Thursday, January 31, 2008

In the valley of a small brook in Bedford, MA

Honest, it is hard to go into woods that contain crappy useless bits of land and not run into rock piles. I think the footprint of prehistoric and historic Indians was pretty intense and universal. So there is lots of stuff left. You have a split boulder, why would someone bother to wedge it apart, and reach down in there to extract a rock wedge? They wouldn't and, in fact, the split-wedged boulder is still there. Fifty years old or five hundred years old.

So it is really no big deal to be exploring a bit of conservation land in Bedford, walking up a valley formed by a brook - with gravel bars, exposed rocks, routine flooding (a "crappy useless bit of land") and come across a rock-on-rock and a split-wedged rock:

All the bedrock back in there was rust stained. To me that connotes fire, as if these places were burnt over and over. Like this:
And it is not too surprising to be on one side of the valley and spot something curious and rock pile like on the other side:
Up on top, a site for sore eyes: what looks like a rock pile.
But it is really just a mess of rocks on top of an outcrop. Thoughts of field clearing drift by and I wonder if it is necessarily ceremonial or prehistoric. There was plenty of "agrarian" activity in evidence nearby. There was a dam with a small pond and suggestions of old roads.

So, as I walked, I kept vacillating between thinking I was seeing ceremony versus thinking it was nothing. The split-wedged rock was the first reasonably firm identification. Then I stumbled across a rock pile site where I least expected one, in a flat area that could well have been a field. (hard to say in the snow) except the piles would have been in the middle of the field. Here were three faint rock piles.The last one stretched out as it is could be something dumped un-ceremoniously to the side. Except it is in the middle.

And there were some other nice things in there. Like this three pile sequence:
Or this:
I would like to go back when there is no snow. Maybe the nature of the site, whether old or new, agrarian or ceremonial, will be easier to see then.


Tim MacSweeney said...

I wish I had some time right now to respond in detail, but I've got to leave early today for a work related thing. Yesterday I found myself far from home with a lunch break to use as part of my "walk or die" exercise program. I ended up in some "crappy useless bit of land" that surprised me with rock piles, turtles, stonerows along a water feature with stoneworked springs. I started a post at Waking Up, but there just isn't time right now, but I find you writing down some of the same sort of thoughts I was thinking...

Anonymous said...

I am thinking more an more I should just always have my camera with me. As the cameras get smaller, that becomes increasingly feasible. The way things are shrinking, we'll be able to carry them on keychains.