Friday, July 17, 2015

The Echo Lake Stone Lodge- More Features Examined

The Echo Lake Stone Lodge- More Features Examined 

The Echo Lake Stone Lodge, or Chamber, is a very unique and special stone structure located by modern-day Echo Lake by the Hopkinton and Milford MA. town lines (with the town line of Holliston also being down the street.)  Although Echo Lake itself was created in more modern times by the construction of a dam, the water-ways here that were dammed-up are actually the head-waters of three very large and important river systems- the Charles River, the Blackstone River and the Sudbury River.  It is at such a place, at the headwaters/ confluence of water ways, or where "water flows in two or more directions" that would have held very important ceremonial significance to Native people in the past- be it meeting places between different clans and tribal nations of people congregating together seasonally, etc.
The entire area around Echo Lake, which I call the "Greater Echo Lake Area" is a hot-spot for stone-works of a Native origin.  The stone shrine with the winter solstice sunrise alignment (and probably a summer solstice sunset alignment from another angle which I have not documented) which I found on one of my hikes is also found within this broader general area.  Many stoneworks featured in this blog such as cairns, propped boulders, rock alignments, etc. can be found in this general area.  And the reason for the heavy volume of stone-works, no doubt, is related to the confluence/ headwaters of the river systems in the area as lived through and experienced by Native people long ago.  
I should also say for the record, that in the late 19th to early/mid twentieth century there were quarries in this area that were quite active.  Milford Pink Granite (and other granite) was quarried here as a resource/ building material.  Here is info on 'Milford Pink' from wikipedia-  However, I discovered in the Hopkinton Town Library that in the mid-19th century before quarrying started for Milford Pink, small amounts of gold was found in several places around modern-day downtown Hopkinton (next door to Milford).  I found no information that confirms this, but I suspect there is a direct link between people having found that small, miniscule amount of gold in Hopkinton and the start of the Milford Quarries.  For instance, after no more gold was found, they probably discovered another raw material they could use as a resource in the Milford Pink Granite.
Now, one disturbing fact that I will relate to the quarrying and quarry roads is that, without even trying to look for them I have spotted Native artifacts "jump out at me" off the side of the path where they were blasting the rocks away to put in roads, and also in the outer parameters of where they were blasting, exposing lower levels of Earth, no doubt, that have just laid exposed ever since those quarrying days.  This made my heart sink, as I fully realized that this area must have been heavily populated by Native people in pre-colonial times.  I will not get any more specific than this, but I say this to illustrate that I have seen what would be thought of by an academic as "conventional" artifacts as well as the ceremonial stoneworks which is the focus of this blog.  In fact, Native people obviously used the area as a quarry as well in earlier times, but most traces of this has probably vanished with all the blasting and destruction of rock ledges that went on in the area.

I have written many posts about the Echo Lake Chamber before.  Here is an example with links to other posts about the Echo Lake Chamber/Stone Lodge-

The neat thing about this Chamber is that it is not a typical stone chamber, it is a modified split boulder that has been "dressed-up".  So when you enter into the Lodge/Chamber (symbolic of going into the Earth) you are entering into the stone itself.  I noticed some new features about the site (as well as features I had failed to communicate on this blog as they escaped my mind- I don't take notes/ do sketches, etc. when I look at sites) which I would like to share and address in this post.  First, is an angle of the entry-way I did not previously record.  This angle of the entry-way has a ledge-stone, or stone "step" that steps up to the entrance of the structure.  Also, from this angle the Chamber looks just like an oridinary boulder, and it is not until it is approached that one begins to notice the features:


Close-up of the ledge stone/ step up to the entrance:

Full view of the stone lodge:

Close-up of the roof slabs:

From this angle one can tell that the boulder itself has been worked and shaped out, most notably by the top:

From inside the structure we see that the stone has been worked out at the top, below where the roof slabs have been placed:

Stone fill between the unjulating sections of worked-out boulder below the roof slabs:

It doesn't look like any modern machinery is responsible for "cutting" the stone like this into the unjulating "hill" shapes.  A pre-colonial stone-cutting technique must have been practised and employed to shape the boulder like this:

A view from inside the structure looking out.  Again look how the boulder is worked-out on the right-hand side:

 "Tunnel vision":

Okay.  Now here is a feature that will throw a researcher for a loop, a confounding feature.  The location and everything else about this site looks good until you notice something like the below picture, which is a quarry mark.  There is a mark like this found on the floor level inside the chamber.  However, the below picture comes from pre-colonial stoneworks from Peru, from the Incan Empire.  I use this example to illustrate that this method of stone cutting was used in pre-colonial times in the America's.  It is identical to the mark found on the floor level of the Echo Lake Stone Lodge.  And what is more, is that Richard Thornton, of mixed Creek descent, is a leading force into investigating pre-colonial stoneworks sites in the American (US) South-East.  You can view some of his articles here (with other links)-  Richard Thornton and other researchers have found stones with "quarry" marks like this in the American SouthEast at pre-colonial Native American sites.  What's more is that Peruvian artifacts were found in mounds along the Ohio River.  So, if this technique was possibly employed in the SouthEast in pre-colonial times, it shouldn't be too surprising if we find some examples of this in the NorthEast.  Before seeing this feature and concluding that this Stone Chamber is of modern origin, this should be examined by a forensic geologist to make a proper determination of when this mark was made in the stone.  Whether modern or ancient this stone structure is in a very important location and area.  It could be that several of the quarry-men in Milford in the late 19th/ early 20th century who worked at these quarries were Native descendants.  There is no telling what was destroyed (and possibly salvaged and re-built) in those days as this was a very important area to Native people.  In fact this whole area was Native land up until 1715, well into colonial times, when it was aggresively purchased out of Native hands by benefactors of the Harvard University "Divinity School" (Thomas Hollis of Hollis-ton, Edward Hopkins of Hopkin-ton, etc.)  On page 44 of the book "Manitou- the Sacred Landscape of New England's Native Civilization" Mavor and Dix quote Sarah M.C. Sullivan, a Nipmuc Native who in 1948 wrote, "Our people were great stone builders.  Sometimes those caves came in handy.  You could get in them away from cold and snow.  They also helped to hide alot of Indians during King Philip's War in 1676.  The Indians also helped the slaves by hiding them in caves when they escaped from the slave owners... Upton was once included in Hassanamesitt."  This is found on the chapter where Mavor and Dix research the Upton Chamber, which is another town that borders Hopkinton and Milford MA. but on the other end of these towns.  The tract of land around the Echo Lake area was also part of the greater area being talked about up until 1715.  Again, whether this structure is extremely ancient (which all the other evidence points towards) or a late 19th/ early 20th construction by Native people still practicing and preserving a stone-building tradition, this site is very important.  Again, the below pic is from a pre-colonial Inca stone (markings which have also been surfacing in the SouthEast at Native sites, according to source Richard Thornton) which is identical to the mark on the floor level of the Echo Lake Stone Lodge. It is either more modern and Native or very old and Native.  All the other evidence points to the latter. The Milford history books say a majority of them were Irish, who were treated as less than citizens in those days, a similar status to Native people.  It shouldn't be surprising if a small group of Native people were working alongside the other workers):    

Attached to the outside back wall of the Chamber structure is this shaft that I previously had not noticed: 

Close-up of the shaft:

The roof slabs.  Again, these slabs, the boulder itself, the other features looks ancient, it is just that one mark throwing the research of this site for a loop, although I have provided some possible answers to that riddle:

The ceremonial stone ring located at the foot of the Echo Lake structure.  I have noted this identical stone ring feature at other sites before here-  This is actually very important that this exact stone ring shape exists at other sites incorporated with other stoneworks in the same general area:

This is a cairn rock pile that is very close to the Stone Lodge:

The three surrounding petroforms/altars to the stone lodge on the bedrock hills.  First is the fish effigy altar:

I will present this link here to a episode of Native legends uploaded to Youtube which aired on Canadian public television in the 1980's-  The re-enactors in this film are community members of one of the MicMac tribes in the Quebec region which is also a related Algonquin group to SouthEastern Native peoples in the same region of the NorthEast.  In the film the re-enactors portray the Algonquin deity Glooscap, a cultural hero, and his "evil" twin brother Malsimus.  In this short Native legend film note the use of stone altar cairns as pertained to the deity Glooscap, such as at the 3:43 mark.

Below is the second stone altar to be found around the Echo Lake Stone Lodge, a stone ring next to an altar slab:

Altar slab on boulder, closest to the Stone Lodge:

Close-up of stone slab:

Stone cairn aligned with the winter sunset located at the cairn field along the hillside by Echo Lake, a cairn field that is very close to the Stone Lodge.  Link to this cairn field is here-

Also, my link comparing the Echo Lake Structure with other Chambers in the area is here-  I found the Echo Lake Chamber to be very identical in feel to the Webster Chamber, in terms of the over-all design- the front of the structure has the same "feel", the roof slabs are identical as well as the main passageway/hall.

Below are some maps of the Echo Lake area, Milford/Hopkinton/Holliston:


Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Rock Ledge by Walden Woods Condos & Artist's Rendition of A Long-Ago Rock Ledge Scene

The Rock Ledge by Walden Woods Condos & Artist's Rendition of A Long-Ago Rock Ledge Scene

Below is an artist's rendition of a rock-ledge "camp" site used long ago by a Native group, probably used seasonally such as in the summer.  I think this rendition came from a rock ledge site that archaeologists had done work at in West Virginia or one of the states in that area down the East Coast:

Below is the Rock Ledge that was just featured in the previous post around the modern day Walden Wood's Condo development, by the Echo Lake area which is the headwaters of three major river systems in the region: 

I am just doing a "quickie" post while I put my notes together for the next post, where we will be looking at the Echo Lake Stone Chamber again.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

More StoneWorks Above A Wetland In the Echo Lake Area, Milford/ Hopkinton MA. Pt 2

More StoneWorks Above A Wetland In the Echo Lake Area, Milford/ Hopkinton MA. Pt 2 

Note- I made an edit to the last post (part 1 of this site) about the remains of a stone wall section that runs into a boulder at a vantage point and how it fortifies this site from the wetland before the terrain drops down into the (what is now today) swamp.

Moving along.  Classic stone-wall (of "unknown" origin) running up to a ledge.  This ain't no colonial or later farmer's wall, that's for sure:

Split stone with fill:

More of the stone-wall, built onto the original bedrock (indicating it's great antiquity):

The stone wall running at the foot of one of the ledges, into a block of stone:

Another block of stone at the foot of a ledge that the stone wall runs through:

A boulder placement that has been notched out like a large standing stone:

A row of three standing stones or stones that are "standing-stone-like."  This reminds me of the Standing Stone rows at the Gungywamp, CT. site here-  Also as Peter Waksman pointed out in his blog-post about this site which I linked to in part 1, the modern condo developers weren't the first ones messing around and hurting this site- there was modern quarrying around this area that had already "hurt" this site.  It's possible that there could have originally been more standing stones in this row that were taken away/ affected by this development- nearby to these standing stones the stone wall has been broken/smashed apart by such modern quarrying:

Moving down to the section of stone wall directly above the wetland area.  I am excited to see this stone placement in the wall because I have seen this exact type of stacked rock pile in a wall before at least twice, which I have shown here- ("Comparing a Signature Stone Stacking Element Incorporated In Native Stone Walls").  What's more, is that all three examples of this stone stack design are all located in the "Greater Echo Lake Area" in stone walls that are a part of the same "grid" or "labyrinth" (or so it would seem like today) but are seperated by a few miles.  The sheer volume and distribution of these stone walls in this area alone is a feat of great engineering skill- it either involved a large work force or was a tradition that was practised for many generations.  A colonial or later farmer could not have done this- analyzing this feature I have noted proves this alone, and it is only scracthing the surface of the evidence to be realized:        

A triangular stone placement, another important shape/ feature associated with these enigmatic stone walls I have noted before:

All of these stones in the wall were quarried with an indigenous method, different from colonial or later people's methods and are like jig-saw pieces:

A bend in the wall.  Farmer's walls aren't known to bend like this for apparantly no reason:

On the other side of the street of the condo complex, maybe a quarter of a mile away is this rock placement.  You can sort of tell by the tree line in the picture that this boulder is higher terrain from what would have been the valley below:

Next post I plan on taking us back to the Echo Lake Chamber.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

More StoneWorks Around Echo Lake Milford/ Hopkinton MA.- Pt. 1

More StoneWorks Around Echo Lake Milford/ Hopkinton MA.- Pt. 1

Peter Waksman covered this site on his blog a while back.  He and his friend FFC had apparently made a field trip to the area to try and penetrate & get into the heart of Echo Lake, to see what he could find.  However, as people like myself who have researched this area know, penetrating Echo Lake isn't the easiest task at first.  First, there is alot of potential area to cover.... where to start.  Second, one will experience the areas that were quarried, specifically for pink granite that was used in buildings all over the USA and even the world, since the late 19th century which may be a turn off at first, but don't let that fool you.  Third, there are things like a police shooting range, and other private property with no tresspassing (such as the former water supply for Milford) that one has to deal with- there really isn't any reasonable places to park to get directly to the heart of Echo Lake- one has to park farther away and make a hike in to the place assuming one knows where to hike in from.  A good place to park to get to Echo Lake is the new parking lot for the Upper Charles Trail by the Milford/ Hopkinton town lines now that the Milford section of the "rail trail" is complete.

The stoneworks covered in this post are relatively close to the Echo Lake Stone Lodge/ Chamber that I have been researching since I came upon the structure on one of my hikes.  Anyway, the link to this stoneworks site I am covering in this post can be found on Peter's Rock Piles blog here-  This site only exists still today because of a wetland at the base of the ledge of this stoneworks site.  Again, no protection of the rock piles, or any sort of motivation to try and understand the rock piles.  This site is located off of Rte. 85 by the Hopkinton and Milford MA. town lines.  There is a new condo complex that has been built up here called Walden Woods, and surely quite a few things have been lost in that process.  When state archaeologist Curt Hoffman and I first tried looking for stoneworks by Echo Lake, before I came across the Chamber, we also drove into this condo complex as a place to park but it didn't turn out so well.  As Curt put it "I would never want to live in one of these condos... would you?" and also "Henry David Thoreau would be rolling over in his grave right now if he knew these developers named a condo complex named after Walden Pond."  This is very ironic, and seems to be a trick that developers use- after destroying a serene and beautiful natural landscape they will call their development/ complex something like "Deer Run", "Walden Woods" etc.

So as it is now the site of interest in this post is a spot of land that is amidst a condo complex, which would have been destroyed also if it didn't have to be surveyed and preserved under the wetlands protection act (at least that's worth something).  Here is the Department of Environmental Protection sign located at this site:

This is the attention-grabber that can be seen from the street.  A boulder placement with stone wreckage around it, what looks like what used to be a serpent wall or enclosure or a cairn around the boulder:

One of the best features of this site is this well formed and nicely sized cairn with a hollow (a design feature) in the middle of it.  A:





Nearby, this looked like an interesting stone placement/ configuration:

Another cairn:

Cairn at a vantage point view A:

B (the light is reflecting off the stone):


Another cairn at the site nearby to the last one:

The remains of an obviously ancient stone-wall that runs up to a boulder, a classic feature when looking at what are pre-colonial walls.  This is also at the same vantage point close by to the cairns from the above pics.  However, this boulder is located more around the outer parameters of the ledge before the terrain drops down into a wetland, so here we see a stone wall "fortification" above the wetland.  View A:


A very nice rock ledge at this site:

Part 2 is on it's way.  Then stay tuned for some new exciting revelations about the Echo Lake Stone Lodge/ Chamber in this area that I have been researching.