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The Eclipse Conference was spectacular!
Click for details. Contribute photos.
various lithic features in the northeast, including rock piles, stone rows, stone circles, chambers, standing stones, propped boulders, mounds, petroglyphs, and pictographs

What does NEARA do?

Observant visitors to America's northeastern forests have long encountered various stone structures. These include rock piles, stone chambers, unusual stone walls and circles, propped boulders, standing stones, 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 semiannual 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.

What do NEARA Members do? Find out here: NEARA Membership


Current NEARA Transit

This issue of NEARA's newsletter includes these articles:

the most recent cover page for the Transit newsletter

NEARA members can receive the latest NEARA Transit newsletters electronically or in printed form. They can also read all older issues on SiteDB.org.


Announcing the NEARA Forum

Long ago NEARA members were able to communicate with each other in a private Yahoo Group. We would like to revive such a forum, this time as a private Google Group. If you are interested, membership is open to all members of NEARA in good standing.

Read about the details at The NEARA Forum.

This is another in a sequence of initiatives to provide more services and information to NEARA members, following introduction of The NEARA Calendar.


Chuck Drayton's Stone Sites in Foxboro State Forest

Chuck Drayton has graciously allowed NEARA to host and update his stone sites website. You can see it now at: Foxboro State Forest stone sites.

This rehosting is part of our continuing effort to preserve interesting websites and collections of documents. If you have a specialized website pertaining to stone structures that you would like to modernize and preserve for the future, contact us at webmaster@neara.org.

Stephen Carney has a number of videos on YouTube about these same sites: Stones and Stories.


Recent Field Trips

This past weekend we had separate field trips in Massachusetts and in Vermont.

Bolton Vermont, with Mike Luoma

Foxboro Massachusetts, with Chuck Drayton

To learn about field trips near you, follow our Calendar or become a member to get our email announcements.


NEARA Organization Changes

We are in the process of making some changes to how NEARA is structured.

The NEARA Member Communications Committee includes not only the old Membership Committee, but also many other roles/groups that have substantial interactions with members. Unlike the Publications Committee, Member Communications subcommittees and roles will primarly communicate via the internet.

The First Vice President's many roles are now more explicitly spelled out, in the hopes of encouraging more people to help stage our conferences.

You can see how NEARA is organized from the point of view of a typical NEARA member at: NEARA Organization


NEARA Spring 2024 Election Results

Newly elected officers are Walter van Roggen (President), Sydney Blackwell (First Vice President), Martin Rapp (Second Vice President), and Donna Thompson (Secretary).

Newly elected Directors-at-Large are Tom Elmore, Mike Luoma, Fred Martin, and Matt McLaughlin.

The newly revised Bylaws were approved: NEARA's bylaws

The new officers deeply appreciate the efforts that Anne Marie Kittredge and Betsy Brewster have made on behalf of NEARA. Fortunately for all of us they remain connected with the board and will provide advice and help as needed.


NEARA Spring 2024: the Eclipse Conference

The spring conference took place in East Burke Vermont from April 6th to April 8th. Most of the presentations were oriented around astronomy, archaeology, and traditions and alignments involving the sun and the moon. By coincidence there was a total eclipse of the sun that Monday during beautiful clear weather.

Details are on the 2024 Eclipse Conference page. If you were at the conference, please send us photos or videos that you want to share.

ready to watch the eclipse

Mysterious Stone Chambers of Putnam County New York

Part 1 with Robyn Field

Part 2 with Rob Buchanan


SiteDB Updated

The database at SiteDB.org has been refreshed with many additional documents and sites.

If you have logged in before but don't have the password remembered in your browser, search for your last email from "donotreply@neara.org". Be sure to check your spam folder for any emails from neara.org (if you find any -- mark them as "not spam"). Only if all else fails, request access anew on the sitedb.org site.

You might also want to keep a bookmark to the "home" page, so that you don't have to log in each time. However for security reasons you will need to login again after a week.


Current NEARA Journal

This issue of NEARA's journal includes these articles:

the most recent cover page for the Journal

NEARA members can receive the latest NEARA Journals electronically or in printed form. They can also read all older issues on SiteDB.org.


The Stones We Carry: Kitty O'Riordan Dissertation Presentation

This is a recording of Kitty O'Riordan's PhD Dissertation Presentation at the University of Connecticut on November 10th 2023. The title is The Stones We Carry: Avocational Science, Epistemics, and Identity in New England's Cultural Stone Features Debate.

An invitation/summary of the presentation is at Flyer.


Fall 2023 Conference

The fall conference took place from November 10th to November 12th, at the Courtyard by Marriott in Marlborough Massachusetts. The theme was "NEARA's Research: Past, Present, and Future". Topics involved archaeology, OSL dating, archaeoastronomy, and historical research. The keynote speakers were Kimberly Toney, Member of the Hassanamisco Band of Nipmuc and Andre StrongBearHeart Gaines, Jr., Citizen of the Nipmuc People. More information will be posted at the 2023 Fall Conference page.

a scene at the Fall NEARA conference

Triad of Digital Technologies Investigates the Newport Tower

There was a Zoom webinar on Thursday August 24th. View the video:


New Leadership

The NEARA Board met on June 11th for its spring meeting and appointment of Board positions. The Board thanked Harvey Buford for his significant contributions to NEARA over many years and appointed former Director at Large Anne Marie Kittredge to serve as NEARA President until a vote of the membership in Spring 2024.

NEARA members may know Anne Marie as the editor of the NEARA Journal and from the site tours she led in Western Massachusetts for the Fall 2022 Conference in Brattleboro VT. Before retiring, Anne Marie was a wildlife forester with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.

A big NEARA thank you goes out to Dyane Plunkett who served as Treasurer, Teresa Bierce who served as Secretary (but who continues as Membership Committee chair and Transit editor), Sarah Kohler who chaired the Preservation Committee, Lee Shoemaker who was chapter coordinator for Pennsylvania, and Fred Martin who served as a Director at Large. Thank you all for your dedicated service!

Rob Buchanan is our new Treasurer, and Walter van Roggen is our new Secretary. Newly appointed Directors at Large are Mike Luoma and John Waltz, who will fill out the terms of Anne Marie Kittredge and Rob Buchanan.

The current membership of the board is at Board of Directors.


NEARA at Lehigh Valley events

By Jim Wilson

NEARA helped sponsor four community events in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley in mid-March: at the Lehigh Valley Watershed Conference in Bethlehem PA, and the Nature Nurture Center in Easton PA. In addition to NEARA's $1500 sponsorship, NEARA volunteers from PA, NJ, CT and RI helped plan and deliver these public programs and engaged with the many folks who stopped by NEARA's sponsorship table at each of the two venues where the four events were held on March 11-14. In total, about 300 people attended these four events and had access to NEARA's sponsorship table at all of them. Dozens of email addresses were collected and lots of NEARA literature were freely taken, including our spring conference registration materials.

NEARA's sponsorship helped pay expenses for speakers to attend the events and address constructed cultural landscapes, the use of archaeology for land conservation with Indigenous tribes, and present a film screening and roundtable discussion about the award winning documentary, "The Water Gap: Return to the Homeland". The film screening and roundtable was led by the Choctaw filmmaker and three young Delaware women, who were teenagers when the film was made in 2016.

Lauryn French, Kyle Kauwika Harris, Sariah Pemberton & Debbie Eckiwaudah
Delaware faces. Delaware Tributaries.
Lauryn French, Kyle Kauwika Harris, Sariah Pemberton & Debbie Eckiwaudah
pose in front of a local watershed maps exhibit at Nurture Nature Center in Easton.

The land conservation talk and the cultural landscapes program were presented by Dr. Julia King, Anthropology Chair, St. Mary's College of Maryland.

Jim Wilson introducing Dr. Julia King
Jim Wilson introduced Dr. Julia King as the keynote speaker at the
9th Lehigh Valley Watershed Conference at Lehigh University on March 14.

Jim Wilson presented two illustrated programs on constructed stone landscapes during these events, which were sponsored as in-kind contributions by Jim's employer, Northampton County Parks and Recreation.

Mysteries of Constructed Stone Landscapes in our Woodlands and Wetlands
Jim Wilson's title slide of the talk that he presented at both events.

Documenting Constructed Stone Landscapes in Eastern Pennsylvania

Jim Wilson contributed an article to the Pennsylvania SHPO's annual report on archaeological site reporting activities. The article starts on page 14. Other interesting articles are in the document, too.

Pennsylvania Archaeological Site Survey 2022


Larry Harrop's Ceremonial Stone Landscapes

We are in the midst of hosting the contents of Larry Harrop's old web site showing examples of different kinds of stone structures. You can see what we have so far at: Larry Harrop's web site.

a stone row forming an effigy of an undulating serpent
Serpent, by Larry Harrop

Norman Muller Articles

Norman Muller has graciously agreed to let NEARA host all of his articles. Read them all here at Norman Muller's articles.

structures at the Oley Hills site
Oley Hills, Pennsylvania, by Norman Muller

The NEARA Library is Open again!

We are pleased to announce that we are entertaining visitors again to the NEARA Library and Archives in Nashua NH.

But you can still visit us online. Our online catalog is at NEARA Library. To borrow a book or video you must be a current member of NEARA.

With the move of the Library to its new location, we have been finding a lot of duplicate books that the Library cannot really afford to keep any more. See the complete list at NEARA Library books for sale. Note: this list is changing, so you may want to come back every week. You do not need to be a member of NEARA to purchase books.

If you are a member of NEARA, you can see photos and some archived documents and photos at SiteDB.org. See how sites and people(!) looked like back in the 1960's - 1980's. Also, as a member of NEARA, you can read all of the Journals and Transits that NEARA has ever published.

Read more about the NEARA Library and Archives.


Looking for nice photos

Want to contribute photos for our Gallery? Send us a few really good photos that you have taken. Email them to sites@neara.org. Please include a short caption, including the county and state in which you took the photo, the date you took the photo, and the name you would like to include in the caption.


Donations

NEARA has joined PayPal's Giving Fund so that any money that you donate to NEARA will get to us without any fees subtracted. NEARA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization incorporated in New Hampshire, founded in 1964.

Please help us fund our research projects and preservation efforts and library and archives at: Donate.


This web site is hosted on GitHub at NEARA-web. If you know HTML and CSS, you can help us -- contact us at webmaster@neara.org.