Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hound Meadow Hill - Dunstable MA

There is a scientific story and a personal one.

It is a general scientific experiment when I set out for a destination hoping to find rock piles. It is a more specific experiment if I hope to find a particular kind of rock pile. These experiments take place within a hypothetical context that says: "there should be rock piles there" or "there should be a this kind of rock pile". So these hypotheses are confirmed or denied by a particular outing. I tried to make the point a long time ago that predictability of site location was convincing evidence that site locations were driven by factors other than farming.

In the case of Hound Hill in Dunstable, this was simply the next further north hill after Horse Hill in Groton. Having found a particular kind of rock pile at "1", "2", and "3", I wanted to visit another hill in the same sequence (at "4"). I skipped a low hill because it looks a bit too sandy. [You can guess sandiness by the configuration of the topo lines.] And this brought me to Hound Meadow Hill in Dunstable. I was hoping to see rock piles like the ones on Horse Hill, either rectangular piles with hollows or rock piles built up on boulders with possible hollows. This is what I found before (see here) and, indeed, this is what I found at Hound Meadow Hill - although I only found 2 rather than the dozens from Horse Hill. This is more confirmation of a northern form of the "Wachusett Tradition". The site is about 1/4 mile south of the summit of Hound Meadow Hill

The personal story is a bit more fun. I had been thoroughly lost the previous weekend and ventured out with a compass this time. It really helped on a cloudy day and allowed me to navigated from the road north to the hill and then back. It was, withall, pretty sandy with very few rocks. Poking along and talking to myself I was just saying "this is a waste of time, I should cut my losses and try somewhere else...." when this came into view:Since I was having a pretty bad day otherwise, I took a lot of pictures of this one pile:As it turned out, it was surrounded by small outlier piles:
Some with "quartz".closer:Here is a view back from the sub-summit, to the main rock pile:A sort of "dell" with rock piles.

A few moments after leaving this place, I crossed a stone wall and found another boulder with rock pile built on it.
Kind of an odd pile. Another view:I proceeded up the hill and, looking at my pics, stumbled on other small expressions, like this:
And here is the final summit:I made my way out, saw a barred owl, and considered myself lucky. It appears the hilltops in this part of eastern Mass. are dotted with rock piles built against boulders. One suspects they were for burials and are probably pre-historic.


Anonymous said...

Would this line of hills follow along an old trail?

pwax said...

Could be.