In the snow
They are particularly charming in the snow, especially when you
cannot see the rock-on-rock but know it is there.
Whenever the question arises about how rock-on-rocks could be ancient
disturbed, the answer is that they may not
be ancient. Some could
be old but clearly some are recent. For example,
from the woods along Rt 28 in Falmouth, a
rounded bowl shaped flake of rock spalled off of a rock, was
turned upside down and placed back on top. This is so precarious and
there is no
debris buildup around it, how old could
it be? Probably not very old. If these artifacts are Native American,
they suggest an ongoing relationship and use of the woods by Indians.
Whatever their age or how they could have survived in a landscape so
thoroughly used, rock-on-rocks are quite common in eastern
Massachusetts and I am told [Norman Muller, private communication] they
are also found in Vermont and Pennsylvania. There are several
hypotheses about how they could
have been used and what was their intent. Aside from the idea of
representing a figure like a bird, there is some evidence they were
to mark a boundary or indicate a barrier. Their use for
marking a trail is less common.
Over time, one hopes to have a better understanding of rock-on-rocks
whether they have one function or many different functions. Becoming
aware of them, they become easy to see. For me, it is always
encouraging to see one through
the bushes or a distance away - usually the first sign I am approaching
a site with other interesting features.
(1) Animal Tracks and Hunter
. Ernest Thompson Seton. Doubleday and Co. Garden City, NY,
(1958) p 149. Reprinted from Ernest
Thompson Seton's Big Book of Country Living
Garden City Pub.
(1921) p.162. See also pp161-166.
(2) "Pots Point the
" web article by Dan Boudillion.