NEARA SUPPORTS A WIDE RANGE OF INTERESTS AND DISCIPLINES
NEARA shall promote disciplined research on the origin and functions of North American lithic structures and related landscape features. Through its publications and meetings, NEARA shall provide an open forum for discussion and debate on the significance of such sites within their cultural context.
NEARA shall also engage in advocacy for public awareness of the need to preserve these sites.. (NEARA mission Statement)
From our modest beginnings as an outgrowth of the work of William B.Goodwin and his 1946 The Ruins of Great Ireland in New England, since 1964 NEARA has grown like a stone in the water spreading like ripples into waves of expanding interests and disciplines. Whether by land or sea we have followed the currents of northern culture from the ice age to the last century.
Who are we? Are we a diffusionist organization chasing early voyages to the “new world over many millennia? Or maybe we are an alternative archeological society using astronomy, dowsing and other esoteric methods of studying the past, or a lithic sites study group, running around in the woods looking for odd bits of stone piled up in strange ways. Some think we are a Native American study group.
New England is famous for its endless miles of meandering stone walls, random rock heaps scattered through the woods and winter storage chambers. But few give any thought to stone built tunnels or drystone “bee hive caves” of various sizes, huge perched boulders, rocking stones and giant monoliths. NEARA members have been studying these curios for over forty years searching for, clues and sometimes answers to who might have built them, when and why.
Petroglyphs are found world-wide and usually are prehistoric; the term refers to a rock surface that is incised, carved or abraded. Picotgraphs are images drawn or painted on a rock face and both types fall into the category of rock art with many examples found in New England.
Since the discovery in 1926 of a stone spear point in embedded in the remains of a mammoth near Clovis, New Mexico, it has been asserted that the Americas were first populated by Asian peoples passing through the ice free corridor known as Beringia around 12,000 BC. After a hiatus of 12,000 years, along came Columbus. NEARA members think that there is a much larger and more complex story to tell.
It is believed that some stone and landscape constructions in New England were created by Native Americans, following traditions similar to the building of mounds in the Midwest or the building of the cliff houses and kivas in the Southwest, but using rocky soils of New England as a building resource.
NEARA is not an archeological society, but evolving trends and available academic and scientific research impacts all our studies. We have sponsored research and excavations supervised by accredited archaeologists. Many of our members have participated in projects sponsored by amateur archaeological societies, state and local agencies agencies and historical commissions as well as projects under contract with private owners.
Examples, Upton Chamber,Nashoba Chamber,Newport Tower.
From time immemorial humans have looked heavenward attempting to decipher the meaning of the steady yet changing course of the sun, the wandering stars, and the slower moving twinkling starry background of the night sky. We are learning more and more how these movements were tracked and often echoed, coded, and marked on the earthly landscape.
Emerging from the depth of the unknown past, our early ancestors began to extend the advantages of speech into ways of leaving silent messages.
Beginning with petrographs carved on stone during the Neolithic and Bronze ages, the symbols evolved into the more organized arrangements found in the glyphs of the budding civilizations of the Orient, Indus Valley, Mesopotamia, Egypt and in Americas the Mayan glyphs of the Yucatan. First in Greece, and then Rome the alphabetical symbols were codified into the western alphabets as we know them, yet outliers such as the Germanic Runes or Irish Ogham continued in use into the middle Ages. As linguists analyze and compare the world language tree, they find both vast differences and surprising similarities.