Sunday, January 03, 2021

Experiencing Stone Rows and Stone Piles at Gates Pond in Hudson, Massachusetts


“Check out possible Native American stone rows and stone piles in a quick visit to the north end of this beautiful public area and reservoir in Hudson, Massachusetts. Head into the woods with Mike Luoma and discover some of the elaborate stonework hiding amongst the trees and along the wetlands.

Probably the best time to experience a stone row that runs alongside a swamp is during the winter. The water is low, it's too cold for insects to be flying around, and the poison ivy isn't so much of a problem. Mike's suspicions he's found an ancient indigenous stone effigy row are rewarded by the elaborate work he finds at the end of the row's first length.

Mike believes he's also found an indigenous stone pile, as described on the blog Rock Piles run by Peter Waksman ( Mike credits Peter and the blog with early discoveries in stone - and a map of stone works at Gates Pond Mike memorized for the day's excursion.”



First of all, Gates Pond is in Berlin, not in Hudson. From the clues Mike has dropped, I conclude that his site is on the northwest side of the pond, where there is a wetland. He mentions "looking south" and a "pond road" which would seem to identify this. The sites Peter has identified appear to be further to the south, on the margins of Sawyer Hill - but hopefully he can confirm or disconfirm that. Or, if Mike is reading the blog, perhaps he can contribute this information!

I am rather suspicious of the large stone pile shown in the latter part of the video, for 3 reasons. First, there appears to be quite a lot of earth mixed with the stone. Second, the stones appear to be of random sizes, whereas in most Native piles there is often some careful selection of sizes and placements. Third, and I think most important, there appears to be a borrow pit about the same size as the pile adjacent to it. I would guess that this is someone's excavation and the pile is the result of it.

Thanks to Mike for citing my book!

pwax said...

I agree completely with everything Curt is saying about that earth mixed mound. It is almost certainly related to the adjacent construction.

I went looking for my blog posts about Gates Pond and it looks like I explored several places around the pond. The video seemed to take place on the north side pond where I missed a valley. I see three candidates and my guess is he is filming in the southernmost one, where there is a view back to the pond.

FYI to anyone interested in Gates Pond, my recommended site is just north of the first line of hills north of the pond. See

I also am grateful for the shout out to this blog in the video. Reading a bit from the Facebook page, it sounds like comment sections over there are a place for blood sport. Glad this place never became toxic.

Mike Luoma said...

Hello folks! I didn't realize Tim had posted this here - thank you, Tim. Thank you both Peter and Curt for your thoughts on the video - and for letting me know what I got wrong! I'm still a novice when it comes to assessing sites, and appreciate the feedback. Much to learn! As I've been making my videos, I've tried to give credit to people I've learned from, and I've learned a lot from Rock Piles over the years. I recently finished "Stone Prayers" and learned a bit more.

As for Gates Pond - there is so much more to go back to, when I get the chance to return! When I hit the cell tower, it kind of drained my enthusiasm. I only carried the map in my head, so I thought it was the hill with the features Peter found. It sounds like Peter's site is north of this, on the next set of hills. thankfully.

As you both surmised, I never did get off the north end of the pond.

The swamp wall - The stone row begins on the western side of the wetland near the pond's northwest edge, and zig zags along the wetland's edge, curving slightly northeast. As the wetland dried up as I went further north, I was parallel with the entry road to the pond, and found myself surprisingly close to the parking area by the wall's end.

The boulder with the large stones on it, the first pile in the video, came towards the end of the wall, on the eastern side of the row.

The pile with the dirt, which I got too excited about, was up on the hill, south of the cell tower, near where the stone wall bordering the orchard meets another wall bordering a small meadow.

I went back to the water's edge and along the road a little bit to where I met the second row, a short distance after the pond road began to be paved, near where a little spit of land thrusts out into the pond.

It's my hope to contribute constructively to the study of stonework in New England, so please let me know if there's anything else I can tell you. I'm also seeking out sites here in Vermont, where I live, and happy to share info on these as well. Just poit me in the right direction!

I've only started the facebook group in the last couple months or so. Larry Hancock banned me from the "Ancient Vermont" group because he didn't like my Calendar II video, so I decided to make my own group. As for blood sport? I didn't think it was that bad for comments, hah! I do let some folks discuss out-there theories sometimes, but try to be gentle with them. And ask people to be kind. You are invited to join the group if you're on facebook at all.

pwax said...

Thanks Mike


Mike -
Sorry, I don't do FaceBook. But if you find additional sites please send the information to me at I am continuing to maintain an inventory of sites found since my book was published -- so far, over 700 of them, including yours! What will help are geographic coordinates (lat/long or UTM), or clear indications of the site locations. Or you can do what Peter frequently does on this blog by including small segments of the USGS quadrangle map with the site location indicated. A count of the different types of structures will also be helpful!

Mike Luoma said...

Curtiss -

This is great - thank you. There are a couple of sites up here in Vermont which I believe may be new finds. I'll be in touch!