In New England Fields and Woods

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February 14, at pm Reply. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:. Email required Address never made public. Name required. Naturally Curious Email Subscription Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. These stone walls are thousands of years old. They were not built by colonial americans.

In New England Fields and Woods

They were here long before the white settelers were here. I have lived in Vt. These walls and other standing stones and stone buildings were built by some ancient race, for what purpose, I do not know. I can imagine how farmers years ago cleared the land of stones with the help of oxen.

But how did they place the stone on the walls? In particular, huge stones the size of a large, rubber, bouncy ball… how, without machinery, could a rock that size be lifted up on top of other stones already placed on the wall? But does anybody know how they were actually built? There has to be lore passed down from those times.

A book on Early American Tools by Eric Sloane has an entry on the stone and fence levers jacks farmers used to remove stones from their fields and to construct stone fences. The tools were rudmentary, but effective and would allow a single person to move and position some very heavy stones. They would gather the stones into piles then move them to their boundaries by horse and wagon. If you calculate the number of hours it would take to build all of the stone structures, walls, cairns, etc.

In addition, there is little or no record in journals, or other records of that period describing the building of stone walls. Wake up people; Having studied many of these stone walls for years in Conn. There are no historical records from colonials other than their questioning who may have built said walls and natives when questioned by colonials had no idea who built the walls and surmised walls were built by the gods. Without any serious scientific investigation into historical documentation and geological annalists any theory on their actual construction time period or who built walls is only theory, not science, and not worth spewing forth as fact.

We must be on guard for romanticized false histories without documented attribution. The current research suggests that these stone walls were assembled by an ancient culture. The evidence given to attribute these to colonialists or settlers is flimsy. My brother and I were avid outdoors-men, always exploring. We would constantly discover these marvelous walls all over Connecticut.

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Construction varied from one wall to another, some were meticulous and others were just thrown together. No doubt it took many hours of hard labor to built these. Eric Sloan mentions sleds as a way to move these large stones but that had to be done in the winter or when it rained. Oxen were used to pull these heavy weighted sleds. The walls are a true wonder of the world. People dream up some fanciful stuff. in new england fields and woods by rowland e robinson paperback

As noted these walls were simply thrown up as the fields were cleared of stones. There were enough of them to use as material for walls and fences so they used them.

Simple as that. Most all you find is of European origin. I am an avid mountain biker and have biked about 5, miles through the woods of New England over the last 20 years. I never gave much thought to the stone walls, just left over from farming. Susan Alports article hit me like a stone wall.

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There are so many. I see them cross under rails built in , dip into swamps and come out the other side. Climb crazy steep hills no one would farm. Common 30 foot road ways. The larger boulders are lust barely jutting from the ground, but are in definitely arranged by man. I see quartz walls in areas with very little quartz, and odd limestone that looks like cement with rounded brook type stones. The stones have no tool marks, I have looked at thousands, camped next to walls and found none. Many do look cut.

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The more I look at the walls the more questions it raises. Somebody should really do a serious study of the walls. In Middletown Ct, at Wadsworth Manner, they recreated the 30 foot wide road that was already there, so we have a good idea of what the roads looked like. There is still remnants of the original 30 foot wide road, mostly just scattered rocks now.

The walls are most common in areas not disturbed by modernization, and are denser near water ways. I also see common melted stone on the exposed surfaces like the wall was subjected to incredible heat on the exterior. Where R these rock walls? If I google earth them will I be able to see them? I find them very interesting. There are If you examine the walls you will find them in places never farmed or used for pasture, with no entry or exit openings, runing parallel 25 ft apart and running up the sides of cliffs those farmers had a lot of excess energy ,.

Maybe suggesting it was there before the lake was? Old stone walls marked boundaries. Turns out they were made up of Adirondack Stone suitable for cutting and polishing for decorative purposes. The cousins made some good money selling those rocks. October 28, 9am-5pm — Please join us for another rousing Native American-Archaeology Round Table with outstanding presentations and panel discussions by Northeastern professional researchers and Native American leadership. The federal government recognizes Native American Ceremonial Stone Landscapes CSLs as significant archaeological sites, yet most people — the general public and professional researchers — know little about them.

This conference focuses specifically on the identification of CSLs, their physical characteristics, relationships to the cosmos, connections with indigenous world view and sacred stories, and the need for professional archaeologists and state officials to identify, catalog and preserve these objects of living history. The thing that puzzles me the most about stone walls is how deep are they buried in the ground?

Casually wondering what had happened to the farms led to a journey of discovery through the forests and fields of New England. At first, studying them was just a hobby for Thorson.

The Walls of New England: A Forgotten Wonder of the World

I ran a lab with graduate students and had funded projects But I got interested in these stone walls as landforms, so I kept working on it. Laid stone walls along Route in Canterbury, Conn. Like the book, the Initiative aims to promote scientific understanding of the walls and advocate for their protection as cultural and ecological resources. On a brilliant afternoon in January , I joined Thorson for a guided tour of the stone walls in Brooklyn, Conn. Typically this occurs in January when snow frames the wall from bottom to top and when the strengthening, crystal-clear sun casts strong shadows.

As we toured the walls, I learned their story: It begins with glaciers during the last ice age, meanders through the Colonial and early New England farming eras, ebbs during industrialization in America as the walls were abandoned and fell into disrepair, and continues today with their memorialization in poetry and refurbishment.

As the ice sheet melted and receded, it left behind deposits of unsorted material ranging in size from clay to massive boulders chiseled from the slate, schist, granite and gneiss bedrock of northern New England and Canada. They had nothing to do but to cut down the wood, put it up in heaps, and to clear the dead leaves away. Likewise, Colonial-era books on farming, encyclopedias and recorded observations do not mention stone walls, Thorson notes.

Instead of stone walls, Colonial farmers used rail and zig-zag fences made of wood — far more abundant at the time than stone — to pen animals. Even then, other than in long-farmed interior areas such as Concord, Mass. Glacial action produced the raw materials for stone wall building. Granite, the most common rock in New England, also predominates in stone walls. Considering that one cord is 3. This accelerated frost heaving, and gradually lifted billions of stones up through the layers of soil toward the surface.

In the early days, artistry in stone wall building had to wait. The first priority was survival, which meant clearing land to grow crops and raise livestock. At Harvard Forest — a 1,hectare forest laboratory and classroom established by Harvard University in in Petersham, Mass. European settlement, and the beginning of deforestation, largely occurred in the 18th century. By the midth century, 60 to 80 percent of the land had been cleared.

After farming began to decline, abandoned pastures and fields rapidly developed into white pine forests, which obscured the stone walls. The pines were logged and succeeded by the mixed hardwoods seen today.

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  • The types of stones and their abundance may have been familiar to those early farmers, who were mainly from the British Isles, Thorson says, because rock in New England is similar to rock in England and Scotland.