Monday, December 28, 2009

An outlook in Berlin MA

Went out hunting rock piles on December 27th, 2009.
I climbed a hill, back of the road, and came to a spot with what would have been a magnificent view to the southeast. Climbing the last few steps up to the top I was thinking: this has got to be a site, whether or not there are rock piles up here, just look how the rocks are scattered around - they must mean something. But there were rock piles. As I approached a boulder near the top, I could see some scattered rocks to its side:Then cresting the rise, a couple of larger rock piles through the ground fog:A closeup:Increasingly, I am noticing when a large rock pile like this also has some kind of hollow at the center. Increasingly, I believe this is an architectural feature of certain piles. Possibly it is what remains of an inner chamber. Other people have said they think hollows were built into the surface of a pile as a place to sit. Whatever the explanation, it is clearly a feature worth noticing. I am starting to get a sense of the distribution of this particular "chambered" feature - it is western Middlesex county and over west of the Nashua River at least into Leominster and Westminster. I think these large "chambered cairns" represent at least one distinct culture. Some of these mounds [eg examples in northern Harvard] are elongated ovals, about 5 feet high. Others, like these from Berlin, are more rectangular and not so tall. So it could be a couple of different cultures.

A closeup of a smaller pile:
[That big pile in the background is a pile of dirt tossed up by a bulldozer. They are that close to destroying this place.]

This gives a good sense of the layout of the piles and boulder along the edge of the outlook:
In this picture we are looking south, back towards the way I came up the hill, with the boulder at the far rear of the picture. The outlook is to the left. To the right are the standalone piles. Behind them is a flat area, pretty much torn to shreds by bulldozers. But there was one smaller pile still there in the flat area, built on a split rock:From there back to the ridge and view west:
In the background, the boulder is to the right.

Taking one last look at the view,I proceeded north along the edge. There was another tumbled structure:and I came to a short berm blocking the highest part of the gully:The road was built over it, so this might have been simply part of road building. But it also fits into a pattern of large rock piles.
The component cobbles are of like size between this pile and the ones earlier on the ridge.

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