New England's Lost Places #2: Native American Structures
September 25, 2015
High on a footprint shaped hill in southeastern Massachusetts stand a number of interesting stone structures and effigies (No, I’m not going to tell you where it is). It is up to speculation as to what these structures are but they are pre-colonial. It is a well documented fact that Native Americans constructed various structures like these for a variety of purposes.
In this area there are six stone cairns in close proximity to each other. I found
pieces of quartz stone in most of the cairns. This could signify that the cairns represent some important event or are simply burials. Native Americans often placed quartz in their burials. Quartz was used as a protective mechanism that would hopefully drive away uninvited that would come upon the grave or ceremonial site.
This area also has a number of other structures and effigies along the ridge line. I am presently trying to document those that I find. It is a slow process because of my limited time and the leaf cover that obscures some of the smaller structures. In prehistoric times, this ridge would have been bare with clear lines of site in every direction.
I don’t usually stand on top of structures that I might think are grave sites but I was trying to get accurate GPS coordinates for each cairn. A bird’s eye view is helpful in determining the relative direction various structures are pointing or if they are aligned with each other.
These u-shaped enclosures or ‘seats’ often face the rising or setting of the sun on an equinox or solstice, or the arc of the big dipper. They are designed to be sat in and were used for observing significant celestial turning points or for vision quests.
This particular seat is aligned with the sun at summer equinox. It is also aligned with the split rock below a few paces away. Some split rocks were considered to be “spirit doors” - entrances to the underworld.
To the left is a probably effigy of a woman. native american effigies had common designs. The most abundant in this area are effigies of men, women and turtles.
There was a turkey vulture on the way out of the site.
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