Wednesday, December 25, 2013

2013 - The Year In Review

It was a good year for rock pile hunting but I had to drive further from home to get to large pieces of woods. The year found me finishing off all the obvious places in northern Fitchburg, many places north of there in Asbhy and Ashburnham, and even getting a few miles into southern NH, in New Ipswich. I also penetrated further north in the area of Dunklee Pond in Hollis, NH. While I continued exploring, readers continued to send pictures and text, especially from GA (see "Mt Yonah") and from Nova Scotia. However there are stone turtles, split rocks, piles with hollows, etc, showing up from everywhere on the east coast. At this point just about everyone who is listening has heard about "Indian stone piles" and the subject is on its way into the mainstream.

Meanwhile, I have not been posting as regularly as in the past. Blog readership is about 1/2 of what it was a year ago. There was that particularly sad episode of people removing the top of a hollow cairn to satisfy a misplaced curiosity about contents. On top of this, I became clearer in my conviction that these large rectangles with hollows are burial mounds. The sense that I am not always welcome to be clambering around on them was particularly strong up there in NH - where the woods are glum. And now I am glum and not sure whether I want to keep up the hunt. For now, I believe I can ignore readership drop-off, ignore the occasional "educated" vandal, and maybe I can hope to find sunnier woods. 

Before the snow shut down exploring, I visited a site on an island in Bowers Brook Harvard. This was a sort of "smoking gun" because of the impossibility of a practical reason for building careful rock piles on an island in the middle of wet marsh.

Found the first truly nice collection of "mounds with hollows" in the part of Dover, MA called "Powissett"
I contacted the Trustees of Reservation, who own the land, and they distinguished themselves by a complete lack of interest. 

Also in March, I was invited to Harvard to see a lovely spot:
It was here I became aware of the idea that these mounds may have a lingering smell, detectable by dogs.
The way dogs guard a position on tops of these things is eerie.

April (the snow seems to have cleared by now)
Franklin State Forest has several sites, along the headwaters of Mine Brook. For example these old mid-sized domes:

Strawberry Hill in Acton, turned up a first example of a rectangle with hollows, from this part of Acton:

Amazing examples from College Rock (not a new discovery but a new part of this extensive rock pile "region")

Snow is long gone now. One sweet isolated example from Benjamin Hill Shirley:
And, speaking of Shirley, what was probably the most noteworthy site for me this year was an un-expected brookside "berm-and-mound" from Spruce Swamp Brook:
The reason this site was noteworthy is that it is in Shirley, where there is not much to be found, AND it is of an unusual configuration, running towards long messy berms. Later this last year, I started associating such berms with the more northern sites in Ashby and southern NH. In retrospect, this site in Shirley may be more of that general nature. This was also a site where I saw a different kind of "smoking gun" consisting of rock piles in a brook valley that had been completely silted over:

This was about when I was confirming that the Fort Devens stone wall map was a useful guide to rock pile sites. Like Duck Pond Ridge in Groton:

Large, fern-covered mounds at Hager Park in Westminster:

East of Watatic Pond, Ashby. A fine set of large debris-covered mounds:
A few odds and ends around Sippewissett in Falmouth.

Nothing much. 

The best of NEMBA: a Milford site at the center of a planned casino development:

The largest and, arguably, best stone mound of the year. From High Ridge Wildlife Management area in Westminster. A big mound with a shallow hollow on top and a short stone wall extending from it:

It was also around now that the phrase "Mayans in Georgia" got some currency from the publications of Thornton and the "People of One Fire". We had some fun with the phrase but, in the end, I urge people to treat seriously the whole topic of pan-American mound building cultures. Also paying more attention to terracing.

Extended the Blood Rd sites in Groton to include places north of the Crystal Springs entrance. More outlines with hollows:

Also, visited Woodbridge CT and also I gave a talk in Harvard.

More unexpected mounds from the Rubin Land in Boxborough (unexpected cuz I thought I already explored that, but was schooled by a reader)

Whittemore Hill in New Ipswich, NH:
It is in these northern lattitudes where the rectangles with hollows are replaced with "elongated berms with bays". Also saw them at Blood Hill and in northwestern Willard Brook:

Many beautiful things at Codman Hill in Harvard:
Wondrous but depressing structures from Dunklee Pond in Hollis, NH:
And many other small sites and odds and ends, everywhere in between.

Christmas and New Year's vacation continues and the snow has a decent crust by now. Maybe I'll still have some more finds before the year is done.


Anonymous said...

Love the blog and visit it almost daily. Thank you and Merry Christmas

Anonymous said...

You don't hear from us, your followers much, so may not know how much we value this blog. The knowledge and interest it spreads is incalculable. Thank you!

Chris Pittman said...

Nice review Peter. I'm a little surprised to hear that views have declined but it seems to fit a pattern I have noticed with blogs and discussion groups across a very wide range of topics. All the internet forums and e-mail lists I participate in have seen a decline in participation across the board. I don't know if chatter is moving to Facebook or what exactly the cause of this is.

pwax said...

One reason is Google sends readers to more "active" web pages when readers are using some of Google's randomized search functions. This blog has had far fewer posts lately, so it is less "active", so there is less traffic being directed here at random.

Menotomy Maps said...

That was a great review. I remember most of the posts.
This is a site I check 5 times a week.