Site Report by Mary E. Gage
This site is located on the summit of a hill in Sandown, New Hampshire. A portion of the site is on privately owned property and therefore the exact location has been withheld. This site consists of 102 recorded structures and features: 89 stone cairns, two enclosures, one combination standing stone & niche feature, one see-through niche and some historic features dating from the use of property as farm land.
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Spring Equinox Sunset 2009
The see-through niche feature of this structure is orient East-West. It was suspected that the standing stone might be part of an equinox alignment. The exact observation point for the alignment could not be determined in the field. However, this photographic sequence argues persuasively that there is an alignment. The niche feature lines up with the direction of the setting sun and the sun itself touches the standing stone.
The main cairn site is located on top of a hill on dry undulating land. On the west side is a steep drop off with two pools of water. Water in the upper pool flows north via a short stream downhill to the lower pool. Water in the lower pool feeds a stream that heads north and then curves eastward.
The stream goes out beyond the cairn site. On the northeast side, a steep hillside descends to the base of the hill.
Native American Stone Structures
Native American structures are comprised of two enclosures, one niche/standing stone feature, one see-through niche and eighty-nine cairns. The stone structures are found in two distinct areas A and B. Area A has eight sections and is located on the flat area on top of the hill. Area B has two sections, one is located at the base of the hill and the other a distance away beside a stream.
The sections were determined by open space between each group of structures and/or differences in particular groups of cairns. It is one of many layers used to analyze the site. Go to the map to see what structures are in which sections. A detailed list is in the appendix.
Among the cairns in Area A are three exposed, surfaces of bedrock that were quarried in the mid to late 1800’s. The surface level only was quarried, whereby a few blocks of stone were taken. This was a small scale quarry operation lasting a short time. There does not appear to have been any impact on the Native American cairns in the area from the quarrying operation. In Area B section BII there is an old road culvert.
When the property was developed about ten years ago, it was found the town of Sandown owned two landlocked parcels. For the town to access their land, a right of way was laid out from the new road into the landlocked parcels. On the developer’s land beside the road abutting the town owned land is a standing stone on top of a niche. The standing stone proved to be a convenient and easily recognizable landmark to use as one of the boundary markers for the right of way. Currently a faded orange surveyor’s tape is wrapped around it.
Structures: Description & Interpretation
COMMON CAIRN DESIGNS
Walled: Walled cairns have dry-laid outer walls with faced-off sides. There is one large walled cairn A9 that is in an unfinished state, the cairn has a large tree growing out of one of the unfinished sides. Cairn A11 and one other cairn are walled.
Mound on the Ground: This design is the most common. The majority of cairns are low mounds on the ground.
On Top: On Top refers to cairns built on top of a base stone. These cairns range from a single stone to a low mound. A limited number of the On Top cairns have one to five stones. These stand out and were used in the analysis process.
Split Stone – common basic design: There are two different types of split stone cairns at this site, common basic design and complex-special designs. The common basic design is a split stone with stones placed inside the split(s), attached to the side of split stone, or stones placed on top of the split stone. Under the basic design is a sub-design where two boulders are placed on the ground with an open space between. The open space is filled with smaller stones. This is a man-made split stone. For more information please see Special Cairns A44, A48, A56 below.
Stone Plate: A stone plate is a flat stone used in a structure. Four structures have a stone plate: cairns A11, A48 and A58, and niche A10. Cairn A11 has a rectangular stone plate on the ground between cairns A11-A and A11-B. Cairn A48 has a stone plate on the ground underneath an open space under the base stone. Cairn A58 has a stone plate on the ground under a separate stone with an upside down opening in front of the cairn. The niche has a triangular stone plate on the ground under the front half of the niche.
Triangle: Triangular shaped stones show up as features in two structures: Cairn A11-A and Niche A10. Cairn A11-A has a triangular stone jutting out of the cairn midways up on the side facing the stone plate. The niche A10 incorporated the triangle shape into the stone plate on the ground under the front of the niche. The standing stone on top of the niche also has a semi-triangular shape.
White & Quartz: Quartz and white colored stones show up on many cairns. Three cairns A2, A37, and A58 have numerous white stones or quartz veins that stand out.
Split Stone: Split stones are stones with natural split. Most were made into Split Stone Cairns. Some have stones inside the split and others have stones attached to the base stone. One partially split stone was placed over the split in the base stone. For more information please see Special Cairns A44, A48, A56 below.
Openings: Two stones were propped up to create a narrow upside down open V. In another cairn, a stone was set upright with a partial opening. The front is open but the back of the opening is solid stone. This opening does not go through the stone. Under the opening is a stone plate.
Single Large Stone incorporated in a cairn: One cairn has a large stone block integrated into the cairn mound. Another has a large stone set off alone on one end of the cairn. Another has a stone block set apart at the end of a unit.
Directional Orientation: In two structures A11 and A10 directional orientation is present. In the niche a triangular stone plate points west towards the setting sun on the equinox. In the A11 unit the triangular stone juts out the north side and points northward. It is augmented by the stone plate on the north side suggesting North was an intentional orientation. Be careful when applying directional orientation. Some cairns like A8 were unintentionally directionally oriented. The two in-ground stones used in this unit coincidently aligned north-south. There is no stone that points which suggests this unit does not have a directional orientation.
SYMBOLISM OF THE ABOVE FEATURES
Symbolism was a means to communicate with the spirits and from one generation to another generation of people. The color white, quartz, and triangle shape are symbols. The color, material, and shape occur naturally but not abundantly so each one stands out when used. All three are known from the America’s Stonehenge site as being features to “block out” uninvited spirits. (America’s Stonehenge Deciphered)
Stone plates are rare. The use of the stone plate in the niche hints at is usage. Niches were used to place perishable offerings for spirits. It is therefore inferred the stone plates used at this site were for the purpose of making a perishable offering to a spirit.
Split stones have openings extending into the earth and also through stones placed over splits. Openings extending into the earth are spirit portals into the Underworld. Splits in stones on top are plain spirit portals.
Single large stone whether integrated into a mound or set apart appears to either contain the invited spirit and/or block out uninvited spirits. It is possible both purposes were used.
Directional orientation hints at possible spirit association. At the niche, the west facing stone plate directed towards the equinox sunset suggests the Sun Spirit was involved. At cairn All, the north orientation suggests a spirit associated with North was involved. However, one needs to be observant. Cairn unit A8 also has a north south orientation. This cairn is by default in that two in-ground stones used in the unit are aligned north-south, hence creating an unintentional directional orientation.
Cairn A11, section A-1. Cairn A11-A is an elongated structure made up of a walled 2’ high cairn on the ground with a triangular stone jutting out its north side over a stone plate. Under the triangle jutting out is a layer of white stones. On the side of the cairn is a large fallen triangular slab. It is unclear where the fallen triangular stone was position on the cairn originally. On the north side of the stone plate is a small low cairn A11-B. The end of the cairn has a stone that juts out forming a tongue. Beside the tongue is a short upright triangular stone. The whole unit is oriented north-south with a northward orientation. The triangle jutting out of the large cairn is oriented northward, the white stones imbedded in the large cairn are on the north side, the stone plate is on the north side, the small cairn is on the north side of the stone plate and the tongue stone points north.
Interpretation: The stone plate signifies a perishable offering was made at this cairn. This theory is re-enforced by the layer of white stones and the triangular stone jutting out, both are different types of block out symbolism indicating a spirit was present at the structure. The perishable offering signifies a spirit was called into this special cairn. The northward orientation suggests the spirit was the North Spirit. The blocking out features which are all oriented north were used to protect the structure from having any uninvited spirits from enter it. The cairn is on the side of the site where the hill drops off and a stream runs by. The stream with its water has its own spirits and therefore the need to block.
Cairn A8, section A-IV. It consists of a four separate parts in a straight line creating an elongated unit. The parts are listed in order from south to north: A8-A Single stone with milk white intrusion on top, placed on a base stone. The top stone can not be rocked it sits solid on the base stone; A8-B Mound of stones with a large boulder on outer east edge, placed on top of a base stone; A8-C Split stone low to ground with a stone perpendicular over the split. Stone on top will rock by gently hand pushing it back and forth; A8-D An in-ground boulder with a prominent quartz vein.
Interpretation: The cairn on the south end and the in-ground boulder on the north end enclose the split stone cairn and mound on stone cairn in the middle. Each end feature has a prominent quartz or white intrusion, block out symbolism indicating a spirit was present in this cairn unit. The mound cairn has a large block of stone on one outer edge. It too could be to block out or could have been used as a containment feature. The split stone has a single stone set over the split. The open split is a spirit portal to the Underworld. The stone over the split can be rocked and may have been used to call a spirit out of the Underworld.
A44 Combination Cairn, section A-VI. The cairn has a large main boulder with an overhang on top in the shape of an upside down open L. The shape was created by a large piece splitting off and falling to the ground with its rounded side towards the ground and it flat interior side exposed. The split off piece slants downward toward the base of the main boulder. Three small stones were placed inside on the flat side where the split off piece meets the base of the main boulder. On the south side is a second smaller boulder. Between the smaller boulder and large boulder are smaller stones. The two parts create two splits in which stones were placed.
Interpretation: Both splits are spirit portals to the Underworld. An Underworld Spirit was associated with this cairn.
A48 split stone cairn, section A-V. The cairn has a large boulder with a split on the south end. Inside the split in the base stone are two stones on the ground. A special stone was placed over the split with its own split and hole, plus a tiny clear quartz crystal. The split in the top stone is directly over the split in the base stone. The split in the top stone lines up with the hole so that there is an open passage from split in the base stone up through the split in the top stone and out through the hole to the north side. On top of the base stone on the north end is a single stone. The west side of the base stone has an open space underneath with a flat stone (stone plate) on the ground, half under (inside) and half outside.
Interpretation: The split in the base stone is a spirit portal to the Underworld. The stone placed over the base stone split has its own split which connects to a hole. The split in the stone on top directs the direction of travel for the spirit, up and out of the Underworld and then northward via the hole opening on the north side. The tiny crystal may have been used to symbolically block out uninvited spirits. The single stone on top on the north end is similar to the single boulder used in the mound cairn at A8. It appears to either block out uninvited spirits or contain the invited spirit. The opening underneath the base stone with the stone plate on the west side indicates the spirit that was called forth from the Underworld returned via this spirit portal back into the Underworld.
A56 Multi-Component Cairn, section A-VIII. The cairn has a low long base boulder. On the east end is an open L shape with a piece of stone split off and slanting downward toward the base with one small stone inside the open L. A few inches from the open L are two stones leaning in against each other with an open space underneath. The opening is narrow but triangular. On the west end is an On Top Trailing to Ground cairn with a mound of stones and a triangular stone on its outer edge.
Interpretation: The open L feature on the east end is a spirit portal to the Underworld. The narrow triangular opening is a second spirit portal. It was lined up with the open L spirit portal for the spirit emerging out of the Underworld to travel to the west end of the cairn. Both of these spirit portals are on the east end.
The stones in the mound cairn on the west end were probably used as an offering to call forth the spirit from the Underworld. The triangular stone on the outer side of the mound cairn was used to either block out uninvited spirits or to contain the spirit called out of the Underworld.
The stones used to make an offering distinguish this offering from the perishable offering used on the stone plate at cairn A48. The use of different offerings is seen at America’s Stonehenge (Gage 2006).
A58 Combination Cairn, section A-VIII. This cairn is half combination and half unit style. On the east end is a special stone on the ground separated from the cairn. On this stone’s east face is an opening on the bottom that goes part ways through the stone. A white intrusion frames one side of the opening. The back of the opening is solid stone. Placed underneath the opening is a flat stone plate. Behind this special stone is a low boulder raised up on 2 support stones set one on top of the other creating an open space underneath. On top of the low boulder on the west end is a cairn comprised of a single layer of stones. On the outer edge of the cairn several white stones standout.
Interpretation: The upright stone’s open V is a spirit portal to the Underworld. The stone plate in front of it was used to make a perishable offering. The opening faces east toward a niche/standing stone structure. A spirit from the Underworld was called forth by a perishable offering to be at a ceremony at the niche. The white surrounding the open V blocked out the spirit at the niche from entering the spirit portal. The second opening underneath the cairn on the low boulder is second spirit portal to the Underworld. The white stones on the top east edge of the cairn indicate the spirit associated with the niche was blocked from entering spirit portal under the raised stone.
Niche & Standing Stone
A10, section A-VIII
The niche is a low, flat roofed, see-through design. A single roof slab is raised by a single support stone on each side. The interior is open front to back. A triangular stone plate was placed slightly inside the west side with the larger portion outside. The point of the triangle is oriented 266o west [field reading was 282o magnetic north (16o west declination)]. The interior floor on the east side is lined with four small stones creating a semi-paved floor. On top of the niche is a standing stone placed on the north side. The top is slanted slightly giving a triangular appearance. The south side of the standing stone lines up with the point of the triangular stone plate.
Interpretation: The degree heading is oriented towards the equinox sunset. The stone plate indicates a perishable offering was made to a spirit. The triangular shape of the stone plate indicates it was used to block spirits from entering the niche from the west side. The sunset orientation indicates a ceremony was held with the Sun Spirit.
Niche by the Stream
B5, section B-II
The niche is a low, flat roofed, see-through design. The roof is a single slab raised by a single support stone on each side. On top of the roof is a single stone. Niche opens to the east. The stream flows eastward.
Interpretation: The niche is located on a seasonal stream. Water generally flows in the springtime. However, heavy rain storms during the year activate the stream periodically. No other Native American structures were found in the area. There is an old culvert a few feet away. The niche has similar attributes to the niche/standing stone in area A. Both have low, flat roofed, see-through designs. Both have a single stone on top. The attributes suggest the same people who built the niche/standing stone structure also built the niche by the stream. This niche is a long distance from other structures at the site. However, the distance is similar to the long distance between the enclosures and main cairn field.
The stream has water indicating a water spirit. Water in the stream comes in contact with the niche further enhancing the theory of a water spirit. The stream is most active in the spring suggesting a springtime ceremony. It is not known if the east orientation has any significance.
B1, section B-I
A two foot high, U shaped enclosure 3’4” wide is located at the base of the steep hill. The open side faces magnet north. The enclosure is deteriorated and partially broken down. Nearby are two cairns.
A97, section A-III
A four foot high, V shaped enclosure 5’5” wide across open side. It is located half-ways down the steep hillside. The open side faces northeast with a 38 degree heading. A large tree has grown up in the middle otherwise the enclosure is in good condition. No cairns were found near it.
Discussion: Enclosure A97 is up hill of enclosure B1. Both are separated from cairn field, on the down slope, one has cairns the other does not. The wall height of B1 is half the wall height of A97. The shape differs, B1 is U shaped and A97 is V shaped. The U shape has a possible counterpart in the cairn field. In section AI, the cairns are arranged in a U shape on the north side of cairn A11, a highly specialized cairn (See Special Cairns – Cairn-Unit for description).
Placement Orientation and Directional Orientation
Placement orientation refers to where the stone structure is located within the site. In the case of this site the placement orientation is to a particular side of the site. Directional Orientation refers to the physical direction the stone structure is oriented, aligned, or pointed towards. It may orient to a (1) general compass direction, (2) towards another structure, spirit portal, or natural feature, or (3) orient from one part of a complex or multi-component structure to another part of the same structure. Some structures incorporated both placement orientation and directional orientation.
Special Cairn A8
Special Cairn A11
Split Stone Cairn A27
Sections A-V, A-VI and A-VIII
Placement orientation shows six compass points: east, west, north, south, northeast, and southwest.
High and Low
High: Cairn field is on a plateau. It has two steep sides one down to water and second down to base of hill. On east and west the plateau spreads out.
Low: Enclosures are located near the base of the hill placing them in a low position within the site. They are on dry land away from any water source.
The builders had choices in where they located their structures. Both the high and low sections of the site had adequate land to spread out and completely accommodate the whole site. Yet high and low positions were chosen and used. High and Low positions therefore have symbolic significance.
Large, Medium, Small
Large: Section A-II has thirty four cairns
The examples given show different size groups of cairns and different size cairns were built.
Organization of Physical Structures
Area: Broad area containing structures with large gaps that separate areas from each other within a site.
Special Cairn: Complex or multi-component cairn with unusual characteristics and/or features.
Base Stone: A large stone or boulder which serve as the base for cairn that is placed on top or attached to the side of the base stone.
Block Out: Symbolic use of white, quartz, triangle shape to block out uninvited spirits.
Stages: Used to distinguish progressive steps.
Shaman: Medicine men and/or women, and powwows, spiritual leaders
Period / Time Period: A broad segment of time defined by some shared commonality of cultural traits, similar architecture style, similar section or group layouts, similar ceremonial organization, or any other meaningful pattern. Time periods may be distinguished by a number system (i.e. 1,2,3) or by some naming convention. Time periods may be subdivided into one or more phases. [Note: In the book America’s Stonehenge Deciphered the term “phase” was used to refer to a broad time period rather than subdivision of a time period].
Make up of Each Area and Section
Special Cairn: A11 Elongated cairn, multi-parts
Total: Twenty Cairns
Split Stone: A33 Multi-Split with attached mound
Enclosure A97, V shaped
Special Cairn: A8 Elongated with multi-parts (four separate parts):
Special Cairn: A48 Split stone, single split with split stone over top of main split, two stones in main split, single stone on
Special Cairn: A44 tall with upside down L shape, chunk of stone on ground flat surface upwards with three stones on top;
Marker: A2 One on Top, surface bedrock with large quartz vein
Special Cairn: A56 low bedrock base with L shape, chunk of stone on ground flat surface upwards with one stone on top, two stones above lean against each other with opening, mound trailing to ground on opposite end with
Split Stone: A27 single split, non-mound on top and mound attached
Enclosure B1 U shaped
Niche B5 see through with one stone on top
Analysis from this point on deals only with Native American structures
By Cairn Design
Special Cairns: A-I, A-IV, A-V, A-VI, A-VIII
Cairn & Structure groups by size:
a) Small: One* – A-III, A-IX, B-II
Sections are listed in numerical order with features, characteristics, and structures found in other sections.
“Doubles” and “Triples” Patterns
Pairs of Structures (each pair is either a main structure or secondary structure)
There is evidence for the use of two in the form of pairs and doubles, and triples. The dominant pattern utilizes two of a kind. The triples pattern shows up but less often.
On the layout map general areas with large gaps in between were designated as Areas and assigned a letter. Next, based on field observations, lines were drawn to encircle structures in close proximity to each other and were designated as Sections. Each section was assigned an area letter and a number. A section can be made up of a single main group of structures or any number of sub-sections of structures called groups. Each section can have any number and any combination of structures.
What is the make up of each section? Are there structures that stand out? Are there differences between sections? Are there similarities between sections? Do any patterns show up? Do any of the ceremonial areas appear to replicate each other? Replication of groups of structures is often evidence of different time periods.
Each section is evaluated on its own accord. Any features or characteristics found to be repeated are compared with previous sections. Sizes of some cairns have been rounded off for ease of analyzing.
The sections were drawn out based on proximity of cairns to each other. As the author had no way of absolutely knowing what cairns belong to each section there is room for slight errors. That is a few cairns on the outer fringe of sections A-I, A-II and A-VII may have been assigned to the wrong section. The minor errors, if any are not thought to adversely affect the findings of the site.
Characteristics & Features: Triangles, standing stone, stone plate, pertinent white stones, elongated cairn, walled cairn, split stone cairn with on top trailing to ground cairn, line of stones, directional orientation, and placement orientation
This section has a total of twenty cairns. It is located on the northern edge of the site next to a steep drop off in the land on the north side. There is one special cairn and one split stone cairn. Each is in a separate group. Group 1: Special cairn A11 is in a small group of seven cairns. Six of the cairns form a U shape on its north side. Cairn A11 is an elongated cairn with connected parts built on the ground. It has triangles, a stone plate and white stones. Its features are oriented north and therefore face the open side of the U formation. In the U formation is one marker cairn with One Stone on Top. There is one on top non-mound cairn design. Two cairns are on ground mound design. They range in size from two feet eight inches up to six feet eight inches. One cairn is six stones arranged in a straight line on the ground. One cairn has a base stone with two stones on top and a small attached cairn. The cairns form a sub-section, Group One within the section. Group 2: Split stone cairn A21 is in the second group with thirteen cairns. Four stones on top trailing to the ground make up the split stone cairn. Two of the stones on top are large and two are medium sized. Two marker cairns were found one has five stones on top A23 and second has four stones on top A24. Cairn A24 has two large and two medium sized stones. Cairn A23 has a mix of large and medium sized stones. This combination mimics the split stone cairn. Two other cairns associated with base stones were found. Both are on top trailing to ground designs A20 and A64. In these, the on top trailing to ground design mimics the split stone cairn. The other eight cairns are on ground mound design. They range in size from four feet up to eleven feet. One is a large cairn and seven are small-medium size cairns. These thirteen cairns form Group Two within section A-I.
Section A-I has two groups each with its own unique cairn. Group One has special cairn A11. Group Two has a split stone cairn and four cairns associated with a base stone. These four cairns each have characteristics found in the split stone cairn. There is a possible symbolic link between the five cairns.
The two groups are in close proximity to each other. Each has a cairn that is different from the other cairns. Of these two cairns, the split stone cairn is low key and blends in, while the special cairn stands out. Although the two cairns exhibit different characteristics each is the main cairn within its group. The two groups each with a different type of main cairn co-existing within the same overall area suggests they functioned in conjunction with each other as a combined unit. The combined unit suggests different stages. Group One with its special cairn has been assigned stage 1. Group Two with its main cairn blending in was assigned stage 2.
Characteristics & Features: pronounced quartz vein, walled cairn
This section is adjacent to section A-I. It is located on the northwest corner of the site with a steep drop off in the land down to a small pool of water. It has eight cairns. One is a marker cairn with one stone on top of a bedrock base with a pronounced quartz vein A2. One cairn is attached A6. The other cairns are on ground designs. Five are low on ground mound cairns. These on ground mound cairns range from four feet eight inches up to seven feet. The walled on ground cairn A9 is 14’Lx9’Wx3’H. This cairn has a pure milk white stone on the interior which is currently open. The cairn appears to be in an incomplete state. It has a well defined wall with an addition laid out in a rectangle. Plus stones were mounded up the against the wall.
Sizes of cairns shows the on ground mound design have a short range in size. The walled cairn is fourteen feet long, oversized for the section as it is double the largest on ground mound at seven feet long.
This section has a unique marker cairn with a pronounced quartz vein. It lacks a special cairn. It does not have a split stone cairn. One cairn stands out, the large walled cairn. Special cairn A11’s cairn is a walled cairn and it is in sight of the walled cairn A9. Within the overall site there is only one other walled cairn. The walled characteristic is a potential link between the two sections.
There is nothing to suggest this section functioned independently. The ceremonial area probably was used in connection with another area. This places the section in a different stage from the section A-I with stages 1 and 2. Section A-VII is designated as stage 3. There is a large walled cairn in section A-VII. Section A-I has a walled cairn (A11). The characteristic may form a link between the two sections.
Characteristics and Features: Split stone cairn with cairn on top trailing to ground, walled cairn, Single solid stone over a split, multi-splits in a split stone cairn, split stone cairn made up to two large boulders, line of stones
This section is spread out over the central to eastern side of the site. It contains thirty-four cairns, and a possible source of quartz A72. There are three split stone cairns, two marker cairns, two on top, one attached, one has six stones on top and two stones attached, one line of stones, and the rest are on ground. The on ground mounds range in size from three feet three inches up to eight feet overall. One on ground is a walled cairn A77. This one is walled on the south end and mounded on the north end. One of the split stone cairns has a single solid stone over the split and a large mound on top trailing to the ground 10’L by 10’W, A93. The mound is in an incomplete state. Another split stone cairn has multi-splits with a medium sized 5’6”L by 4’W mound attached, A33. The third split stone cairn is made up of two large boulders with five stones in the middle A86.
Size of cairns shows the on ground design range from three feet up to eight feet. The largest cairn is a split stone at ten feet long.
The section does not have a special cairn. It has three split stone cairns. The split stone cairns with mound cairns are the most diagnostic. They have characteristics and features found in cairns in other sections. The characteristics and features are on top trailing to ground, a single solid stone over a split and multi-splits. The on top trailing to ground characteristic was found in section A-I. However, there is a difference between the characteristic in A-I the cairn has four stones and in A-II the cairn is a large mound. Whatever the on top trailing to ground symbolically represents is present in both cairns/sections. The variation in the number of stones indicates a difference in how each split stone cairn was used. One other characteristic the walled cairn design in this section also shows up in A-I and A-II. With the walled cairn there are similarities and differences. One is oversized and the other is medium sized. The line of stones cairn has a similar characteristic to the line of stones cairn in AI-Group 2.
Section A-II is large with numerous cairns. The split stone cairns suggest this is an independent ceremonial area. However, the lack of a special cairn indicates a separate stage from section A-I and section A-VII. Section A-II was given a stage 4 designation.
Characteristics and Features: White stone, single solid stone over split, elongated cairn, pronounced quartz vein, large stone in cairn, placement orientation.
This section is located on the west side of the site on the edge of a drop off down to a small pool of water. It contains four cairns: special cairn A8, split stone cairn A37 with a pure white stone, and two on ground cairns (four feet and ten feet overall). The special cairn has an elongated shape separated into four parts built on top of base stones. It has two features that standout, a pronounced quartz vein and a single solid stone over a split. Part A is a single stone with a quartz intrusion on a base stone. It is part of the overall cairn and is not thought to be a marker cairn.
The two on ground mound cairns show a significant variation in their sizes one falling into the small range at four feet and one falling into the large range at ten feet.
This is a specialized group with a small number of cairns. It is on the west edge of the site. The significance of the special cairn dictates its importance as the main structure of the group. The group lacks a marker cairn.
There are several features that are found in other sections. The single stone over a split showed up in section A-II. The pronounced quartz vein showed up in section A-VII. The white stone on exterior showed up in section A-I. The elongated characteristic of the special cairn showed up in the special cairn in section A-I. With the elongated cairns there are differences: connected verses non-connected, on ground verses on stone, and a split stone verses lack of a split stone which indicate the two elongated cairns had different uses. The repeated use of a similar characteristic “elongated” shows an indirect link between the two special cairns and two ceremonial areas in sections A-I and A-IV.
The features a single stone over a split was found in section A-II and the quartz vein were found in sections A-I and A-V. The links makes it confusing at this stage to understand their connections. Are they direct or indirect links?
Section A-IV is set apart from the other sections. The special cairn along with the split stone cairn and two on ground cairns indicate this is an independent ceremonial area. Its small size makes it a single group. The similarities with section A-I indicate a stage 1 or stage 1 & 2 combined ceremonial area. The differences indicate a possible time differential.
Characteristics and Features: chunk split off, L shape, tall, second cairn attached, 2-4 stones attached/on top
This section is a short distance south of section A-IV. It contains five cairns a special cairn, two marker cairns, and two on ground mound cairns that have an average size of three and half feet. The special cairn is tall with a chunk split off, an L shape and a second cairn attached, 2’8”L x 1’6”W. One marker cairn has two stones on top, second marker cairn has three stones on top and one attached. The two on ground cairns are similar in size, falling into the small range.
This is a small specialized group with a special cairn similar to the small specialized group in section A-IV. However, there are differences. Section A-VI has a special cairn and two marker cairns of which one is specialized. In comparison section A-IV has a special cairn and a split stone cairn. Section A-IV lacks a marker cairn and section A-VI lacks a split stone cairn. These differences are important. At this point, the section can not be placed into a particular stage because it does not fit properly into stage 1 or stage 2. The next two sections will help in understanding what stage this section belongs in.
The compactness of the five cairns and combination of designs suggests section A-VI is an independent ceremonial area.
Characteristics & Features: Cairns with 2-4 stones attached and on top & attached, special cairn, opening underneath base stone, stone plate, secondary split above main split, multi-splits, boulders forming a split stone cairn, pronounced quartz vein
This section is on the southern edge of the site. It contains fourteen cairns a special split stone cairn, two other split stone cairns, three marker cairns, seven on ground cairns and one attached cairn. The on ground mound cairns range in size from three and half feet up to six feet. One double split stone cairn A47 with large stones forms two splits with large stones inside the splits. Split stone cairn A45 is low bedrock with multi-splits (4) with a cairn on top, a cairn in one split, and a single stone on top. The special cairn A48 has a single split with two stones inside split, a split stone over the split in the base stone, a single stone on the opposite end, and an opening underneath the base stone with a stone plate. Three marker cairns were found: A50 one stone on top & one stone attached with a pronounced quartz vein, A51 one stone attached, and A60B One stone on top. A60B is next to A60A a mound attached to a base stone. It is not known if this is a marker or part of cairn A60.
Sizes of cairns include all designs range from three and half feet up to six feet. There are no large cairns.
Several characteristics show up that are found in other sections. The marker cairn with one on top and one attached is similar to the three stones on top and one attached in section A-VI. This is an unusual combination at this site. The cairn design is only in these two sections A-VI and A-V. The multi-split split stone cairn, and boulders forming a split stone cairn are characteristics found in section A-II. The quartz vein is a feature found in sections A-IV and A-VII. The characteristics form links between section A-II, A-IV, A-VI, and A-VII.
There is no particular layout to the section except the two marker cairns with attached stones and an on ground mound cairn that are close to the special cairn. Overall the fourteen cairns appear to make up a single group. The medium sized group has a special cairn and two split stone cairns along with other designs. This is similar to section A-I with twenty cairns that include a split stone cairn, a special cairn, marker cairns and several other different cairn designs. This special cairn design is a split stone cairn the same basic design as found in section A-IV but a radically different configuration.
That is of interest is section A-VI and section A-V each have a maker cairn with a combination of 2-4 stones attached and on top. This stands out.
The section with its special cairn, split stone cairns and marker cairns forms an independent ceremonial area. It has links to two other sections and a similarity to another section. This makes it difficult to ascertain its stage and associations with other sections. Its similarity to section A-I suggests a combined stage 1 and 2?
Characteristics & Features: stone plate, opening underneath base stone, secondary split above stone plate, triangle, on top trailing to ground in cairn, chunk split off and used as a stone plate, two separate parts, directional orientation, placement orientation, special cairn, niche, standing stone, L shape, pertinent white stones
This section is located on the southwest corner and forms the outer edge of the site. It contains a special niche, two special cairns, and one on ground mound cairn. The niche is see-through with a standing stone on top. It has a triangle stone pointed west. Special cairn A56 is made up of low bedrock in an elongated shape. It has a chunk split off with a fat surface, an L shape, and one stone on top of it. Above this feature are two stones that form a narrow slit similar to a split. On the opposite end is a mound on top trailing to ground cairn with a triangle stone. It is 6’5”L x 3’9”W x 3’H. Special cairn A58 has two parts. Part one is a short standing stone with an opening and a stone plate. Part two is a low flat stone raised on one end to create an opening underneath. On top is an on top trailing to ground, low cairn with white stones that standout. It is 3’L x 5’4”W x 5”H. The on ground mound cairn is a 5’3”L x 2’9”W x 1’2”H oval.
The special niche has a stone plate with a triangle shape. The stone plate is seen in cairn A58 and also in A48 in section A-V. The triangle shape is seen in cairn A56. The niche has a specific design and features that make it standout. This makes the niche high profile and thus places it in the main position.
Special cairn A56 has many features found in special cairn A48 in section A-V and in special cairn A44 in section A-VI. Cairns A48 and A56 each have a small split above the main split or L shape with chunk of stone split off. Cairns A44 and A56 share several features. Both have a split off chunk with one to three stones on top, an L shape, and a cairn with a mound. In general configuration there is a difference, cairn A44 is tall and cairn A56 is low. Another difference is the mound cairn in A44 is much smaller than the mound cairn on A56. Cairn A44 is the only special cairn in its group which places it in the main position. Cairn A56 is one of two special cairns placing it in a subordinate position to the main structure, the special niche.
Special cairn A58 has two features found in special cairn A48 in section V. Both have an opening underneath the base stone and both have a stone plate but in different places. In addition each cairn has two openings. Differences are A48 is a split stone cairn with all integrated parts whereas A58 has two separate parts and is not a split stone cairn. Cairn A58 is one of two special cairns placing it in a subordinate position to the main structure, the special niche.
Cairn A56 is a later version of cairn A44. The cairn goes from being in the main position to the subordinate position. However, their similar configurations suggest the two cairns were used for the same purpose. Two cairns with same features but modified suggests different time periods.
Cairn A58 is not a modified version of cairn A48 but it does have significant common features to form a link between the two ceremonial areas.
Both cairn A56 and A58 have cairns on top trailing to ground a characteristic found in sections A-I and A-II.
The niche and cairn A56 each have a triangular stone. The only other section to have triangular stones is section A-I. This places the triangle symbolism in ceremonial areas on the north and south edges of the site.
The stone plate was found in sections A-V and A-VIII both on the south side of the site. The other stone plate is in A-I on the north side of the side. The triangles and stone plates are in sections with special cairns and on opposite sides on the edge of the site.
Both special cairns A56 and A58 have features that are found in cairn A48 in section V. The heavy use of the same features in sections A-V and A-VIII indicate these two ceremonial areas are connected. The connection suggests two different ceremonial areas.
Section A-VIII with its niche and two special cairns is an independent ceremonial area. The three special structures with subordinate and main positions designate the section as a stage 1 ceremonial area. The connection to section A-V suggests the ceremonial area even with its impressive special cairn A48 was a stage 2 ceremonial area. The use of triangles and stone plates relegated to the ceremonial areas on the north and south edges suggests the features marked outer boundaries in addition to their common symbolic usage.
Unraveling these last two sections allows another look at the other sections before continuing on to the remaining sections.
Discussion of Sections A-I, A-II, A-IV, A-V, A-VI, A-VII, A-VIII
Sections A-V and A-VIII having shown evidence of being paired up suggests other sections may be paired up. Section IV has a special cairn with a distinct elongated design modeled after section A-I’s special cairn. Another trait is the white stones that standout on its split stone cairn in a subordinate position similar to the special cairn in a subordinate position in section A-VIII. Section A-IV is on the outer edge of the site like section A-VIII. The combined traits suggest section A-IV is a stage 1 ceremonial area. Section A-VI has a marker cairn only seen in one other section A-V. Section A-V is a stage 2 with a special cairn in the main position paired with the stage 1 ceremonial area in section A-VIII. The symbolic use of the same type of marker cairn suggests section A-VI is a stage 2 ceremonial area paired with the stage 1 ceremonial area in section A-IV. Section A-I has two groups within its overall section. Each group has a cairn of distinction, Group One has the special cairn with an elongated shape and Group Two has a split stone cairn. Ceremonial area A-V has a special split stone cairn it is paired with ceremonial area A-VIII with its special niche. This creates a similar arrangement as seen in ceremonial area A-I. Ceremonial area A-I may be the original ceremonial area of the site and be a simpler arrangement than later ceremonial areas. Ceremonial area A-I therefore has stage 1 and stage 2 in two different cairn groups within the same ceremonial area. The scenario shows each stage 1 ceremonial area was paired with a stage 2 ceremonial area.
Sections A-IV and A-V each have a pronounced quartz vein. Each is a different stage ceremonial area that is paired with another section A-IV & A-VI, and A-V & A-VIII. In each case, the sections are opposite stages so each set of ceremonial areas has a stage 1 and stage 2. The quartz vein feature also shows up in section A-VII. Section A-VII is adjacent to section A-I.
Section A-VII lacked a special cairn and a split stone cairn. This section had a significant walled cairn and a quartz vein. The walled cairn may form a link with section A-I which also has a walled cairn. In the two sets of paired sections (A-IV & A-VI and A-V & A-VIII) each had one section with a quartz vein feature. The quartz vein feature in section A-VII arguably links it with section A-I which does not have a pronounced quartz vein. The link creates a stage 3 ceremonial area. The section appears to be a dependent ceremonial area. That is it did not function independently. In section A-I, there are two groups of cairns each making up a separate ceremonial area that works in conjunction with the other area. Adding section A-VII adds a third ceremonial area.
Section A-II had split stone cairns but lacked a special cairn. The split stone cairns in this section each had a feature that was found in another section. The single solid stone over a split was found in section A-IV. And the multi-split split stone cairn was found in section A-V. The potential exists for section A-II to be paired up with sections A-IV and A-V. This fits a similar scenario as seen in sections A-I and A-VII. However, the differences indicate the section is an independent ceremonial area. If this is the case, the links create a stage 4 ceremonial area. Stage 4 is different from stage 3 because of the ceremonial area’s distinction of being independent and functioning on its own accord. Even though the section has an independent rating it does not mean it did not work in conjunction with other ceremonial areas. Section A-II is linked to A-V and A-IV. Each of these ceremonial areas has an associated ceremonial area. Adding section A-II to both of the existing pairs adds a third ceremonial area to each pair. This is the same arrangement as occurred with sections A-I (2 ceremonial areas in one section) and A-VII.
Every section so far has one or more characteristics or features that show up in one or more other sections. Some form links that show ceremonial areas are paired. Some were used to mark the outer limits of the site on the north, west and south sides. Some were used to form opposites as in the triangles and stone plates on opposite sides of the site. Others appear to be symbolic links showing the different areas were part of the overall site. For a detailed explanation of the repeated features in the special cairns and special niche see Repeated use of Features.
Findings show different positions of special cairns. A special cairn can have: a) a high position in a stage 2 ceremonial area, b) a high position in a stage 1 ceremonial area, c) a subordinate position in a stage 1 ceremonial area. Ceremonial areas show differences that indicate three different types.
Characteristics & Features: None
This section is located on the northeast corner of the cairn field near where the land drops off down a steep hill. It contains a single split stone cairn A27. The cairn has eight stones on top and a 2’3”L x 2’W x 10”H mound of stones attached to the base. There are no stones inside the split. There are no white stones. There is a small quartz vein inside the split. The quartz vein is not exposed on the exterior nor is pronounced. It is unclear if it is an intended feature or not. The cairn is separated by itself by eighty seven feet from the nearest cairn in the large cairn field.
Characteristics & Features: V shape, tall
This section is on the northeast corner half ways down the hillside. It consists of one structure an enclosure A97. The back is 4’4” high and the front is 3’ high, the length of the sides are 3’ and 3’10”, the depth from back to front is 3’ and the width of the opening is 5’. The design is a sharp V shape. It is a well built structure that is still intact. The enclosure was built to hold one person. It opens northeast.
Characteristics & Features: U shape, low
This section is on the northeast corner near the bottom of the hill. It consists of one enclosure and two cairns. The enclosure B1 is partially collapsed but enough is in tact to show it has a U shape. The walls are 2’ high. The width is 3’4”. The height is half of enclosure A97. The width is slightly narrower than the other enclosure. The construction is poor quality. The enclosure was built to hold one person. The enclosure opens magnetic north. Nearby is cairn B2, a mound 6’6”L x 4’7”W x 1’H attached to a boulder. Cairn B3 is an on ground cairn smaller than cairn B2 (no data available).
Discussion of sections A-III, A-IX & B-I
Section A-IX has a single split stone cairn without stones inside the split and no white or quartz stones on the exterior. It is directly up hill from the two enclosures. Enclosure A97 lacks associated cairns. Enclosure B1 has two associated cairns. Differences in the enclosures one is at base of hill and one is half ways up hillside, one has cairns and one lacks cairns, one is has good construction and one has mediocre construction, one is tall and one is short, one has a V shape and one has a U shape. Both open northwards with slight variations in degrees. The differences indicate two different time periods.
The split stone cairn A27’s location at the top of the hill above the enclosures along with the fact is an isolated cairn suggests there is a connection between the enclosures and the cairn.
Characteristics & Features: Single stone on top of niche, placement orientation and directional orientation
This section is located on the east side far from the cairn field and enclosures. It contains a single niche B-5 built on a seasonal stream-bank. The niche has a flat roof and is open front to back. It has a single stone on top. The front faces east, the same direction the stream flows (east). When water rises in the stream in the springtime runoff the water comes in contact with the niche.
Discussion Section B-II
The niche A10 on the southwest corner of the site has a single stone on top. This creates a link between the two niches. Niche A10 is on the southwest corner and faces west, and niche B5 is on the east side and faces east. Each faces an opposite direction. Niche A10 has special designation as it is a complex, multi-component structure. Niche B5 is a simplified version and has a regular designation meaning it is common except for the stone on top. The differences suggest two different time periods.
Each niche has placement orientation B5 is east and A10 is south(west). Each niche has directional orientation B5 the water flows east and A10 the sun sets in the west.
A number of patterns showed up. The patterns re-enforce the stages and conclusions drawn under each section.
1- Elongated special cairns – two, on north and west sides
Niches and elongated cairns, two of each are found on the four directional compass points and were used in placement orientation. These are general compass points verses cardinal compass points as in true north. Triangles and stone plates are on north and south sides this creates opposites. Special cairns, white stones and quartz veins are on the north – west – southwest – south sides. This encompasses the whole end on the west side in an oversized U shape. The two enclosures are both on the northeast corner which differs from the niches on the east and south (southwest) sides and elongated cairns on the north and west sides. The niches and elongated cairns are spread out and found on the four main compass points whereas the enclosures are both in the same corner of the site.
The sections with the special niche, and two elongated cairns were designated as stage 1 ceremonial areas. Niche B5 was not given a stage designation because it was the only Native American structure in that section. The two elongated cairns set the precedence for the two niches A10 and B5 to be both designated stage 1 ceremonial areas. Niche A10 faces west and niche B5 faces east, opposite directions. The fact they face opposite directions suggests there is a connection between the two niches. The pattern of two stage 1 ceremonial areas each with an elongated cairn and two stage 1 ceremonial areas each with a niche is consistent.
The two enclosures follow the set of two pattern but do not follow ceremonial areas on separate compass points. Both are on the northeast corner. The difference places the enclosures in stage 5 and makes a distinction from the other sections.
The east side lacks special cairns and features. This makes it very different from the northwest – southwest end.
Sets of two and opposite sides are prominent patterns. The use of east, west, south and north are evident. Features like quartz veins, white stones and triangles were used symbolically and only on the north-west and south-west and west end of the site.
Stages represent progressive steps or stages. In the Native American culture every stage has equal value, no stage is more important than another stage. It is a culmination of the various stages that form the whole. Not all stages need be present with every set of ceremonial areas.
Repeated use of Features
This section examines in detail the repeated use of features in cairns and other stone structures. To do so, several questions were posed. What type of structure does the feature show up in? Are there differences in the type of structure? What is the structure’s position within the cairn group: standout or blend in? What is the cairn group made up of? Not all questions were answered for each feature. The questions were selectively chosen to highlight different patterns that showed up.
Elongated Cairns (parts were placed in a straight line): A8, A11
Elongated denotes a cairn that has several parts set up in a straight line. Cairn A11 has three parts that are connected to each other. It was built on the ground. Cairn A8 has four parts that are separated. All of its parts were built on top of a stone base. The common factor is the use of a straight line to arrange the parts. Each cairn stands out. Each cairn is the main cairn within its cairn group. The differences connected verses non-connected, and on ground verses on stone, indicate symbolic and fundamental differences in beliefs and thus suggest different time periods.
Triangles were used in the same and different positions. In cairns A11 and A56 a short triangular stone was stood upright in a vertical position on the end of the cairn. In cairn A11 and niche A10 the triangle juts out one side in a horizontal position. In the first set, the position is the same, in the second set the position is the same but the placement is different. Cairn A11 has the triangle jutting out half ways up the face of the cairn out over the rectangular stone plate. In niche A10 the triangle is the stone plate placed on the ground. The triangle shape integrated into the stone plate verses jutting out over a stone plate suggests a time-lapse between the two structures.
Stone plates were found in special cairns and in the niche with a standing stone. All stone plates are on the ground. In cairn A11 it is rectangular and in between a walled cairn and a low cairn. In niche A10 it is triangular and partially under and in front of the niche. In cairn A48 it is partially under the overhang of the base stone which creates an opening underneath. In cairn A58 it is small and adjacent to an opening in a short standing stone. The stone plates show up in different cairn groups on different sides of the site, north and south. Three of the stone plates were placed at openings. One was placed between two cairns. Each stone structure is different. The differences in the structures suggest different ceremonies. The similarity, a stone plate used in conjunction with an opening in three cases suggests the same usage.
In and out features stand for two spirit portals built into a single cairn. The features are found in two cairns A48 and A58. Cairn A48 is a Split Stone cairn that is self contained with all the features built into the cairn. The two spirit portals are a split in the base stone and an opening under the base stone designated by a stone plate as a spirit portal. Cairn A58 is made up of two separate parts a short standing stone with an opening/spirit portal and a raised stone slab with an opening underneath, a spirit portal. Each cairn has a different configuration. This suggests different usage of each cairn. Each cairn has two spirit portals, the common trait. This suggests a similar activity such as In & Out (Entry & Exit) took place at each cairn.
Opening Underneath Base Stone is found in cairns A48 and A58. Cairn A48 is a split stone cairn. It has a split on one end and an opening underneath the opposite end with stone plate. Cairn A58 is a two part cairn with a low flat base stone raised on one end to create an opening underneath. On top is a layer of stones. In front of the opening is a short standing stone with its own opening and a stone plate. The different configurations of each cairn suggest different usage of each cairn. The similarity, an opening underneath one end of the base stone suggests similar usage of the feature.
A second cairn and a large chunk split off and built into the structure are found in special cairns A44 and A56. Cairn A44 is in section A-VI and cairn A56 is in section A-VIII. Each cairn has a large chunk of the base stone either naturally or with man’s assistance split off. The rounded exterior side rests on the ground while the flat interior forms an exposed flat surface similar to a stone plate. The side view of cairn A44 shows it was made up of an upright tall boulder with an overhang (top piece still attached and jutting out) forming an upside down L. The top view of cairn A56 shows it was made on low flat exposed bedrock with a chunk split off leaving an L shaped corner. On top of the split off chunk of stone are smaller stones, cairn A44 has three stones and cairn A56 has one stone. Each cairn has a second cairn. Cairn A44 has a small mound of stones held in place by a larger boulder on its south end. This creates a Split Stone cairn. Cairn A56 has a large mound of stones on its west end with a flat triangular stone on the exposed exterior. Commonalities found in each cairn are the split off chunk lying on the ground with a small quantity of stone(s) on top, the L shape, and a second cairn with a mound of stones. Differences are A44 is tall, and A56 is low and flat. The split off chunk of stone is on the ground (A56) and underneath (A44). Of note, cairn A56 has two stones leaned against each other with an opening underneath forming a spirit portal. This upright spirit portal confirms the split off chunk integrated into the L shape of both cairns is a spirit portal. The split off chunk of stone and L shape and secondary cairn make these two cairns different versions of the same design. One appears to be older and the other newer. The time differences are re-enforced by the spirit portal on top of cairn A56 and not on cairn A44. This suggests the two cairns were built at different times which represent different time periods. The similarities suggest each cairn was used for the same purpose.
Cairns A44 & A56 constitute the same cairn design with variations. Cairn A44 is the main cairn within its cairn group. Cairn A56 is a subordinate cairn in its cairn group, the main structure being niche A10.
Split stone or man-made split on top of a cairn are found on two cairns A48 and A56. Cairn A48 has a split stone placed on top of the split in the base stone. The split stone on top in addition has a hole on its north side connecting with the split. This creates a continuous opening from the base stone split up through the split in the top stone and out the north side. The north end of the cairn has a single stone on top. Cairn A48 has two stones leaned up against each other with a narrow opening underneath. The narrow opening is aligned with the split off chunk of stone and the mound cairn on the opposite end. In all other ways, the two cairns have different configurations. Each opening is specifically aligned to have a sight line between two features within its respective cairn. This forms the common trait and a potential link between the cairn groups each cairn is in but not between the two individual cairns.
Cairn A48 is in a small cairn group with two other split stone cairns, three marker cairns and several on ground mounds. It is the main cairn of the group. In comparison, cairn A56 is in a small group with another special cairn, one on ground mound cairn and a niche. The niche is the main structure in this group and the two special cairns are subordinate cairns. The two cairn groups are on the south side in near proximity to each other. The two form the outer limit of the site. The two cairn groups with features used only in them form a link with each other. This suggests a single time period. Differences in the make up of the two cairn groups suggest a different type of ceremony took place in each group.
Single stone placed over a split is a feature found in three cairns A8, A48 and A93. Cairns A8 and A93 each have a solid single stone over the split. Cairn A8 is a special Split Stone cairn in section A-IV which is small consisting of four cairns. Cairn A93 is a regular Split Stone cairn in section A-II which is large consisting of thirty four cairns. The single solid stone over the split creates a symbolic link between the two cairn groups. The two cairns being different Split Stone cairn designs suggest similar but different usage. The two groups of cairns one small with a special cairn and one large with out a special cairn suggest two different types of ceremonies. The common link suggests the two ceremonies were connected and went together. In turn, this suggests the same time period.
Cairn A48 has a single split stone over the main split. The common feature concept is a single stone over the split which the split stone in this cairn falls into. The split stone verses a solid stone makes a radical difference. It is not known if the single stone symbolism is incorporated into this cairn or not.
Multi-splits in Split Stone cairns show up in cairns A33 and A45. Cairn A33 is in section A-II and cairn A45 is in section A-V. Section A-II is a large cairn group without a special cairn. Section A-V is a medium sized cairn group with a special cairn. These are the only multi-split Split Stone cairns within the site among numerous other Split Stone cairns. All the others have a single split. This forms a link between the two cairn groups. The common link, the multi-splits was used in cairns with a similar split stone cairn design suggesting the same usage of each cairn. The differences in the cairn groups suggest two different types of ceremonies were held. The common link suggests the two ceremonies were connected and went together. In turn, this suggests the same time period.
White Stones with pertinence show up in four cairns. Of these three have the white stones on the exterior and one has the white stone on an interior wall. The four cairns with pertinent white stones are in sections on the outer edge of the site (sections A-I, A-IV, A-VII, and A-VIII). The sections are on the north, northwest, west and southwest. Every cairn is a different design A9 is a large walled cairn, A11 is a special elongated cairn, A37 is a split stone cairn and A58 is a special cairn. In cairn A9 the white stone is in an interior wall. However, originally this may have been an exterior wall which was later used to extend the cairn. In cairn A11 there is a thin layer of white stones embedded in the lower face of the large cairn facing north above the stone plate. In cairn 37 on the top surface, this cairn is on the edge at the drop off in the land down to a pool of water. In cairn A58 the white stones are on top on the south side. The south side faces the special niche. The common factor is each section on the north, west and south sides has a single cairn with a pertinent white stone(s).
Quartz vein that is pronounced was found in three cairns A2, A8D and A50. The cairns are in sections A-IV west side, A-V south side, and A-VII northwest corner. The sections are on the outer edge. Two of the sections in addition have white stones, and one does not have a white stone. Cairn A2 is a single stone on top of exposed bedrock with a large quartz vein across its length. Cairn A8D is a small boulder embedded in the ground with a crescent shaped quartz vein across its exposed face. A8D is part of the elongated special cairn A8. Cairn A50 is a marker cairn with a large flat stone (2’10” H x 1’6” W) attached and a single smaller stone (8”x7”) on top of a (1’ H x 3’10” L) base stone. On the exposed side is a wide quartz vein in the middle of the stone from top to bottom. The common factors are quartz veins across the face of the stone in sections on the outer edge of the site.
The repeated use of the same feature was not verbatim, there was always some variation.
a) In similar but different placement in cairns
Use of the same feature showed:
a) Symbolic linking of different cairn groups
Block Out: used to block out uninvited and disruptive spirits
Features and structures were used singly and in combination with each other.
Two social orders within the society were identified.
1) Shamans, the spiritual leaders were identified through the small 1 to 5 Stones on Top cairn design. The small cairns are thought to have been built by individual people. This design was sparingly used and appears to have had symbolic significance.
2) Select Ordinary People a group of ordinary people selected from the band or bands who built the ceremonial areas. Some of the select ordinary people may have included shaman assistants. They were identified through large cairns10 feet and over used by several people to make stone offerings.
Four spirits were identified through various symbolic means.
1) North Spirit was identified through cairn A11 which is oriented north.
2) Sun Spirit was identified through the niche and standing stone structure A10 which has features oriented west in-line with the equinox sunset. On the front side is a triangle plate with the point pointing west. The front side faces west.
3) Water Spirit was identified through the niche B5 located on a seasonal stream. This is a see-through niche, the perishable offering placed inside the niche comes in contact with the water when it rises and hence, Water Spirit.
4) Underworld Spirit was identified through Split Stone cairns of which there are numerous examples on site.
Special segment on Underworld Spirit Portals and Underworld Spirit
The Split Stone Cairn was used to identify the presence of the Underworld Spirit and the Underworld. The basic split stone design was augmented by several special cairns that were identified as having Underworld spirit portals. This placed Underworld spirit portals in sections A-I, A-II, A-IV, A-V, A-VI, A-VIII, and A-IX. Seven of the nine sections in Area A had the cairns. The sections ranged from stage 1 through 4. None were found in Area B.
Identifying Underworld Spirit Portals
Split Stones: any boulder above ground or in-ground with an open split. Splits range from one up to multiple splits. Split must be associated with one cairn or a combination of cairns: stones inside split, a single stone over the split, on top, attached, on top trailing to ground or in rare instances a few feet away
Two Large End Boulders: Boulders are set apart with smaller stones placed in between the two end boulders
Opening Underneath: Special cairn A48 is a split stone cairn with a feature that helps identify other types of Underworld spirit portals. One end is a natural split with two stones inside. On top of the split is a boulder with a split and hole. On the other end is an opening underneath the base stone with a stone plate. Stone plates are features used to place a perishable offering. The opening underneath goes into the ground, a clue it is an Underworld spirit portal. The split boulder over the main split directed the travel path of the spirit from one spirit portal to the other spirit portal. In doing so, the spirit that exited Underworld during the ceremony also re-entered Underworld at the conclusion of the ceremony.
Opening at Base of Standing Stone: Special cairn A58 has two parts. Part one is a standing stone with a partial opening at ground level with a stone plate. The stone plate is evidence the opening is a spirit portal. The opening at ground level signifies it is an Underworld spirit portal. Part two is a raised boulder with a cairn on top. The raised end creates an opening underneath the boulder. Although it lacks a stone plate as found in cairn A48, it is an Underworld spirit portal. Cairn A58 like cairn A48 has two Underworld spirit portals which represent exit and entrance.
Split off Chunk of Stone: Special cairn A44 is made up of two connected parts. Part one is a chunk of stone split off from the main boulder. The boulder is tall. The chunk came off in a manner that left a piece of stone jutting out on top creating a roof-like top. The chunk’s flat surface faces upward creating a stone plate-like surface. On top of the flat surface in under the roof next to the base stone are three small stones. The small stones position places them underneath the roof a similar position to the perishable offering in cairn A48 being placed in the opening underneath the boulder. This suggests the chunk of stone split off which is partially under the piece of stone jutting out on top is an Underworld spirit portal. The theory is re-enforced by the cairn attached to the side. The side cairn is made up of a large boulder and the tall boulder with smaller stones in between. This is called a double boulder split stone cairn.
Special cairn A56 is a modified version of cairn A44. However, cairn A56 lacks the split stone cairn and instead has a cairn on top trailing to ground. What cairn A56 has that cairn A44 lacks is a secondary spirit portal that identifies the split off chunk is a spirit portal in both cairns. Above the flat surface of the chunk in cairn A56 are two stones leaning against each other with a narrow opening underneath. This secondary spirit portal confirms the split off chunk with its flat surface upward and stone on top is a spirit portal. Cairn A44 identified the spirit as being an Underworld spirit portal. Cairn A56 being an upgraded version of cairn A44 identifies the chunk as being an Underworld spirit portal.
Size of Split Stone Cairn
Size of cairn combined with size of stones used to build the cairn was useful in interpreting usage. Cairn A93 is a large cairn 10’L x 10’W x 2’H. It contains stones ranging in size from medium to large 7” to 24”. The quantity of stones is large. Cairn A45 is a medium cairn 6’L x 2’6”W x 10”H. It contains large stones 10” to 18” long. The quantity of stones is medium. Cairn A44 is a small cairn 2’8”L x 1’6”W with stones ranging in size from medium to large 7” to 12”. The quantity of stones is small. Cairn A20 is a small cairn with four stones. The quantity of stones suggests differences. Four stones suggest a one time event. In turn, this suggests shaman activity. Small to medium cairns with small to medium quantities of stone suggest one or two stones were added yearly (most ceremonies were held once a year). One to two stones mean one or two people contributed a stone yearly, in turn it suggests shaman/leader activity. Another scenario with small to medium cairns is a large group of people participated in a one time event. This is unlikely with split stone cairns but cannot be ruled out. Large split stone cairns with a wide range of stone sizes amounting to a large quantity of stones suggest a small group of people contributed a stone once a year over a period of years. A small group of people suggests select ordinary people invited to the ceremony.
One time event: A8, A20, A37, A47, A48, A86
Number and Design(s)of Split Stone Cairns per Ceremonial Area [Section]:
A-I – One cairn
Split cairns have one common trait they are all associated with the Underworld. The split forms a spirit portal to the Underworld. A portal is an opening real or symbolized. It can be an actual opening as in a split or physical opening underneath a stone or symbolized as in the chunk of stone split off and placed up against the base stone. The portal can be an exit or entrance to the Underworld.
The number of stones in cairns associated with the splits, indicate the cairns were either offerings that were added to yearly or permanent, having been built during a one time event. The permanent cairn is recognized by the small quantity of stones such as one to eight.
In ceremonial areas with two and three split stone cairns each cairn is different. The differences show up in size, design and features. Ceremonial area A-IX has a tall split stone with a natural split. This stands out from the other non- special split stone cairns which are low. One special cairn A44 in section A-VI is tall. It is not known if there is any connection between the two tall cairns.
At this site*, the split stone cairns all represent the Underworld and the Underworld Spirit. The differences indicate there were variations in how each cairn was used. The ceremonial areas with two and three split stone cairns had two and three different ways to interact with the Underworld Spirit. There is at least one split stone cairn associated with every stage. However, not every ceremonial area had its own split stone cairn a few shared a split stone cairn.
*On rare occasions split stone cairns have been associated with the Sun Spirit who went into the Underworld during part of the year. Whenever, this happens there will be a split stone in-line with a sunset alignment stone. This case does occur at the Standing Stone Niche A10 at the Sandown, NH site.
**At America’s Stonehenge approximately twenty miles away, the same overwhelming presence of the Underworld Spirit occurred. Yet that site was not dedicated to the Underworld Spirit, it was dedicated originally to the Rain Water Spirit [Upperworld] and Crystal Spirit [Underworld].
Stages represent progressive steps. Progressive steps were converted to categories of ceremonies. In one category, the main ceremony, the spirit could be identified. The spirit was used to assign a descriptive name to each of the main ceremonies.
Classification of stages varied from section to section. This occurred due to changes incorporated over long time periods. See Ceremonial Areas for individual traits that defined which stage a ceremonial area was placed in.
Analysis of the ceremonial areas and their structures indicated five categories main, preliminary, select ordinary people pre-main, select ordinary people preliminary and preparation. Of these, it was found four ceremonies worked in conjunction with each other in each set. This set up a four part ceremony. There was one exception the Water Ceremony.
Definition of Categories
Main: main ceremony with different individual spirits
Individual classifications of sections:
Stage 1 – Main Ceremonial Area
Combinations of Ceremonial Areas:
North Ceremony – Main A-I, Group One
Attributing Usage through Size of Cairn
Cairns size and size of stones that make up the cairn are useful. A two to three foot cairn suggests a one time event or building episode. Four to five foot cairns made up of large stones ten inches up to twenty four inches with potentially less stones than a three foot cairn with small stones suggests a one time event or one time building episode. By comparison a five to six foot cairn with all small stones under six inches indicates the cairn was built during many visits to the site. In Kennebunk, Maine during the 1700’s the Indians in the local village built a single two-three feet high cone shaped cairn to signify peace. This was a one time event (one time building episode). When the Indians went to war the cairn was torn down. Later it was rebuilt when they went back into peace mode.
At cairn sites were there are many permanent small cairns exhibiting one time event status the representation may be to represent the band of people who built the cairn. People have a spirit like all other objects in the world. At America’s Stonehenge it was found a few cairns were built to represent people.
Cairns in the ten to fourteen foot plus range with different size stones generally are built over time (at multi events). This type of cairn is called a community cairn and is thought to have had stones contributed by people from different ranks in the society. Adding a stone each time a ceremony took place suggests the people made a stone offering to a spirit. This is evident in a few cairns placed in seasonal streambeds where springtime runoff water comes in contact with the cairn and hence, the spirit in the water.
Cairns with a few stones one up to five on top of a stone are thought to have been built by a single person. If the small cairn is uncommon at a site, they are designated as marker cairns. Marker designates a potentially shaman built cairn to mark or designate a particular area for a ceremony. Cairn sites mark ceremonial areas where one or more ceremonies were held. Many of these cairn sites exhibit evidence of one or more spirits.
Long ago, our ancestors witnessed and recorded Native Americans making stone offerings at trailside cairns. Some of these trailside cairns grew quite large over time. Other ancestors witnessed Native Americans constructing a whole small cairn at one time. Sorting out a cairn site especially without knowing the full size of each cairn as no digging is done has its short comings. Mavor and Dix in their book Manitou excavated one cairn that was a few feet across by two feet high showing above ground. Below ground it was triple the size. This may or may not be a common problem as not enough research has been conducted at this time. For now we must be conservative and use the above ground data so as not to destroy data for potential future professional researchers with knowledge of how to read the soil levels.
The above ground data on On Ground cairns provides basic information. Data collected on cairns built on top of base stones is complete as the base is visible. Some errors will undoubtly be made, yet they should not adversely affect the overall conclusions.
Several basic cairn designs were tracked for number and size per section – ceremonial area. This revealed different patterns.
*Special Cairn is a Split Stone Cairn therefore it was counted twice
Period 1: Main ceremonial area: One
On Ground Mound Cairns (under 8’)
Large Cairns (10’ plus)
Split Stone Cairns
Section A-I contains group 1- main ceremonial area and group 2 – preliminary ceremonial area. The main ceremonial area has one special cairn. The preliminary area does not contain a special cairn. Sections A-IV and A-VI are paired up as main ceremonial area and preliminary ceremonial area. The main ceremonial area has one special cairn. The preliminary area contains one special cairn. Sections A-V and A-VIII are paired up as main ceremonial area and preliminary ceremonial area. The main ceremonial area contains two special cairns and a special niche. The preliminary area has one special cairn.
Discussion of Patterns
Within the first pair of main and preliminary ceremonial areas there is one special cairn. The special cairn is in the main ceremonial area. The preliminary ceremonial area does not contain one. This sets the main ceremonial apart and makes it dominant. Within the next pair of main and preliminary ceremonial areas there are two special cairns – one in each ceremonial area. The preliminary ceremonial area is upgraded and given a special cairn. Within the next pair of main and preliminary ceremonial areas there are four special structures, three are cairns and one is a niche. The preliminary ceremonial area’s special cairn is unique and has outstanding quality. The special cairn is upgraded from the previous preliminary area to a complex and combined unit. The main ceremonial area gains an extra special cairn upgrading to two special cairns and is given a special niche as its main structure.
There is a clear set of progressive steps that is revealed in the placement of the special cairns and special niche. The progressive steps re-enforce the theory of different time periods.
Split Stone Cairns & Underworld Cairns
Following the same arrangement of pairs with main and preliminary ceremonial areas a similar pattern is found with the split stone cairns. Split stone cairns represent the Underworld. Regular split stone cairns were counted. Two of the special cairns are split stone cairns and were counted. The other three special cairns are Underworld cairns which were included.
In A-I there is one split stone cairn. It is in the preliminary ceremonial area. In A-IV and A-VI there are three split stone and Underworld cairns. Two are in the main ceremonial area. One is in the preliminary area. In A-V and A-VIII there are five split stone and Underworld cairns. Three are in the preliminary ceremonial area. Two are in the main ceremonial area.
The split stone cairn in the first area is a regular design in the preliminary ceremonial area. In the next area two split stone cairns are placed in the main ceremonial area. One is changed to a special cairn and converted to the main structure and the other retains a regular design. This upgraded the status of the Underworld presence from subordinate to the main position in the main ceremonial area. The Underworld presence was maintained in the preliminary area as previously but upgraded with by converting to a special cairn. In the final area, the preliminary ceremonial area has an upgraded special cairn and the addition of two more split stone cairns, an increase in the presence of the Underworld from the previous preliminary ceremonial area. In the main ceremonial area of this pair the Underworld cairns are upgraded to special cairns but placed in subordinate positions to the special niche with Upperworld presence.
The increases of split stone and Underworld cairns per pair of main and preliminary ceremonial areas match the increases in special cairns in the same pairs.
The preparation ceremonial area remains static with its single – original split stone cairn.
The select ordinary people are given a separate preliminary ceremonial area which includes three split stone cairns. The multiple split stone cairns holds with the patterns in the other areas. Of the three split stone cairns one has a large “on top trailing to ground” cairn where stone offering were made by select ordinary people.
On Ground Mound Cairns
Small - Medium
Cairns in this category are the same design. The majority range in size from two feet up six feet, with two at seven and eight feet. The majority are made up of stones 7” up to 18” with a few with stones smaller and larger. The stone sizes show each cairn has a small to medium quantity of stones. What is not known is if these cairns are larger than they appear on the surface. This report is based upon the above ground portion and is subject to change if the cairns are later found to be much larger than they appear.
Cairns in this category are on ground, walled on ground and one split stone design. The majority are made up of stones 7” up to 18” with a few with stones smaller and larger. The stone sizes show each cairn has a large quantity of stones.
Some patterns showed up in the small-medium size cairns.
Main ceremonial areas: A-I G1 has two small-medium, A-IV has one small-medium, and A-VIII has one small-medium.
No patterns were found with the large sized cairns.
Main ceremonial area A-IV had one large cairn.
The main ceremonial areas showed a consistent pattern of one to two small-medium cairns per area. The preliminary ceremonial areas showed variation. The period 2 phase I area had two while the other two areas both had seven per ceremonial area. The select ordinary people’s two areas showed inconsistency which suggests differences in the two areas.
This category of cairns had varied designs and variations in location. The large cairn was shifted from one area to another area.
In period 1 section A-I the main ceremonial area had one marker cairn, the preliminary ceremonial area had two marker cairns and section A-VII the select ordinary people’s pre-main ceremonial area had one marker cairn.
In period 2 phase I the main ceremonial area does not have a marker cairn, the preliminary ceremonial area had two marker cairns and the select ordinary people’s preliminary ceremonial area had two marker cairns.
In period 2 phase II the main ceremonial does not have a marker cairn, the preliminary ceremonial area had three marker cairns and the select ordinary people’s preliminary ceremonial area had two marker cairns.
The main ceremonial area in period 1 had one marker cairn. This changed in period 2 which eliminates the marker cairn from both main ceremonial areas.
The preliminary ceremonial areas in period 1 and period 2 phase I each had two marker cairns. In period 2 phase II the preliminary area increases to three marker cairns.
The select ordinary people’s pre-main ceremonial area in period 1 had one marker cairn. In period 2 phases I & II there are two marker cairns. The two marker cairns are in preliminary area A-II which served to main ceremonial areas.
Marker cairns are primarily associated with preliminary ceremonial areas. There is one exception which occurs in period 1 where a marker cairn was used in a main ceremonial area. After that marker cairns no longer show up in main ceremonial areas.
Two types of offerings were found: stone and perishable. Stone represents a permanent object offering that remains forever. Perishable represents a plant or other material offering that breaks down and disappears.
Stone offerings were found to be separate and integrated. Separate is represented by a cairn within the ceremonial area that is not physically connected with the cairn representing the spirit to whom the offering was made. Integrated is when the mound cairn is physically part of the cairn representing the spirit. The stone offerings were identified by medium to large sized cairns integrated into split stone cairns and large cairns on ground.
Perishable offerings were all integrated into the cairn representing the spirit. They were identified by stone plates, niches and openings underneath the base stone.
A-I G2 Underworld Spirit, A66 separate large on ground cairn, preliminary ceremony
A-I G1 North Spirit, cairn A11, stone plate, main spirit, shaman, main ceremony
In A-I G2 and A-VII North Spirit and Underworld Spirit are given a separate stone offering. In addition, North Spirit is given a perishable offering. North Spirit is the main spirit who had two different types of offerings. Underworld Spirit, the assisting spirit had one offering.
In A-IV Underworld Spirit, who is the main spirit in the main ceremony, is given a separate stone offering. There is no evidence of a perishable offering. In the preliminary area A-VI Underworld Spirit is present but no offering is evident. In A-II the ordinary people’s area there are two split stones with integrated mounds. This is the first appearance of an integrated stone offering in direct contact with the Underworld Spirit. Split Stone cairn A93 is linked with this set of ceremonial areas. It has a large on top trailing to ground cairn indicating collective stone offerings by the select ordinary people.
In the preliminary area, A-V Underworld Spirit had two split stone cairns. Cairn A48 has a stone plate inside an opening under the base stone, a perishable offering. Cairn A45 has an integrated medium sized mound of stones, indicating limited stone offerings. In the main area, A-VIII there are three structures. Underworld cairn A56 has an integrated medium sized stone mound, indicating limited stone offerings probably by the leader. Underworld cairn A58 has a stone plate which is evidence of a perishable offering. Special niche A10 with Sun Spirit has a stone plate, evidence of a perishable offering.
In Period 1 the stone offerings show up as separate cairns used for both the North Spirit and Underworld Spirit. The perishable offering was used with the main spirits, North Spirit and Water Spirit. In Period 2 Phase I, the Underworld Spirit becomes the main spirit. The main spirit is given the customary separate stone offering cairn but not a perishable offering. In addition, the ordinary people were given contact with Underworld Spirit through a split stone cairn in A-II where they made a stone offering. In Period 2 Phase II, the Underworld Spirit who is an assisting spirit is given a perishable and a stone offering. The main spirit in this group who is Sun Spirit is only given a perishable offering.
The perishable offering seems to have been intended for the main spirits. However, the Underworld Spirit who shows up as an assisting spirit in the Period 1 and in the following Period 2 Phase I as a main spirit slips through without a perishable offering. To rectify the mistake the Underworld Spirit is given not one but two perishable offerings in the Period 2 Phase II. The two perishable offerings were made separately in the preliminary and main ceremonies. In Period 2 Phase II, the Sun Spirit is given only a perishable offering. It is not given a stone offering. The reason may be that the Sun Spirit’s ceremony was created to mirror the Water Spirit’s ceremony. In the Water Spirit’s ceremony, there is only a perishable offering, hence only a perishable offering was made to the Sun Spirit.
The findings are based on:
Pattern variations indicate internal shifts within the ceremonies
Separation of Responsibility: There is separation of responsibility as seen in the preparation and main ceremonies having one and two on ground mound cairns representing individual bands of people.
Period 2 – Phase I
Preparation – single band and one person*, stone offerings, (*one person could be a shaman who the band procured or someone selected from within the band)
Separation of Responsibility Changes: The main ceremonial area drops one of the bands responsible for the ceremony and adds a collective stone offerings cairn within the area. The preliminary ceremonial area drops the collective stone offerings (there is no evidence of any type of offering) and drops from seven bands (that originally represented all the bands) down to two bands. The ordinary people’s ceremonial area is separated and given an Underworld split stone cairn which is used to make the collective stone offerings. This places the ordinary people’s ceremony in the preliminary category. The ordinary people and leaders continue to make collective stone offerings to each spirit involved in the preliminary and main ceremonies. What changed was the individual band representation is now completely in the ordinary people’s area*. The ordinary people’s ceremonial area is now an independent ceremonial area with its own separate preliminary ceremony. This is a change from the previous period whereby the ordinary people’s area was integrated into both the preliminary and main ceremonies.
Fewer individual bands are independently involved with the preliminary and main ceremonies. They lose overall individual band representation at the preliminary and main ceremonies. The offering to the spirit in the preliminary ceremonial area is dropped. The ordinary people gain a separate preliminary ceremonial area.
* Note: The ordinary people’s ceremonial area has twenty two individual on ground mound cairns. What must be taken into consideration is this area A-II was used during the two phases of period 2 and is associated with two main ceremonial areas. The larger number of individual on ground cairns suggest an increase the number of bands of people and possibly a doubling up of band representation due to the fact the area served two main ceremonies.
Period 2 – Phase II
Preparation – one band as denoted by one band at sunset ceremony (not at the enclosure), one person, no stone offerings
Reinstatement and Blocked Out: There were seven individual bands of people represented in period 1 in both the preliminary and the combined ordinary peoples and main ceremony. In period 2 phase II, there are seven individual bands of people represented in the preliminary ceremonial area. This suggests the original bands who established this site are re-instated to have a presence at the preliminary ceremony. There is an increase from two in the previous phase back up to seven in this phase. The stone offering missing in the previous phase is reinstated. However, the collective stone offering is not reinstated. In its place, a single stone offering by a single person possibly representative of the various bands is established on a yearly basis. This is evidenced by a medium sized cairn associated with a split stone cairn. The leader has the responsibility of the perishable offering in the main split stone cairn.
In the main ceremonial area one band is represented as seen in the previous phase. The collective stone offering made yearly is missing. The yearly stone offering is changed to a single stone offering. Since one band is represented it is though only that band is represented in the yearly stone offering. This main ceremonial area has two perishable offerings. It is unclear if the leader was responsible for both or shared the duties with another person.
Ordinary people lose participation in the main ceremony. The reason may be seen in the main ceremonial area by the stream with the Water Ceremony. The niche by stream was probably the responsibility of one band or the shaman. The ceremony’s needs were simple, a single perishable offering placed once a year. The Water Ceremony with its niche is mirrored in the Sunset Ceremony with its niche. The ceremonies are on opposite sides of the site and represent balance. Setting up the Sunset Ceremony to mirror the Water Ceremony would seem logical. Mirroring refers to a single band’s participation verses the collective whole of all bands. This would account for the ordinary people being blocked out of participating in the main ceremony which they had participated in, in the previous two main ceremonies.
During every aspect of this site there is individual band representation and collective representation. The representation shifts around but is always present. The enclosures built for a single person suggest a shaman had the responsibility of the preparation ceremony. In period 1 every band of people plus the leader(s) shared every aspect except the preparation ceremony. In period 2 phase I, the site may have increased in the number of bands attending the ceremonies but who were not individually represented. A shift is made whereby three bands became responsible for the main ceremony and preliminary ceremony. To accommodate the new bands and the original bands that lost representation at the preliminary and main ceremonies, a new ceremonial area is established, the Ordinary People’s Preliminary Ceremonial Area. In period 2 phase II, the original seven bands are re-instated in the original preliminary ceremony. It may have been to compensate for the lost of participation in the main ceremony.
The theory expressed here is based upon logical analysis. Small bands made up a large group as seen in historic times. Using that basis, combined with large and small-medium sized cairns with small quantities of stones in them the above theory was explored.
Re-creation of Ceremonies
The ceremonies are presented in what appears to be the earliest to the latest. The water Ceremony and North Ceremony both have structures that indicate an early period. Which came first is unknown. Underworld Ceremony followed the North Ceremony. Sunset Ceremony followed the Underworld Ceremony.
Snow covers much of the ground with patches of brown decaying leaves peaking through. The days have lengthened, the sunrays generate warmth during the day, but nights are ice cold. Spring is coming. Soon the spring rains will return and fill seasonal streams to overflowing capacity.
It is time, preparations are made and people trek out to a special place in the woods. They need to get there before the water fills the seasonal stream. Some time ago, their people located this seasonal stream flowing in an easterly direction and built a niche on its banks. A simple sturdy niche, as it needed to withstand the seasonal rush of water that must over flow the stream’s banks and flow in and out of the niche.
Their load is light, a perishable offering. No stone offerings are carried as there are no spirits to call forth. In fact, they must arrive before the chosen spirit does. They have come to make an offering to the Water Spirit who returns each spring. To insure the spirit finds their offering, they must place it in the niche before the water rises carrying with it, the Water Spirit.
An offering is made to the Water Spirit, to insure the spirit returns to the Underworld by seeping into the ground at the wetlands. Water seeping into the ground comes back to the People at springs as pure clean drinking water. Drinking water is needed for the survival of the People. Many Native American village sites were located on land with several springs hence, the importance of the ceremony.
The actual ceremony took place without people present. They had no way to predict when the stream would overflow its banks. When the Water Spirit came in contact with the offering in the niche, the ceremony occurred. The water coming in contact with the perishable offering meant the Water Spirit accepted the people’s offering.
At the America’s Stonehenge site on Mystery Hill approximately twenty miles away, that site’s original spring water ceremony mirrored the one at this site. At Mystery Hill the people used a drain instead of a niche. They siphoned off the water overflowing the banks of a wetlands pool and directed the water down to a wetlands area. The drain was the only feature. Throughout the life of that site, the spring water ceremony was modified and moved but at all times maintained one element. Water in the various drains was always directed down the east side of the hill. In the original version the water was directed down to wetlands. In the modified versions water was directed down to sump pits, shallow depressions lined with stones to insure the water would seep into the ground. (America’s Stonehenge Deciphered)
A single niche is the only structure at the area. It was symbolically linked with the main cairn site and ties the two areas together.
The east flowing stream has the same directional flow pattern as seen at the America’s Stonehenge Site with a similar spring time ceremony. The symbolic meaning of the east directional orientation is not known. Another site in East Kingston, New Hampshire in the same general geographical region also has a spring time ceremony. It is a main ceremony, like at this site but its seasonal stream flows west. So no conclusions can be drawn on the directional orientation, except the People who created the Standing Stone Niche Site probably once belonged to the America’s Stonehenge Site.
It is not known who was responsible for this ceremony. Nor is it known how many people participated, one or a group? The responsibility may have alternated between bands or been the sole responsibility of one band.
North Ceremony is comprised of a preparation ceremonial area, a preliminary ceremonial area, a select ordinary people’s ceremonial area and a main ceremonial area. Its preparation ceremonial area may have been shared with the Water Ceremony.
One person leaves the people gathered for the ceremony and goes out to the isolated split stone cairn on top of the hill at the far northeast end. He/she invites the Underworld Spirit to travel down slope to an enclosure. His/her band is responsible for the Preparation Ceremony represented by their single cairn near the enclosure. Situated on a low spot far from the main ceremonial area this places the person below. Does it signify the Underworld? Possibly!
The selected person is carrying a stone, an offering to the Underworld Spirit that is placed on the cairn nearby. The selected person and Underworld Spirit enter the enclosure from the north. The enclosure was used to contain both entities, human with its own spirit and Underworld Spirit, and shut out the outer world. It is unknown what the significance is of the north entry. Inside the selected person and spirit communicate, leader through chants and ritual. At the conclusion the selected person returns to the main ceremonial area.
A similar scenario occurred at America’s Stonehenge at Mystery Hill approximately twenty miles away. At Mystery Hill the original structure where the preparation ceremony was held with Underworld Spirit, was part ways down a steep hill, inside a large shallow cave. Later, an enclosure was used by the select ordinary people for their own combined preparation and main ceremonial structure. It is possible the people who created this site broke off from the group(s) at Mystery Hill (America’s Stonehenge Deciphered). At Mystery Hill the selected person was a shaman. At the Standing Stone Niche site, the selected person may have been a shaman whose services were procured or a person selected from within the band.
Long ago, seven bands collaborated in creating a ceremonial area. Each band built a cairn, representative of their people. People have a spirit like the sun, water, and animals. Therefore a cairn representing a band contained the Spirit-of-the-People who would always be present at the ceremony. As new members (through marriage) joined the band or came of age (children grew to maturity), their stones were added. At the yearly gathering a few people from the bands were selected to contribute a stone offering to a community type cairn.
A group of people (size unknown) have gathered at the ceremonial area. They represent the seven bands. For those bands who do not have a person present, their respective cairn with their Spirit-of-the-People stands in. As a collective group they are responsible for the Preliminary Ceremony. A few individual people carry a stone. The stones are placed on the community-type cairn as an offering to the Underworld Spirit. Everyone moves over to the split stone where the Underworld Spirit is called forth by chants and ritual. The shaman was the likely leader. The Underworld Spirit is their chief spirit of the universe. It is to the Underworld Spirit, who rules all spirits they give acknowledgement and ask for assistance in calling forth the main spirit in the main ceremony.
The full extent of the ceremony is not known. There are a couple of other cairns associated with a base stone that may have also had a yearly single stone offering. In addition, there are several one time event cairns which had symbolic significance and possibly rituals held at them.
At America’s Stonehenge on Mystery Hill approximately twenty miles away there is evidence, small on ground mound cairns represent bands of people through their spirits, Spirit-of-the-People. (America’s Stonehenge Deciphered)
Select Ordinary People’s Pre-Main Ceremony
The people next walked over to the ceremonial area on the northwest corner, a short distance away. The bands of people were likely represented by a select group of ordinary people from each band. They were also represented by the band’s cairn built long ago. Five bands are represented, two are not represented.
The area was prone to invasion by a spirit(s) in the water at the base of the steep drop. To block out uninvited spirits an exposed bedrock with a pronounced quartz vein was activated by making it into a cairn. A single stone was placed on top. With this protection, the people could safely use the area.
The people have gathered to make a stone offering. They meet at the large collective cairn where they created a cairn with straight walls. To protect against spirit invasion from the south they embed a large prominent pure milk-white stone in the south side of the cairn. The straight walls mimic the special cairn in the main ceremonial area. The shape insures the offering is directed to the spirit in the Main Ceremony. This is to avoid confusion with the Underworld Spirit who was called forth in the Preliminary Ceremony.
The ceremony does not call forth the spirit. It is designed to make an offering to the spirit. Collectively the select ordinary people place their stone offering on the cairn.
Two small groups of select ordinary people lead the way over to the main ceremonial area. It is adjacent to the preliminary ceremonial area. The two groups represent two bands whose representative cairns are located in the main ceremonial area. From within the two small groups, are two leaders. One leader carries a stone, and one leader carries a perishable offering.
All the preparation is a lead up to making contact with the main spirit. A few feet away the people gather around a special cairn. The cairn is heavily protected and complexly built. A large walled cairn with a large flat triangular stone is on the south end. On the north side of the rectangular cairn is a stone plate on the ground. Above the stone plate a triangular stone juts out. Under the triangular stone is a layer of white stones close to the stone plate. On the north side of the stone plate is a small cairn with a short triangular standing stone. The triangular stones along with the layer of white stones block out uninvited spirit(s) on the north side. Block out symbolism does not block out the invited spirit as seen at the America’s Stonehenge Site (America’s Stonehenge Deciphered).The north side in addition faces into an area with small cairns in a U shape. The U shape ends at a steep drop off down to water below.
In the Water Ceremony the niche was oriented east the same direction the water flowed. This was done so the Water Spirit could flow into the niche and accept the perishable offering. In the main ceremony on the hilltop the special cairn is oriented north indicating the spirit associated with it is from the north. At America’s Stonehenge on Mystery Hill, there is an alignment stone oriented True North, representing the North Spirit. At Mystery Hill, North Spirit is represented as the main spirit of the Upperworld. The evidence suggests the special cairn represents the North Spirit.
To call North Spirit into the main ceremony, the chief leader takes over. The chief leader comes forth and places a perishable offering on the stone plate in the specially designed cairn. The cairn’s design makes it special and to stand out as an important structure. It was built to impress the chosen spirit who the people relied upon. Through chants and ritual the North Spirit comes in contact with the people present. The people make their needs known to the spirit to insure its assistance in keeping the universe in balance.
At America’s Stonehenge circa 1250 years ago, a one time ceremony was held at the North Stone with a fire. Fire creates smoke that rises upward into the sky, the Upperworld. This indicates a message was sent to the North Spirit. Approximately fifty years later, circa 1200 years ago all ceremonies involving water were stopped as evidenced by associated features and areas that were closed up at America’s Stonehenge. This indicates a long term drought in the region. The people closed the two sunset ceremonies on top of the hill and moved the Summer Solstice Sunset Ceremony to the peripheral of the site.
The summer solstice sunset ceremony was re-configured and integrated into a cairn field / alignment site. The cairn field contains fourteen small on ground mound cairns (3½ to 4 feet diameter) and two medium sized cairns (5’ to 8’). This is a similar layout to the Sandown site. In addition, the America’s Stonehenge site used a set of two triangular stones to form an enclosed space for the shaman conducting the Sunset Ceremony. The use of back and front triangles is seen in the Special Cairn A11 with the North Spirit at the Sandown site.
Eventually the drought conditions passed. The weather cycle went back to normal producing rain water in sufficient quantity to re-activate springs. The people holding ceremonies at America’s Stonehenge chose to remain status quo and not re-instate water ceremonies. They chose to leave their ceremonial structures permanently closed. This appears to be in opposition to some of the people attending ceremonies at the site.
Some people felt a need to set up a ceremony to acknowledge North Spirit, the chief Upperworld spirit. This was lacking in the pre-drought ceremonial arrangements at America’s Stonehenge. In the old Winter Water Ceremony, North Spirit held a secondary position and was there to insure Spring Water Spirit went up to Upperworld during the winter months. There was no ceremony to acknowledge North Spirit or to insure Rain Water Spirit returned in the spring time.
The idea was rejected. The people who wanted a ceremony for North Spirit split off from the people at America’s Stonehenge. They went northward twenty miles where they found suitable land. These people may have been from the region known today as southeastern New Hampshire. The originators of America’s Stonehenge came from the southward, in what is known as northeastern Massachusetts in the Haverhill-Bradford area along the Merrimack River.
The northern bands felt by setting up the new ceremony they could acknowledge North Spirit as the chief spirit of Upperworld who controlled Rain Water Spirit. In turn, they could make an offering to the North Spirit and avoid another long term drought. The people also appealed to Rain Water Spirit, they set up a niche on the stream bank so rain water would flow through it once a year. Inside they placed an offering to the spirit. This may have had a dual purpose as thanks for returning and to insure the Rain Water Spirit entered the ground i.e. Underworld where it would transition into Spring Water Spirit.
The use of triangles back and front and a similar cairn field layout suggests the builders of the Sandown site broke away from the America’s Stonehenge site. (For a full comparison see Features & Concepts, America’s Stonehenge Site vs Standing Stone Niche Site.) The breakaway occurred post 1200 years ago, evidenced by the use of triangles back and front, and a cairn field as a main ceremonial area.
The split stone cairn representing the Underworld and Underworld Spirit played important roles at America’s Stonehenge. The Sun Spirit was seen as entering the Underworld for part of the year and later, each night. During the drought and change over to the cairn field, the Sun Spirit was viewed as no longer going into Underworld but a curious thing happens. The Underworld Spirit through split stone cairns continued to be present at the Sunset Ceremony. Why is not known. The presence of Underworld Spirit at the North Spirit Ceremony at the Sandown site could reflect the cairn field at America’s Stonehenge or it could reflect the North [Star] Spirit as going into Underworld during the daytime hours.
The ceremony likely was held in the spring time prior to the stream with the niche overflowing its banks. This was determined through the North Ceremony’s association with the Water Ceremony. The specific day North Ceremony took place is unknown.
“Our ancestors who continue to hold ceremonies at Mystery Hill invited you, Underworld Spirit to all their ceremonies. Always you were asked to assist. Never did they create a ceremony for you, Great Spirit, who rules the Underworld. Even we overlooked you when we came here to rectify the oversight with North Spirit who controls the return of Rain Water Spirit. We originally created a ceremony to North Spirit and a ceremony to Rain Water Spirit. Now the people of Upperworld have created a ceremony to you, Underworld Spirit, chief of Underworld.
Select Ordinary People’s Preliminary Ceremony
Upon the return of our leader from the Underworld, “we, the people enter a new ceremonial area. We have grown in numbers we have several new bands that have joined us who are not represented by a cairn. Our leader makes a direct offering to you, Underworld Spirit. That is forbidden in the old preliminary ceremony where we make an offering in a separate cairn, you must travel over to, to access. It has been decided to create a new ceremonial area in which we can make a direct offering. You have provided us with a stone split in two. To activate the spirit portal you created, we have placed a single stone over the split. We have done the same in the main ceremonial area so you will know which split stone cairn is the main cairn.
Each band has built a cairn to represent them on the ground in our world above you. We are now all represented so you will recognize each one of us. We are ordinary people who wish to make direct contact with you as our leader has done. We have selected people from among us to make stone offerings. Our offering is set up to make contact with Underworld and Upperworld by placing stones on top and trailing down to the ground. It is our wish that you present yourself to us by leaving Underworld and entering our world above, lower Upperworld where we can make preparations for the main event.
At the conclusion of the Ordinary People’s Preliminary Ceremony two bands of people leave the Ordinary People’s Preliminary Ceremonial Area and walk over to the Underworld’s Preliminary Ceremonial Area on the west side.
At each marker cairn, the story of it is re-told. This keeps alive the knowledge of its purpose and history which we pass down from generation to generation.”
Those present move over to the tall boulder that stands out. Here the special cairn’s story is re-told in minute detail so every aspect of its creation is known.
“The Underworld Spirit split this tall stone. It split off a chunk of stone and created an L shaped spirit portal for it self to exit Underworld. It then laid the chunk on the ground, face up to have a flat surface. Upon the flat surface we people have placed three stones to activate the spirit portal and acknowledge the spirit’s presence. Then we placed a large stone a few feet away from the tall stone, to create a second spirit portal. This spirit portal we filled with smaller stones to show you, the Underworld Spirit where to go after we call you forth for our ceremony. It is in our world above but set up so you can re-enter Underworld after the ceremony.
We have created this ceremonial area on the west side. We want you to know, you, Underworld Spirit deserve a special cairn. This special cairn upgrades the preliminary ceremonial area and sets it apart from the ordinary people’s preliminary ceremonial area. The special cairn denotes the ceremonial area’s special connection with the main ceremonial area.
You will note we have not brought you an offering. We are not here to interact with you. That took place at the previous two ceremonial areas. We have designed the ceremony to bring you over to the west side where the main event will take place. It is another step in the preparations.”
People have gathered at the main ceremonial area. The two bands holding the Preliminary Ceremony join the others. They have come together as a people to celebrate Underworld Spirit. A select individual from each band carries a stone.
Re-told time and again is the ceremony’s story: “When the main ceremonial area was created one band was chosen to be responsible for the ceremony. At each year’s ceremony, the group re-counts its induction as the chosen band around its cairn.
An old custom continued. A collective cairn was established in which representatives from the different bands each place a stone offering. The cairn is on the ground in lower Upperworld and separate from the main cairn. It follows the arrangement used in the main North Ceremony. This continues to allow the ordinary people to participate in the main ceremony. Here the people make an offering to the main spirit. It is of utmost importance that ordinary people are included as the Underworld Spirit serves the whole community not just the leaders/shamans.
The leader leads the people in chants while walking over to the main cairn. Surrounded by the people the leader steps out. On the south end of the cairn, the story unfolds of how a block of stone with an intrusion of white quartz was placed on top of a low base. It was used to block out uninvited spirits from entering on the south side from above ground and below ground. The block of stone with quartz sent its blocking out powers upwards and downwards via the base stone. Going to the north end the story is re-told in how the quartz vein was impregnated into the stone by Underworld Spirit. The quartz shows on the top surface and goes deep into the ground. It was another way to block out uninvited spirits. The stone with quartz is next to an in-ground split stone. The Underworld Spirit made sure this spirit portal was protected long before people found it as evidenced by the stone with the quartz. The protection was needed because of spirits in the water below that needed to be blocked out from entering the Underworld at this portal.
The spirit portal was activated by placing a single stone diagonally across the split. By activating the spirit portal the people could hold a ceremony and call forth Underworld Spirit, the honored guest.
Underworld Spirit was escorted a few feet over to a cairn on top of a base stone. The base stone was a conduit to the Underworld but not a spirit portal. Therefore, the cairn could safely but temporarily contain the Underworld Spirit. On the cairn’s east side a large boulder blocked the Underworld from traveling over towards the Ordinary People’s Preliminary Ceremonial Area where there were open spirit portals to the Underworld. The smaller stones on top of the base stone were used by Underworld Spirit to reside during the ceremony.
The people showed Underworld Spirit this was not an ordinary special cairn, but a special cairn that showcased the main ceremony. To do this, the special cairn was fashioned after the North Ceremony’s main special cairn. They pointed out both main cairns are elongated but that North Spirit’s cairn was built on the ground and completely in Upperworld. While Underworld Spirit’s cairn was built on stones sunk into the ground to have constant contact with the Underworld while the spirit was in lower Upperworld during the ceremony.
The people told of how Underworld Spirit for eons had graciously assisted spirits from Upperworld and Underworld at their ceremonies. And now the people were able to reciprocate by holding a main ceremony for the Underworld Spirit.
Once a year, the ceremony was held. The day it was held is unknown. The people brought balance to the site by creating a main ceremony to the two world spirits, Underworld Spirit, Chief Spirit of Underworld, and North Spirit, Chief Spirit of Upperworld. However, in doing so they threw the site out of balance, for it had a third main ceremony.
Underworld Spirit has been found to assist at Upperworld and Underworld ceremonies. Its presence at these ceremonies suggests the Underworld Spirit may have been more than just the Chief Spirit of Underworld, it may have been the Great Spirit of the Universe, to whom spirits and people turned to.
The site at this point, had three main ceremonies located on the east, north and west sides. These compass directions represent placement orientation. There was none on the south side. That meant the south compass point lacked placement orientation representation. There were two main ceremonies with elongated cairns. There was one main ceremony with a niche. Two spirits had a perishable offering. One spirit did not have a perishable offering. There were two main, two preliminary and two ordinary people’s ceremonial areas. There was one preparation ceremonial area. The site was out-of-balance. Another set of ceremonial areas was needed.
The people had left the south side untouched. Within the area were serviceable boulders spread out that suited their needs. It was also long enough to separate into two separate ceremonial areas with a suitable gap in between. A shaman among them still had detailed knowledge of the America’s Stonehenge site. Perhaps the shaman was a new comer, having recently left the group at America’s Stonehenge. Whatever the case, intimate details from that site were carried over to this site.
A new enclosure was built. At America’s Stonehenge, the large shallow cave used for the original preparation ceremony was half ways down the steep hillside. The new enclosure was relocated and built half ways down the steep hillside. There were new stone masons among the people as this enclosure was built to suit the hill. Superb stone layers, the builders built a V shaped enclosure. Its back wall is tall while the sides step down towards the front. The enclosure opens northeast towards the rising sun but is not aligned with any of the solar events.
A break was made from the first enclosure. This one does not have any cairns. At the top of the hill the split stone cairn has a small mound attached to its side. The attached cairn may have been used to make a stone offering in lieu of a collective cairn seen at the first enclosure.
This enclosure lacks a band representative cairn. The same scenario occurs at the niche on the east side. This enclosure therefore creates a match with the niche and in turn creates two ceremonial areas without cairns. It is unknown if the preparation ceremony was shared by the combined bands or the responsibility of one band.
The enclosure brought balance by adding a second matching structure and second preparation ceremonial area. Since there were no more split stones available on the northeast corner, the original split stone cairn continued to be used.
Select Ordinary People’s Preliminary Ceremony
The original Select Ordinary People’s Preliminary Ceremonial Area served the main Underworld Ceremony. It had used up the whole central top of the hilltop and left no other place to create another preliminary area. A decision was made to adapt the original area so it would serve two main ceremonies. They had one split stone left that could be put into service. The dual usage would also serve the purpose of having two ceremonial areas with dual usage designations and hence, keep the site in-balance. Balance was looked upon as having two of the same thing.
Dual usage was accomplished by turning low bedrock with multi-splits into a split stone cairn. A collective cairn attached to one end was started and built upon once year during the ceremony. A two boulder split stone cairn is located in this area. It is thought to go with the sunset ceremony as that ceremony has a similar three boulder split stone cairn in its preliminary ceremonial area. Individual bands built a second on ground cairn to represent themselves. This is a plausible explanation for the large quantity of small to medium sized on ground mound cairns.
The Preliminary Ceremony is upgraded in two ways. Three split stone cairns were built. Of the three, one is an elaborate special cairn. The special cairn has a feature and characteristics found at America’s Stonehenge. The ceremony has two aspects that revert back to the original preliminary ceremony associated with the North Ceremony.
The seven on ground mound cairns increased the number of bands represented. It brought the number back up to same as found in the original preliminary ceremony. However, seven does not account for all the bands now attending ceremonies at the site. Seven does suggest the original bands that set up the site were given a special privilege to collectively be responsible for the ceremony. Of the seven, one cairn was placed next to the special cairn suggesting one band had leadership responsibility.
The two marker cairns aspect was retained. A possible third marker cairn was built. The marker cairns had significance that can not deciphered. One marker cairn has a pronounced wide quartz vein that goes vertically from top to bottom. It faces toward the main ceremonial area. The quartz vein was used to block out uninvited spirits from entering the preliminary ceremonial area. In Time Period 2 the marker cairns are exclusive to the preliminary ceremonies.
Breaking from the past, three split stone cairns were created. One cairn is made up of three large boulders with smaller large stones placed inside the two splits. Second cairn is made up of bedrock with multiple splits, a cairn on top, a cairn inside one split and a single stone on top. The on top cairn and cairn inside the split are small and medium. The two cairns suggest a stone offering was made by one or two people yearly. The offering cairn is found in the original preliminary ceremonial area with the North Ceremony but had been omitted from the second preliminary ceremonial area with the Underworld Ceremony. The filled split and cairn on top suggest the Underworld Spirit was appealed to. The spirit may have been called out to receive the offering and then allowed to re-enter the Underworld via the open splits.
The third split stone cairn is special. A naturally molded stone with a smooth surface was found. The molded stone has an open slot forming an open split on one end of it. The split is vertical. A natural hole with a tiny quartz crystal next to it goes through the upper side of the stone to the split. The hole opens on the north side. This creates an L shaped opening with protective block out symbolism. The stone is a one-of-a-kind object with unique features. It enhances this cairn greatly. The molded split stone was placed over the large split in the base stone. The split in the base stone was activated by two small stones placed inside. On the opposite (north) end of the base stone is a second stone. This stone has protrusions on its underside forming small openings underneath it. The stone on top of the north end is in-line with the Three-Stone Split Stone cairn. On the north end there is an opening underneath the base stone. The opening has a stone plate set on the ground inside.
The layout arrangement shows the Underworld Spirit was called out of the Underworld at the large split in the base stone. From there the spirit was directed to travel upwards through the split in the stone on top and out the north side through the hole. The spirit traveled across the top of the base stone over to the second stone on top. Here it passed underneath via the small opening which is aligned north. This brought the Underworld Spirit out into the ceremonial area. In-line with the special cairn is the Three-Stone Split Stone cairn with both splits filled. The spirit had been directed northward through both secondary spirit portals in the special cairn and continued northward until it reached this filled split stone cairn. The filled split stone cairn was designed to contain the spirit during the preliminary ceremony. At the conclusion, the Underworld Spirit was called back to the special cairn by a perishable offering placed on the stone plate. This directed the spirit where to return to and where to re-enter the Underworld. Thus, concluded the preliminary ceremony.
The three split stone cairns increase the presence of the Underworld Spirit. They create a complex preliminary ceremony with multiple parts involving the Underworld Spirit. It is evident the Underworld Spirit has either taken on greater importance in the people’s lives or has been given its due respect after all these years as evidenced in the main Underworld Ceremony.
The main ceremony had to have one structure, a niche. The niche needed to be see-through and the spirit had to be one that traveled. These traits were needed to balance the ceremonial area on the east side. An equinox sunset ceremony fit all the requirements. For the ceremony people had to arrive before sunset as there were several rituals prior to the main event.
Next the people gathered around a cairn with a mound on top trailing to the ground on low bedrock. On its exterior is a triangular stone blocking out uninvited spirits. One person had brought a stone to make an offering to the mound. On the opposite end of the bedrock a chunk of stone had split off leaving an L shape and a flat surface of stone. When the ceremonial area was built a single stone was placed on top of the split off chunk lying flat. Above the feature are two stones stood up in a position to lean against each other. Underneath the two leaning stones is a narrow slit-like opening, a spirit portal aligned with the mound of stones on the other end. The stone offering was placed on the mound to call Underworld Spirit out of Underworld. The two-stone spirit portal was used to direct the spirit over to the mound so it could accept the people’s offering. This was in preparation for the next ritual.
A few feet away there is another low cairn. On the cairn’s east side and separate from the cairn is a short standing stone. On the standing stone’s south side at the base there is a chipped out indentation in the stone. This creates a shallow opening. Above the opening the stone has a large intrusion of white quartz. In front of the opening on the ground is a small stone plate. The opening and stone plate face the niche a short distance away. Behind the standing stone, a low flat stone was raised on two support stones on its east end. This created an opening underneath the base stone. On top trailing to ground is a layer of stones. Interspersed among the regular stones are white stones that stand out. This cairn is on the far edge of the site and next to the niche area.
One person carried with him/her a perishable offering. The offering was placed on the stone plate to call forth the Underworld Spirit. The Underworld Spirit was called forth to be present during the sunset event. The stone plate and opening in the standing stone which face the niche area were used to direct the spirit. The Underworld Spirit was called upon to be the host spirit. After the Sunset Ceremony concluded the Underworld Spirit was directed or escorted by the people over to the opening underneath the base stone. The Underworld Spirit re-entered Underworld. The white on the standing stone and the white stones on the cairn prevented Sun Spirit, the uninvited spirit from entering Underworld at the cairn.
Underworld Spirit’s presence at the Sunset Ceremony denotes one of two potential beliefs. 1) Sun Spirit entered Underworld at the end of the ceremony. 2) Underworld Spirit resided at the ceremonial site and was called forth out of respect. In either case, Underworld Spirit was present as the “Host Spirit”.
When the sun was low in the sky it was time for the shaman/leader to bring forth his/her perishable offering. This offering was placed on the triangular stone plate on the west side of the niche. The triangle served two purposes its point was used to direct the Sun Spirit towards the west and the setting sun. And second, the shape prevented the Sun Spirit from reversing direction and returning to the site.
Next the shaman/leader walked to the east about thirty to forty feet where he/she sat on the ground. This was optimum viewing range. Here the person remained awaiting the sun to set over the standing stone. The leader made sure Sun Spirit passed through the niche by making an offering thus insured the spirit would join up with the sun’s sphere. As the sun’s sphere descended the Sun Spirit left the site and the people.
Many sites with a solar alignment have either a sunrise or sunset ceremony. This makes it impossible to define what was going on. With the sunset ceremony did the people consider the Sun Spirit to be with them during the day of the ceremony? Or was the day to mark when the Sun Spirit left Upperworld and entered Underworld for part of the year? Some things continue to remain a mystery.
The large collective cairn seen in the previous two main ceremonies is omitted in this main ceremony. This may be why the preliminary ceremony re-instated the seven bands representation. Omitting the collective stone offering was likely done to bring the main Sunset Ceremony in-line with the main Water Ceremony where no stone offering was made by the collective whole.
Balance and treating spirits equally were important parts of these ceremonies. But occasionally even with the best intentions mistakes were made. The mistakes were lived with until an opportunity presented itself to rectify the mistake. There seems to have been a practice strictly adhered to, once a ceremonial area was set up it never changed so the mistake could not be rectified at that area. It had to await the creation of a new ceremonial area. A new ceremonial area had to have a need or reason to be built other than the mistake. One mistake made at the Sandown site was a perishable offering was omitted in the main ceremony in which the Underworld Spirit was the main spirit.
Sometimes a site was thrown out-of-balance when a new ceremony was added which was suppose to make the site in-balance. This was need and reason substantial enough to warrant a new ceremonial area. The Underworld Spirit’s set of ceremonial areas were added which included a matching cairn set up to correspond with the North Spirit’s cairn. In turn this left the site with two elongated cairns and one niche. The new ceremony rectified the need to have a ceremony for the main spirits of Upperworld and Underworld but accidentally threw the site out of balance. At that point, there were three main ceremonies (Water, North and Underworld) and three makes the site out of balance. This created a need for a new ceremony. However, to bring the site back into balance a ceremony with a niche was needed to create balance with the main Water Ceremony with a niche. The people opted for a Sun Ceremony. In an effort to maintain balance, the ceremony with Sun Spirit was set up on an equinox, with equal day and night. The sunset ceremony created a set of opposites, the Water Spirit traveled east and the Sun Spirit would travel west. Opposites are another form of balance. At the Sunset Ceremony, the perishable offering to the Underworld Spirit was rectified while the Sun Spirit’s ceremony was set up to make a perishable offering avoiding that mistake again.
At all times in the life of a site like this one the optimum objective was to maintain balance and equality. Equality is seen in the participation of the ordinary people along side the leaders. Equality was just as important for the spirits. It was probably the sense of equality that prompted the people of this site to set up main ceremonies to the main spirits of Upperworld and Underworld. But balance is fickle. When one aspect is put in-balance it often throws another aspect out-of-balance. This was the reason why the America’s Stonehenge site grew to the large size it did. Then when everything appeared to be in perfect balance nature disrupts. That’s what happened at America’s Stonehenge causing the people to downsize. Once they downsized, they may have been prohibited from enlarging again by their own rules. Example once a ceremony is set up, it can not be changed even if a mistake is made. One shaman felt so strongly there was a need for a new ceremony that he/she with followers broke away to start a new ceremonial site.
The people appear to have had strict rules governing their ceremonies and ceremonial sites. The rules kept order but at times hindered rectifying mistakes. A site like the Standing Stone Niche Site in Sandown, NH, allows us to peek into the past. The people having broken away from the America’s Stonehenge Site allows go deeper into the culture’s reasoning and follow the people as they move forward through time.
The Sandown people made one major change they established ceremonies to the main spirits of Upperworld and Underworld. What we do not know is if the change occurred from circumstances surrounding the break off or the concept was introduced from outsiders. Cairn sites from the northshore of Boston up through southeastern New Hampshire have been found that are dedicated to the Underworld Spirit. One such site is post 1800 as it has drilled quarry holes used to split a stone to create a split stone for ceremonial purposes. The majority of the sites do not have associated dates which makes it impossible to assess how the concept spread. What can be determined was the Sandown site was not an isolated site with an isolated concept. The Sandown site was part of a larger contingency of sites exhibiting the same common concept.
Surface Ledge Stone Quarry
Three surface ledge stone quarries with half-round holes drilled into the stone were located. Sections A-V, A-VI and A-VII each had one stone quarry. The features are A53, A54 and A94. All three resembled each other. On the north sides of each exposed bedrock sections small portions were removed from the top layer. These resulted in a few bars being removed from each section of the surface bedrock. The remaining bedrock was left intact and untouched showing the exposed smooth flat top surface. Measurements were taken at two of the quarries. At A53 a square corner where two lengths of stone were removed was measured. One length was six feet long. The opposing length was five feet five inches long by 9” & 13” deep. One of the discarded pieces of stone lying nearby matched this side. There were several other discarded pieces of stone. At A54 drilled hole measurements were taken. The diameter of the holes was 7/8”. The depth of holes ranged between 2½” and 3”. Holes in the in-ground bedrock were 5” on center. Holes in some of the discarded stone pieces were 6” and 7” on center. Two pieces of discarded stone had two holes and three holes. The difference in the distances between holes is similar to what was found in a study done by the Rhode Island College (E. Pierre Morenon, 1984 sited in Gage and Gage, 2005). Waste stone had fewer holes drilled and wider distances between holes. This was a conservative measure that saved labor and wear on drills. Bars intended for sale had holes closer together to insure a straight split.
The method used to drill the holes post dates 1805 when it was introduced in Quincy, Massachusetts (Gage & Gage, 2005). The surface ledge used to quarry the stone bars is similar to a surface ledge quarry found along side the old railroad bed in another part of Sandown. The coincidence of both being surface ledge quarries suggests the cairn site quarries may date from the same time period as the railroad quarry.
The cairn site quarries were all on one landlocked woodlot of land. Therefore they were all quarried by the same individual, the owner or someone the owner gave permission to. The extent of the quarrying is small. The surface ledge was barely tapped into. A few bars were removed and then operations ceased. The bars may have been used in one of several large culverts along the railroad bed.
This is what is commonly called a back-lot or wood-lot quarry. It is small and was used to provide a small second income to the owner of the property.
Features & Concepts
America’s Stonehenge Site Vs Sandown Site
For complete and detailed information on the America’s Stonehenge site please read America’s Stonehenge Deciphered.
Copyright (C) 2009. Mary E. Gage. All Rights Reserved.