America’s Stonehenge

I haven’t posted for a while because I was on a business trip to New England. Don’t worry. I’m back now, working on metal clay again, and preparing another entry on metal clay techniques.

In the meantime, I thought I would share something about my trip to New England: an American archeological anomaly.

Atop a hill in the town of Salem, New Hampshire (not the Salem famous for witch trials, but not that far from it either) stands a collection of stone structures that resemble  megalithic architecture. Was it build by Native Americas? Possibly, but no other structure that strongly resembles it has been found in New England. By colonists? Certainly, some of the stones were used by colonists (one family even lived on the site). However, the amount of work required to construct such an apparently useless structure would have been enormous. Travelers from the Old World? Unlikely, because, if they did, they left no Old World style pottery shards, arrowheads, clothing fasteners, or other ‘mundane necessities’ that they would have required to build such a structure. Ultimately, the structure is a mystery.

It was once known as Mystery Hill (and was called by this name in an episode of the 70s TV show ‘In Search Of’ , if you remember that). It has been run as a tourist attraction for a long time (visitors included American writer H P Lovecraft — Lovecraft fans often identify the ruins with Lovecraft’s fictional ‘Sentinel Hill’.) It is now known as ‘America’s Stonehenge’  (http://stonehengeusa.com/ ). This name is given because some of the stones align with sunrise and sunset on the solstices. This might have been the intention of whoever built it or it might be a coincidence — there are lots of prominent stones, many of which have been moved. Finding stones that line up with almost anything would probably not be too hard.

Now, some photos:

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The last stone is the one that has caused the most controversy. It is called ‘the sacrificial stone’ because of the grooves. It might have been that. It also might have been part of a wine-press for all anyone knows.

My point here is that, if you are near Salem, New Hampshire, you should visit. Do you choose to interpret it as an odd structure built by early settlers, a Native American archeological site, a mystic wonder, or, as I did, something that inspired H. P. Lovecraft? In any case, it is well worth a few hours of your time.

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