Tuesday, August 25, 2015

So, Exactly What Is A "Stonefort"?

(Tommy Hudson's comment to an earlier recent post led me to this - thanks Tommy!)
     "This one-third of a mile loop trail took us on a tour of an ancient "stonefort", one of ten wall-like structures, constructed entirely of heavy stone, believed to have been erected in the Late Woodland period between 600AD - 900AD in Southern Illinois. Each of these ancient arrangements have been discovered on top of hills or promontories and were once believed to have been used as some type of stone fortification, thus giving them the name "Stonefort". These unique walls, consisting of heavy stones, are now believed to have been constructed as meeting places or perhaps ceremonial locations. The original wall that sat atop this particular trail was actually removed, dismantled by early European settlers to the area, who used the heavy stones as building materials. The low stone base is all that really remains of the original site, however, in 1934 the Civilian Conservation Corps (whom I can't thank enough) rebuilt the wall into the site that we see today. During the reconstruction of the wall, the CCC found many Native American artifacts including a good deal of pottery. "I personally love sites like this that carry that hint of ancient mystery, sites such as this and Rock Pile Mountain always pique my curiosity of early Native Americans and, while marveling at their accomplishments and ingenuity, I also find myself theorizing on what these sites may have been used for..."
     Text and photos above are from "Giant City State Park: Stonefort Nature Trail" (Blog post for Monday, November 3, 2014 by Shannon Buford), found at: 
     And that "Rock Pile Mountain" link reveals an interesting image – and: “A word of warning, there are many different "rock piles" on the peak of this mountain, obviously created either as a cruel joke or as an homage to the real rock pile itself…According to what I've read this ancient circle of granite rock is believed to have been piled near the very peak of Rock Pile Mountain by some earlier man. The original Rock Pile, for which this entire area and mountain was named, was over four foot tall. However, according to some accounts I have read, due to present day travelers and inconsiderate visitors the Rock Pile now is just over a foot or two in areas, but you can certainly see that it is created by man, for some purpose...The exact purpose, well, we'll most likely never know…”
“Finding a spot of enlightenment and my center, in the Rock Pile.”

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