Things are shifting for me slightly. I am getting a bit tired of going out to find new sites and a more than a little ready to start seeing some actual progress in the subject of rock piles. Seeing and starting to understand hollows ("hollowology") and identifying a "Wachusett Tradition" was a big step for me and I have now gotten preoccupied with a basic question: is that all there is? Are all rock pile sites from that same culture? I seriously doubt it but it is time to start testing this more carefully. So I am revisiting sites with larger mounds in the hope of seeing if there are any that clearly are not the same sort of beast as the ones I have been seeing out in Leominster and Fitchburg. Last weekend was somewhat rainy so I concentrated on a place near home in Weston (off Ripley Lane, if you care to go look for it) where there is a wonderful site of small piles in and around several (3 or maybe 4) larger "platform" mounds like this one:
I could not see any distinct hollows in this pile, although there were certainly some candidates in the pattern of tumbled rocks forming its surface. To support the idea that this might be something different I note that this is in a shallow valley with a near horizon, and that there are rock piles on the horizon in every direction as seen from the central (largest) mound:
Although you can barely make it out, look at the horizon in the upper left of the picture. This is quite different from the open outlooks I have been recognizing at the Wachusett sites. I also note that this pile is more triangular than rectangular or oval. Certainly, it has nothing like a tail.
Perhaps these differences do amount to a distinction between this place and the ones further west (Leominster/Fitchburg). But I'll have to keep looking and try to find identify characteristics at this place (as opposed to the absence of characteristics) before I will think the case has been made.
Have a look at the original report on this Weston site and, more generally for sites in Weston: here [and make sure to note the "Older Posts" link at the bottom]. As I glance over those earlier reports the idea of triangular (or non-rectangular polygon) shaped piles seems to get a little traction.