Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Fort Guy

Reader TT writes:
I finally heard back from the Maine Preservation Fort Guy.  Not sure where he was coming from or agree with any of his conclusions: "I have to say that I am very impressed at your interest and persistence in trying to figure out what the walls may represent.  I visited the site for a couple of hours on May 13th and have been so busy I have not had a chance to respond to you.  I really took the time to look the place over carefully including the river shore up and down stream.  If the site was actually a 17th-century fort, some of the basic components that would be necessary would be a river landing that was easily accessible since most travel was by water.  Also a relatively flat site that was easily defendable.  From looking over the area there is no convenient river landing or shore where boats could be pulled up and offloaded.  The site itself is sloped making it very difficult to construct structures.  In addition there is higher ground to the east upslope that an enemy could easily fire from down onto the potential fort.  The stone walls are indeed interesting including the smaller possible pens northeast of the main stone enclosure in the video.  My guess is that the walls were constructed to both clear the land of unwanted stones for agriculture or grazing and to create an animal enclosure, possibly to hold animals shipped on the train.  It is important to remember that given such a function the stone walls would have supported an upper wooden fence that would have created a high barrier.  Many people are not aware that this was standard for animal enclosures.  Think of the small historic animal pounds that you see in some towns that consist of a low stone wall.  One would think how could that have possibly held animals.  The question would not be asked if the wooden split rail fence was still present on top of the walls.  To be honest I was really hoping you had found an important site and that is why I took my time to really look it over, but in the end there is very little to suggest a fort.  Another important thing to keep in mind especially with Native Americans is that many activities occurred through what anthropologists call “least effort strategies.”  This means that generally folks were not going to expend a lot of energy doing something that was not really necessary.  Building a fort requires tremendous energy and organization and there has to be a real need for it as well.  All this being said I hope you will continue looking around for important sites.   I am happy to check them out if you think you might have found something." 
I suspect he was comparing his findings to that of later French and Indian fort.  If it is Fort Norumbega, it would have been a fur trading fort for the French in a time when there were no other enemies that might have built on higher ground, and had the gunpowder to fire down on the fort. I had no argument but did reply by sending these two pictures of the landing and canoe cove directly below the walls on the river.  I will continue my quest, regardless.  Please don't repost this.  T. 

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