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Shutesbury, MA - Ames A & B Chambers

Ames A Chamber

This is one of two chambers in close proximity to each other (about 325 feet apart). The chamber is located at the end of low ridge of land adjacent to a swamp. Upon entering the small entrance, a person drops into an oval well-like shaft. It is 4 feet 9 inches in length from the entrance to the back, and 5 feet 3 inches in width from side to side. Inside it is about 6 feet 5 inches in height. The axis of the entrance is oriented to about 176 degree (magnetic north) or 161 degrees (true north). The chambers features a corbelled transition from the vertical walls to its single capstone.

Shutesbury MA Ames

Entrance to the Ames A Chamber

Shutesbury MA Ames

Diagram from field notes

Ames B Chamber

This is the smaller of the two chambers. It is located on the northern slope of a large hill. It has an oval well-like shaft design. Front to back it measures 3 feet 8 inches and side to side it measures 3 feet. It present depth is 3 feet 3 inches. It has a single capstone on vertical walls (no corbell transition). The entrance is partially collapse preventing access to the chamber. A 59 foot long ditch extents from the entrance down slope.

Shutesbury MA Ames

Entrance to Ames Chamber B

Shutesbury MA Ames

Diagram from field notes

Shutesbury MA Ames

Photo from entrance looking at left side
of chamber

Spring / Well

About 100 feet southeast and slightly uphill of the Ames B chamber is a field stone spring fed well. It has an interior diameter of 2 feet and a current depth of 2 feet 10 inches. A ditch extents from the well downslope. A Gurgling noise can be heard from the well (unusual even for a spring fed well).

Shutesbury MA Ames

Photo from entrance looking at right side
of chamber

Shutesbury MA Spring Fed Well

Discussion - Ames A, Ames B, & Monks Chambers

The two Ames chambers form a pair. The chambers entries face each other without lining up with each other. One opens north and the other south, this creates a set of opposites.  Opposites are a form of balance. Chamber B has a spring associated with it. Chamber A does not have an associated feature.

Ames A & B chambers and Monks Chamber share several common characteristics including small entrances which drop down into the chamber, single capstone over a well-like shaft room, and their location on hill sides. The Monks chamber is about 1/2 mile from the Ames Chambers.

Starting with the Ames B chamber the chambers progressively get slightly larger. Ames A is one foot wider than Ames B. Monks Chamber is one foot wider than Ames A. This is merely an observation. Purpose for enlarging or downsizing is unknown. The order in which they were built is unknown.

There is a rumor of another chamber with an attached enclosure in the area.  It would be interesting to find out where it is located in relation to these three chambers and to compare it building style and size with these three chambers.

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Copyright (c) 2005-2008, James E. Gage & Mary E. Gage. All Rights Reserved.