The Echo Lake Stone Lodge ("Chamber") Analyzed... Again.
If you follow this blog you will know that I have already exclusively covered this site twice. However, with reflection and time, more insights about this site have come to my attention, so I have no problem posting about the same sites, time and again, if I am analyzing different angles or have new perspectives about "the same old site".
First of all, Echo Lake is the headwaters of three major water-ways in this region- the Charles, Blackstone and Sudbury Rivers. This is no doubt the reason why the general, broad area around Echo Lake and it's tributaries (hmm, tributary... tri... 3... we got the real deal here) seems to be one of the hot-spots for stone-works (such as cairn sites) in the state of Massachusetts. The Sudbury River meets up with the Concord and Assabet Rivers (and the Concord area, which is researcher Peter Waksman's home turf, is another hot-spot) which flow into the mighty Merrimack River, which goes past the more well-known "America's Stonehenge" (aka "Mystery Hill"- see my posts on this site from January 2015) and other sites, before flowing out into the Atlantic Ocean. The point is, that in pre-colonial times, the major way of travel by native people's was through the water-ways (this is especially true of the "Maritime Archaic" cultures of NorthEast America who were very sophisticated sea navigators going back as far as we know, even up to 11,500 years ago- see the "Hidden Landscapes" series and the "smoking gun" fluted point artifact they found by the Old Champlain Sea in Vermont). So it makes sense that spots along head-waters would be "ground zero" points of civilization, ceremony, and culture. It should also be noted that the Echo Lake area is the highest point in the immediate region of it's locality.
I first started looking for sites by immediate the Echo Lake area with open-minded and sincere state archaelogist and anthropologist Curt Hoffman- we indeed did find intricate cairn sites along the hill-side (which must have served a significant function, again see my January/Febuary 2015 posts) and other noteworthy things such as Propped Boulders. After going back to the area by myself for further exploration, I came across the ruins of several significant altars and eventually the Stone Chamber/Lodge.
I noticed that Curt refers to the main Echo Lake structure as a "Unique Structure" in his notes. In trying to rationalize the structure myself, words such as "Chamber", "Temple" and "Shrine" went through my mind. This structure does have similar elements to stone chambers in the area, such as the feel of the entry-way and it's slabbed roof. Although the Echo Lake structure has the feeling of entering into the Earth, it is not built into a hillside and thus is not subterranian the way most Chambers are, and it is not dressed up with smaller boulders the way most Chambers are- instead the structure is worked into a split-boulder.
Further studying this site I have concluded that the appropriate designation for this structure should be a pre-colonial "Stone (Medicine) Lodge", or simply "Stone Lodge." To call it a Stone Chamber perhaps is also fine, although this site is a bit different. Below I will once again present pictures of this site and I will explain through pictures and words what is going on at this site to lead me to conclude that this site is a "Stone Lodge":
View Of the Entrance of the structure:
A good pic, seeing into the back of the structure here:
Showing off the roof slabs. Note how the roof-slabs are stacked up to be centered:
Okay. On the nearest hill directly over-looking the Stone Lodge is this boulder with a large, flat stone slab placed on top. When I first saw this, I thought it looked like an arrow pointing to the Stone Chamber/Lodge. This is still true, of course- but more importantly I now realize that this stone slab probably functioned as an Altar. My interpretation is, before entering the vicinity of the main site, an offering was probably placed on this stone slab:
A close-up of the stone-slab:
Directly outside the Stone Chamber/Lodge is this ceremonial stone circle. This could have served more like a petro-form (symbolic- like a protective circle) or it could have been used for purification (burning tobacco/sage) before entering the lodge/ before ceremony:
Stone Circle View B:
The side of the Stone Lodge (the boulder itself looks to be modified/ worked-out) with the Stone Circle on the ground in the fore-ground:
The slabbed-stone stacked into what we can see today of the back of the structure. There are no modern quarry marks on any of the stones, indicating that this structure was indeed built in ancient times. Also note how the soil and trees have sprang up on the ground, disrupting some of the stone-work:
Another view of the back, showcasing how destructive these trees are to the back of this stone structure. I would really like to know what this originally looked like without the disruption from these trees:
Back to the front entrance, looking up:
Nearby the ruins of another Stone Altar, this one having a fish-effigy. This is just over one of the hills from the main site/ Stone Lodge:
On the nearest bedrock outcrop from the "Fish Effigy" altar is this other Altar/ offering spot with a circular petro-form motiff:
Another (perhaps clearer) pic of the ceremonial stone circle directly outside from the entrance of the Stone Lodge/ Chamber:
At roof height, a view of the roof slabs of the Stone Shrine/Lodge/Chamber. This just crys out deep antiquity here:
Still, questions remain about this spot, such as the specific functions of the Stone Lodge itself. I could rap about this back and forth, but it would all be speculative, so better not to post any of those thoughts up, and with respect to the Native Ancestors. What I can do is show off the stone ruins themselves, along with some obvious insights. For instance, the nearby Stone Altars and the ceremonial Stone Circle by the foot of the Stone Lodge should put this site into a stronger context and perspective, as well as the site location (and when compared to other similar sites in the region, especially along water-ways, a broader perspective is realized). This site must have looked much more spectacular in it's day (perhaps even wooden poles/ fences were incorporated into the site).
A link to my blogpost about the intricate hillside cairns around Echo Lake:
Comparing the Echo Lake Chamber/Lodge to other Chambers in the area (the strongest resemblance I have seen, structurally, was with the Webster Chamber):
Link to the September 2014 post I made about the Echo Lake Stone Lodge/Shrine-