Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Miantonomi's Cave

Sunday afternoon I was walking along a lake in northern Rhode Island.  I noticed these two large large boulders resting on a base with a narrow opening below the larger boulder.  The base is about eight  feet tall.  This is the south-facing side of this structure.
Walking up to it, I found a small chamber with two small openings under the roof formed by the huge boulder. The chamber is about 10 feet deep, 20 inches wide at the entrance, and  40 inches wide at the end. The boulder to the right seems to form a seat.
 Above this seat, rocks are jammed into the space between the base and roof boulders.
 One of these rocks projects forward and to the west from the wall. From the other side, it looks a little like an animal head.
This chamber has two "windows", a larger one with a small notch in the bottom, and
a smaller one.  The bottom edge of this window has been chipped away.  The large boulder on top of this structure partially blocks the light from this window, and is visible to the left.
Here is a view of the larger window from the outside, looking into the chamber.
The smaller window is hard to see from outside. This structure reminded me of King Philip's Cave in Sharon, MA.   For the sake of clarity, I nicknamed the site Miantonomi's Cave, after the Narragansett sachem. Maybe this chamber was also designed to mark astronomical events. This was suggested by examination of the large boulder on top of this structure.  It has a flat face to the north, and the long axis of this face has a 318 degree bearing, suggesting a summer solstice alignment. The edges look like the rock was chipped into this square shape.
There also are some small holes which appear to be man made in this and other boulders at this site.

They are about 1 inch deep and 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter. These seem to occur in patterns. Perhaps they are left from native rock splitting technique.
I returned Tuesday with a flashlight, and will show what I found in later posts.


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  2. Great find! I'm working on a project to catalog all the caves in RI and the rest of Southeastern New England. Would it be possible for you to share the location of this cave with me?