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Narragansett RunestoneMany know of the Dighton Rock. Another popular rock with a rune inscription is called the Narragansett Rock or Pojac Point Rock. It is the second most commonly spoken of landmark in Rhode Island concerning the possible pre-colonial visit by Vikings. The most popular Viking landmark in Rhode Island is the Newport tower. What many do not know is that there are many other rocks in Rhode Island that are believed to also have runes inscriptions. Though most are believed to be hoaxes, Indian markings, or just natural features, they are interesting curios of Rhode Island culture and history.

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Over 10 years ago, when we had just begun to delve into the stranger side of New England , a unique site that was top on our list was called the Chamber-Upton-4Upton Chamber. We stumbled across it in a book I had purchased from a used book store in Providence, R.I..

Upton chamber is one of the largest underground stone chambers in New England . A six foot high fourteen foot long tunnel leads into the mammoth chamber. The chamber is twelve feet in diameter and twelve feet high and beehive in shape, like a large stone igloo. Upton chamber is an amazing work of dry masonry with a cap stone weighing several tons. Archeologists believe it is just a colonial root cellar built in the 1700’s but there are those that recognized it similarity to early Irish and Iberic stone chambers and believe it was constructed over a thousand years earlier. Most archeologists feel this is fanciful thinking since there has been no evidence of Pre-colonial foreign visitors other than the Norse at Newfoundland in 1000 AD.

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Some people are well aware of the idea that Leif Erickson, long before Columbus, visited New England. Some historians even suspect that the Portuguese were aware of our coast but kept it a secret. Evidence had been found to support each of these theories but there are those who still disagree. The strangest band of men many believed to have crossed the Atlantic to visit our shores is the Templar Knights. Though many find this difficult to believe, Westford Massachusetts may have evidence written in stone to support it.

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Many places of questionable history and lore are hidden across New England. Few people are aware of their locations, and they wish to keep it that way. These sites consist of stone chambers and monuments of various styles and sizes. Some historians say they are only ‘root cellars’ that were built by colonists. Others entertain the idea that these lithic sites were constructed by much earlier visitors. The fact that many of them seem to be align with astronomical should give one pause. Archaeo-astronomer Byron Dix has determined that New England is chock-full of underground chambers. According to Mr. Dix, there are 105 astronomically aligned chambers in Massachusetts, 51 in New Hampshire, 41 in Vermont, 62 in Connecticut, 12 in Rhode Island, and 4 in Maine. The Early Sites Research Society which has been studying the chambers for over three decades, claims to have documented over 400 chambers in New England. Mystery Hill, and Gungywamp are the only sites that are commercially available to the public, while the rest remain hidden on private land or from public knowledge.

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In Rockville, Rhode Island, located in Yawgoog Scout Reservation, is a petroglyph that has baffled historians and archaeologists. Experts have described the images as a woman with child, and various circular line drawings and depressions.  No one really knows what it’s meaning or purpose could be. Settlers discovered many of these rocks, but most were destroyed when the land was cleared for farms, or when the rocks were used for walls and buildings. Symbol Rock is one of the few stones that survived unharmed. Settlers that saw the rock were as puzzled as we are today. Local Indians did not provide any insight as to it’s origin. Archaeologists have many theories as to who created these carvings. Some experts claim a much earlier generation of Narragansett Indians may have carved the images. Others argue that the symbols are not at all like any known Indian symbols, and resemble Viking, Pre-Colombian Celtic, or Phoenicians symbols.

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