In June 2009 I took a drive through Vermont for several days that included stops at the Maple Museum on Route 9 and the Chazy Fossil Reef on Isle La Motte. At the end of the week, I was off to visit “America’s Stonehenge” in Salem, New Hampshire. It is several acres of crisscrossing stone walls in the woods with a small cluster of stone “huts” in the center, some topped with dirt and moss. There is also a table and associated “speaking tube” through which one can speak through from a hidden place and make it seem as though the table is speaking. At the entrance to the woods is a combination gift shop and very small museum of artifacts found nearby.
The speaking tube is the most interesting. It reminds me of a program on the history channel documenting how the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and others used to use trickery and magic tricks to manipulate the masses into obedience. “Speaking tubes” of some kind were used in almost every major religion at the time.
Nobody knows who built the structures in what is now Salem. Evidence suggests that many groups, from native Amerindians to migrant Celtic priests (who visited the new world before Columbus) to runaway slaves on the underground railroad have used the site at different times in the past. There is also evidence that Scottish Knights were at least in this region in the middle ages, even if not linked directly to this site. Radiocarbon dating of charcoal found suggests that at least some sections were being used as early as 4000 years ago.
Among the stone walls are large, flat, pointed stones standing upright. From a central location, these stones line up with the sunrise and sunset of each equinox, solstice, and several other dates important to some ancient societies. Other stones line up with important lunar events.
I myself have some doubts about the importance of these rocks and wonder if they are being interpreted correctly. For one thing, there are actually two central points these rocks line up with. Some rocks line up with one point and some line up with another about fifteen feet away. For another thing, the rocks do not line up precisely. This is explained away as the drift of the Earth through space in the time since these stones were used and the time period these stones would have lined up is supposedly corroborated by radiocarbon dating, but it is believed the site was used over many thousands of years, so that explanation only brings up the question of why the stones weren’t moved since then. Also, I have doubts about the accuracy of all radiometric dating. For another thing, there are several additional stones that are not said to line up with anything of any importance. Since there are so many of them, I believe it possible that any perceived lineup could very well be a coincidence. These stones might not have been used for a calendar after all.
If these stones were used as some sort of grand calendar built by a single group of people, why is it so sloppy? The stones are all different sizes, shapes, and distances from the center(s). Some have V-notches carved into them and some do not. Some are standing and some are not (it is claimed that some fell over). I can’t say that it isn’t a calendar, but nor can I be sure it is.
There is a nice trail through the woods also. The rest of the day was uneventful.
My name is Dan. I am an author, artist, explorer, and contemplator of subjects large and small.