I used to wonder how perched boulders were balanced that way. One explanation is that the glaciers dropped them into that position. Then I used to think that someone dragged them into position, which would have been quite an engineering feat. However, the answer is in the photo below.
The perched boulder below is a well-known feature in a RI state park. It is obvious stone was gouged out to the right on this boulder. The long axis faces southeast.
All of these are on hilltops. Creating these took a great deal of work, which I doubt a farmer would want to expend. They were probably created by Native Americans, for some lost purpose. Perhaps a hint comes from Indian legends, in which boulders are animated and capable of movement. These boulders may have represented characters in Indian legends. Or they may symbolize the balance of life and nature.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Native Americans quarried quartz from veins in boulders and outcrops. Some was used in arrowheads, some was used to mark sacred places such as burials. Here the quartz has been nearly completely removed from the vein in this outcrop. These photos were shown on Larry Harrop's blog two years ago.
Quartz is often incorporated into stone walls, and may be decorative, as well as an aid to night travel. Sometimes these stones occur at regular intervals in walls.
This practice may have been carried into historic times. Here is a large chunk of quartz left in the wall of a cemetery at a revolutionary war site.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Sunday afternoon I visited a well known cairn field in RI. The cairns are compactly constructed, tall and rounded. Although I have been here many times, there is always something new revealed by changes in the light. As I walked along, I noticed this cairn. with a vertical opening extending through three layers of rocks. The late afternoon sunlight was playing on something inside the cairn.
Other cairns also seem to have central depressions. Cairns with dimples or vaults often appear on the Rockpiles and Ceremonial Landscapes blogs.
Maybe the cairns were originally constructed with cavities, and then the cairns were vandalized, or simply fell in. Cairns are often opened due to stories that there is "treasure" in cairns. The treasure is simply the arrangement of the stones.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Here is a completed propped boulder.
Here is another propped boulder shown previously.
Near some of these boulders is this large rock with a strange "chair" shape. When I swept away the leaves, I found the "seat" is flat. This was probably not used in food production, but may have been used in making and edging tools. There might be tools and rock chips scattered around it.
I think this site shows the historical progression of Indian quarrying. First the Indians built these propped and oddly shaped boulders for their own reasons. After the white man came, they used their quarrying skills to break up boulders into squarish stones and build walls. Of course, it is impossible to be know exactly how the site was altered over time.
In less than two weeks, somebody added a tongue to the site guardian!