Saturday, January 03, 2009

A structured site in southern Callahan State Forest - Framingham, MA

Although I explored here in the past, I realized there was quite a lot of "green" on the map that I had not yet visited. I drove over, parked and went south into the woods, but stayed to the right and got across the small hill side (just like at Mt Pisgah reported). After only a minute or two in the woods, I noticed a small ground pile and spotted several more as I looked around:
This one looked more elangated than round:
I noticed that several piles were along the line of the long axis of this pile:Getting a flavor of the layout it seemed there were two short parallel lines of three piles each. But as I was looking at these things I became aware of a large chunk of stone wall, downhill nearer the edges of the wetland there,and glancing in that direction it looked like there might be some more piles down nearer this wall. In the end, there was quite a lot of interesting structure to the site. The wall turned out to be a short stretch that snakes upwards from the wetland. Also there were a couple of larger stone mounds down next to it (you can just make out one to the left in the above picture), in addition to some large rock-on-rocks. Here is the approximate layout, as best I could make out:
At the bottom of the picture is a bit of lowland and the site is on the slopes of a hill at the edge of this lowland. There are at least six smaller piles at the top in two parallel lines, there is a central "stone wall" feature with several large rock-on-rocks to one side and two larger mounds to the other side. The line of the stone wall is roughly parallel with the lines of the smaller piles uphill.

Here are some of the large rock-on-rocks:I was quite taken with this "stone wall". Here is are other views.

From the lower end:
From the side:
Also from the lower end:
With the large rock at the upper end and the slight winding back and forth of the wall, it is easy to imagine it as a kind of snake. If you look to the far right in the last picture you can see a larger rock pile over there. Here is one closeup:
It was really three different piles with different sized rocks. That gave me a pause because this is a typical field clearing pattern: different rocks dumps of different sizes. But I did not pause for too long over that, the rest of the site is not at all like a field clearing rock dump.

Here is the further of the two larger rock piles, which I am calling "mounds" to distinguish from the smaller piles uphill. The view back towards the "wall":
A side view:The pattern of damage here is very characteristic. To my eyes this was a mound that contained two inner chambers, that has been vandalized. It is a smaller scale version of what we see throughout the Manoosnocs in Leominster.

Unlike many sites which are a collection of the same types of piles in a more or less orderly layout, this site has different parts: the lines of smaller piles, the snaking wall, the large burial mounds. To me it is something different, rarer.


pwax said...

As a matter of fact Peter m'boy, I think you demonstrate that this is part of that "Nipmuc precursor" culture rarely seen here east of the Nashua river.

pwax said...

I write this in April 2009. The author of the post I am commenting on had not seen the site northeast of Muddy Pond in Westminster.

pwax said...

A neither the author (me) nor the commeter (me) was processing the examples in Harvard, Lincoln, and the other across the street at Doeskin Hill. But the present "me" still wants to believe this is a Nipmuc precursor culture, mostly west of the Nashua River. Whoever it was they were there, at least, in the hills east of the Nashua.

pwax said...

Me again (Jan 2012): These days I call the Nipmuc precursor culture the "Wachusett Tradition". In the above post I say these sites are rare. That really is not true anywhere -say- west of Rt 495. How far they penetrate east may depend on the interpretation of the piles at Whipple Hill in Lexington. I found them as far northeast as Pelham NH.