Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Quarried boulders

Hidden deep in the woods of northern RI is a forgotten boulder quarry, with a few cairns.  The boulders were quarried with metal tools.
 Large slabs and curb stones were left lying where they were cut from boulders.  There was no need to expend the energy to move them  until they were needed in construction.
All around in this field are piles of rock. Some look like they were created as sorting piles for the quarried rock, while others look like platform cairns. The  pile below consists of large, squarish pieces of rock.

  The piles were probably created next to the quarried boulders, and some of the stones may be left on top of the buried remnant of the boulder. Some of these piled stones are too small to be of much use in construction.
 However, such small stones can be used to fill in gaps in stone walls.
There are many stone walls in the area surrounding this boulder quarry. The closest is about 115 feet from the piled stone, suggesting the boulders were quarried to build these walls. 
      Native Americans  may have also quarried boulders using different techniques.  Platform cairns are often seen in the woods, especially in areas with stone walls.  When I reviewed this photo, I noticed that the boulder had a flat, vertical front surface, and there is a sharp edge between the top and front side in front of the stacked rocks. No tool marks are visible.

The same is noted with this platform cairn.
It is possible that Indians quarried away the front and top surfaces of these boulders, and then placed the resulting rocks on top.  The rocks have sharp angles and planes, suggesting they came from broken rock, instead of being picked up in the field.  There are farm walls close by, and visible in the background of the top photo.  Quarrying may also explain strangely shaped boulders, such as this cube in Westport, MA.
Perhaps Indians or some other persons hired by farmers broke up the boulders and built the walls with the resulting rock. This quarrying technique is less efficient than using metal tools.  The metal tools cut the rock completely to the ground, while a large piece of the boulder is left with the second method. Alternately, the creation of platform cairns may reflect a desire not to completely consume the boulders.
Happy Samhain!

No comments:

Post a Comment