Test Pits on the top of hills..?

JerseyDevil

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Dec 22, 2003
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A36C78CF-7FF2-4819-8BFE-F1C807B6A23C.jpeg
The area that I’m currently exploring has an unusual to me situation. Every single hill top has hand dug pits strewn around. Does anyone have a clue what the diggers may have been looking for? This area is very hilly area with diverse elevation changes. It’s along the south branch of the metedeconk river in Jackson. This area has never been developed or logged. Other that these dug pits it’s pristine other than remnants of trails that are only discernible by LiDAR. Even in the winter these trail or old roads can barely if at all be discerned with the eye. One pit does have a lot of jersey sand stone strewn about the spoils. There are sand mines very close within 10,000 feet, this is all high quality sand strata.

Dose anyone have an idea of what was being dug for or looked for? That’s the river in the back and a stream to the left. There are many more that LiDAR does not show. Frankly I’m amazed it sees those. For years I’ve wondered what they are and this LiDAR just make me wonder more.
 
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ecampbell

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Jan 2, 2003
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There are lots at Friendship. Not test pits but areas mined for gravel fill for building roads around bogs. This was common and some have lots of slag, witch can be confusing because it was also used as fill, distant from it's origin. The dam at Lower Forge for example.
Untitled.jpg
 

Ben Ruset

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If they were archaeological test pits they'd typically only be one square meter. Since it doesn't look like that area has ever been used for anything industrial they could have been looking for Lenape stuff. I sort of doubt it though.

Here's the spot on the Cook(?) topo.

Screen Shot 2022-07-30 at 7.52.07 AM.png


I've always wondered what "The Alligator" is.
 

Boyd

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Here's the spot on the Cook(?) topo.

That is actually a circa 1900 USGS topo (and NJGIN did a pretty sloppy job, with a gap between quads, LOL). It's a more discolored and blurry version of this.

The Cook topo's are recognizable because of the landcover (little trees) and their unique style. As you can see, I have only covered South Jersey though and that location is near the edge. :)

I've also wondered about the Alligator.
 

JerseyDevil

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Dec 22, 2003
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Jackson, NJ
They also looked for stone to build homes and for property stones.

I think this is the case. The largest one, the one that had jersey sandstone strew about, that was larger in diameter, maybe 12’ I think was used to gather stone for a hunting cabins fire place a couple hundred yards away. Talk about the quality of that stonework..! WOW it’s top notch. 1920, built on site log cabin from site cut pine logs.

The holes in the back were so far from building that I don’t think it was for them but for property boundaries…? He’ll yea, I think you nailed it, I think they had to keep digging just to find enough to mark that corner.

Excellent feedback, much appreciated!
 

JerseyDevil

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Dec 22, 2003
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Jackson, NJ
If they were archaeological test pits they'd typically only be one square meter. Since it doesn't look like that area has ever been used for anything industrial they could have been looking for Lenape stuff. I sort of doubt it though.

Here's the spot on the Cook(?) topo.

View attachment 17830

I've always wondered what "The Alligator" is.


WOW.. Your map FOO is top notch, that is the exact spot. The fact that you found it, took the time proves that you are contaminated with the same map virus many of us have :)

Thanks for the reply.!

I will be spending more time there when the ticks subside..
 

JerseyDevil

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Dec 22, 2003
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Jackson, NJ
If they were archaeological test pits they'd typically only be one square meter. Since it doesn't look like that area has ever been used for anything industrial they could have been looking for Lenape stuff. I sort of doubt it though.

Here's the spot on the Cook(?) topo.

View attachment 17830

I've always wondered what "The Alligator" is.

Alligator!

I have been working on that answer for a decade, I think I have the answer but not posting it yet until I have a bit more confidence.

Lol.. I can’t believe there is anyone other than me wanting to know the answer to that.. nice!
 
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Boyd

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I am yet another who is curious as to The Alligator on the Jackson Township old maps.

No idea what @JerseyDevil's theory is, but see page 615 in this PDF version of the WPA Federal Writers Project Guide to New Jersey. (give it a few seconds to load, then keep scrolling down, the first few pages are blank)

https://rucore.libraries.rutgers.edu/rutgers-lib/1743/PDF/1/play/

alligator.png


Lots of interesting stuff in that book, there's an index at the end. And since it's a PDF, you can also search it. Some more discussion here

https://forums.njpinebarrens.com/threads/1939-wpa-map-of-new-jersey.14405/#post-174294
 
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Boyd

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Actually, I had wondered if that was some sort of topographic feature before, but never checked it out. But now I see they tried to represent it with hillshading on the Kobbe map

https://boydsmaps.com/#13.00/40.100140/-74.251339/kobbe/0.00/0.00

Screen Shot 2023-12-07 at 5.44.14 PM.png


The Kobbe maps are very inaccurate, but "New" Central Ave is about where the Alligator is shown

https://boydsmaps.com/#14.00/40.093942/-74.257034/hereDay/0.00/0.00

But I'm not seeing anything that looks like an Alligator in 3d....

https://boydsmaps.com/#18.00/40.093939/-74.257059/mbx3dmidatl/90.00/70.60

So perhaps "New" Central Ave is different, the Kobbe Map is wrong or maybe the Alligator was destroyed by development?
 

bobpbx

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I forgot all about this alligator. I posted something about it on this forum last spring sometime. I told myself to go back and look, but life got in the way.
 
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Boyd

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I posted something about it on this forum last spring sometime.

So you did! I forgot about that thread. Lots of interesting stuff there.


That thread got really derailed with a discussion of a very technical issue with the terrain viewer. Don't have time now, but I will go back and split those posts off into a separate thread later, maybe merge the Alligator posts from this thread into it also.
 
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Boyd

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Went back and removed all those off-topic posts from the old Alligator thread, putting them into a new thread in the boydsmaps forum. This thread stands on its own pretty well, so I'm just leaving it alone, but I added a link to it at the end of the old Alligator thread.
 
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Teegate

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As in my previous post I still say that diggings on the top of hills are for stone extraction. It was a vibrant and important livelihood in the 1800s and I see deeds all the time mentioning this.
 
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bobpbx

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As in my previous post I still say that diggings on the top of hills are for stone extraction. It was a vibrant and important livelihood in the 1800s and I see deeds all the time mentioning this.
I agree, I think your evidence is compelling. They knew these areas had stone, but at the time they had no idea it was due to inverted topography.
 
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