I am often asked where the enigmatic stone structures I speak about are located. The reality is that many are found on private land and I have agreements with landowners to be able to study and research these sites in exchange for keeping their location concealed for obvious reasons. There are however, sites that are open to the public. America's Stonehenge in North Salem New Hampshire is open daily and is probably the most elaborate and controversial site in New England. It has been described by Dr. Edward J. Kealy, professor of history at Holy Cross University as “potentially the most important place in the Northern Hemisphere and the oldest large stone structure in North or South America”. 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 and carvings. Some stones here weigh between 15 and 20 tons. It is carbon dated to at least 2000 B.C., half a millennium before the final phase of Stonehenge and like Stonehenge it possesses many precise astronomical alignments. Another public site is Gungywamp in Groton, Conn. 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. The 600 A.D. carbon dating helps to verify this theory. Gungywamp which means church of the people in Celtic has stone chambers, petroglyphs and at it's center lies a double circle of 21 large quarried stones. The main stone chamber has a light shaft in which the equinox sun has shone through precisely on March 22nd and September 21st for centuries just like similar chambers in Ireland and Scotland. Finally, there is Celtic Ogam script carved into the stone at this mysterious site.
There are many dolmens and balanced rocks located throughout New England. The word dolmen originates from the expression taol maen which means stone table in Breton. A dolmen usually consists of three or more upright stones supporting a large flat horizontal cap stone. Dolmens are found in large numbers on every continent except Antartica. In North Salem, New York there is an 80 ton dolmen that some researchers believe is a stone effigy of a particular bear which has been extinct for over 10,000 years, (Figure 1). There is also a stone chamber located there. In Goshen there is a large balanced rock in the DAR forest that is set upright with another stone. There is a trail right to it and I recommend a visit. In Lanesboro, at Balanced Rock State Park there stands a car sized boulder balanced on one small point completely off the ground. In the Savoy state forest there is a balanced rock that weighs over a 100 tons and there is also a named trail right to it. In Pittsfield, at another Balanced Rock State Park, there stands a house sized boulder balanced on a point that until a few years ago could be rocked back and forth. On Bear Swamp Road there is a large perched boulder that is also impressively balanced. I believe many of these stones were intelligently placed and are not just glacial erratics. I have found dozens more in the area by exploring the woods especially the tops of hills. A factor to consider is that many of these balanced and perched stones have precise astronomical alignments which would strongly imply that they are man made monuments. Finally, at the Hawley Bog, if you take the trail on the right about 100 yards down on your left is a stone snake effigy. The last 7 or 8 stones weigh several thousand pounds a piece, are fitted carefully to one another and are stood up and balanced with smaller stones. The last stone which is the snakes head has a carved eye and iris (Figure 2). This is a fraction of the work of what I believe was an organized and complex pre-columbian civilization. Next month I will discuss perhaps the most interesting stone structures in the area, stone chambers.