Friday, April 26, 2013

High above Falulah Brook, Fitchburg

There were several features I noticed at Franklin State Forest that seemed peculiar. Specifically (I give a link to a photo for each, from previous posts):
  • rock piles that were very far gone [photo]
  • large bright quartz cobbles in the surrounding stone walls [photo]
  • larger piles or "mounds" in a brook floodplain. In the swamp with their feet almost in the water [photo]
  • some sort of house foundation [photo]
  • a rectangular structure on a wall [photo]
Now I am going to show you exactly the same things from the next day in Fitchburg. The parallel is probably coincidental for the rectangular structure but let's have a look.
  • rock piles that were very far gone [photo]
  • large bright quartz cobbles in the surrounding stone walls [photo]
  • larger piles or "mounds" in a brook floodplain. In the swamp with their feet almost in the water [photo]
  • some sort of house foundation [photo]
  • a rectangular structure on a wall [photo]
Here are those photos, with more context. I started out through the woods from Ringe Rd, up a bit of the "Fitchburg Reservoir No Trespassing Rd", into the woods and up one branch of the Falulah. Passed this wall:
Then I headed up the brook and saw that lovely little quartz on boulder (here) right next to the brook. It is a ravine of sorts. A moment later there was a buried mound. So far gone, I would have missed it a year ago. Now I spot it and notice other faint traces.
A pile:
 A crescent, well buried, next to the brook:
Then I cross the brook below the stone bridge, use the old road for a while, then cut back down into the woods again only to come up on the back side of a site I know well at one of the headwaters of Falulah Brook. Sure enough, there were some large things I had not seen before:
And here was something of such dimension that I would have taken it for house foundation:
And below in a new ravine, a faint new brook started, and was this a dam and a mill? Or what is this rectangular structure coming out from the wall? 
And what was up with these large mounds in what might have been a millpond? Well, at least in a brook floodplain:
Here is a one:
 And another, with quartz:
And here was another:
With it's quartz (on the right in previous picture):
The main brook, where I came in, flows off in a different south-facing valley. On this one, on this side of the hill, there was not much of a brook. I followed the ravine downhill, past rock piles built into outcrops that reminded me of the day before,
past places oozing water, into a boulder filled amphitheater where every rock seemed suspect. The boulder fields might have been ruins, the little niches had to be real.
It was like what I saw in Franklin but not identical. Similar enough to make me think it was the same people. But the extra age I felt about Franklin, translates into a suspicion that those same old people were pushed out of Franklin - a coastal area - back into the rocky foothills of Fitchburg. According to this narrative, they lasted longer, until a later date, in Fitchburg.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

More Franklin State Forest

[Referring to the previous post] After leaving the small decrepit mounds behind, I headed east back towards the road I came in on (which leads from Metcalf Rd to the summit of Forge Hill) and saw outcrops, stone walls, and a large "foundation hole" I ignored on the way in. This can't be more than a hundred yards from the road, adjacent to those swamps.
A nearby wall coming down from the ridge with the road:
Any ideas about what that is?
Then I did come to larger mounds with hollows (if that is what you call this kind of damaged structure) built on the outcrops:
These mounds are in the higher land southeast of the swamps, between the swamps and the road leading up to the summit.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Forge Hill and the Headwaters of Mine Brook in Franklin State Forest

On the way to the Saturday lecture, I thought it would be nice to stop somewhere and explore for rock piles. Franklin State Forest seemed a likely spot:
I particularly wanted to get to those swamps part way up the main hill (below the "R" and the "T" of the word "FOREST" on the map above). When I got to those swamps, I found lots of rock piles. They were old and deeply settled into the dead leaves and I spent an hour taking pictures of the dead leaves. But I still got a distinct impression of the place - something about the arrangement of the piles; something about the hints of quartz in the walls and some of the piles; something about the topography along the edge of wetland and in the floodplain of a brook.
I'll show the pictures I got in a moment. You can imagine I was looking for large mounds with hollows in them. I found them at the end, on outcrops that overlook the swamps from the east. The whole place put me a mood that continued the next day in Fitchburg; where I saw similar hints of quartz, placement in floodplains, and larger mounds on outcrops. I felt as though I spent the weekend visiting with the old ones. First in Franklin and then in Fitchburg and the mood lasted through the weekend. But the features in Franklin seem older. They are more settled - more "disappeared" into the ground.

I parked at the end of Lorraine Metcalf Rd and hung a right at the trail-head. Got a bit mixed up and ended by climbing to the top of the hill, to the water tower. There I turned back downhill and needed a compass to assure myself I was headed southwest. I stumbled off trail in that direction, down towards the swamp. Seeing this made me want to cross and look at the opposite slope:
It reminded me a little of the approach to some of the sites shown by Larry Harrop. So I went across that wetland and part way up the next hill without seeing anything. In retrospect I probably was walking past buried rock piles because it was only on the way back down that I saw a pile up on a boulder, leading to me noticing all the other little ones under the leaves:
Here is a typical pile from in there, at the lower edges of the western slope, beyond the swamps:
Ironically, as I look at the pictures of these formless piles, I find some of them do have a bit of form:
(I think this has the same form as the previous).
So I took lots of pictures like that, then crossed a stone wall. Usually walls enclose a site but I continued to find more buried piles - and more deeply buried. No point in showing more except maybe one of several that are actually in the trail:
The piles were separated from the wetland by another wall. Here is a pretty piece of quartz:
and here is another, next to an entrance. The wetland is off to the right:
 Invited back to the brook, I spotted three in a row beyond:
The last of the three was quite nice:

Then I was in a flat floodplain area with wetlands on either side (east and west). And the mounds got bigger but they were still badly settled.
Here is an interesting structure: kind of a snakey line of rocks, with a small "circle" at one end, quartz in the middle:
 From the other end:
The piles really had their feet in the water:
Many of the piles had one larger rock:
Then I exited to the east. The piles and mounds were well integrated with the stone wall. Here is an entrance a few feet from the previous:
I saw larger mounds on the outcrops, heading out, so I'll tell you about that later.

Bird Stones!

I guess there was a Glacial Kame Culture that made some beautiful Bird Stones, as I found out by typing "Glacial Kame Birdstones" into the search field for Google Images (prompted by a statement someone made to me that the Adena People were not Native Americans, but a "Long Lost Tribe of Egyptians or Phoenicians or Anybody But Native Americans" - or perhaps Giant Angels - he didn't say).
Here's a nice soapstone bear effigy pipe too, just because:

Marked Rocks from Walden Pond

My boss at work found some interesting marked rocks at Walden Pond. You would think someone would have mentioned this, which looks like a signature:
 Or this: