Posted by: norstarnewengland | October 20, 2009

Place: Salem, NH – Waymarking

America’s Stonehenge/Mystery Hill

I’ve been to America’s Stonehenge/Mystery Hill now three times. This time, I finished the path that winds its way to the pointing stones. The site appears to be a large calendar/solar observatory where someone in the center is able to site down stones to determine important events such as the solstice.

Each time, I’ve come away understanding a little more about the site. If it weren’t so disturbed, it might even rank among the most important archeological sites in the country. Unfortunately, because of the human activity around it and the less than careful study by one man, we may never know for sure who built it.

One thing I came away with was how old it was. Carbon-dating results on objects around the site have determined that at least some portions are 4,000 years old. It seems that they are pretty sure that the site is not a hoax and not a creation out of the colonial times.

Another thing I came away with was that the site is unique among ancient sites found in North America. There was a large map in the visitor center with places marked and described, with pictures. Some were burial mounds or places to store things, but none seem to be as elaborate as this place.

The most interesting concept I saw there was the measuring of the moon standstill. This was an observation off the line for the mid winter sunset. The observation was to determine the moon standstill, which happens every 18.6 years. This observation is the equivalent to the sun’s summer solstice, but for the moon. The best explanation for this, which also helped me understand the concept, is at this web site: http://www.umass.edu/sunwheel/pages/moonteaching.html .

Getting there was a bit challenging. The traffic on I-93 had stopped. I tried to get off at the connector, but ended up stopped on Route 28 in Salem. We finally were free of the traffic, when we turned off 28. Going back wasn’t so bad. The weather was mostly cloudy but in the 50s.

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