Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Rock pile site - Beebe Woods, Falmouth MA

The last day of summer vacation, I went out with the thought that it might be worth re-exploring some part of Beebe Woods. Its a big conservation land, mostly blueberry and brier, and it is easy to imagine not having explored the whole thing. Jim Mavor explored these woods pretty carefully and, among other things, found a relatively large site which he published as "Boulder Ridge" (p.62 of Manitou). So it was with real gratification that I found another place, in a very similar context, a couple of hills north of Boulder Ridge. You can see the relation in the map fragment above. On the ground, the little hills and valleys are indistinguishable, the one from the next, and it is not easy navigating through the thorns to find your way anywhere. So, I can publish this map knowing that few people will be persistent enough to follow it and locate the site. It took me a while to place the outline on the map, going back and forth between the the topo map and the Falmouth trail map of Beebe Woods, which is much more detailed.

As with other Falmouth rock pile sites, I have little to report about the site layout or its purpose. If the Boulder Ridge site is any indicator, there could be quite a lot of complexity. But again, on the ground, it was more of a personal experience to find this site and be the first person there in a long time. This is a secret little cove, very well hidden in the bushes. But knowing it is there, I can go back sometime and give it a little more study.

So I am walking along the trail in from Standish Lane, passing a couple of possible ceremonial features, and going along with walls of vegetation to either side. I was enjoying the woods: late blooming azaleas with black swallowtail butterflyA colorful fungus:Then I forced myself to leave the path, holding my arms up to not brush against poison ivy, and stepping politely over the bull brier. Without much hope of seeing anything, I headed off uphill, and was making my way around and over when I came to a place with less undergrowth and a nice feel under the beech and oak trees. This was a nice place and I followed around the curve of the hill to the beginning of a valley I wanted to walk down (to my right). But I figured I owned it to my exploring self to take a quick look up hill (to my left) towards the head of this valley. And just at the top was a boulder to the side and I thought about someone sitting on it and looking downhill. But getting above the boulder, I saw there was a handful of rocks scattered on top of it. Just what I was hoping for! Here is a view down the valley with the rock pile in the foreground.
That was all I saw. But I figured I should take the last few steps uphill and found that the valley I had followed became a little saddle and then continued down the other side. Just to be systematic, I thought I should go a few paces down the other side and look, for example, to see if there might be other rock piles in a symmetrically opposite position to the one I found. Going uphill, the rock pile was on the left, so I looked for something on my right as I went down the other side. The valley opened up a little, there was less undergrowth and I got into, as I say, a secret little place with two more substantial ground piles - on the right.
Here is a closeup of one:I am getting more sensitized to these "triangular manitou" stones propped up against rock piles like the rock in the foreground of this last picture. Larry Harrop has been photo'ing rocks piles and triangular standing stones, Jim P. used to talk about it, and Norman Muller has been reporting such things for a while. I think they are correct; this is a noticeable and repeated feature of some rock piles. I do not know if it implies burials, which I think I heard from Norman. Here is the other of the two piles:Then I wandered outward, spiraling, looking under the bushes, and there were maybe five more piles hidden away in there:
Here is a view northwest down the other side. You can see what a woods it is:Not all that impenetrable, once you get in there.

So finally, I figured I had seen what there was to see, and retraced my steps, back up the second valley, over into the first valley, and now I had a chance to go down this valley as I had planned in the first place. Walking south and downhill I came across more rock piles in a different setting:
This was a different kind of rock pile, a ground pile with many smaller rocks.

And then eventually I got back to the path. I was very busy thinking about where the site was in relation to the paths and the stone walls. I walked outward from the site several times in different directions, until I hit a wall or a path or both, and kept comparing what I found with the Falmouth trailmap of Beebe Woods. Until I felt confident I know which little squiggle of topo lines corresponded to my hidden valley, and understood which part of the path I was coming down towards, while walking down the valley. When I got to the path I found more rock piles, very covered with undergrowth:These piles were more or less in line with a stone wall and made up a portion of the wall, which shows up as a broken-up short wall on the trail map. So that was a third cluster of rock piles for the day. A good last day.

As I walked out along a path, I saw a large boulder next to the stone wall.
There was a spur off the wall built out along the side of the boulder - a typical of Beebe Woods feature.


Chris Pittman said...

Cool find. Thanks for sharing this.

Tim MacSweeney said...

Using the bing map birds eye view option, I found some good views of stone rows in the area.

sbobet said...

sip bro...langsung ke TKP..
mo cek harsbobetganya nih