Monday, December 17, 2007

Re-visiting the edges of "The Hill of 500 Cairns"

I wrote about this hill previously [Click here and more generally here]. A couple of weekends ago I was going to go on a long drive to explore in Southborough and passed this Hill of 400 cairns (or 500 cairns) on Rt 495 and thought: "I should really go explore more around the northern edge of the hill". Then I realized that that was a better prospect than the one I was headed towards, so I changed plans. Last time at this hill with a group of people, we walked up to the top from the southwest, starting at the end of Whitcomb Rd in Bolton. This time, instead of climbing the hill, I stayed as far west as possible, following the deer fence along the highway and stayed at the foot of the hill. This should have taken me right down to the edges of the part of the site that was destroyed by the highway. In fact there were rock piles right up to the deer fence: And some really pretty little things under the thin crust of snow: Although we are told that the destroyed site contained wondrous things (large cairns of limestone, with blocks cemented together from age) there is no reason today to suspect that that part of the hill was much different from here, 50 yards away. I cannot find a single piece of limestone, nor any very substantial cairns.

I can't escape the feeling that this hill consists of a large collection of different "grids". The notion of a site extended at many different times seems to fit this place well. And I cannot help but get a sense of lined up piles here. But it is hard to show. Here is the basic westward facing slope, with one line of rock piles after another running down the slope in parallel; but you cannot really see them: In another part of the hill, the line is un-mistakable, here are four or five in a row:Wondrous enough.

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