2010 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (31 October 3 November 2010)
Paper No. 108-17
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-6:00 PM

MAPPING THE STONE WALLS OF SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND: NEWPORT COUNTY, RI AND BRISTOL COUNTY, MA

COOLEY, Skye, Boise, ID 83705, skyecooley@gmail.com and THORSON, Robert, Geoscience, Univ of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269

A distinguishing feature of the New England landscape is its abundance of stone walls. The Little Compton-Tiverton area, a 350-year old community situated in southeastern Rhode Island, hosts an impressive collection of dry-laid, heap-piled, and mortared stone walls. The hand-built walls were originally constructed by colonial era laborers, slaves, children of homesteading families, and seaport merchants as a means of delineating property boundaries, dividing agricultural fields, and enclosing livestock. Some walls appear to date as far back as the 1600s (Plymouth Colony 1621-1691), but most were constructed during the Federal Period (1775-1830), a time of accelerated settlement, forest clearing, soil erosion, and economic growth. Local portions of many walls show signs of natural damage (tree fall, root displacement, freeze thaw action), neglect (expensive and difficult to repair), displacement (recycled into other walls), wholesale removal (sold and hauled away), and theft (cap course slabs are often targeted). Communities have sought protection for their stone walls under architectural or cultural resource preservation ordinances, however, such efforts have suffered from a lack of inventory data and basic map information.

For this pilot project, we used spatially corrected, high resolution digital aerial photographs (completed) and a series of randomized field checks (upcoming) to construct a comprehensive map of stonewalls throughout a 2000 km2 area. Our stone wall maps will provide local land use planners, land trusts, and land owners much needed information on the extent and distribution of their stone wall resource. Our methods are time-efficient, affordable, and an essential component in stonewall protection planning and the development of preservation ordinances.

2010 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (31 October 3 November 2010)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 108--Booth# 214
Geologic Maps, Digital Geologic Maps, and Derivatives from Geologic and Geophysical Maps (Posters)
Colorado Convention Center: Hall D
8:00 AM-6:00 PM, Monday, 1 November 2010

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 42, No. 5, p. 276

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