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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Hirundo Stone Structures

During the final days of our field session at Hirundo, we were informed by Fred the caretaker of some curious stone piles on the property. Stone piles in the area are not that uncommon considering the past glacial activity throughout central Maine. However, at first glance, Fred's structures were unquestionably man made.

Over the course of the day we recorded and measured 18 stone structures. Many of them have a 2 meter diameter and are half a meter in height. A few of the structures have obvious courses and were finely made.

The question remains though, when were they constructed and for what purpose? Man made stone structures are extremely common in the North East and were made for a variety of purposes. In many cases, they were simply the end result of early Colonial farmers or loggers clearing away cobbles from their work spaces. Other examples include stone walls as property markers and livestock pens. Some prehistoric stone structures have been recorded in the area, but their significance is more ambiguous. Some ethnographic evidence associates them with adolescent coming of age rights, perhaps similar to visionquest structures found in the Rocky Mountains.

If these were prehistoric, we hoped to find some additional evidence such as ground or chipped stone artifacts. We sunk numerous test holes throughout the site and found nothing. Thus, the story behind the structures remains inconclusive and to be solved next time around!

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