Wednesday, October 24, 2012
How to prop boulders
Here in the Northeast we often see a massive propped boulder with lots of rocks under it. It would have been an amazing engineering feat to lift this boulder and push a supporting rock under it.
Maybe the propped boulders were created by quarrying away rock from the base of a boulder, and then pushing in a supporting stone. The stones visible under the boulder would be fragments of the boulder.
Here is one of my favorite propped boulders. At this angle, it is easy to see how the rock was chipped away to create the "cave". The gouges on the lower surface are visible in the late afternoon sun.
Propped boulders could also be created by chipping away stone from a huge boulder leaning against an outcrop.
The previous two pictures came from a hilltop containing several propped boulders, many platform cairns and farm walls. Some of the quarrying probably produced stone to build the farm walls. I will show more of this site in a later post.
This hilltop site first attracted the natives with its huge boulders, some resting on bedrock. Perhaps the original purpose of native quarrying was to remove stone from boulders and create a "cave". Unfortunately, the reason behind this laborious task is unknown. The removed stone, along with other broken stone, was stacked into cairns. Maybe the act of creating propped boulders and cairns was a form of sacrifice and devotion. After the arrival of Europeans, native quarrying skills were put to use creating stone walls.