Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Large Square Enclosures formed by Propped Boulders, West Enclosure

     Hilltops in northern Rhode Island are often crowned with boulders left by glaciers.  Sometimes, these boulders appear to be propped at one end on a smaller boulder, with an open space underneath.  These have been explained as accidents of glacial deposition. However, these propped boulders often have planes on their undersides, suggesting that rock has been worked away to form the usual oblong shape with a space for the supporting stone.  I believe that these were created by Natives for some spiritual or practical use. These propped boulders have remained for centuries because they often rest on bedrock, and were not in the way of  farmers. While it is difficult to determine the purpose of a structure in isolation, the spatial relation of one structure to others on a landscape may suggest some purpose, such as trail or boundary markers.  One problem with doing this is that apparent alignments may be mere coincidence. However, the number of these alignments in different sites suggests that these were created for a purpose.
     The following diagram shows an area in which propped boulders form two contiguous large square enclosures. The entire complex is  about 1500 feet long, with uneven sides of 1000 (west) and 600(east) feet.

 The propped boulders are the yellow dots joined by a yellow dashed line. The red dots are cairns, and the blue dots with lines are walls.  The extra yellow dots are either large boulders or split boulders.  While some of these may have been split by Natives, the foliated granite in this area splits easily from weathering.  I have not incorporated any split boulders because of  uncertainty as to their origin.
     Most of these photos and waypoints were taken in December 2009. Some of them will look familiar, since they have been shown before.
     This week I will show the propped boulders for the large enclosure to the left (west).

This enclosure has four corners, which nearly line up as compass points. There isn't anything memorable in the center.

     At the top north corner of the square, waypoint 209
The larger picture did not come out well.
Continuing about 420 feet southwest to waypoint 142, with this propped boulder,
and  this perched boulder  close by. Sometimes the long axes of perched boulders point to a propped boulder or other structure.  This will be settled in a later post.

588 feet along the same line is this propped boulder at waypoint 646. Note the young bent tree in the foreground.
 This is the west corner of the square.  The next line continues 730 feet southeast to this boulder at waypoint 148.

This is the south corner of the west enclosure. The long axis of this propped boulder appears to point north.
The line for the perimeter of the west enclosure  continues 360 feet northeast to this propped boulder at waypoint 152.
It  then continues another 300 feet to this propped boulder at waypoint 222.
This is part of the arrangement of boulders that have a winter solstice sunset alignment (12/22/2011).
Finally, the line continues about 115 feet to this arrangement at waypoint 220.
The boulders are propped, and there is a bent tree in the foreground. This is the east corner of the enclosure.
To finish the west enclosure, a line extends from this group about 225 feet northwest to this massive propped boulder at waypoint  214.
It is 560 feet northwest to the propped boulder in the north corner, at waypoint 209.
I will show the propped boulders of the smaller east enclosure, and the apparent diagonal line bisecting it, next week.

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