Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hopkinton Field Trips with Bruce McAleer

Bruce took me to a couple of sites last weekend. Here is the first one, a slope along the eastern shore of Whitehall Reservoir in Hopkinton. Bruce tells the story: he was canoeing with his wife on the lake and, caught by rain, they came to shore here. Bruce saw some nice quartz outcrops and thought: "there must be some rock piles around here" and started looking around. The site is on a slope facing westward over the water. At the top is an outcrop: Where Bruce is standing there was some quartz that looked like it had been manipulated:And there was a bit of wall starting at the outcrop and going off downhill (left in the picture above) towards the water. Look at the little bit of connecting wall near Bruce's feet - a compulsive joining together of parts of the outcrop:And here is a view of the slope:There are about five rock piles in this picture, low to the ground, and some of them having bits of quartz. This sometimes suggests burials but I was not confident of that at this site. For one thing, many of the piles were up on support boulders. Another common type of pile, that I started to notice here, was piles with a large rock at one end. Maybe these are headstones? Another:And one more:I show these because it only dawned on me belatedly that this was a repeated pattern at this site. So I want to give enough examples that you get the idea. To me, the most interesting feature of the site was another stone wall, also coming up from the water up towards the outcrop, but to the side. This wall curved towards the outcrop and stopped thirty yards or so from the outcrop. At first we were over by the wall looking at some rock piles near it:But then I noticed a curious bulge coming out from the wall, you can see it to the right side of this picture: Here is a closeup: You can see this was a structure. There were some large flat plates of rock in the tumble and it really looked like a collapsed chamber. Definitely worth looking at some more. Then, downhill closer to the lake, the wall went around a corner. See the nice quartz at the middle of the corner?I should also mention some piles built up with vertical sides - suggesting not graves but "marker" (i.e. calendrical) piles. I should also mention that there was another wall at the lower end of the site. Across this wall, on the lake side, were two fairly large piles made with large rocks.

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