NEARA RESEARCH

RESEARCH-JAY4NEARA is committed to supporting interdisciplinary research related to lithic features. In order to promote this, the NEARA research and Special Projects Committee solicits and recommends projects, sets guidelines and standards, and is responsible for the review and updating of site reports. It is NEARA’s goal to maintain an accurate and comprehensive registry of sites in the northeast and ultimately to gain acceptance of that site registry as a reliable source of information for professional and avocational researches alike.

NEARA Research

NEARA was founded in 1964 to explore the origins and functions of these structures and sites, to document them, and to encourage their protection and preservation. Volunteers have spent countless hours investigating and researching these sites, drawing on both traditional disciplines of archaeology and geology, as well as newer fields such as archaeoastronomy, epigraphy and earth energies.

We are committed to supporting interdisciplinary research related to lithic features. In order to promote research, the NEARA Research and Special Projects Committee solicits and recommends projects, sets guidelines and standards, and is responsible for the review and updating of site reports and through our research endowment, give small grants to assist in designated projects.

Download a editable Word document site report form

BIG DIG IN BINGHAM
WHY CONDUCT A PROFESSIONAL INVESTI
GATION?

When we realized that we had a well-preserved group of stone mounds, a supportive owner, and a site that was readily accessible, NEARA, through Ros Strong, approached Deborah Wilson, an open minded Maine archaeologist, to see if she would be interested in supervising an investigation of the site. She was, and suggested that her colleague Mark Hedden, a specialist in Maine rock art, be included in the team along with NEARA volunteers.  

Bingham dig for web.pdf

LAND AND PROBATE RECORDS
ESTABLISHING A TITLE CHAIN FOR HISTORIC SITES

JUNE MILLER

NEARA RESEARCH AND SPECIAL PROJECTS, SPRING 1994

What Is A Title Chain?
A title chain is a chronological list of property owners, which gives us not only the span of each occupation but often chronicles changes in boundaries. Topographical features, buildings and boundary markers are sometimes cited. A title chain is one of the primary ways to investi­gate a site's history from a search of land and probate records.

How does a title chain develop?
Each "link" in the chain will usually be a deed, but when an owner dies still owning the property, the de­ceased's probate record becomes the next link in the chain.

What can a probate record tell me?
Early probate records reveal important and interesting information about the family's social and economic status. A listing of heirs gives us names and ages of spouses and children. Inventories, if included, catalog material possessions, and give us a much more detailed picture of day-to-day life.

How do I start a title chain?
The process of chaining a title starts with locating the deed into the present owner (or probate record, if inher­ited) and then finding the preceding owner, going back as far as the records allow.

What do I need to begin?
You must have the current owner's name, and you must be reasonably familiar with the property description, so that if several parcels are owned, you will chain the cor­rect parcel. (You may find that an assessor's map of the area is helpful in making that determination.)

What terms should I know?
The two most important words in using land records are grantor and grantee. The grantor is the seller or owner right up until the time of sale: the grantee is the new owner.

Then what do I do?
Once you have found the current deed, by using the grantee index, abstract any information you think may be useful. You may want to photocopy each document in the chain, especially if the legal description (metes and bounds) is lengthy. If a plan in cited, obtain a copy. Look for a "being clause" after the legal description; it will give you a prior deed reference, allowing you to proceed immediately to the next record book. Otherwise, you will have to grantee the previous owner back, until you find the preceding deed.

How are land records arranged?

Land record indices are alphabetized by last name for an individual or by the first word for a business or trust. Probate files are assigned docket numbers and are found in probate indices which are also alphabetical and chronological. You will be looking up your deceased's last name during the period in which he died or some­time thereafter.

Is the chaining process as easy as it sounds?
The chaining process is a simple one in theory, but in practice, snags will occur which often require patience and some ingenuity to circumvent. The title chain is really an historical skeletal framework. Upon the "bare bones" of names and dates, you can add the "flesh" of genealogical information, details of early maps and at­lases, quotations from personal diaries and account books, newspaper articles, and information from secon­dary sources such as town and regional histories and gazetteers.

 

From NEARA JOURNAL VOL. XXVIII, 3 & 4, Page  70

 

 

chamber02 NASHOBA BROOK CHAMBER

Located on the Nashoba Brook Conservation area, the structure is an L-shaped, man-made room constructed of stones similar to those prevalent throughout New England’s forest landscapes.  The chamber, 11’ x 6’ x 6’ (at its highest point), is built into the bottom of a small hillside, mounded over with earth and entered via a 17’ tunnel.  A stone pillar supports the roof of the L-shaped room.  Five 1-ton (or greater) stone slabs averaging 3” thick overlap to comprise the roof.

Why was it Built?

The archaeological excavation that is part of the proposed project may provide answers to the questions of its age and purpose.  The land (especially the area conservation parcels) around the chamber is fertile with mysterious stone structures of other types recognized by researchers also to be man-made.Nashoba Brook Stone Chamber.pdf