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New England Antiquities

Research Association

1964 - 2019

NEARA logoNative American stone horseshoe

What does NEARA do?

Observant visitors to America’s northeastern forests have long encountered various stone structures.  These include stone chambers, stone piles, unusual stone walls and circles, propped boulders, petroglyphs and stone or earthen mounds.   NEARA was founded in 1964 to promote research into the origins and functions of these structures and sites, to document them and encourage their protection and preservation. Volunteers participate in the search for new sites and enjoy the challenge of better understanding them through the lenses of history, archaeology, anthropology and geology, as well as fields such as archaeoastronomy, deed research, and epigraphy.

      Our biannual meetings provide an opportunity for sharing research on a wide array of subjects, from the early peopling of the Americas, diffusion of cultural features across oceans in antiquity, Native American traditions, to the colonial period.  Mythology, astronomy, comparative religion, agricultural practices, landscape studies and remote sensing are all areas we have explored. Our meetings and publications offer a forum for studying these diverse subjects, in an effort to better understand our region and its global context.



  55th Annual NEARA Fall Conference
November 1-3, 2019   Warwick RI
Providence Airport - Radisson Hotel

Online Conference Registration
Hotel discounted registration deadline: October 23
Conference registration discounted deadline: October 24

Conference Program

Spring 2020 Conference:
May 1-3  -  North Stonington CT

Indigenous American Civilizations

This conference will feature a focus on the overall subject of civilizations, including how they are defined and the indicia of their presence.  Several perspectives will be offered on this important and complex subject, including how this subject pertains to the Northeast.

When the Spanish began to enter southeastern North America in the early 16th Century, they reported still active vestiges of the great mound building tradition of the Mississippian civilization.  In the 18th Century, with the westward expansion into the Ohio Valley, early explorers and settlers encountered complex and massive geometric earthworks that were intuitively perceived to be remnants of a vanished civilization.  Most of these monumental constructions were of earth, but some were stone. Scholars back East were intrigued by this subject.  This 1786 Ohio earthworks survey survives among the correspondence of Thomas Jefferson, sent to him by Yale president Ezra Stiles.
1786 Mississippian earthwork
Library of Congress

By 1848, when the Smithsonian published its first work, Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley by Squier and Davis, the publication contained numerous surveys acquired over decades of work.  It remains the most significant work the Smithsonian has produced.  30 years ago, when Mavor and Dix replicated for the Northeast what Squire and Davis had done further west 141 years earlier, the subtitle of their book was The Sacred Landscape of New England’s Native Civilization.  A similar history of the modern recognition of the ancient ceremonial architecture of the Anasazi civilization of the Southwest could be related.  It has long been evident the Americas contain a complex history of advanced societies, far more detailed than the simplistic Maya, Aztec and Inca sequence of popular conception.