King Philip Rock near Gates Pond in Berlin, Massachusetts. Photo by Mike Luoma.

Rock of King

Glacial Erratic? Perched Boulder? Shaped Stone? Searching Out King Philip Rock in Berlin, Massachusetts

Mike Luoma
7 min readJan 13, 2022


The Wampanoag Satchem Metacom was called King Philip by Europeans who knew him and knew of him. He was a son of Massassoit, the Indigenous Leader who had welcomed the Pilgrims and helped them survive through their first winters.

Our Beloved Kin by Lisa Brooks. Photo by Mike Luoma.

A generation later, Metacom saw that the sons of those first Europeans were not keeping their fathers’ promises. This soon led to a bloody conflict, a war which was much later named for Metacom, as King Philip.

I’m currently reading “Our Beloved Kin…” — A New History of King Philip’s War by Lisa Brooks, as she reframes the story from both an indigenous and a woman’s perspective. Brooks observes Wampanoag land was steadily being encroached upon or taken. And European men didn’t recognize nor respect Women Leaders among the Indigenous Peoples, undermining their authority and making land deals with their wayward sons and husbands.

Metacom — or King Philip — is credited with leading an ultimately unsuccessful Indigenous war against the encroaching English colonists. And one of his meeting spots was said to be a great boulder on a hill south of Gates Pond in Berlin, Massachusetts.

Gates Pond is the subject of my long feature article “Rediscovering Kequagansett. Those explorations concentrated on the North end of the pond. Having started to read Brooks’ book, I headed back to Gates Pond to see if I could find King Philip Rock there on the pond’s southern end.

Detail featuring the South End of Gates Pond from The Berlin Conservation Commission’s Trail Map. Photo/Map Credit: Berlin Conservation Commission. Available at

According to the Berlin Town Trail Guide:

“Another fascinating historic spot is King Philip Rock, a huge…



Mike Luoma

Author, Podcaster, Radio Host & Music Director, Explorer, Researcher, Science Fiction & Comic Book Creator. From Vermont.