Tuesday, April 09, 2013

College Rock - Hopkinton/Holliston (part 1 - Ceremonial Pathway)

College Rock is the northern extremity of a large conservation area called "Rocky Woods" that spans the Holliston / Hopkinton border next to Rt85. Bruce MacAleer showed me this area a few years ago and I have been back a couple times. 
If you ever visit Massachusetts and want to see rock piles - this is the place to go - the sheer quantity of features is overwhelming and fills several square miles.It is not just rock piles but also propped boulders, split wedged rocks, delicate use of quartz (not in the the northern area but further south) and little keyhole structures made of boulders, little curved lines of rocks on the ground - stone walls that go every which way. Bruce speculated that this place was significant because of the adjacent headwaters of the Charles River. Certainly the number of structures indicates many many years of accumulated use.
My other exploration plan for Sunday did not work out, so I went instead to College Rock and went off in side directions rather than following the main trail. I remember heading south on the main trail leads to some "gap" piles. I also remember looking at a small chamber-like arrangement of outcrop. So I wanted to see something new and also I was particularly curious if I would see any mounds with hollows - the "big game" of my hunting world. 
So first I went east over to Beaver Brook. I did not see mounds with hollows.
As I look at these pictures, especially the first one, I see a beaten down pathway coming up hill and passing between the rock piles. I see this sort of thing occasionally (for example at Gates Pond in Berlin) and come to the conclusion that "ceremonial pathway" may be one of the rock pile site types. It puts some perspective on these wonderful piles:
On the right hand side of the second photo, there does seem to be a larger structure - broken down. I poked around along the west side of the brook (quite close to the road at the northern end of things) and did find a rock pile with two hollows - built into the stone wall:
There are so many different things in these woods, it is hard to define individual "sites". It is not clear if this mound with hollow was built into the stone wall, built before the wall, or whether it was connected to the other structures nearby. So this was not quite the mound experience I was looking for. I headed back towards the main trail. Things big and small along the way:
 Look at the curve of low rocks on the ground:
Heading further west (on the yellow trail) Here is another interesting structure:
I am pretty sure this is a deliberate aperture, with the other rocks arranged to tune the light.
Surely light does go through that hole and would cast a shadow on the slope behind. 

Soon my mind began to numb - this place makes Dover look like a cub scout project. I started skipping things, still hoping to see larger rectangular mounds. Well I did find them, when I got further south and west (perhaps about where the "T" is in the word "HOLLISTON" on the map). More later.

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