Saturday, January 30, 2010

Rock Piles in Hopkinton State Forest

Reader Nick H emailed a couple of years ago about a rock pile site in Hopkinton State Forest

"Spent most of the day at Hopkinton. There are 70 large piles running from the top of the hill to the bottom, with crude stone lines on either side. Many of the rock piles have niches built in. Have photos and GPS points of all.
Note that there was a "Praying Indian" village only 3 miles away in the late 1600s. "

So last weekend we drove down to Hopkinton to have a look. I hope it is OK to mention that the hill is the one north of the reservoir, mostly inside of the loop road. The site is in plain view from the road and people are aware of it. It consists of numerous shallow ridges of bedrock running across and down the hill and forming sort of scalloped topography; with rock pile placed along and down these the outcrops. The piles mostly had well defined vertical faces but they were not so much laid out in rows as they were evenly spaced down along the outcrops. Have a look:
A closer look:Other "flat faced" examples:andThese piles look pretty undisturbed to me. I guess they have always been out in the open and not subject to falling trees.

Here are views from either end of a group of structures that are almost in a line. But I don't know if what might be more important is the angle they face on the hillside.
The site is on the southern and southwestern side of the hill with a bit spilling onto the top. The seventy piles seem clustered into groups of from five to ten. The site looks out over the Hopkinton Reservoir to the south. Whatever is going on at these sites, is hovering at the edge of consciousness. Again, notice that the uphill side of this pile runs smoothly into the slope. The largest rock in the pile, placed where it is, results in exactly that effect: both a vertical face and a continuation of the uphill slope. I think this should be related to its function. This site will make a nice study example someday.

On the other side of the street, downhill:

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