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New Jersey Chapter

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The Sandyston Stone Chamber In New Jersey

By Larry Mulligan

From NEARA Newsletter 1972, by Ed Lenik:

This underground chamber was formed by a natural crevice in the bedrock. The roof was made by capping the crevice with 13 large flat stones. Earth and brush now cover the roof.

chamber entrance

Shelter entrance, 2011

In 1966, my aquaintance Mr. Milton Monks reported that the back of the chamber opened up into a "large room". He had visited the site "15 years ago". However, our examination showed that the rear of the chamber terminated in bedrock with no "large room" present.

About 30 feet to the north of this underground chamber is a small rockshelter and a possible second underground chamber. the roof of this second chamber has collapsed. perhaps this possible 2nd underground chamber mightr contain a "large room" as reported by Mr. Monks.

The famous Indian site known as the Bevans Rockshelter is approximately 100 yds. south of the underground chamber. This rockshelter is at the bottom of the bedrock ledge and borders a present day swamp. The Bevans Rockshelter was excavated approximately 30 years ago by Dr. Dorothy Cross of the New Jersey State Museum.

Interior view, slab roof, 2011

A large area in front of the entrance to the chamber has been filled with domestic trash. This trash is approximately 2 to 3 feet deep and consists of coal, coal ashes , glass and pottery fragments. An examination of the surface material indicates a 19th century date for the dump.

According to Mr. Monks, the interior of the underground chamber has been dug several times by Indian relic collectors. Further exploration should be done on the roof of the chamber, hopefully to get some charcoal for a carbon date. The area in front of the chamber should also be excavated in order to accurately date the period of trash dumping, and farm occupation nearby.


View from rear of chamber, 2011

Lithic sites open to the public:

Tripod Rock, Pyramid Mountain