Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Whittemore Hill - New Ipswich NH

My maps show access to a conservation land up near the top of the hill. This makes is "legal" to park there - but I snuck into the private part, on the wrong side of the road, on the southwestern side of the hill.
I parked short of the last house, took a few steps downhill and hit stone mounds. My plan was to head downhill and circle the swamp but when I got down there it looked like rough going and - besides - the place to keep searching was where I first saw rock piles. So I went back up and started to circle the hilltop, heading east. After a hundred yards I came across a large mound. Then, feeling a bit played out, I turned back towards my car, hitting a couple more smaller mounds on the way. Given that I also saw some piles near the road previously [see here] and given that I have seen less that ~1/8 of the hill, it is fair to guess there are more things still to see over there. For now, I am well pleased with the mounds I found. They extend the number of examples and variations of "elongated, non-rectangular" mounds with hollows that I have seen so much lately, in these northern woods of Ashby and beyond. In particular, these mounds are much like the ones from northwestern Willard Brook State Forest, described here.
When I first stepped out of the car, I stopped to pee and saw what I would have missed otherwise because of the camouflage cover of dead leaves and ferns:
It is a good sized, long, rock pile with no obvious "hollows". (Perhaps on the near side beneath the trees growing on the pile?) It sits next to a wall with a well formed opening. Later I noticed what could be considered yet another mound built into the wall itself but it was "iffy" and I did not take pictures.
A few feet below the first mound, was a second one, long and situated like the first.
I got a most wonderful photo of this second pile:
Look at the rocks visible above the dead leaves. They show an outline of one, possibly two, "hollows" or compartments facing out and down. 

After this, I headed downhill, then back up, then east across the slope. After a hundred yards or so, I came to another mound.
I did not see how big it was at first. But soon did. As I look at the length of it, I see at least three "bays" (yet another word for "hollow") opening down and outward - toward the camera in this picture:
Here is a view down into a couple of these bays. 
I see these as clear examples of deliberate built-in structure.
Another view:
Heading back from this fine large mound, I saw a couple smaller ones right next to the open field on the hilltop. This one is well hidden in the ferns:
This one is a clear enough rectangle with white rock, but I see no "hollow"

So there were two examples of long piles with hollows, with designs like this:
For comparison, here is a sketch from the visit to Willard Brook (link is above):
Seems like a well defined alternative form of mound, common to this region in northern Ashby and adjacent southern NH. There is some similarity with the Spruce Swamp Brook site in Shirley.

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