Thursday, October 02, 2008

Land use and rock piles at Long Hill Bolton, MA

Looking at the map of this hilltop,you can see the orchards, which are in use today. When I stepped into the woods near the blue outline the hilltop was wetland consisting of wet mud over rocks with some blueberry bushes and laurel and trees not too densely spaced. It did not feel natural, clammy under foot, and my guess is that is was agricultural land before. But walking further into the woods, there was the beginning of a gully and I came into an area with more dense ferns......down into the brook proper; where there were rock piles. In addition to the piles being down in the brook area, the evidence is that this is the one part of the hilltop which remains undisturbed.

Here is the first pile I saw:
There are several rocks scattered up and to the left of the obvious rock-on-rock here. A detail of one:
FFC swears by these, calling them by turns "ice cream sandwich" and "spirit rock".

Another pile in the ferns:Here is a view towards the very headwater of the brook:I was happy to see such a clear pile. Note also what looks like a flat plate on top of a rock in the background - a faint shadow on the rock. Take a closer look:How about that pattern of smaller rocks in the foreground?

Besides the small rock piles and structures down at the very head of the brook there was also a big old pile that might have been pure field clearing debris or something more structured. So the smaller piles are easier to identify as Native American. Here is the big pile seen beyond a stone wall, on the side of the gully at the very top of the gully:Here is another view from the side, facing back down the valley:It might have been a platform pile. It is certainly located where other platform piles occur at the headwater of a small brook. Or is that internal structure I see in the tumble of rocks?The point I wanted to make was that land use can be seen in the ground cover, the footing, and the plants. That alone destinguishes this little brook headwater. The presence of rock piles confirms the land use rather than - turning the logic inside out - it being taken as a proof of the meaning of the rock piles.

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