Metal Detecting Research & Exploration - A Complete Guide, page 46

Footwork & Observation

EXPLORING STONE WALLS & FENCES

In New England, the stone walls that extend for miles through the forest is an impressive phenomenon. You might wonder why anyone would have gone to such great labor building stone fences through thick forest, over steep wooded terrain and into the deepest glens.

The truth is that when stone fences were built, no forest was there as it had been cut down prior to wall construction. In some areas, the stone walls were no more than neatly piled rocks gathered during the farm clearings massively carried out in the eighteenth century.

Remains of a Stone Wall in the Woods, Rensselaer County, New York

Old Stone Wall

In some parts of the region, there are stone walls that not only have survived the time but still standing all intact. That is the best expression of their builders' attitude towards hard labor and responsibility for on-coming generations: they built things that would last for centuries.

The same question comes to mind every time I come across a mile-long stone wall in the woods: "How did they manage to build such a monumental structure?" The answer lies in the people's way of living 300 years ago.

Unlike people of the 21st century, people of the past did not have many options for entertainment and fun (TV, chat rooms, computer games, etc.) and did not face a long commute to/from work daily; therefore, they had all the time in the world to build, craft and repair besides farming in order to keep afloat and provide for their families. So, with no hurry, they built things with quality.

One old-timer told me that Irish quarrymen used to compete with each other in building stone walls just for fun during their lunch breaks. Whatever time off work they had, they spent it for mastering their craftsmanship and masonry skills many of which unfortunately have been lost by now.

Well Crafted Stone Wall in Dutchess County, New York State

Stone Fence in Dutchess County, New York

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