STONE PRAYERS: NATIVE AMERICAN STONE CONSTRUCTIONS OF THE EASTERN SEABOARD OF THE U.S. AND CANADA
On Saturday, October 28th, Dr. Curtiss Hoffman will give a talk at the Acton Memorial Library, off Route 27 in Acton, Mass., from 1 – 3 PM. The talk is sponsored by the Friends of Pine Hawk. Dr. Hoffman is a Professor in the Anthropology Department at Bridgewater State University, and is the editor of the Bulletin of the Massachusetts Archaeological Society and President of the Northeastern Anthropological Association.
Scattered through the fields and woodlands of the eastern seaboard of North America are thousands of stone monuments. These have been the subject of controversy ever since they were first discovered by early European settlers in the 1600s, and they remain controversial to this day. Some archaeologists claim that they are all the result of European settlers clearing land for farming or grazing; some antiquarians claim that they were built by pre-Columbian voyagers from across the Atlantic; while others consider them to be the work of indigenous people, both before and after European contact. There have even been claims by some archaeologists that the stones are of natural origin, due to glaciers or downslope erosion. Recently, the descendant populations of Native Americans have come forward and claimed these as their own sacred sites, as forms of prayers in stone.
This study examines the above four hypotheses quantitatively, in light of a very robust database of 5,550 sites from Georgia to Nova Scotia. It presents evidence which strongly disconfirms all but the indigenous construction hypothesis for the overwhelming majority of the sites.