Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tuttle Rd, Sterling MA

You know, I have been trying to figure out how to get into this wetland, at the upper right of this map fragment. A theoretical problem is that the topo lines look like sandy outwash. This is something the eye has to get used to, when plotting exploration tactics using a topo map. But a more practical problem is that, although marked as some kind of conservation land, this is actually fenced in cow pasture, and I cannot figure out how to get over to some of the interesting water that is visibly present, looking at the map. You see a stream, you see a swap, it looks perfect! Except that there are no obvious roads through there (I tend to find sites near roads, and only rarely far from them) and, it is not obvious what to use for access. These are my temporary frustrations. So when I drove out there on Saturday (a good 45 minutes from my house) I was disappointed that I had previously driven past here and found fresh barbed wire fencing along the road. This time I was determined to get in. But instead when I parked, I saw woods on the opposite side of the road (see purple outline in the map fragment), stepped into them, and saw a pretty nice pile
I want to make a big deal about the fact that this is wedge-shaped: a single vertical side, with the rest of the pile sloping off indifferently in other directions. I called those "ski-jumps" and now want to amend the vocabulary: "wedge-shaped" is more dignified. Regardless of the phrasing, this all is important to me because of where I just recently placed these specific types of piles in the imaginary chronology [click here].

I have been exploring in the region between Clinton MA and Mt Wachusett. I have been poking around there, wanting to deepen my understanding of the so-called "Wachusett Tradition" and figuring this is the right sort of area. A previous weekend I found triangular rock piles in there. This weekend I found wedge-shaped ones - which I regard as transitional from early Wachusett Tradition into more modern times and triangular rock piles. So I wanted to find wedges. I brag to a cousin of mine that he could look for rock piles for years and not see any. It is a real coup to be able to drive 50 minutes across the countryside, step into the woods, and find exactly what I am hoping to see.

So this all was good and I start looking around the vicinity of the wedge shaped pile. At first I did not see anything. Everything else was completely overgrown with hay-scented fern. The beauty of these woods comes at you from all directions. I realize there are a couple of other small things broken down in the ferns:
Here is a nice little detail:There was some lining-up and even spacing going on, not possible to illustrate easily with the ferns in the way:And there were some pretty big rock piles in there, as previewed the other day:
I don't know if this might be a rock pile with a hollow, or a big platform of some kind. It was not alone. Here is another, which I was trying represent "artistically" through the leaves (little good that does us now):What the heck was I photo'ing here?:Probably just trying to give a sense of the general appearance of the site. You could walk right by this without seeing anything. Lucky I started with that easily visible pile. I walked around some more taking pictures. There was a rectangular hole right in there, obviously part of the same collection of structures. [By the way I got lucky the next day and found some other wedged shaped piles, with a similar hole which should be considered as part of this "type" of site.]

After a while, I continued along the slope, then turned and came back a little uphill from what I found. Saw this in the weeds,figured there is probably more to see here. Perhaps I should go back after a few frosts have removed the ferns?

Anyway, after all this excitement, going back across the road, under the barbed wire and running into large ungulates (cows) and seeing fewer and fewer rocks as I approached what I believed to be a sandy area, instead I gave up, got in my car and drove off towards the mountain.

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