Without doubt the best known and most controversial discovery of Pre-Columbian European presence in Maine was made in 1972 by a quintessential Maine Yankee named Walter Elliott.
He spotted three mysterious stones at the edge of Spirit Pond, in Phippsburg, Maine. About six by eleven inches, one stone clearly featured a rough map and all with strange writing placed randomly on one side, and a few marked and crude drawings on the other. The second stone bore a dozen letters on one side, and the third contained a long message of sixteen lines neatly inscribed on bo th sides of the stone
Walter Elliott took the stones to the Bath Maritime Museum, where director Harold Brown suggested that the marks might be in the Norse runic alphabet. Subsequently the stones found their way to Einar Haugen, Distinguished Harvard professor of Scandinavian languages and history. In his published evaluation, he was adamant in crying fraud, hoax, modern artifact, “a few Norse words in a sea of gibberish”. The rank and file of Scholars stood behind the Haugen pronouncement. For more infromation:
“The Spirit Pond Inscription Stone, Rhyme and Reason”, Suzanne Carlson, NEARA Journal, in two parts, Vol. 28- 1&2, 1993 and Vol. 28- 3&4 1994 (Click on link to view & download in PDF format).
“The Runestones of Spirit Pond, Maine”, Einar Haugen, Man in the Northeast No 4,62-79 1972.
Books of Interest:
Hall, Robert, The Kensington Stone is Genuine, Hornbeam Press, Columbia SC, 1982
Spirit Pond Links
The Last King’s of Norse America, The Spirit Pond and Kensington Runestones: a Saga of Medieval History
Kennebec Bingham Cairns
Edit for summary and photos. Read or download the full article Bingham dig for web.pdf
Solstice alignment at the Belmont Chamber:
Following up on Doug Schwartz’ 1995 work at the Belmont, Maine, Chamber, Ros Strong and Sue Carlson decided it was time to revisit the question of its astronomical alignments. Doug’s prediction that during the lunar minor standstill the full moon’s glow would light the rear wall of the chamber on the winter solstice was validated by the owner that December. The minor lunar standstill was really the next year, 1996-7, but 1995-6 was very close. Doug had also suggested that something might happen during the summer solstice sunset.
Sue, an enthusiastic user of Google’s Sketchup for 3D architectural computer modeling, constructed the primitive “Virtual” chamber shown above, right. To do this she set the longitude, latitude, solstice date and declination based on GPS and corrected compass readings. After setting “show shadows”, she scrolled through the sunset hour watching the sunbeam travel across the floor of the chamber and evaporates at the back corner of the southeast wall.
On the evening of June 21, a NEARA group and the owners gathered at the chamber around 6:45, clutching cameras while trying to wish away the low clouds visible through the trees on the horizon. Slowly the show began in accordance with the virtual test. The photo (above left) shows a small faint rectangle beginning its creep up the back wall. As the shaft of light moved across the chamber wall, the clouds dimmed its glow. But at the moment the full orb was visible by an observer – and camera – from the inside corner. For us, especially those who have never observed this sort of astronomical event, it was truly “awesome.”
We know there are other chambers that track solar-lunar astronomical events in the Northeast. Byron Dix and Jim Mavor studied Massachusetts’ Upton Chamber and Vermont’s Calendar I in depth. Other sites such as the Burnt Hill Standing stones in Massachusetts and the Bingham Cairns in Maine have been verified. Others have been rumored or reported.
Send your information about astronomical sites to us, and we will pass it on.
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