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America's Stonehenge Deciphered ISBN 097179104X

America’s Stonehenge Deciphered
Written By Mary Gage
Photographs by James Gage

For the ancient Native Peoples, the place known to us as America’s Stonehenge (Mystery Hill) was a sacred place. For 2500 years they came annually to hold ceremonies with the spirits. At first, they came on the summer solstice and then later they came for the winter solstice and spring equinox. They built ritual structures like stone chambers, cairns, drains, basins, enclosures, and standing stones as part of their ceremonial areas. As the ceremonies were altered and added to, new ceremonial structures were built to accommodate them. These structures were constructed for specific purposes, contained symbolism meaningful to their culture, and had distinct architectural styles. The result is an amazing archaeological record of the 2500 year cultural history of this sacred place.

America’s Stonehenge Deciphered explores the purpose of these structures, the ceremonies held at them, and the meaning behind the symbolism built into them. It traces how these cultural beliefs were passed from generation to generation and how they were added to and altered to meet the changing needs of their culture. What emerges from this is a profound respect for the intelligence, sophistication, and the depth of their spiritual worldview, culture, and their expertise with building stone structures.

Trade Paperback. 274 pp. 199 illustrations 6 x 9 inches.
ISBN 0-9717910-4-X
Price $15.95

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America's Stonehenge Ceremonial Area

What is America’s Stonehenge?

Built on the exposed bedrock summit of Mystery Hill in North Salem, New Hampshire is a complex of stone chambers, standing stones, carved drains, and other types of stone structures. The site covers appromixately 100 acres but is best known for its main complex on the top of the hill which covers about 1 acre (shown in photo). C-14 dates found in association with Native American quarry tools have established that the site began construction nearly 3,000 years ago. Over the next 2500 years Native Americans came to the site on yearly basis to celebrate various ceremonies on the Summer Solstice, Winter Solstice, and later in the site’s history the Spring Equinox.

America’s Stonehenge site is located in Salem, NH. It is open daily for self-guided tours. For directions, admission fees, and hours please visit

Visit the America’s Stonehenge pages on this web site.


Chapter 1 – Beginnings
Chapter 2 – The Spirit World
     Upperworld & Underworld
     Nature of Spirits
     Principle Spirits
     Movement of Spirits
     Spirit Portals
     Offering Niches
     Types of Offerings
Chapter 3 – Cultural Ideas
Chapter 4 – Natural Features Era (Phase 1)

     Exposed Bedrock
     Ledge and Crystal Geode
     Natural Spring
     Wetlands Pool
     Initial Ceremonies
Chapter 5 – Low Wall Era (Phase 2)
     Original Summer Solstice Ceremonial Area
          I. Original Summer Solstice Sunrise Alignment Stone
          II. Preparation Enclosures
          III. Ditch Drain, Stone Ramp, and Large Basin
          IV. True South Offering Wall
          V. Niche-in-Wall
          VI. Conclusion – Summer Solstice Ceremonial Area
     Clay Pit
     Underworld Ceremonial Area at the Cliff
          I. Two Caves and Vertical Cliff Face
          II. Southward Extension of bedrock from the Cliff
     Winter Solstice Sunset Ceremonial Area
          I. Winter Solstice Sunset Alignment
          II. Plain Triangular Standing Stone (Erected in Phase 5)
          III. Two Boulders
          IV. High & Low Offering Walls
          V. South Side Perimeter Wall
          VI. Conclusion - Winter Solstice Sunset Ceremonial Area
     Winter Solstice Water Ceremonial Area
          I. Enclosure, Dividing Wall, and L-Shaped Ditch Drain
          II. North Stone Enclosed Area
          III. Conclusion - Winter Solstice Water Ceremonial Area
     Original Springtime Rain Water Ceremonial Area
          I. Ditch and Covered Drain at Wetland’s Pool
          II. Sump Pit and Two Cairns
          III. Conclusion – Springtime Rain Water Ceremonial Area
     Ravine – Southwest Entrance
Chapter 6 – Tall Thick Wall Era (Phase 3)
     Storage Chamber added to Summer Solstice Area
          I. Tilted Roof Storage Chamber (a/k/a Mensal Stone)
     Tall Wall Water Preparation Unit
          I. Tall Wall Storage Chamber (a/k/a Tall Wall)
          II. Covered Drain (Alcove of Oracle Chamber)
          III. Grooved Drain
          IV. Conclusion – Tall Wall Water Preparation Unit
     Rain Water & Crystal Preparation Unit
          I. Rain Water & Crystal Storage Chamber
          II. Grooved Drain/Basin
          III. Conclusion - Rain Water & Crystal Preparation Unit
     Relocation of Springtime Rain Water Main Ceremony to Hill Top
          I. Covered Drain, Sump Pit & Paved Walkway
          II. Cupule Stone
         III. Conclusion – Springtime Rain Water Main Ceremony
     Half Circle Ceremonial Unit
          I. Large Niche Area
          II. Quartz Quarry (Native American)
          III. Half Circle Enclosure -West Side
          IV. Half Circle Enclosure (a/k/a The Pulpit)
          V. Half Circle Enclosure – East Side
     Relocation of Storage Chamber and Hill Top Entrance
          I. South Facing Storage Chamber
          II. Lower Processional Way’s Upper Section
          III. Passage Cairn
Chapter 7 – Walk-In Chamber Era, Part I (Phase 4)
     Collapsed Chamber Preparation Unit
          I. Offering Drain and Basin
          II. Enclosure and Collapsed Walk-In Chamber
     Spring Equinox Sunrise Ceremonial Area
          I. Equinox Sunrise Alignment Stone
          II. Lodge
          III. Conclusion - Spring Equinox Sunrise Ceremonial Area
     East Entrance to Hill Top Ceremonial Complex
          I. Lower Processional Way
          II. Lower East Side Storage Chamber (a/k/a Watch House Chamber)
          III. Water Well
     Sunken Ceremonial Unit
     Abandoned Chamber Unit
Chapter 8 – Walk-In Chamber Era, Part II (Phase 4)
     New Summer Solstice Sunrise Ceremonial Area
     Ramp, Grooved Stone Waterfall Drain, & Oracle Chamber Unit
          I. Ramp Area
          II. Grooved Stone Waterfall Drain Area
          III. Oracle Chamber Area
          IV. Conclusion – Ramp, Grooved Stone Waterfall Drain, & Oracle Chamber Unit
     Summer Solstice Sunset Ceremonial Area
          I. Pre-Ceremonial Area
          II. Processional Way, Main Entrance, Underworld Spirit Portal
          III. Ordinary People’s Offering Wall
          IV. Sunset Alignment Stone and other Symbolic Stones
          V. Underworld Portal – Down Slope
          VI. Small Underworld Spirit Ceremonial Area
     End of an Era
          I. Fire Ceremony at North Stone
          II. Closing of Several Structures and Ceremonial Features
          III. Conclusion – End of an Era
Chapter 9 – Slab Wall Era (Phase 5)
     North Entrance & Upper Processional Way
          I. North Entrance
          II. Upper Processional Way
     East-West Walk-In Chamber
     Summer Solstice Sunrise and Ramp
          I. 2nd Crystal Well
     Summer Solstice Sunset Ceremonial Area at Cairn Fields
          I. Layout of Wall System
          II. Cairns in Large Cairn Field
          III. Cairns in Small Cairn Field
          IV. Summer Solstice Sunset Alignment Stone and Associated Features
          V. Underworld Niche and Spirit Portal outside the Cairn Fields
          VI. Conclusion – Summer Solstice Sunset Ceremony Area
     Final Closing of Site
Chapter 10 - After the Final Closing
Chapter 11 – Reconstruction of Ceremonies

     Spring Equinox
     Summer Solstice
     Winter Solstice
Appendix A – Rectangular and Triangular Shapes
Appendix B – Prehistoric and Historic Quarrying
Appendix C – Myth of Two Central Viewing Points
Appendix D – Petroglyph of Merrimack River


Copyright (c) 2005-2007, James E. Gage & Mary E. Gage. All Rights Reserved.