Strange piles of rocks in Southern Indiana

Topics and issues of interest to cavers which are not related to caving. No political or religious discussions, please.

Moderator: Moderators

Strange piles of rocks in Southern Indiana

Postby David Grimes » Dec 7, 2012 1:08 am

I am sitting here thinking about this topic and wondering if anyone knew anything about the subject.

In the woods around my home in Harrison County Indiana there are several mounds of rocks. I would not think much of it if they did not look so man made. There are three that I know of and probably more. All the piles are about 3 - 4 feet wide and about 6 feet long. The rocks are fairly uniform in size and fairly rounded. The stones are probably grapefruit sized.

They are all placed perfectly east/west. They all mound up to a peak height of about 2 - 3 feet. They have definitely been there for a long time judging by the moss and plant growth on the rocks.

I am curious if they might be indian graves or possibly civil war graves, the area is along the route Morgan traveled after the battle of Corydon.

I have no intentions of digging up these mounds but I am just curious if anyone knows anything about them. I will add that I have seen similar mounds in the Harrison Crawford Forestry.

I do not have any pictures currently but when I get back to Indiana next week I will try to get some and post them.
User avatar
David Grimes
Admin
 
Posts: 1298
Joined: Jun 19, 2007 6:14 pm
Location: Port Richey, Fl / Harrison County, In
NSS #: 59533
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Indiana Underground Society
  

Re: Strange piles of rocks in Southern Indiana

Postby batrotter » Dec 7, 2012 7:20 am

Interesting! I have no idea, but they could be graves.
batrotter
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 521
Joined: Sep 6, 2005 9:20 am
Location: Columbus, Indiana
Name: Bruce Trotter
NSS #: 27849RL
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Indiana Cave Survey
  

Re: Strange piles of rocks in Southern Indiana

Postby Phil Winkler » Dec 7, 2012 8:43 am

I believe it is traditional for graves to lie oriented east/west.
Phil Winkler
13627 FE
User avatar
Phil Winkler
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 2371
Joined: Sep 5, 2005 8:48 am
Location: Wilmington, DE and Dewey Beach
NSS #: 13627FE
  

Re: Strange piles of rocks in Southern Indiana

Postby graveleye » Dec 7, 2012 9:50 am

here is a good link about rock piles... http://thesga.org/wp-content/uploads/1990/11/gresham_historic_rock_piling.pdf

Rock piles are everywhere and the thing is that they were built by humans, but why? Most around here are not even associated with burials or rituals. They also happen to look exactly like the piles that result from clearing a field. You might have a a burial spot and you might not. You might just have a pile of rocks with no explanation ever to come of it. The only way to know is to excavate.

We have had a rock pile near the Kingston Cave. Known lithic site too... lots of flakes and preforms, so it was assumed that the rock pile had something to do with that location. I do believe that it had some sort of significance and was probably made by prehistoric americans long ago. Unfortunately someone came along with a backhoe and dug it up. I got down in the hole they left and didn't see even the first sign that there was anything at all in the hole. No chips, flakes, bones, metal, pottery shards. Nothing. I don't know for sure, but I think they dug it up for nothing. Still a total heartbreaker though.

I think the pile was ancient, built by man, but since it was all jasper and chert, it served as nothing more than a pile of useful rocks for toolmaking.

So... to answer your question: who knows!! :tonguecheek:
ad astra per aspera

http://www.myspace.com/jamthecontrols

The views expressed in this post are not necessarily those of any organization I am affiliated with.

Become a sustaining member of the SCCI
User avatar
graveleye
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 2926
Joined: Mar 14, 2006 11:12 am
Location: Georgia, USA
Name: Kevin Glenn
NSS #: 57238RL
  

Re: Strange piles of rocks in Southern Indiana

Postby David Grimes » Dec 7, 2012 10:31 am

Well it was worth a try. I didn't know if anyone here had any direct experience excavating any rock piles in that area that might be abe to shed some light.

I do not believe the areas were ever cleared since there are many large mature trees that make up the forest in that area but they are all close enough to cleared fields that it is pausible they are just piles of cleared rocks. I know it is also hard to tell if the land was ever cleared in the past which is entirely possible.

The direction of the piles is the only real reason I thought they might be something more. Like I said all the mounds are exactly east/west oriented so it seemed odd that someone would go through that trouble just removing rocks from a field.

I will never know for sure since I am not going to remove the rocks to find out. Hopefully someone here will have some experience with rock piles in southern Indiana.
User avatar
David Grimes
Admin
 
Posts: 1298
Joined: Jun 19, 2007 6:14 pm
Location: Port Richey, Fl / Harrison County, In
NSS #: 59533
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Indiana Underground Society
  

Re: Strange piles of rocks in Southern Indiana

Postby graveleye » Dec 7, 2012 10:39 am

I think one of the colleges (University of Indiana??) has one of the best archeology programs in the country... Indiana Jones? lol That's where I would start.

Old growth forests don't necessarily mean that it was never farmed of course, but it might. Not much way to know of course without some in depth investigation.

I had a friend ask me to come out once to his property to investigate some rock piles. They were perfect rectangles, about 2-3' high, 3' wide, 6' long each. The piles were well stacked, no mortar, albeit a little loose from the years. There were six of them, and they were laid out in perfect lines, and formed decent sized rectangle.

He was convinced they were burials. I was convinced they were the old foundation of a barn or a house! Again, no way to know for sure.

I would love to see some pictures when you can get some.
ad astra per aspera

http://www.myspace.com/jamthecontrols

The views expressed in this post are not necessarily those of any organization I am affiliated with.

Become a sustaining member of the SCCI
User avatar
graveleye
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 2926
Joined: Mar 14, 2006 11:12 am
Location: Georgia, USA
Name: Kevin Glenn
NSS #: 57238RL
  

Re: Strange piles of rocks in Southern Indiana

Postby BrianFrank » Dec 7, 2012 12:39 pm

During the Civil War small rock piles have sometimes been found to be defensive positions in either guarding a strategic road or an important area. If the ground directly behind the rock piles is indented (a depression) on all the same side, then that is a telling sign. If the area around the rocks is evenly flat ground then probably not. Many of these defensive positions never actualy saw battle.

You mentioned you are on the route near the Civil War campaign of Corydon. Maybe the rock piles were guarding something strategic....do they face an old road coming in front of them? Maybe they were guarding a cave of gold that is nearby :big grin:

Here are all the battles fought in Indiana. Only 4 are documented.
- Newburgh Raid, Location: Newburgh, July 16, 1862
- Hines' Raid, Location: Orange & Crawford counties, June 18, 1863
- Battle of Brandenburg Crossing, Location East of Mauckport, July 7, 1863
- Battle of Corydon, Location: Corydon, July 9, 1863
.
All TAG cavers join http://www.SCCI.org. A small price for a GREAT resource.
User avatar
BrianFrank
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 439
Joined: Apr 5, 2011 11:25 am
Location: Alpharetta, GA
Name: Brian
NSS #: 52121
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Dogwood City Grotto
  

Re: Strange piles of rocks in Southern Indiana

Postby David Grimes » Dec 7, 2012 1:26 pm

The property actually is very close if not in the route of the original roads from the civil war time frame based on the few maps I found from that time. I don't think it they are those types of rock piles though. I have seen quite a few rock piles that were made for defensive positions in the Harrison Crawford Forestry, especially near caves where saltpeter was being collected.

These are just a deliberatey placed pile of rubble. When I get pics you wil be able to see that they would be pointless as a defensive barrier because the tallest point is in the center and forms more of a peak than a wall.

I will not be back in Indiana until the 15th but once I get there I wil try and get some pics ASAP. Thanks for all the info, I will keep you posted if I find the cave of gold they might have been guarding.
User avatar
David Grimes
Admin
 
Posts: 1298
Joined: Jun 19, 2007 6:14 pm
Location: Port Richey, Fl / Harrison County, In
NSS #: 59533
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Indiana Underground Society
  

Re: Strange piles of rocks in Southern Indiana

Postby wyandottecaver » Dec 10, 2012 9:57 pm

David,

they seem a bit long, but I have often found piles like that used as foundations for old buildings. generally they used flat racks if they could, but in some areas the just made them bigger and laid crossbeams on them.
I'm not scared of the dark, it's the things IN the dark that make me nervous. :)
User avatar
wyandottecaver
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 2902
Joined: Aug 24, 2007 8:44 pm
Location: Indiana
  

Re: Strange piles of rocks in Southern Indiana

Postby rebelfirefighter » Dec 12, 2012 2:09 am

They sound exactly like some Civil War graves that I've seen. I know of an area thats extremely rocky. It was hard to near impossible to dig so he was placed in a shallow grave then the rocks placed on top. He lies on top of a ridge. At a couple miles to the south at the bottom of the ridge are 6 other graves the same way.
rebelfirefighter
Prolific Poster
 
Posts: 160
Joined: Mar 30, 2009 8:40 pm
Location: Tunnel Hill, Georgia
Name: Andy Witt
NSS #: 63903
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Pigeon Mountain Grotto
  

Re: Strange piles of rocks in Southern Indiana

Postby David Grimes » Dec 14, 2012 12:23 am

That is interesting about the civil war grave since I have suspected it was an indian grave. I will be back in Indiana this weekend and finally get some pics on here. I think once you can see it someone here will know for sure or at least be pretty sure. You all have given me a lot to think about though.
User avatar
David Grimes
Admin
 
Posts: 1298
Joined: Jun 19, 2007 6:14 pm
Location: Port Richey, Fl / Harrison County, In
NSS #: 59533
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Indiana Underground Society
  

Re: Strange piles of rocks in Southern Indiana

Postby Squirrel Girl » Dec 14, 2012 5:03 am

graveleye wrote:Old growth forests don't necessarily mean that it was never farmed of course, but it might.

That's what I was going to suggest. I've come across piles of rocks in a forest near me. They reminded me of the civil war piles of rocks up by Harpers Ferry (and the site I am referring to is not far from Manassas), but I was told by someone who would know better than I (but who knows if they were actually right) that they were probably from long-ago farming, despite the current tall forest. The piles I'm thinking of were more rounded than your grave-shaped piles.

If they are grave coverings, I'd be reluctant to uncover them. If you do, you've screwed up the archeological significance. Same if they're civil war features.
Barbara Anne am Ende

"Weird people are my people."
User avatar
Squirrel Girl
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 3097
Joined: Sep 5, 2005 5:34 am
Location: Albuquerque, NM
NSS #: 15789
  

Re: Strange piles of rocks in Southern Indiana

Postby nathanroser » Dec 15, 2012 10:11 pm

Strange they're just piles, up in NY there's lots of rocks piles in forests around where farmers would gather up all the rocks in their fields before plowing and then put them in a wall along their property line, but maybe since southern Indiana wasn't glaciated as much as NY there's just less rocks around to build walls so they're just in piles.
User avatar
nathanroser
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 371
Joined: Feb 6, 2011 12:44 pm
Location: Syracuse, NY
Name: Nathan Roser
NSS #: 62848
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Syracuse University Outing Club
  

Re: Strange piles of rocks in Southern Indiana

Postby David Grimes » Dec 31, 2012 9:10 pm

I tried to get some pics the other day but due to the snow I was unable to locate the pile I was looking for. I guess I will have to wait for a slight warmup to get rid of this snow.
User avatar
David Grimes
Admin
 
Posts: 1298
Joined: Jun 19, 2007 6:14 pm
Location: Port Richey, Fl / Harrison County, In
NSS #: 59533
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Indiana Underground Society
  


Return to Open Talk Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot]