There’s a recently opened nature preserve near me where I’ve been hiking. I found a spot that looks like a person is buried there. There is a roughly rectangular depression sunken into the ground, maybe 7’ long and 3’ wide, and a flattish field stone set on edge at one end of the rectangle. The stone is leaning against a tree, so it’s between the trunk and the rectangle. The stone looks natural in shape, not carved, and it has no markings I can see.
The tree is an oak, a white oak I think. This spot is the top of a very tidy round hill. There’s a ring of pines concentric about the oak, the ring maybe 50’ in diameter, and another ring of pines concentric around them, maybe 70’ in diameter. Then there’s a concentric circular trail perhaps 300’ in diameter, brush and scrubby trees around them, another concentric circular trail perhaps 350’ in diameter, more brush and scrubby trees, and yet another concentric circular trail perhaps 400’ in diameter. These trails are all level but at slightly different altitudes as this bullseye is centered on this round hill. There’s grass, well established, as if tended for many years.
Not all the rings make full circles. The pines make full circles but the trails only make it about halfway around. Still, in aerial photos, it looks striking and is obviously very deliberate, and must have taken years of effort to create.
I studied historic aerial photographs and found that the pines were not there in 1969 (it was a smooth plowed field, probably a hay field) and were small in 1981. The oak didn’t appear until 2005 or 2008, but I think it has to be older than that because of its size, so I wonder if it was transplanted there when a few years old.
USGS maps often call out otherwise forgotten graveyards, but note nothing special here.
This is on my list of things to learn more about, should I get the chance to talk to one of the preserve’s stewards. But in the meantime, what else could I do to figure this out?