Saturday, March 24, 2012

Behind Fitchburg High School - another Wachusett Tradition Hilltop Site

As I have been hinting, I came across another of those places in the hills north of Fitchburg. I am exploring to the east of upper Falulah and this was "the next hill over". Today, for example, I might try to get to another such hill - I have always wanted to explore Pearl Hill but there are too many houses and by the time I get to Willard Brook State Park, the sites get harder to find.

Last weekend I parked in back of the Fitchburg High School and headed west into the bushes and up hill. There is a short steep rise to a shoulder - with a line of rock piles along the edge of the shoulder. Then I found an east-west oriented wall and followed it up hill and a little across the hill to a north-south oriented path. I wanted to follow the path north but thought I should check to the south first, which led slightly uphill and past the "summit" where there were several large mounds, one incorporated into the stone wall, and a half dozen smaller satellite piles along the western side of the hilltop. The piles were big, damaged, covered with thick debris. So the pictures are not great. I have several pictures of the large irregular shaped pile:
Here, from a slightly different angle, there is a feel of several large structures with sides oriented in the same directions, giving a sense of parallel walls:Here it the large mound incorporated into the wall. From the side:From above, looking west:The relatively flat hilltop had been the scene of some camping, deer hunting, ongoing disturbance. Either in the past, or more recently, someone has tamped down the soil along the wall.
Here are two of the smaller "large" mounds, next to the irregular one.
We are looking back (south) towards the large mound in the wall. Here is a closeup of one of the two:I have nothing new to say about this type of site. Personally, it is a great pleasure to poke along through thick underbrush, without great expectations, and nevertheless stumble into yet another mound builder site up in the Fitchburg Hills. These sites are so cool and so hidden.

Let's take it chronologically. Starting from the high school, walking west into the bushes and up the first steep slope. I saw something rock pile like and turned back to get my bearings:
Here was a first rock pile:
I glanced in either direction along the shoulder and confirmed there were several other rock piles in the same setting.[Interesting to compare the structure of this pile and its adjacent larger rocks to the ones in the previous picture.] And another, without that structure:
So I found a stone wall and followed it up hill. Then hit a path and took a left (south) and walked a minute along the path till seeing this:
These were some of the smaller "satellite" piles around the larger mounds, pictured above. I could see the larger mounds through the trees but "hesitated at the gates of heaven" and looked first at the other satellites. This one was nicely built:There was evidence of two different stages of wall building. Here is a faint trace of wall (from an earlier time) that comes to the same hilltop from the southwest. A few feet lower on the hill it becomes the same kind of substantial wall as most of the other walls on the hill.

So I poked around and took some pictures. Then looked a little at the southern slope of the hill. Rockier and with another cluster of very simple rock piles: One last "satellite" before I left the area:

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