NEARA Chapters


Why Chapters?

Local Chapters enable members to participate in ongoing activities. Chapter Coordinators keep members informed of field trips, meeting and events of regional interest. Join your NEARA associates for study, research and fellowship. Chapter field trips offer a chance to investigate sites not generally known to the public. Experts in many fields share their time and knowledge both as field guides and as speakers at chapter meetings. Under chapter guidance, members may develop techniques of site evaluation and are encouraged to use their skills in expanding the source material that forms the foundation of NEARA's unique research. Through local stewardship and organizational partnerships, we work to foster preservastion of lithic sites and their related surounding landscapes.

Mysterious stone structures and enigmatic petroglyphs can be found scattered throughout Atlantic Canada, northeast of New England. In working to understand and preserve this heritage, there is a great advantage to Canadians and New Englanders to work together under the NEARA umbrella. We do have a few NEARA members in Atlantic Canada, but more are needed. Ideally, we'd like to have enough members so that each Atlantic Province could be represented here separately, but they are combined for now.

Eastern Connecticut is the historic home of the Pequots (Mohegans), who migrated there from the Hudson River Valley shortly before the arrival of Europeans.  Mohegan legends are full of stories of the Little People, good spirits who must be treated with respect.  Some of the many small chambers and stone niches that dot the countryside may be the homes of the Little People.  Moshup the giant also left his mark in the many stones strewn about the state.  Lantern Hill, a shining quartz outcropping, also had special meaning to the Indians and is known to have served as a lookout for the Pequot chief Saccacus.

Connecticut West Chapter, Teresa Bierce Coordinator.

Maine's prehistory was formed by the retreat of the glacier about 12,000 years ago, inundating the coastline and extending far into the interior. By 5,000 BP the people known as the Maritime Archaic or Red Paint People were utilizing the rich resources and burying their dead ceremoniously painted with red ocher, hence the name.

The many subsequent Native groups left a culture inherited by living native tribes, the Penobscot, the Passmaquoddy and the Micmac. Maine's unique geography with 3500 miles of deeply indented coastline and islands, the small amount of fertile land mostly along the rivers, the high mountains and generally rocky soil, has affected the settlement patterns.

By the time George Popham attempted his ill fated settlement in 1607 near the mouth of the Kennebec River, there had been many other poorly documented voyages. Arrival of the first Europeans resulted in disastrous epidemics that wiped out a large percentage of the population.

The 70+ Maine Site Reports contain many that were first reported by the Early Sites Research Society (ESRS) Jim Whittall, Malcolm Pearson, Mystery Hill, Mead Stapler and others. Most have been updated, copied and reside in the archives of the NEARA library in Concord.

As we explore the landscape we find it filled with many typical New England stone walls (and many stone rows that do not fall in that category), a few stone chambers, a surprising variety of well built cairns, and some inexplicable stone constructions.

Many of the sites described in Mavor and Dix’s seminal book on New England ritual landscapes can be found in Massachusetts. These include the Upton Chamber, Boxboro esker, and Nashoba praying village. Massachusetts is also home to one of the most debated petroglyph boulders in New England, Dighton Rock, as well as the enigmatic engraving of a sword hilt ascribed to “The Westford Knight”. In spite of centuries of urban development, old stone chambers, configurations of stone cairns, and winding stone walls are still being discovered off the beaten track, leaving us with many curious artifacts to ponder.

More about the Massachusetts Chapter  

The New Hampshire Chapter is where NEARA began. Back in 1964 a group of like-minded antiquarians came together to share a passion for the enigmatic lithic structures they were finding in the New Hampshire woods. NEARA was born!  Not too much later, the first woman joined their group, as did interested parties from the other New England states. New Hampshire is still a hub of activity for the NEARA, although members now join from world wide locations. After all New Hampshire is home to Mystery Hill (America's Stonehenge) , the Madison boulder,  and the mailing of the Transit and Journals.

Please join the current  day NEARA researchers as they tromp over hill and dale in search of that odd stone formation and verify that it  is truly engimatic when they do deed research and find no recorded deeds!

Home to an abundance of stone structures, New York straddles the important waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes.  Its interior gives rise to the Hudson, Delaware and Susquehanna Rivers, three important south flowing rivers to the Atlantic Ocean.  Moreover the Susquehanna and the Alleghany Rivers in western NY provide connections to the Midwest, the Mississippi River and, through local creeks and the Genesee River, to Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.  These arteries of travel have facilitated exchanges between human groups in prehistoric and historic times.  Their relationship to nearby stonework is of considerable interest.

Rhode Island may be a small state but it is rich in lithic features. Clusters of rockpiles are spread throughout its conservation lands, petroglyphs and runes are carved along its shores, and curiously propped boulders suggest that more than nature was involved in the manipulation of the stone-filled landscape.

From the banks of the Connecticut River to the ridges of the Green Mountains, the by ways of Vermont are scattered with an amazing collection of enigmatic stone constructions. For over forty years, NEARA members have been recording and studying chambers, huge platform cairns, even a capped wall over a stream coursing down the hillside. Yet new sites still mysterious are being found and the work goes on.