Monday, December 14, 2009

Roadside (almost) attractions

The area north of Ames Pond on the Andover/Tewksbury line has a number of minor rock pile sites. I wrote about the area to the east of the Rt495/Rt133 intersection (marked "B" on the map fragment) here and about other sites along Rt 495 near Rt 133 here and here. I know I blogged about "A" somewhere but cannot lay my hands on the post. I guess I was trying to be secretive but, actually, these are not burials, are on public land, and are already in pretty bad shape, so they meet the criteria for being made public. At another point I blogged about the few features left on Ames Hill (at "C" and in the gully between lobes of the hill) but apparently there was more secrecy involved there as well.

Anyway, I have been driving by this intersection twice a day for the last 4.5 years and finally noticed, that there are stone walls and a bit of gully within the cloverleaf and thought it might be worth exploring. Actually I have been thinking I wanted to check it out for some time. It was worth exploring: I went there at lunchtime with a colleague from work and there is another small site in there at "D" with about 10 piles. You can go check it out. It seems this might have been a slope and brook leading down to the pond. The site included some split rocks and a few small piles on rocks. I did not have my camera.

Now that I have found rock piles in three of the four quadrants of land separated by the highway intersection, it is tempting to go look inside that other clover leaf.

I was thinking, during today's commute, that my drive up Concord Rd to Rt3, to Rt 495 takes me within 100 yards of four rock pile sites. The drive along Rt 495 and onto Rt 93 takes me past seven more. That is 11 sites in forty miles of highway. If it were not that sites may cluster along these highways, this number could be used to estimate the total number of sites in Massachusetts. But I do not think highways are random cross sections.

Update: I guess I should point out the math: if a swath of land 40 miles long and 200 yards wide crosses 11 sites then: how many such swaths are there in all of Massachusetts? Multiplying that number by 11 (and probably divide by two for sites shared by two swaths) gives you a heck of a lot of sites. But, as I said, highways are not typical places. Also, quite possibly, this part of Middlesex County in Mass. is probably not typical of the whole state.

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