Sunday, December 09, 2018

Strolling in Woods Hole

Went for a walk in Webster Woods, planning on visiting a place I know, then swinging down through the Oceanographic Quissett Campus. There are so many nooks and crannies in those woods, when I came to some rock piles I was not sure if I was already at the site I knew. It turned out this was a new little cluster of items.

To start, there is a ridge, not far from and more or less parallel with the main road. A friend told me he used to walk to Falmouth along the ridge and that it was an old trail. Following that trail, just north of the fire station, came across something quite rare: a rock-on-rock made of quartz:
[sunlight would go through the quartz at right time, since the sun is at the horizon occasionally]
The only time I see this is on a boulder looking out over the scene. In this case I crossed the wall and continued along a faintly visible trail till I got to some rock piles.
You have to look closely to see them in the photo. They would be easy to miss on foot. You can see from the stone wall in the background that these are on the slope below the ridge. Here were a couple more:
 You can see the trail plainly in this picture. 
So I am thinking these are marker piles - along a slope, in a sort of row but without much individual character. Then I came to a 'mound' of a type which, in more northern parts of Mass., is often found next to marker pile grids. I have written about this association before. So here is a mound:
At first you say: "well that is not a rectangular mound with a hollow", then realize that this is pretty much the same as the recently named Wrentham Pavement: a southeastern MA expression of mound-ness. And from this, and the absence of the fresher 'cairns' one sees further north and over at the CT/RI corner, I conclude a shared culture throughout this area of MA - south of the Charles River watershed. However there is some reason to think this culture is found throughout the state but hidden by more recent and visible things. I think of these pavements as being older.

It is interesting to see this mound in the context of the other piles adjacent to it. It is next to what I think of as a collection of marker piles - re-enforcing that the association of mound with calendar. And the rock-on-rock made of quartz, overlooking the whole arrangement (we are within 50 yards of that rock-on-rock and it would be visible from here) is a nice detail. Such details were not available in Wrentham. This place is relatively undisturbed, sitting as it does, next to the trail to Woods Hole.

Across the little valley was another messy mound: 

So there are burial mounds down here on the Cape. You could argue there is a hollow in this second one but I would not call this or the previous one "rectangular".

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