America’s Stonehenge Deciphered

By Mary E. Gage with Photographs by James E. Gage

2006, Powwow River Books

Return to Powwow River Books Homepage


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

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

274 pp. 199 illustrations. 6 x 9 inches. Trade Paperback.

IBSN-13 978-0-9717910-4-6
ISBN-10 0-9717910-4-X

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 – Beginnings
Chapter 2 – The Spirit World
   Upperworld & Underworld
   Nature of Spirits
   Principle Spirits
   Movement of Spirits
   Spirit Portals
   Offering Niches
   Types of Offerings
Chapter 3 – Cultural Ideas
Chapter 4 – Natural Features Era (Phase 1)
   Exposed Bedrock
   Ledge and Crystal Geode
   Natural Spring
   Wetlands Pool
   Initial Ceremonies
Chapter 5 – Low Wall Era (Phase 2)
   Original Summer Solstice Ceremonial Area
     I. Original Summer Solstice Sunrise Alignment Stone
     II. Preparation Enclosures
     III. Ditch Drain, Stone Ramp, and Large Basin
     IV. True South Offering Wall
     V. Niche-in-Wall
     VI. Conclusion – Summer Solstice Ceremonial Area
   Clay Pit
   Underworld Ceremonial Area at the Cliff
     I. Two Caves and Vertical Cliff Face
     II. Southward Extension of bedrock from the Cliff
   Winter Solstice Sunset Ceremonial Area
     I. Winter Solstice Sunset Alignment
     II. Plain Triangular Standing Stone (Erected in Phase 5)
     III. Two Boulders
     IV. High & Low Offering Walls
     V. South Side Perimeter Wall
     VI. Conclusion - Winter Solstice Sunset Ceremonial Area
   Winter Solstice Water Ceremonial Area
     I. Enclosure, Dividing Wall, and L-Shaped Ditch Drain
     II. North Stone Enclosed Area
     III. Conclusion - Winter Solstice Water Ceremonial Area
   Original Springtime Rain Water Ceremonial Area
     I. Ditch and Covered Drain at Wetland’s Pool
     II. Sump Pit and Two Cairns
     III. Conclusion – Springtime Rain Water Ceremonial Area
    Ravine – Southwest Entrance
Chapter 6 – Tall Thick Wall Era (Phase 3)
   Storage Chamber added to Summer Solstice Area
     I. Tilted Roof Storage Chamber (a/k/a Mensal Stone)
   Tall Wall Water Preparation Unit
     I. Tall Wall Storage Chamber (a/k/a Tall Wall)
     II. Covered Drain (Alcove of Oracle Chamber)
     III. Grooved Drain
     IV. Conclusion – Tall Wall Water Preparation Unit
   Rain Water & Crystal Preparation Unit
     I. Rain Water & Crystal Storage Chamber
     II. Grooved Drain/Basin
     III. Conclusion - Rain Water & Crystal Preparation Unit
   Relocation of Springtime Rain Water Main Ceremony to Hill Top
     I. Covered Drain, Sump Pit & Paved Walkway
     II. Cupule Stone
     III. Conclusion – Springtime Rain Water Main Ceremony
   Half Circle Ceremonial Unit
     I. Large Niche Area
     II. Quartz Quarry (Native American)
     III. Half Circle Enclosure -West Side
     IV. Half Circle Enclosure (a/k/a The Pulpit)
     V. Half Circle Enclosure – East Side
   Relocation of Storage Chamber and Hill Top Entrance
     I. South Facing Storage Chamber
     II. Lower Processional Way’s Upper Section
     III. Passage Cairn
Chapter 7 – Walk-In Chamber Era, Part I (Phase 4)
   Collapsed Chamber Preparation Unit
     I. Offering Drain and Basin
     II. Enclosure and Collapsed Walk-In Chamber
   Spring Equinox Sunrise Ceremonial Area
     I. Equinox Sunrise Alignment Stone
     II. Lodge
     III. Conclusion - Spring Equinox Sunrise Ceremonial Area
   East Entrance to Hill Top Ceremonial Complex
     I. Lower Processional Way
     II. Lower East Side Storage Chamber (a/k/a Watch House Chamber)
     III. Water Well
   Sunken Ceremonial Unit
   Abandoned Chamber Unit
Chapter 8 – Walk-In Chamber Era, Part II (Phase 4)
   New Summer Solstice Sunrise Ceremonial Area
   Ramp, Grooved Stone Waterfall Drain, & Oracle Chamber Unit
     I. Ramp Area
     II. Grooved Stone Waterfall Drain Area
     III. Oracle Chamber Area
     IV. Conclusion – Ramp, Grooved Stone Waterfall Drain, & Oracle Chamber Unit
   Summer Solstice Sunset Ceremonial Area
     I. Pre-Ceremonial Area
     II. Processional Way, Main Entrance, Underworld Spirit Portal
     III. Ordinary People’s Offering Wall
     IV. Sunset Alignment Stone and other Symbolic Stones
     V. Underworld Portal – Down Slope
     VI. Small Underworld Spirit Ceremonial Area
   End of an Era
     I. Fire Ceremony at North Stone
     II. Closing of Several Structures and Ceremonial Features
     III. Conclusion – End of an Era
Chapter 9 – Slab Wall Era (Phase 5)
   North Entrance & Upper Processional Way
     I. North Entrance
     II. Upper Processional Way
   East-West Walk-In Chamber
   Summer Solstice Sunrise and Ramp
   2nd Crystal Well
   Summer Solstice Sunset Ceremonial Area at Cairn Fields
     I. Layout of Wall System
     II. Cairns in Large Cairn Field
     III. Cairns in Small Cairn Field
     IV. Summer Solstice Sunset Alignment Stone and Associated Features
     V. Underworld Niche and Spirit Portal outside the Cairn Fields
     VI. Conclusion – Summer Solstice Sunset Ceremony Area
   Final Closing of Site
Chapter 10 - After the Final Closing
Chapter 11 – Reconstruction of Ceremonies
   Spring Equinox
   Summer Solstice
   Winter Solstice
Appendix A – Rectangular and Triangular Shapes
Appendix B – Prehistoric and Historic Quarrying
Appendix C – Myth of Two Central Viewing Points
Appendix D – Petroglyph of Merrimack River