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Powwow River Books is a small independent publisher publishing research books about stone structures and rock quarrying in northeastern United States. All of our books are printed in the USA.



Land of a Thousand Cairns: Revival of Old-Style Ceremonies

By Mary Gage and James Gage

Trade paperback 8.5" x 11", 256 pp, 337 illus.

Price $15.00 Click Here to Order

DESCRIPTION: From the time of the American Revolution to the end of the 19th century, Lawton Foster Road in Hopkinton, Rhode Island was home to a small rural community. A few families eked out a living on the rocky poor soils through growing corn, rye, potatoes, apples, small scale sheep farming, and timber harvesting. Today, the land has reforested and much of it has become wildlife conservation property.

These lands harbor a big mystery.  Over 1500 stone structures have been found including stone cairns, three stone chambers, several serpent effigies, enclosures, niches, triangle symbolism and other odd man-made features. These are in addition to the more recognizable historic structures like house and barn foundations, stone walls, and two saw mill sites. Who built these enigmatic stone cairns? When? And for what purpose?

A dedicated team composed of stone structure researchers, field documentation team, local historians, and conservation people set out to unravel this mystery through documenting the structures, researching the genealogy of the families who lived there, deed research, and analysis of the structure themselves and their relationships to each other. The results of this multi-year effort were a major surprise. The findings challenge conventional historical and archaeological assumptions about these stone structure sites.

A Guide to New England Stone Structures

Stone Cairns, Stone Walls, Standing Stones, Chambers, Foundations, Wells, Culverts, Quarries and other Structures (2nd Edition)

By Mary E. Gage & James E. Gage

Booklet 5 1/2" x 8 1/2", 56 pp. 85 Illustrations

Price $4.00 Click here to order

NOTE: All of the materials in this booklet (with the exception of state & town boundaries, and farm roads) are covered in more depth in a Handbook of Stone Structures in Northeastern U.S.

DESCRIPTION: A Guide to New England Stone Structures is a basic field guide to identifying the many different types of stone structures found while hiking through the forest and conservation lands in New England. It covers:

Historic Structures: Foundations, Wells & Well Caps, Farm Roads, Culverts, Mill Dams, Field Clearing Piles, Wall Building Piles, Stone Walls, State & Town Boundaries.

Native American Structures: Stone Cairns, Stone Walls, Enclosures, Chambers, Pedestal Boulders, Niches, Standing Stones, Manitou Stones.

Stone Quarrying: Field Boulder Quarries, Surface Ledge Quarries, Hand Quarrying Tools, Round Hole Quarry Marks, Flat Wedge Quarry Marks, Triangular Hole Quarry Marks, Blasting Holes.

Milestones & Guideposts of Massachusetts and Southeastern New Hampshire

Milestones & Guideposts of Massachusetts & Southeastern New Hampshire

By Mary Gage & James Gage

Trade Paperback, 8/5 x 11 inches, 170 pp., 200 illus.

Price $15.00  Click here to order

Description: Across Massachusetts, roadsides are dotted with small stone markers giving the mileage to major cities. These ancient road signs called milestones aided travelers during the 1700’s and 1800’s as our road signs today do with their mileage and destination information.  Although, these old milestones no longer serve a useful purpose in our modern age of highways, they continue to fascinate us.  This fascination has led to the preservation by local communities of at least 129 milestones in Massachusetts and a number of milestones in New Hampshire.

Milestones were for the most part commissioned by private citizens and made by local or itinerant stone carvers. With the exception of the turnpike milestones, no two milestones are alike. There are differences in the type of stone chosen, the wording, and the lettering styles of individual carvers. These differences give the milestones personality and character. This sense of character is one of the endearing aspects of these humble road signs that continues to draw us to them.

Although some of the milestones like those around Boston and those along the famous Upper Post Road are well known, many are not. The authors have spent a number of years combing through old books and newspapers and traveling through the state in search of these local historical treasures. This book draws together all of their research in an effort to provide a comprehensive inventory of Massachusetts milestones. In addition, it includes milestones the authors have found in their travels through southeastern New Hampshire.

The Stones of Dogtown & Beyond: Dogtown to Poole Hill

By Mary Gage

Trade Paperback, 6 x 9 inches, 48 pp., 58 Illus.

Price $9.00 Click Here to Order

Now available in a Amazon Kindle edition (link)

Description: In the heart of Cape Ann, Massachusetts is a high flat rocky ridge which stretches from Gloucester to Rockport. The area is crisscrossed with old roads and modern hiking trails.  It is best known as the location of the abandoned village of “Dogtown” with its many ancient cellar holes and numerous inspirational sayings carved into the boulders by philanthropist Roger Babson in the 1930’s. The Stones of Dogtown and Beyond offers fresh insights into these well known landmarks and delves into forgotten aspects of the place’s history.

This guide takes a fresh look at the well known carved sayings and house numbers and reveals the unique differences in style which distinguish one carver from another. It reveals evidence of a long standing Native American presence on Dogtown Commons which has remained hidden in plain sight. It explores two 19th century granite quarries and points out examples of other stone splitting activity along the roads and trails. It delves into the mystery of Turtle Mound, a large unusual stone cairn in the middle of the former Haskins estate grounds, which is out of character with the estate’s Victorian landscaping.

The guide provides examples of all the subjects discussed, but it also offers each reader the opportunity to explore Dogtown and make their own discoveries.

Root Cellars in America

Root Cellars in America: Their History, Design, and Construction 1609-1920
3rd Edition

By James E. Gage

Trade Paperback, 6 x 9 inches, 232 pp., 129 Illus.

Price $12.75 Click Here to Order

DESCRIPTION: For most people the term "root cellar" evokes an image of a brick or stone masonry subterranean structure tunneled into a hillside. These classic root cellars are only one of a number of different types of structures used to preserve root crops, vegetables and fruits over the past 400 years. The other structures include subfloor pits, cooling pits, house cellars, barn cellars, field root pits & trenches, and root houses. Root Cellars in America provides a history of all these structures, discusses their design principles, and details how they were constructed. The text is accompanied by period illustrations from the agricultural literature along with archaeological photographs.

There has been a long standing debate whether the stone slab roof and corbelled beehive shaped subterranean structures in northeastern United States are root cellars or Native American ceremonial stone chambers. New research indicates some are root cellars and some are ceremonial chambers. The third edition has a new chapter exploring this topic. Detailed guidance is provided on how to distinguish the two from each other based on differences in their architectural traits.

A Handbook of Stone Structures in Northeastern United States

By Mary E. Gage and James E. Gage

Trade Paperback, 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" 316 pp. 254 Illustrations

Price $15.00 Click here to order

DESCRIPTION: This handbook is the first comprehensive field guide to both agricultural and Native American stone structures found throughout northeastern United States. These stone structures include stone cairns, chambers, standing stones, niches, enclosures, stone walls, foundations, wells, pedestal boulders, Manitou stones, and other structures. The handbook provides the means to identify, document, analyze, and interpret these structures.

 America's Stonehenge DVD Cover

America's Stonehenge: The History of a Sacred Place

Produced By James E. Gage

DVD (NTSC) 40 minutes

Price $14.95 Click here to order the DVD

DESCRIPTION: This film reconstructs the 2500 year cultural history of the America's Stonehenge archaeological site located in North Salem, NH. The complex of stone chambers, standing stones, niches, and other stone structures at the site served as an important spiritual and ritual center for a group of ancient Native American people. For the Native Americans this place was sacred. Construction of this ritual complex began over 3,000 years ago and evolved through five major periods of construction and change until its final closure with the arrival of European colonists. The Native Americans left an extraordinary archaeological record of their ritual activities and spiritual beliefs.

Author and independent researcher, Mary Gage, has meticulously researched this site for many years and has successfully reconstructed its cultural history. This film is based upon her book, "America's Stonehenge Deciphered" (2006).

America's Stonehenge Deciphered

America's Stonehenge Deciphered

By Mary E. Gage

Trade Paperback 6" x 9", 274 pp. 199 Illustrations

Price $15.00  Click Here to Order  

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

 The Art of Splitting Stone

The Art of Splitting Stone

Early Rock Quarrying Methods in Pre-Industrial New England 1630-1825
(Second Edition)

By Mary E. Gage & James E. Gage

Trade Paperback 8 1/2" X 11", 88 pp. 36 Illustrations

Price $10.00 Click here to order

DESCRIPTION: The Art of Splitting Stone is a detailed study of the history, tools, and methods used to split, hoist, and transport quarried stone in pre-industrial New England (1630-1825). It is an invaluable resource for historians, archaeologists, and stone masons interested in identifying, dating, or experimenting with early stone splitting and quarrying methods. The amateur researcher and avid outdoors person will find the book useful as a field guide to identifying split boulders and stone quarries abandoned in the woods... [Read more]
Stories Carved in Stone

 Stories Carved in Stone

The Story of the Dummer Family, the Merrimac Valley Gravestone Carvers, and the Newbury Carved Stones,1636-1735

By Mary E. Gage & James E. Gage

Trade Paperback 8 1/2" x 11", 190 pp. 98 Illustrations

Price $15.00 Click here to order

DESCRIPTION: Stories Carved in Stone: The Story of the Dummer Family, the Merrimac Valley Gravestone Carvers, and the Newbury Carved Stones,1636-1735 focuses on a remarkable collection of early American folk art found in Byfield Parish, Newbury, Massachusetts. This collection of folk art has been the subject of scholarly research, scientific curiosity, and even local folk lore. Yet, it has for the most part remained a mystery. Who were the artists? Who commissioned the works of art? When were they done? After seven years of exhaustive research, the authors have pieced together the answers to these three questions ... [Read more]

Check out authors Mary Gage and James Gage's research websites

Stone Structures of Northeastern United States

Historic New England Recipes

America's Stonehenge (Documentation, Analysis, & interpretation)

Photo Essay of Merrimack River North Jetty Repairs


Media Mail $2.95 ($1 for each additional book)
Priority Mail $5.25 ($2.50 for each additional book)
Canada 1st Class Mail $16.00 (2+ books, please inquiry)
International 1st Class Mail $24.00 (2+ books, please inquiry)

Reviews of our Books

Steven Schuyler, Book Seller, has reviewed A Handbook of Stone structures, The Art of Splitting Stone, & Root Cellars in America. Click here to read his review. Mr. Schuyler specializes in books on the building trades and professions and his table can be seen at many of the historic preservation trade conferences like the IPT Workshop on Burlington VT July 22-24, 2015. He carries a number of our titles for sale.
Featured Items
Land of a Thousand Cairns: Revival of Old-Style Ceremonies, Mary Gage and James Gage
Land of a Thousand Cairns: Revival of Old-Style Ceremonies
Mary Gage and James Gage
15.00 USD
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A Guide to America's Stonehenge: A Sacred Ceremonial Site, Mary E. Gage
A Guide to America's Stonehenge: A Sacred Ceremonial Site
Mary E. Gage
4.95 USD
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The Indians of the Winnipesaukee and Pemigewasset Valleys, Mary A. Proctor
The Indians of the Winnipesaukee and Pemigewasset Valleys
Mary A. Proctor
10.00 USD
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