Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Mysterious Stone Chambers of New England and the Search for Lost America Part 1

Calendar 2 Stone Chamber Vermont
(photo courtesy of James J Garfall)

Corbelled Roof- Newgrange Stone Chamber Ireland

Corbelled Roof Shuttesbury Chamber Massachusetts

Goshen Chamber Standing Stone Massachusetts

Interior- Goshen Stone Chamber Massachusetts

Turtle Effigy Mound Goshen Massachusetts Chamber Site

Upton Chamber Upton Massachusetts

Winter Solstice sunrise Calendar 2 Vermont

“Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts”. Theoretical Physicist Richard Feynman
     One day in the early 1800's, two boys from Goshen were chasing a rabbit when it darted away and ran into its burrow. While trying to dig it out they discovered that its burrow lead to a massive stone shaft and stone tunnel that was completely sodded over with bushes covering the top. The boys quickly shared news of their discovery. What they found was perplexing to say the least. The main shaft of the structure was fifteen feet deep with a diameter of 3 ½ feet. Two side tunnels near the bottom of the shaft traveled 70 feet in one direction and 15 feet in the other, where it is believed a stone chamber ten feet by ten feet once existed before it caved in long ago. The roofs of the tunnels were comprised of tightly fitted large quarried capstones. Goshen's subsoil in this locality is composed of “clay hard-pan” that is so dense it has to be loosened with a pick or similar instrument before it can be removed. The entire construction was dry laid, used quarried stone, some of which were massive. The entire project required backbreaking labor.
     The first settlement in Goshen did not take place until 1761, not long before the discovery of this enigmatic structure, when David Stearns and Abijah Tucker built homes in western Goshen. Colonial settlement in the late 18th century in Goshen was dispersed and limited. There is no mention of its construction in the town records and the fact that it was sodded over in the early 1800's points to a probable precolonial origin. An engineering feat of this magnitude would certainly be common knowledge if it were a modern creation. A mystery by itself, it becomes more perplexing existing in the context of hundreds of strange stone chambers and tunnels throughout New England. Archaeological excavations in the 1980's revealed that part of the complex was dug while soil deposits from melting glaciers were still being laid. This occurred about ten thousand years ago. Researchers excavated a stone sun disc and other stone artifacts at the site that are located at the Goshen Historical Museum. Five such stone sun discs from the late archaic period have been unearthed throughout New England, all at archaic Indian quarry sites. One site was the Fife Brook site on the Deerfield River here in Western Mass. Fitzhugh (1972). Stone tools used for hammering, scraping, tailing, braking and spading have been dated to a period of roughly 2000 B.C. based on excavations at the Horse Hill Quarry site in Milbury, Mass. Fowler (1966).

A Multitude of Chambers
     At the Pound Ridge Historical Museum in New York exists a faded letter dated July 1742. It is from a priest writing back to a local farmer who had just discovered a stone chamber near his property in the woods. The priest instructed the man to stay away from the chamber because it was the work of the devil and was a place where the devil enters this world. Why would this admonishment take place if it was a colonial root cellar as modern archaeologists insist. Local stone chambers can be found in Goshen , Leyden, Shuttesbury, Wendell, Pelham, Montague, Adams, Peru, New Salem, Russell, Palmer, Whitingham, Warwick, Thorndike, Petersham, Webster and South Hadley. The chambers at Hardwick, Marlboro and a complex of thirteen chambers in Thompson, Conn. have been recently bulldozed, victims of archaeological indifference. The construction techniques used in many of these chambers are time consuming and sophisticated. Take a look at the Goshen chamber which is located a mile from the Goshen tunnel as the crow flies. It has a double column design and the columns have an extremely high degree of construction competence, nearly every stone in the columns fits perfectly with barely a shim used. Getting stones to match up without gaps all the way around, even with the best quarried stone is extremely challenging. Instead of one roof capstone, the column configuration intelligently supports nine very large ceiling stones. This is done with existing material at an inaccessible site at 1400' elevation. It is oriented due east in the direction of the equinox sunrise. When you examine any of these chambers you will see that they were not easy to construct, their design is quite complex. The walls are built using a technique called corbelling. This sophisticated architectural design is used to support arches, parapets and floors. In this case corbelling is used in the walls which are made up of piles of stones arched inward to support the ceiling lintel stones. This corbelling technique was used in Bronze age Europe as far back as 5000 years ago in such structures as the famous astronomically aligned complex of Newgrange in Ireland. Just like Newgrange where it's stone chamber is oriented to allow the light to penetrate only on the day of the winter solstice so too are a large percentage of New England's hundreds of chambers similarly aligned to the equinox or solstice event. Compare the corbelled roof of Newgrange, dated to 3000 B.C., to the corbelled roof at one of the Shuttesbury chambers. The chamber ceiling stones are usually huge flat slabs of rock that are chiseled out from nearby ledge. From their design, the weight of the ceiling pressing down on top of the walls gives them enormous stability. They are also remarkably waterproof. In one Vermont chamber known as Calendar Two the seven roof slabs are up to 14 feet wide, weigh more than 3 tons apiece and are tightly joined together. At the New Salem chamber, the roof is one stone slab which is 10 ft. x 5 ft, several feet thick and weighs over fifteen thousand pounds. Forgetting about the mathematics and geometry of solar orientations for a moment, the organization, engineering and force required to construct some of these chambers is very impressive.
     In 1938 after the Category 5 “Great Hurricane of 1938” hit the region, two young girls discovered a long mysterious tunnel in Montville, Conneticut after a huge oak tree was toppled to reveal it. The tunnel is 37.5 feet long and you must crawl the entire length to enter a chamber that requires you to sit cross legged. The end wall of the chamber is cut into a ledge that has been quarried to level and shape its contour. The dry laid structure is built completely underground and shaped like a serpent. It has been theorized that it might have been an ancient shamanic vision quest site and a serpent stone wall lies right next to it. It is an architectural feat by its builders, especially having cut into ledge and its location is just across a brook from the elaborate Gungywamp complex. In Upton, Mass. there is an enormous chamber which was built completely underground and carved into the side of a hill. A 6 foot high 14 foot long tunnel leads into a 12 foot diameter 11 foot high chamber. The irregular stones were tightly fitted and the roof stones are ovals weighing over ten thousand pounds apiece. This chamber also possesses many precise astronomical alignments with a focus on the Pleiades. Based on the phenomena of the precession of the equinoxes, the 25,900 year cycle caused by the earth's wobble and the obliquity of the ecliptic, the complex has been dated to 710 A.D. The engineering feats encountered at these chambers are complex and mystifying. Carbon dating of chamber sites is also eye opening. The Gungywamp, Connecticut chamber site has been dated to at least 600 A.D., the Putney, Vermont chamber site has been dated to at least 492 A.D. and most notably the Mystery Hill chamber site in New Hampshire has been dated to at least 2000 B.C.
Astronomy, Geometry and Mystery
     James Mavor and Byron Dix led a seven year investigation into chamber sites in New England with much of the focus on two sites in Vermont named Calendar 1 and Calendar 2. Mavor received a masters degree in naval architecture from MIT, taught marine engineering at the U.S. Naval academy and taught mechanical engineering at Northeastern University. As a research specialist in applied physics he was the lead designer of the famous deep sea submersible “Alvin”. Dix was a brilliant optical designer and an expert in archeo-astronomy, surveying, precise measuring and was eminently qualified for the research they undertook measuring the movements of heavenly bodies. Not exactly a couple of intellectual lightweights. Their results were startling. The Calendar Two stone chamber was built with the exact 2 to 1 ratio found at many worldwide sacred sites. But even more sophisticated, the size of the doorway entrance is such that it's limits mark the declination angles 18.5 and 28.5 of the moons major and minor standstills, thus providing a means of accurately predicting eclipses. This form of ecliptic prediction requires advanced astronomical, mathematical and engineering knowledge. Down the road at Vermont's Calendar One site 8 stone chambers, 14 standing stones, 5 cairn groupings and many other stone structures were meticulously and painstakingly excavated, mapped, and studied. There turns out to be 32 astronomical alignments from one single location at the complex. An example of some of the events accurately recorded at the site are the acronomical rising of Sirius at the winter solstice in 3150 B.C. and a heliacal rising of Rigel in the constellation of Orion at the summer solstice in 2424 B.C. If you apply the formula of taking three length measurements, three width measurements, divide each by three and then divide the average width into the average depth it yields a ratio of something to the number one. In the case of Calendar 1 the ratio yielded is 1.617 to 1. Phi, the golden ratio and divine geometric proportion that is incorporated into sacred sites worldwide is 1.618. Astounding. These two Vermont sites are 14 miles apart but they exist on a perfect north/south alignment accurate to within 200 feet. How was this done without a GPS? There is also a 4x5 plinth grid carved into the chamber wall that Dix believed was a geometric calculus used to calculate astronomical events. Mavor and Dix observed similar grids on European megalithic tombs from 3000 B.C. Not only are there astronomical and geometric characteristics associated with chambers but standing stones, astronomically aligned walls, stone animal effigies, sacred wells and stone cairns are also consistent features from site to site. The Goshen chamber site has two standing stones, a stone lined well, a thirty foot long four foot high stone turtle effigy mound and many stone cairns. The same stratigraphic soil anomaly that occurs at the Goshen tunnel site occurs at Calendar One and a stone sun disc and similar stone artifacts were unearthed there as was the case in Goshen. The disc in Vermont was excavated at the lowest level of exploration, logically dating it of greater antiquity. Mavor and Dix theorized the original site could be as old as ten thousand years. They believe parts of it were constructed and reconstructed over time like most worldwide stone complexes. Very recently, Calendar 2 has been added to the National Register of Historic Places and the town of Goshen purchased the land where the tunnel is located to preserve it.

Final thoughts
     Lastly, many chambers have ancient carved script in or near them. Celtic Ogam, Phoenician Runic, Carthaginian and Iberian writing and symbols throughout New England are abundant, perplexing and may date back thousands of years. Massive stones fit by expert artisans, ecliptic architecture, astronomical orientations, precolonial artifacts, ancient carbon dating, precise geometric calculations, bronze age building techniques, puritanical edicts to avoid them, historical designation and ancient inscriptions, this doesn't sound like root cellars to me. This is not an isolated example of archeology missing the mark, the closer you look the more you see a long standing pattern of incorrect or erroneous conclusions drawn by archaeologists. Anything that does not fit the old paradigm is mocked, attacked or ignored. Many archaeological theories regarding are just that and worse they were concocted long ago with filtered information layered on top of the original outdated and questionable hypothesis to give the illusion of fact. Of particular relevance here is the misunderstanding by archaeologists of the meaning and purpose of sacred sites and unexplained stone structures worldwide. In part 2, I will delve into theories of who built the chambers, examine relevant Native American legends and explore the emerging movement to rethink Americas mysterious past.

1 comment:

  1. Found this large glacial rock with a 3" hole bored in it nead a stone wall off of route 202 in Litchfield,Ct. while exploring the woods one day. I can send you the pics. I also found some stone artifacts in the stream near by. One seems to be man made. The rock with the hole in it is well weather worn.