Monday, February 04, 2013

Wrong turn

I moved to Attleboro some time ago. Long ago, the area around the Ten Mile River was very densely settled by Indians, many thousands of stone tools were found here in the past and red felsite quarried here in prehistoric times was used all over New England. Today, downtown Attleboro has buried most of the sites, and the other areas along the river have mostly all been built up as well. But I imagine there is still stuff to find under pavement and in the yards of homes. A lifelong resident told me a story about finding arrowheads in a stream bed. These kind of stories raise my blood pressure. Often times they are just tall tales but in this particular case the description of the assemblage of artifacts found was really convincing. The location was really unusual, a tiny island of woods in an area very much disturbed by lots of construction and development. I went and searched but couldn't see even a single rock in that area, just leaves and muck. If this was the place, and there were arrowheads to find here once, there aren't any to be found now.

Last week I took a wrong turn on my way to the post office. I found myself on a road I had not traveled before. The road passed very near the spot where it was claimed that the arrowheads were found, it went over the same stream. I peered into a tiny patch of woods where the rocky terrain sloped down to the stream, thinking maybe there might be some kind of stream bank or gravel where there might be some exposure. I didn't see anything like that but I did see a bunch of rock piles. I took a little walk out there and took some pictures. Here is one that was kind of like an oval stone ring with a larger cobble near one end.
Another low pile, also with a vague hint of structure.
The space between these rocks forms a little niche.
A couple of rocks on a bigger rock.
 The gap between these two pieces has been filled with smaller stones.

This most interesting feature was hard to photograph. A low mound, about 3 feet wide and 6 feet long approximately. A row of flat stones surrounds this raised area. This is definitely artificial, clearly some kind of deliberate structure. But what?

These two piles were only a few feet apart. Field clearing piles? This slope is extremely rocky and although it was deforested at one time, I can't imagine it was ever cleared of rocks.

Another pile, and a suggestive little structure.

Very near the water, this ruin.
Across the street is a small area with more stonework. Here are some pictures I took from the road, clearly there is some more original topography here. Unfortunately this is a little area in the midst of a lot of development including I-95, power lines, a road and buildings. Tough to say what might have always been here and what might have been moved around. Any thoughts on this site would be appreciated.


Anonymous said...

You've likely found a cemetery

Anonymous said...

Those is Indian Stones for sure. They're all over New England. Finding them is a lot like hunting mushrooms, they have their spots but once you find one they seem to be everywhere. I'm of the opinion that MOST of the stone walls you come across out there are NOT colonial but native american. Follow them. Do they meander? Go from outcrop to outcrop? Feature to feature? Start and stop for no apparent reason. There are usually indian stone piles near by. But treat them well and with respect. They are the last testament and all that remain of the first people.
Jeff in RI

Unknown said...

Can you tell me more precisely where in Attleboro this is?

Chris Pittman said...

Dr. Hoffman, I would be happy to show you this place. I sent an e-mail to what I believe is your e-mail address ( If you don't get it, can you send me an e-mail please?