Friday, May 23, 2014

The "Crude Wall" in Concord MA

“On February 13, 2005, The Hartford Courant published a cover story for its literary supplement Northeast Magazine about the new book Exploring Stone Walls. As part of that story they ran a sidebar with a short list of TEN GREAT WALLS, selected by the editor from my (Robert M. Thorson's) larger list of 45 touristy and noteworthy walls. Each is superlative in its own way. Here’s what they picked (and shown here is #5):
"Crude wall at the Old Manse, in Concord, MA. Important for three main reasons: (1) pasture fence; (2) military expedience; and (3) it helped inspire Ralph Waldo Emerson to publish Nature in 1836."

      Not so fast, I say, I think that’s an Indigenous or Native American made stone construction. There’s a Law of Parsimony going on here. It’s much easier to leave a row of stones alone than move it, just as it’s easier and cheaper to add some wooden rails over it to create the “pasture” fence and legally demark your property, especially back in those days when all the stone wall books tell you the earliest of fences were made of easily and quickly constructed wooden rails.
       That “Golden Age of Stonewall Building,” roughly beginning just after the American Revolution and ending about the time of the invention of barbed wire, is a very short period of time in which to build about a quarter of a million miles worth of “stone walls.” Indigenous People who thought they lived on Turtle Island were living here for a much, much longer time than that – and had a much longer time period of opportunity to build enough rows of stones to reach the moon.
        I look for the Testudinate, something resembling a turtle or tortoise, when I judge just who might have created these rows of stones, a signature of sorts constructed of stones artistically placed “just so.”
         When I look at that photo above, my eye is drawn to a certain segment of that “wall:”
     I look closely and see that there’s a platform of stone on which were placed two stones shaped like front forelegs, another stone to prop up and position a stone that represents the head of a turtle, and an arch of stones to represent the scutes that make up the upper shell or plastron of a turtle:


  1. Jeff in RI8:38 PM

    Right On, Daddio!! You've got a good pair of oogler's. I would also posit that many walls that do not connect stone landscape features or bound cairn fields could have been fire breaks .....
    Jeff in RI

  2. Jeff, I complee agretely!
    Except for the exceptions of course....