Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Effigy Rock piles from King Phillip's Woods - Sudbury, MA

Most would find it hard to believe that Native Americans would have made rock piles. So the idea that some rock piles might be sculptures is probably even harder to accept. But some rock piles do seem to have a kind of deliberate shape. In the cases below there is one larger rock at the edge of the pile which might represent a head and there is an axis of symmetry running through the head. It could just be a coincidence but it may be worth supposing it is true. So, before we leave King Phillip's Woods, I wanted to show you these examples.

Here is one:In this case the head is to the upper right and the axis of symmetry runs diagonally from upper right to lower left. A flatter, pointed rock opposite the head at the other end of the axis could be a tail. Here is a side view with the head to the left:I believe this pile is un-damaged - a rare thing in itself. You can judge for yourself how much bi-lateral symmetry is visible across the axis, in the first picture. I see plenty and wonder: could this be a representation? Of what? (I guess I would go with something like a squirrel.)

The above pile was in a group of three or more piles that all had the single larger rock. It might be just a remnant, as these piles do look damaged. They don't show much symmetry:
Another one shows a hint of deliberate structure, a line of rocks slanting from the top of the pile forward and to the left down the side of the rock. This pile is clearly in the process of being scrambled around.Damaged though it is, a sort of construction principle is still visible, if not a design.

Here is another symmetric pile from a little ways away:
In the picture you can see FFC's feet at the upper left of the picture, standing on a rock. Follow the line of rocks from the upper left there, down to the lower right where there is a last rock next to the tree in the foreground. That line of rocks is an axis of bi-lateral symmetry. Here is a view from the other direction:
Again, I leave it to you to judge how much symmetry is there. Again, I think there is plenty. Is it representational? Does anyone want to venture a guess?

These rock piles with heads and faint traces of symmetry are not all that common. I would not expect to see a number of them all in one place unless they were intentional. Not a coincidence.

1 comment :

Tim MacSweeney said...

I've used the word "sculpture" describing a stone or two - and "Why not?" I say. Any other culture creating something representational out of stone is often called that.