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No. 57: May-Jun 1988

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Who built these chambers?

New England's many stone chambers have long piqued the curiosities of archeologists and laymen alike. The archeologists are adamant that all of these structures were constructed by Colonial farmers. However, some of these chambers seem unlikely potato cellars! J. Egan has provided architectural details on 14 impressive stone chambers located in southern New England. Of these, two seem hardly the work of practical farmers.

The first is the Pearson Chamber, at Upton, Massachusetts. It is 10 feet high and 11 feet wide inside -- pretty large for vegetable storage. The second is the Hunt's Brook "souterrain," Montville, Connecticut. It is 38 feet long and only about 3 feet high for most of its length, and ends in a 5-feet-high chamber. We cannot visualize farmers crawling this distance for potatoes! In fact, this structure does resemble the megalithic "souterrains" of Europe.

(Egan, Jim; NEARA Journal, 22:6, Summer/Fall 1987. NEARA = New England Antiquities Research Association.)

Hunt's Brook 'souterrain' Plan view of Hunt's Brook "souterrain", almost 38 feet long. The dotted lines represent capstones. Adapted from the NEARA Journal.

From Science Frontiers #57, MAY-JUN 1988. 1988-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987