Thursday, March 24, 2016

I uncovered low, round piles of rocks in the woods near where I live and started wondering why they were there.  I found RockPiles.blogspot searching for clues on the internet.  Photos posted there made me wonder and wander even more through the woods....

There are easily 15 more still buried by leaves and roots.  They are of varying sizes, about 10 feet across.  The stones are mostly fist and head size.  The piles are about 15 feet apart, on a northeast facing hillside that ends in a respectable brook.  The area is wooded now, but was probably cleared for logging and pasture purposes.

Farther up the hill, there are some boulder supported piles. This is the bigger of two...
From the top
Looking North

Detail of supported pile
Across a small valley, on the next rise is a substantial wall, perhaps 200 feet, running exactly east-west.  It is as wide as 12 feet and as narrow as 18 inches in the places it crosses seasonal streams.
Looking Directly East

The wall one rock wide to the left (East) and much thicker in the middle and right (West)
There are as many as 26 possible depressions in this wall.  Some of the bigger and more obvious appear to be faced along the inside.
My back pack in a faced depression

White crystal rocks like this were all along this wall

More depressions

There were gaps, (perhaps ventilation holes?) at ground level, some seemed to be associated with the depressions.
Purposeful gap in wall at ground level
On the crest of the hill, with an amazing view to the east and south east is this very large boulder and related piles.

Possible Horizon Location pile behind the boulder

Down hill from the boulder, a sizable system of piles

200 + year old on north side of pile system

Faced wall/stack from big boulder to oak
Closer view of faced wall/stack

This boulder stands over 5 feet tall, and displays a set of beautiful white crystals at face level.
Nearby, more small round   piles like the ones I started with, and a huge split boulder partially filled with more stones.
There are dozens of piles here similar to the ones shown at the beginning of this post

Split rock with stones

Same Split rock with stones
All of these pictures are taken with in a mile and half of each other.  There are areas that have been farmed nearby, but the sites in these photos are in areas that were too steep or too full of boulders for plowing.  More...
Filled split rock down hill from horizon location pile

Seasonal stream flowing through pile system

Rocks placed on boulder

White Crystal boulder located at west end of large wall

Crystal boulder with clipboard for scale
I have never seen a wall like this, or rock piles that are so extensive.  It seems they must be related.
For more details on this wall, check this out:  Wall near Purgatory Falls


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I think the hollows in the wall could be burials.

  3. My initial impressions are you have a mixed use land - farm land with some field clearing activity and Native American ceremonial cairns. The wide stone wall is referred to in 19th century farm literature as a disposal wall. Two parallel walls were built in this case about 12 feet apart and then the space between them was filled with stone pulled from the crop or hay field. The depression features seem to be semi-common with these wide disposal walls. They may be the result uneven process of dumping the stone from a cart or wagon over the wall.

    The split boulder cairns are most likely Native American.

    The white quartz is hard to comment on. Quartz is fairly common in New England. In some cases we can demonstrate it was incorporated into a ceremonial site but not in all case. In some cases is just interesting natural feature.

    James Gage

  4. Very nice! I'm curious about that big boulder and the "faced wall/stack" - serpent or snake=like features??

    1. The south face of the wall is fairly straight, there are a few bulges, but they are slight. The north side of the wall fluctuates from 12 feet thick to single rock thick. Nothing serpentine here...

    2. Actually I was talking about the boulder. Such as some of the ones here:

  5. That wide "disposal wall" could be said to be similar to a wide carefully made about 1000 year old serpent petroform in this report:

  6. Replies
    1. Mont Vernon, NH
      Small farming town... had a brief history of Tourism in the 1800s... currently being developed residentially.

  7. At the "private" Face Book group called "Waking Up on Turtle Island," where I posted a link to Anna's blog post, a rock art expert interested in Rock (or Stone) Piles, commented that: "The oval-shaped piles (shown in the first three photos), comprising roughly equal-sized river cobbles, very likely contain funerary remains in the center." I am awaiting a reply as to why he said that...

  8. And that reply is: "The shape and edges of the cleared one are very regular and even. Yes, the pile could consist of tossed stones, but they were tossed with great precision. In the Ocmulgee area of central GA, rock piles looking like this one do contain funerary remains. However, being in a different area it is possible that the one in your photo could be modern. Only remote-sensing and/or excavation might reveal the content and antiquity (soil profile and date) of the pile."

    1. It sure would be nice to get some hard scientific data. I'm amazed at how hard it is for folks to believe that the area's Native Americans moved stones around...

    2. Even the defenders of the "vast majority of stonework is Euro-American in origin" say things like: "There is an astonishing dearth of research on the origin of stone walls, their impact on woodland ecosystems, and their importance in literature, art, and environmental history. Though we haven’t taken them for granted, very few have been taken seriously as scientific objects." Most of them are repeating what others have speculated about stone walls, as if repeating it over and over makes it true. It would be very odd if what is now New England was the only place Indigenous People didn't stack stones over a 12,000 year time period. There is/was an estimated quarter million miles of stonewalls in the region, most supposedly built between 1779 and 1870 (when barbed wire was invented). That's the fact I have a had time with...