Thursday, December 13, 2018

Where Stuff Isn't

My lack of posts recently is not for lack of exploring. I have been driving back and forth from Concord to Woods Hole along a new route - Rt 95 which takes me past several towns I have rarely been to. I try to take a walk on each trip.

Lately that means Foxboro. Back in the day, Foxboro State Forest was well spoken of in NEARA circles  - I think because of the standing stones, perched boulders, and stone "U"s. I remember going there long ago with Alan Ruster and seeing a few rock piles but no major sites.  Now, driving past on Rt 95, I see some nice looking pieces of woods and I have been trying to get into them. I have to say that I am disappointed.

In particular, I have been along the Rumsford River; I have been over to the northern part of the State Forest, I have been northeast of Foolish Hill and, yesterday, went up and over the hill itself. There is almost nothing to show for these explorations, even though they covered a variety of topographies. At most I have seen a couple a stone "U"s here, a niche there. Each walk, separately, would have turned up multiple rock pile sites if this was Harvard or Boxborough. If it was Fitchburg, at least one of these walks would have turned up some mounds. Those towns are well north of Foxboro and in a different watershed. To the south of Foxboro, say in Wrentham, I am finding pavements as a matter of routine. But Foxboro seems noticeably devoid of rock pile sites. I am not saying there are none, just that I expected to find something by now.

I found one mound (I'll show you) and a few things suggesting astronomy but mostly...nothing. So why? Foxboro is a bit on the southern fringe of the Charles River watershed and a bit on the northern fringe of the rivers that drain into Rhode Island. Could it have been a neutral zone? Or a backwater? It could be my sampling bias. According to Curt Hoffman there are 14 sites reported for Foxboro - not necessarily rock pile sites, so perhaps he can tell us what kinds of sites they are. I find Foxboro to be somewhat of a dead zone.

It did find one mound in the low ground near the Rumsford River - a bit like a mound with a tail. I want to say that this is definitely not a pavement and nor is it a standard rectangular mound. It seems to me akin to the "lazy 9" and "pile with tail" that I have described elsewhere as a older form, found throughout the state.
Found this somewhere:

And I did find a couple things on the southwest side of Foolish Hill, on the side near Rt 95:

But as I was saying, these Foxboro finds are pretty slim pickings and there ought to be an explanation.


Curt Hoffman said...

Most of the Foxboro sites I have are in two clusters: one in Foxboro State Forest in the extreme northwest corner of the town, the other in the extreme northeast corner adjacent to the well-known King Philip's Rocks sites in Sharon. Some time ago you also reported a site on the opposite side of Foolish Hill adjacent to Belcher Road.

Anonymous said...

As for what those sites contain: 8 have rock piles (especially in the first cluster); 6 have U-structures; 3 have stone rows; 2 have standing stones; 2 have marked stones; 1 has a mound, and one has a balanced rock.

pwax said...

I wonder if Foxboro State Forest might be over sampled for some reason? I recall it being a "known" site a long time ago - as if it had come to NEARA's attention and then remained a focus.