(photo courtesy of Sue Carlson)
(photo courtesy of James J Garfall)
“You do not find what you do not believe in.” Dr. Albert Goodyear
Scattered throughout the woods and fields of New England lie the remains of an ancient civilization. These remnants are enigmatic stone structures that predate European settlement. Standing stone circles, impressive and elaborate stone chambers, massive balanced stones, cairns, stone animal effigies, solstice and equinox markers, stone pilgrimage paths and many other structures that litter the landscape. Some examples are the 80 ton dolmen of North Salem (Figure 1), the stone calendar in Heath which once consisted of 12 standing stones, (Figure 2) the mortar less Goshen stone chamber (Figures 3), the carved Buddha figure in Shutesbury (Figure 4) , the megalithic stone shrine in Shutesbury (Figure 5) and the balanced car sized turtle effigy with notched fin and quartz teeth in Ashfield (Figure 6). The prevailing theory among open minded researchers is that cultures that existed here prior to colonial settlers built these structures. Byron Dix and James Mavor's groundbreaking book Manitou lays out this argument using rigid scientific process and meticulous archaeological techniques. Take a look at the snake effigy wall near the Hawley bog in Hawley (Figure 7). The last seven stones weigh several thousand pounds apiece, are fitted on vertical planes and are stood up and balanced with smaller stones. The entire structure is built on a massive 20 foot high erratic and the last stone, the snake's head, has a carved eye and iris. Does it seem probable that colonists struggling for survival would be responsible for such an elaborate and seemingly non-utilitarian creation? Further questions arise when you view it in the context of the existence of thousands of such stone creations in New England and down the east coast.
STONEHENGE IN AMERICA?
America's Stonehenge in New Salem New Hampshire is probably the most elaborate and controversial site in New England (Figure 8). It has been described by Dr. Edward J. Kealy, professor of History at Holy Cross University as “potentially the most important stone complex in the Northern Hemisphere”. Featured on the History Channel and other programs, this 30 acre complex is a mixture of stone chambers, stone solstice and equinox markers, cairns, chimneys, fireplaces, stone drains and ancient carved Phoenician script. The two largest stones here weigh 45 and 70 tons. The site has been carbon dated to at least 2000 B.C. by scientists at Geochron labs. That dates it's construction half a millenia before the final construction phase of Stonehenge, and like Stonehenge it possesses many precise astronomical alignments. Stone markers throughout the site provide over 200 alignments with the sun, moon and 45 different stars which have been verified by independent researchers. One alignment wall allows a person to observe the southern most standstill of the moon on its 18.61 year metonic cycle. A period of 18.61 is required to carry the moon to all of its possible positions in respect to the sun. This event is marked at Mystery Hill as the moon passes above the winter solstice stone (Figure 9) and then aligns with the terminal of this wall. This certainly raises questions about the antiquity and purpose of many of the stone walls in our area.
A letter dated November 30, 1654 by a John Pynchon of Connecticut lends strong support to the idea that many stone structures existed here before the colonists arrived. Here is a portion of his letter. “Honored Sir, Understanding you are now at Newhaven and supposing there will be opportunity from Hartford for conveyance thither, I make bold to scribble a few lines to you... Sir, I hear a report of a stonewall and strong fort (chamber) within it, made all of stone, which is newly discovered at or near Pequet (presently known as the Gungywamp Range), I should be glad to know the truth of it from your self, here being many strange reports about it”. Gungywamp in Groton Conn. is another site that has been thoroughly researched and has generated equally perplexing questions. Also featured recently on the History Channel in the special “Who really discovered America”, it is believed to be a Celtic monastery built by the Irish explorer St. Brendan and his men 1400 years ago. The 600 A.D. Carbon dating helps to verify this theory. The name Gungywamp is not Native American it is actually Celtic and translates to “church of the people”. The complex has stone chambers, ancient Celtic Ogam script, petroglyphs and at it center lies a double concentric ring of 21 large quarried stones. Extensive fire burning on the slabs is apparent which leads researchers to believe it was an ancient altar. Nearby there are several large standing stones that have been carefully positioned along astronomical site lines. The main chamber has a stone lined shaft that was designed precisely to permit the Equinoctial sunset to fully penetrate the chambers dark interior on only two days during the year- March 22nd and September 21st just like similar chambers in Ireland and Scotland. (Figure 10). The high density of the garnet in the stones magnifies the intensity of the sunlight entering the chamber. Archeo-astronomers have determined that New England is replete with stone chambers. There are some 105 astronomically aligned chambers in Massachusetts, 51 in New Hampshire, 41 in Vermont, 62 in Connecticut, 12 in Rhode Island and 4 in Maine. Suffice it to say, it is obvious that the alignments found at Gungywamp and America's Stonehenge are not random. Orthodox archaeologists routinely claim that the chambers are colonial root cellars and the father of modern archeology Samuel Morrison of Harvard asserted that standing stones are upright because they were hit by colonial plows and positioned that way.
MYSTERIOUS ANCIENT SCRIPT
One day in 1874 Reverend M. Gass, assisted by two students was engaged in opening a small Native American burial mound near Davenport Iowa. They found an engraved tablet (Figure 11) now known as the Davenport Steele. This was extensively engraved with strange signs and came into the ownership of the Davenport Academy of Science. It has inscriptions in three languages Egyptian, Iberian Punic and Libyan, each in its appropriate alphabet or hieroglyphic character. Translated it reveals itself to be an astronomical calendar. It was deemed a hoax by the Smithsonian because at the time the script could not be deciphered. I do not deem this to be very scholarly. Harvard professor Dr. Barry Fell considered one of the worlds leading experts on ancient writing until his death in 1994 was a pioneer in the effort to decipher the mysterious ancient script carved all throughout Eastern America. One of Fell's theories backed by intriguing evidence is that parts of America as well as New England were settled by non-natives before the Viking explorations of 1000 A.D. Native American legends make this same claim. This was apparently accomplished by Phoenicians and Iberian Celts hundreds of years before the coming of Christ. The Phoenicians were renowned seamen and traders of the ancient world. Chroniclers of the time wrote that they not only ventured well beyond “the pillars of hercules,” meaning Gibraltar, and traveled the Atlantic ocean with ease, but as Greek historian Herodotus in 5 B.C. wrote, “The Phoenicians could sail for thousands of miles without falling off the edge of the earth”. The oceans were conveyor belts not impediments to ancient seafarers. The Iberian-Celts and Phoenicians traded and intermarried, and both used “ogam,” the language engraved in stones found and deciphered in New England. The Bourne stone of Bourne Massachusetts (Figure 12) was recognized by Fell as Celtic-Iberian and translated reads “Hanno takes possession of this place”. Hanno was a noted explorer from Carthage who voyaged into the Atlantic in 425 B.C. Asked to decipher script found chiseled deep in stone near the Damriscotta River in Maine, Fell deciphered it as Libyan script which read “Dama is waterless” and “Dama lacks water and the spring is blocked”. These messages are dated 2,300 years old by the form of the script used. Fell was called out to Mohegan Island by local anthropologists to decipher an inscription on another boulder. The strange writing, Fell concluded ,was Iberian-Celtic and read “cargo platforms for ships from Phoenicia”. He also deciphered Celtic Ogam at a site in Buckand in 1983 that read “stag”, “bear” and “mother goddess”. At America's Stonehenge Fell translated an inscribed triangular dedication tablet that reads in Iberian “To Baal of the Canaanites (Phoenicians), this in dedication” . The Eye of Baal is also carved at the site (Figure 13). Baal was the Phoenician sun god and America's Stonehenge certainly appears to be a solar temple.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
While initially the presence of multiple trans-migratory cultures in ancient America was controversial, the reality is there is so much evidence now that it has become mundane. Remember, for years archeology has told us that no one lived in the Americas before the Clovis barrier 11,500 years ago. Starting with discoveries in 1997 this theory has been shattered by countless carbon dated settlements. Cactus Hill Virginia has been carbon dated to 17,000 B.C., Medowcroft Shelter in Pennsylvania has been carbon dated to 24,000 B.C., Monte Verde Chile has been carbon dated to 33,000 B.C. and Dr. Albert Goodyear is working on the Topper site in South Carolina that has been carbon dated to 50,000 B.C. While there are certainly many examples of different cultures building intriguing stone structures in New England, the reality is that the pre-colonial inhabitants may be responsible for much of the work. While orthodox archeology does not attribute stone building capabilities to Native Americans, there are countless of examples of stone constructions that have been proven to be of pre colonial origin. Whatever lost civilizations left these impressive stone structures would have to have possessed a high level of mathematical, engineering, and astronomical skill as I will write about Next- The Mystery of The Stone Chambers.