Saturday, August 02, 2008

In the Quissett woods - old rock piles on a slope

In the woods near the Quisset Campus of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) I found a small rock pile site on the steep-sloped sides of a little valley. The slope faced west, the valley ran roughly north-south. It is not easy finding un-explored woods in the relatively small area of Falmouth that is not just sand, and it is particularly gratifying to find a site that got missed by previous explorers. Nearby on the same campus Jim Mavor found a stone circle next to a stone wall with fine views of the land and water meeting in Martha's Vineyard Sound - about which the Historical Society had a small exhibit for several years.

This day I started by fighting through thick bullbriar for about 1/2 hour before coming out to some trails. Walking off the trail at one spot I saw loose cluster or two of cobbles at the lower edge of a slope:
I was trying to decide if this counted as a rock pile. Was this a deliberate pile?
My attention was drawn to a light cream colored quartzite rock at the center of one of the clusters. This was enough for me to get the camera out and consider if this might be a rock pile site.Then I saw a third pile twenty feet to the side : This convinced me that it was a rock pile site. I looked around and started seeing little disturbances several other places on the slope:And I started becoming aware of a large boulder at the top of the slope. All the rock piles were downhill from it and, as I checked it, all the piles were visible from this boulder. This makes me think about "Marker Piles" that could be viewed by someone sitting on the boulder.This last is a view of the ridge with the boulder slightly above the center of the photo. The piles are to the left down the slope. Note the old trail that passes from the foreground back to the right of the boulder. If you are interested this is just across the trail from Fitness Training Station #7.

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