Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Designs in Stone

Here is another stone row site on the northwest shore of South Watuppa pond.  This  small stone row is just south of the peninsula with the power line tower on the Fall River shore.
The stone row has a very symmetrical stone in the center.
Further along the wall is a round boulder propped on smaller stones.
Next to this propped boulder stands  a large stone worn down into a grinding slick.
Here's a different view of the propped boulder.  From this angle, it is obvious that some of the stones in the row have been placed with their long axes vertical.   I have seen this type of construction in short stone rows at the shore of  Cranberry Neck (7/18/2012)
Here, in contrast, are the bulldozed boulders on the peninsula.

So, I organized the data as to what feature was seen where on the pond.
Effigy heads  are in bright green on the  northwest shore. Turtle images are turquoise dots in the southern  part.  Walls containing propped boulders in denoted by red dots, and standing stone construction by yellow. Of course, many features may be submerged or lost to development. Perhaps some of these features relate to construction of stone rows by different clans.  It would be fascinating to map the stone structures of North Watuppa Pond,  and see if there is any pattern in the stone rows there.   Unfortunately, as the city reservoir, it is  off  limits for boating.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Stone Row Symmetry

Here are some more pictures of the stone row I showed last week.  Closer examination shows even more interesting details that look deliberately created. The south section of the wall starts at a large boulder on the shore.

Then the two perched rocks. The one to the left looks like an effigy head.
Next to the perched boulders is a group of three boulders.
The view to the north from the three boulders.  That rock in the center of the photo looks strikingly like an animal head.
This wall has symmetry: from left to right it is effigy head, three boulders, and another effigy head.
Here's the opening between the north and south stone rows.  The owners are using this as a protected swimming area.
The north  stone row, and its end on the shore. There is a large puddingstone in the stone row, near the sailboat.
     South and North Watuppa ponds were once the home of the Pocasset Wampanoags.  The tribal clans are eagle, beaver, and bear.  Perhaps some of these effigies represent these clans. Cranberry Neck, now the Fall River Rod and Gun Club, was the estate of Colonel Benjamin Church.  This band of Natives were his allies in King Philip's War.   In 1709, they moved to Watuppa Reservation with the political help of Col. Church. The Watuppa Reservation village was on Indian Town Road, away from the North Watuppa pond shoreline. Mavor & Dix suggest this move was partly to protect the band from retribution by other Natives for collaborating with the British.  These old shoreline campsites would have been very vulnerable to attacks using swift, silent canoes.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

South Watuppa Stone Row Sites Revisited

Sunday afternoon was perfect for kayaking.  Here is the northwest shore of South Watuppa pond, in Fall River, MA.  The closer shoreline is a squarish peninsula with a power line tower.  Further on is the state boat ramp and Dave's Beach.  Just beyond the peninsula is the stone row site I showed 7/29/2012.
The stone row. 
Here is the propped boulder in the end of the stone row.
Since the water is higher, here is a better view of the boulder with a grinding slick.
The shoreline of the adjoining peninsula looks like rocks were bulldozed there and dirt piled in. Sometimes I wonder if the stone row was also created by  bulldozing, but this is not likely since the grinding slick rock and others would have been in the way.
     There are more stone rows in front of houses on the Fall River side. Note the perched boulder to the left in the row below.

This looks a little like a turtle head, and is flanked by a tilted squarish stone. These  were placed here deliberately.
 Here is the stone row shown 8/22/2012, with large, rounded boulders stacked on top of smaller ones.

  This is the most elaborate stone row on the pond.
 There is also  a propped boulder at the shore end.
These stone rows were probably created by Natives clearing ground for campsites.  The stones were carefully placed, and motifs such as propped and perched stones, and effigies had  meaning. The grinding slicks give mute testimony to many years of  grinding acorns and other foods.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Kayaking Through History

The reason I never get tired of kayaking on South Watuppa Pond is that the light, clouds, and wind are constantly changing.  July 28 was a typical summer day in that the afternoon breeze was from the south.  The calm lake in the last post now has a stiff, cool breeze from the west carrying huge clouds.  By winter, the wind will be coming from the north.  Wind direction is always important, and I plan the outing so the afternoon wind will blow me back to the boat landing.
     A Sunday afternoon paddle is always a history lesson. There is everything along the shore from stone rows and effigies  to the Meditech building and suburbia.
     Here is the view from inside the square enclosure (7/4/2012), which may have been a Native camp site or burial ground.

 Since the water is always calmer in here, it is a handy place to stop for a water break.
     One of the loveliest spots is Christopher Borden brook.  When the water is high, it is passable all the way to the little stone bridge on the Fall River Rod and Gun Club road.
This deep inlet did not exist hundreds of years ago when the pond was much lower.  Neither was there any spartina marsh grass or purple loosestrife. However, there were the same painted turtles, frogs, muskrats and dragon flies. The waterlilies are native and the roots can be used as food. The wide shallow area directly outside the brook  was probably a Native campsite ( 7/18/2012 ). 
It is always a little jarring to drift down the brook, follow the curve, and suddenly see Fall River, I-195, and Mount Trashmore in the distance. Further north along the shore is the foundation of the Lassonde ice house.
Note how the walls are straight and even on top compared to the stone rows. Further along, on the Fall River side, are these large stone disks.
These were fly wheels in the mills. And here's an old mill water intake.
And finally, the outlet of the Quequechan River, which powered the mills.
This view of Fall River is a little hazy in the afternoon sun.

 From left to right is a mill smokestack, the very thin steeple of St. Mary's Cathedral, the square bell tower of the Rodman Mill, and the old BMC Durfee high school.  Water power from Watuppa Pond made all this possible: the mills, the cathedral built by Irish mill workers, and the high school funded by a mill owner family.