

From reader Ji:
Pictures of the small cairn Gi has found in Rhinebeck, and close-up of the hammerstone at the
original cairn which shows small indentations. One picture includes a water bottle as a way of
providing scale--

Scale of the large cairn which includes the hammerstone.
Approaching the small cairn
Close up of the small cairn:

Wall leading to a split in a boulder

I noticed an indistinct stone "wall" starting part way down the side of a hill.
A moment or so later I noticed the same wall. It did not go far but ended at a split in a large boulder overlooking lower wetter land. The direction of the split is a continuation of the line of the wall.
This was in part of the Callahan State Forest south of the Wayside Inn.

Mid-Tennessee photos of rocks and woods

[Click here]
A couple of interesting pictures if you scroll down.

Flat Rock North Carolina

"Flat Rock is a village in Henderson County, in the Asheville metro area.
The community was named for a granite outcropping used as an Indian ceremonial site
The latitude of Flat Rock is 35.271N. The longitude is -82.441W."

Trying to find a photo of the rock.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Wolfden Hill in Leominster State Forest

For reasons I explained earlier, Wolfden Hill in Leominster State Forest seems like a hill worth exploring. It has a direct close-up view of Mt Wachusett and, in this area, slopes facing Wachusett are the best places to look for rock piles. Anway I knew from the past that the flats around the hill had rock piles, so I thought it would be worth getting up the slope and to the top. The "Wolfden" probably refers to a rocky outcrop near the top, facing west - a tumble of rocks and overhangs. My Friend-From-Carlisle (FFC) was in ecstasy over the place and felt he could spend all day looking at all the suggestive rocks. Most of my pictures were too blurred because it was raining and dark under the trees but here is one showing a boulder at the edge of the outcrop.
This sort of thing looks suspicious. It is particularly suspicious when you can find a rock wedged under the boulder. Also, you see, at the edge of a cliff is the easiest place to apply a lever and move such a boulder around. Anyway there was no evidence of this sort of thing here, just the suspicion of it. There were other suspicious things nearby, some of them quite recent. I did not get a good picture of it but in one place rocks had been piled up on top of some dead branches. In another, a little ramp was built up the side of a boulder using what looked like recently moved rocks. There were some other recent looking arrangements. Here is about the only picture that almost worked, as short line of rocks on the ground.
So many other little scenes lost because of the poor photographic conditions and my unsteady hand. Here is a bad picture of a place along Wolfden Rd (off of King Tut's Highway) where the road crosses a rock pile site. In the picture the wall is passing through a break in the stone wall. The piles are to left and right.
The piles are low to the ground and roughly circular. At first glance it looked like what I imagine a burial ground looks like. Except for two problems: no water view and no quartz. FFC was convinced this was actually a "grid" like the Acton rock pile grid at the Spring Hill Conservation Land - a marker pile site. The piles were more or less evenly spaced and somewhat in lines. They were within a quadrant surrounded by stone wall. Here are some of the piles from there:
Here is what one looks like using the flash:
Note what appears to be a larger rock in each of these piles.

I apologize for the poor photo but this next one was an interesting rock pile: two small rocks on a boulder; one gray the other red.
Here is another rock pile with some interesting geology in the choice of rocks:Here is one photo that was not blurred:
Also in there - on the east side of Paradise Pond on the way south from Rocky Road to Wolfden Hill, there are also a few larger piles on the shoulder of the slope. They occured at random and did not seem part of a group. All I have got is a semi decent pictures of part of one of the larger piles.Love that Leominster State Forest. The truth is that in some places it is nothing but rock piles at low density for hundreds of yards - if not 1/4 miles. As you can see there is quite a variety from supported piles on boulders, to larger shoulder mounds ("horizon piles"), to marker pile grids, to little ceremonial piles with interesting geology. There are still other types of piles at other places in the Forest.

Old Favorites in Leominster State Forest

Went out to LSF with Friend-From-Carlisle to explore Wolfden Hill (see comments here) and ended up taking lots of blurry pictures in the darkened woods under a rainy sky. I'll show some of those in a later post. But as we returned to the car we passed a rock pile site I had found before, and I got to stop and take new photos of some piles I particularly like.

This site is next to one of the dirt roads that criss-cross the Forest. It is on a little knoll surrounded by wetland on north east and west sides, and a wall (the one siding the road) to the south. There is a structure with a rectangle of cobbles on the ground, backed by a boulder. And there are three or four piles supported on boulders and in very good condition. Here is one:
And here are two views of another:
What a beautiful little pile. Note the rocks in it are not rounded but sharp angled. This means they are probably not glacial rocks.

This pile is the one I used in one of the first public talks I ever gave about rock piles. It was an example of finding a rock pile by spotting likely places on the topo map - this site was just barely within an arbitrary circle I drew on the map before finding the site.