Andrew Collins at Gunung Padang


E A R T H Q U E S T vN E W S

In this issue: News of the Origins 2015 Conference * Andrew's visit to Gunung Padang * The Bandung Obsidian Industry * The Search for Java's Batu Bedil - the Gun Stone * Trans-Pacific Contact * Palaeolithic origins in Sundaland * The Stone Chambers and Stone Walls of New England * America's Stonehenge * Mystery Hill's Star Alignments checked

Origins 2015 – Britain’s premier ancient mysteries conference, organized jointly by Megalithomania and the Questing Conference, is now go. The date is Saturday, November 7th.

The venue is Arts Two lecture theatre, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End, London E1 4NS.

The speakers are as follows: Graham Hancock, delivering the very latest evidence on a global lost civilization wiped out by a comet impact at the end of the last Ice Age – the subject, of course, of his brand new book Magicians of the Gods out in September.

Jim Vieira, the United States’ premier expert on the North American giant tradition, who flies in to deliver his lecture and launch the book Giants on Record, co-authored with Origins and Megalithomania organizer Hugh Newman.

Hugh Newman will present his own lecture at the event, the details of which will follow soon.

Javanese geologist Danny Hilman Natawidjaja will outline via video link his work at Gunung Padang in Java, showing its connection to Plato’s story of Atlantis and the cataclysm that devastated the world at the end of the last Ice Age.

Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince, co-authors of The Templar Revelation, reveal the true foundations and history of human science and astronomy, while I will deliver the following talk:

"Over the past year Andrew has been travelling the world exploring the greater antiquity of prehistoric sites from Göbekli Tepe in southeast Anatolia to Gunung Padang in Indonesia's West Java province, Mount Carbon in West Virginia and Peru's Tiahuanaco. This work forms part of his new book project showing that hybridization between different types of archiac and more modern humans gave rise to civilization tens of thousands of years earlier than what history suggests. He reveals the fruits of his endeavours and begins to build a picture of a global belief in the importance of the northern heavens, in particular the Milky Way and Pole Star. These were personified as a primeval goddess of life. Although she takes many forms, this stellar goddess is primarily associated with key Pole Stars of the distant past, such as Deneb in Cygnus and Vega in the constellation of Lyra. As the so-called Weaver Princess of Island Southeast Asia she is said to have mated with a supernatural or heavenly dog to give birth to the human race. It is a tradition that can be traced from Java all the way across to China and Tibet. Andrew reveals the true origins of these strange beliefs in a supernatural ancestor, tracing its origins to the indigenous peoples of Lake Baikal in southern Siberia. They for millennia have believed in their descent from a supernatural wolf. Why? Why a wolf? Andrew explains in this brand new lecture."

Then, on the Sunday, I return to my London roots and conduct a tour around the East End, explaining its pentagonal geometry based on the churches of architect Nicholas Hawksmoor, and taking delegates on a tour of the sites associated with Jack the Ripper (the two themes being brought together in Alan Moore’s graphic novel “From Hell”, which went on to become a great film featuring Johnny Depp). It is a morbid subject, I know, but it is one filled with magical connotations and speculation of some kind of Masonic conspiracy to cover up the truth. In addition to this, I shall be teaching Cockney rhyming slang, and explaining its importance to East End life in the nineteenth century. We end the day, hopefully, in The Ten Bells, one of the main pubs featured in the Ripper mystery, which remains a thriving London hostelry, and afterwards go for a “Ruby Murray”, that’s a curry, in one of the Asian restaurant’s in nearby Brick Lane.

Early bird prices for the Saturday conference are £48, with the price rising to £52 after the first 50 tickets sold.

For those who want the whole Saturday and Sunday experience, the early bird tickets are £62, with the price rising to £66 thereafter. Don’t delay. Register now. It should be a great weekend, full of revelations and great memories.

For further information and immediate registration go to:

(please note this page is still under construction, so expect a few holes)

Remember also that there is still time to come with us on our 4 night/5 day mini tours to Göbekli Tepe and the surrounding area in May and September 2015. We visit the ancient city of Harran, home of the Chaldeans, Sabaeans, astrology and Hermetica; Göbekli Tepe’s sister site Karahan Tepe, and the various sites in Saniurfa, where we stay, including the birthplace of Abraham and new archaeological museum, which features a permanent exhibition of material from Göbekli Tepe’s Pre-Pottery Neolithic culture.

For more information and registration, go to:

Also I am with Brien Foerster and Hugh Newman in June/July on the Ancient Technologies tour of ancient Peru and Bolivia, organized by Hidden Inca Tours and Megalithomania. It includes a full day solstice celebration in Cuzco, known as Inti Raymi. The sites of the main tour are Lima * Cuzco * Sacred Valley * Ollantaytambo * Machu Picchu * Puno * Lake Titicaca * Sillustani * Cutimbo * Tiwanaku * Puma Punku and much more. Dates are June 19/29, 2015, and then June 29/July 3 for the extension to Nazca, Ica & Paracas. For more information and registration:


Recently, I returned from Java where, with Hugh Newman, I visited the megalithic complex of Gunung Padang in the company of Javanese geologist Danny Hilman Natawidjaga. It consists of a series of stone settings and rock mounds made from log-like columnar blocks of andesite. These are situated on five stepped terraces on the upper slopes of a large hill. The monuments seen today date to around 600 BC, according to recent carbon-14 dating. Yet beneath the current structures are further rows and groupings of columnar blocks that Danny and a multidisciplinary team suspect were placed down as part of a much older structure, built in stages, rather like the pyramids of Central and South America. Radiocarbon dating of the first lower layer (layer 2) has revealed radiocarbon dates in the range of 5000 BC, while an even lower level has provided dates suggesting the presence of a built structure pre-8000 BC, and arguably as early as 12,000 BC. Indeed, coring of the site has indicated the presence of an even deeper levels going back as early as 25,000 BC.

Geo-physical and geo-radar surveys, as well as multiple soundings conducted at locations right across the hilltop, indicate the presence of a vertical hollow that is most likely a lava tube. Yet extending from this horizontally towards a position corresponding to the rock wall dividing terraces 1 and 2 is a horizontal tunnel-like structure that might well have provided access from the monument to the lava tube, and thus could have been artificially created or at least artificially enhanced. It is worth pointing out that the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan in Central Mexico also has a volcanic lava tube beneath it (something pointed out to me by Graham Hancock, recently).There is a clear relationship between whatever went on in the past at Gunung Padang and volcanoes, not simply because of the presence within its centre of a lava tube, but also because the entire monument is directed towards a supervolcano with two peaks.

Terrace 1 at Gunung Padang viewed from the north
(copyright, Andrew Collins, 2015).


One, the closest one, is called Gunung (Mount) Gede, and other, behind it, is Gunung Pangrango. To be more precise Gunung Padang’s central axis, calculated by British engineer Rodney Hale at 342 degrees east of north, targets the eastern caldera of Gunung Gede, which lies around 15 miles (22 km) away from Gunung Padang (pronounced Ger-domg Pa-dang).

Whilst staying at Gunung Padang (on a mattress in a bare room that resembled something out of the TV show "I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here," complete with insect-inspired "Bushtucker Trials"!) I was able to speak at length with a local guide and guardian of the site. With Danny Hilman translating, he provided me with a comprehensive rundown of every folk legend and tradition associated with Gunung Padang allowing me a full insight into the site's spiritual dimension.

I shall publish this knowledge in due course. However, some of this material is included in the following video I put together on Gunung Padang when at the site:

Also a second video featuring our visit put together by Hugh Newman:

One of the things the guardian did confirm is Gunung Padang's absolute orientation towards the Gede-Pangrango stratovolcano, which he said was seen as a manifestation of God himself. Although as a Moslem he probably had in mind Allah when he said these words, very likely these ideas stem from much earlier Javanese, or more correctly Sundanese, traditions attached to Gunung Padang, which could easily be many thousands of years old. Back then the volcano was most likely the expression of a creator god seen in terms of a god of fire, similar to beliefs and practices still attached to other Javanese and Philipino volcanoes.Our purpose for the visit to Gunung Padang was not simply to investigate its apparent greater antiquity, but also to try and investigate the material culture behind its construction.I was perplexed by the fact that to date no identifiable stone tools have been found at the site, something that continues to strike me as odd.

Gunung Padang's Terrace 1 from the south
(pic copyright: Andrew Collins, 2015).


Just one strange object has been found, and this is made of andesite and, in my eyes, resembles a trowel. It does not conform to any known style of stone tool manufactured by our ancestors, and some might dismiss it as a geofact - that is a natural object that has the appearance of being artificially created. Whatever it is, it cannot have had any obvious functional use as it would have broken easily. Equally, it cannot have been in the earth long, as this would have crushed it.


Yet I was struck by the fact that in the Bandung river basin east of Gunung Padang, which sits towards the south edge of the Cianjur river basin, and well as at Bogor, a city just to the northwest of the Pangrango-Gede stratovolcano, considerable evidence has been found for the existence of a highly organised culture that produced flake tools made mostly from the volcanic glass known as obsidian. Sites belonging to what is known as the Bandung obsidian industry have been located at settlement sites located on hill slopes around the edge of the river basin, which was once occupied by an enormous lake. This came into existence when lava from a nearby volcano created an impenetrable wall damning of a major river course as much as 125,000 years ago. Yet more important is the fact that the Bandung Lake started to disappear as much as 20,000 years ago, with its remaining water disappearing as recently as 4,000 years ago. Since the principal sites of Bandung's obsidian industry are located on raised ground above the original extent of the lake prior to 20,000 years ago, it seems likely that they were positioned so as to take advantage of the lake's natural resources. If correct, the implications of this are enormous and suggest that this culture might have existed as much as 20,000 years ago (the Bandung obsidian industry is generally attributed to the Mesolithic and Neolithic periods of Javanese history, although its Palaeolithic roots seem obvious - see below).

In other words, if we are looking for a material culture responsible for the earliest construction phases at Gunung Padang, then surely the best candidate by far is the indigenous population responsible for the Bandung obsidian industry.

The Bandung Lake as it would have appeared 20,000 years ago. From a 3D model in Jakarta's Museum Nasional. Settlments of the Bandung obsidian industry are marked by red cones (pic copyright: Andrew Collins, 2015).

Obsidian is generally considered a high status material due to its exquisite appearance, which when cut makes it look like a cut gem; its unparalleled sharpness, and also its otherworldly attributions (it is often seen as a stone of heaven, or the congealed blood of gods or the embodiment of fire - see my book Gobekli Tepe: Genesis of the Gods).

However, as mentioned earlier, to my knowledge no stone tools have ever been found at Gunung Padang.


I have suggested to Danny Hilman that in the future he initiate a search of Gunung Padang and the surrounding valleys in the hope of finding stone tools that might have been used by the population responsible for the different phases at Gunung Padang. Yet in the meantime I wondered whether there might be another way of strengthening the link between the Gunung Padang monument and the presumably indigenous population responsible for Bandung's obsidian industry.


The Cianjur and Bandung river basins are divided by a north-south running mountain range that is difficult to cross other than via prominent river passes. An examination of Google Earth revealed that the most likely gateway between the Cianjur and Bandung districts was the deep valley created by the Cisokan river and its tributaries. A traveler can follow the Cisokan towards its source in the mountains, and then connect with rivers running east into the Bandung basin. I looked for other possible candidates for this gateway site, but none made better sense.

Inspired, I have to admit, by a strange meditational vision on this subject, I felt sure that the spiritual and strategic gateway between the two river basins was occupied by an important megalithic monument - part natural, part artificial. It was then that I came across a site named Batu Bedil, a megalithic structure on a mountain ridge overlooking the Upper Cisokan river valley. Its name is Javanese and means the “Gun Stone”. It consists of a series of large megaliths that are said to possess magical qualities, in that if anyone ever tries to remove them from their location the stones will mysteriously return to their original position. More disconcerting was the news that Java’s main electricity generating company were in the process of building two dams in the Upper Cisokan Valley, one of which is located immediately beneath the mountain on which Batu Bedil is situated. Indeed, there was some indication from their environmental damage report that slippage from a surge tank being created immediately below this megalithic structure could either damage or destroy it.

I decided that with Danny Hilman's help I was doing to do whatever it took to investigate this previously unrecorded megalithic structure in order to ensure its future preservation. Moreover, confirmation of its existence might help establish the connection between the builders of Gunung Padang and Bandung's obsidian culture.


So after one failed attempt to reach the mountaintop site, Hugh Newman, Danny Hilman, a hired driver and myself returned to the Cisokan area in a 4 x 4 vehicle and allowed local villagers to direct us towards the location of Batu Bedil, which was not easy to find. Yet then, as we left the Bandung district and entered neighbouring Cianjur we found ourselves in an enchanted forest. We journeyed ever closer to our destination, which could not be any more than a few miles away now, and then saw in front of us a heavy digger and about a dozen or so workers engaged in making the road we were on! In other words, we were going no further in our vehicle. At first I was deeply frustrated, and gave up all hope of going any further. Yet then I had an idea we could hire the rally bikes being used by the workers to ferry people and materials from one station to another. So after some discussion with the workers and foreman - who was dressed in army fatigues and looked like a Javanese version of Charles Bronson - we quickly we found ourselves on the back of powerful motorbikes, navigating hills and valleys, where streams and pot holes were traversed on bridges composed of nothing more than a few bamboo canes loosely placed side by side.

Danny Hilman on the way to Batu Bedil
(pic credit: Andrew Collins, 2015).


After a nail-biting, 30-minute journey we left behind the bikes and ascended a mountain. Having crossed its razor-like summit, where a tumble either side might well have led to a fatal fall, we entered deep jungle, interspersed here and there by a few areas of cultivation. Here grew rice and, curiously, in one grove a mass of tall sunflowers, something I had not expect to behold on the top of a mountain in Java. Finally, after a walk of around 40 minutes - during which Danny was stung four times by dive-bombing hornets - we ascended one final ridge and came across the grouping of megalithic stones.

The largest stone was approximately 2 m in length and around 0.45 m in width. It lay horizontal, and nearby was another slightly smaller monolith which, we discovered, had previously been placed on top of the larger stone at the same orientation. It was this configuration that had given rise to the name Batu Bedil, the “Gun Stone", as it resembled a large cannon on top of its gun carriage. The “cannon” pointed roughly westwards over the river valley below (the azimuth was calculated by Rodney Hale based on the location of the sun at a specific time).

The stones of Batu Bedil in Java's Cianjur district. On the left the gun stone itself, and on the right geologist Danny Hilman Natawidjaja examines the gun stone's "gun carriage" (pics credit: Andrew Collins, 2015)

It was then that I learnt from one of our guides the reason why the stones are said to possess magical properties, for if the “cannon” is dislodged or transported from its carriage, as it is today, then it would always return mysteriously to its original position. If so, then clearly something had now gone wrong, as the "cannon" stone is now dangerously close to the edge of the slope, and could easily slide further down if any land slippage were to occur during the construction of the nearby dam.

Several other, slightly smaller stones lay nearby, some of which have slipped down the bank. We were told not to venture too close as the undergrowth contained a very specific poisonous plant. Just brushing against its leaves could cause a severe skin reaction. So Hugh and I attempted to record what we could see as Danny got down to examining the composition of the megaliths.

Apparently, they are rounded andesite blocks, just like the building material at Gunung Padang. He asked the guides if there were similar stones elsewhere in the area, and they said no. This baffled Danny who concluded that the megaliths must have been brought to the mountaintop summit for a specific purpose. From the elevated position of Batu Bedil, on the western limits of the Gunung Batu Bedil mountain ridge, there would have been a clear view across to the north, west and south. You would have been able to see all the surrounding river valleys, including those of the Cisokan to the northwest and Cirumaris below to the west (on which the Upper Cisokan Dam is being built). This would have made it a perfect vantage point both strategically and spiritually. Indeed, the fact that it is located close to the border between the ancient Bandung and Cianjur districts confirms that it really could have been a kind of gateway site, acting as a spirit bridge between different zones or kingdoms.

The view from the summit of Java's Gunung Batu Bedil
(pic copyright: Andrew Collins, 2015).

One final piece of folklore we picked up from the guides as we examined the stone settings is that when Java experiences a national crisis, Batu Bedil will sound a loud boom like a real cannon. On hearing this, I felt it possible that the site might be connected to concepts relating to the sovereignty of the land, and might well have a more specific importance to West Java’s spiritual matrix than I had previously imagined. Yet with the light beginning to fade it was time to leave, otherwise we could find ourselves travelling across rough terrain on the back of motorbikes in the darkness, which I did not relish on little bit. So we began the near torturous journey back across the mountain summit and eventually reached the waiting motorbikes and their owners.

As we were coming away from Batu Bedil, something curious happened. No more than a couples of hundred metres from the site we suddenly heard a loud boom, very much like the sound of a cannon sounding. Now, I have no idea what caused this, and can only assume it was connected in some manner with the construction work going on in the valley far below. Yet it was a strange synchronicity, especially after hearing about the legend of the boom made by Batu Bedil only shortly beforehand.

The rally bikes carried us back to the 4 x 4 vehicle, and then negotiations began as to how much all this was going to cost us. Stupidly, we had not agreed on prices beforehand, and machete-wielding forestry workers and a foreman dressed in army fatigues are not the sort of men you don't want to upset. Luckily, Danny was able to argue with them in our favour, and so we were able to pay them a suitable, though still very costly price, making everyone happy, allowing us to leave the area just as darkness fell.

Our guides to Batu Bedil, plus Hugh Newman and Charles Bronson in fatigues!
(pic copyright: Andrew Collins, 2015)

We arrived back in Bandung later that evening, and celebrated with a few bottles of beer sneaked into the hotel by the obliging staff (Java is a dry Moslem country, remember). I'll be honest, there were certain times that day when I genuinely felt we would barely escape with our lives, never mind reaching the hotel by a sensible time.

I also thought about why I actually do this sort of things – claim mountains in foreign countries, putting my life and wellbeing at risk. The answer perhaps, although inadequate, came back to me. It is because it feels the right thing to do, since it connects you with a genius loci, a spirit of the place, that has called you for some very specific reason - a reason you might never come to understand yourself.


One thing I noticed both on the way to and from the Cisokan valley was the predominance of single story houses and buildings made of slatted bamboo walls. It seemed absolutely unique to the this remote region of West Java. I asked Danny Hilman about this, and he confirmed it was a very ancient style of building still practised by the people of this region. This intrigued me as the country most obviously associated with buildings made from slatted bamboo walls and roofs is Japan. To find this exact same style of building here in Java could imply some kind of cross-cultural contact at a very early stage in the island’s history.

Bamboo house in the wilds of West Java's Cianjur district
(pic copyright: Andrew Collins, 2015).

Oddly, the previous week Hugh and I had visited Vietnam briefly on the way to Java, and here I noted the similarity between the physical appearance of some Vietnamese people and the heads of a large number of Olmec statues from Central Mexico. They both had the same eyes, same shaped heads, and same downturned mouths. The resemblance was striking. What all this meant, I was not sure. Yet what I did know is that examples of a primitive script used by Japan’s Jomon culture, which thrived ca. 10,500-300 BC, has been found on some Olmec artefacts. This suggested that peoples from either East or Southeast Asia might have been the ancestors of the Olmec peoples of Mexico.


Although the Jomon culture did not properly exist outside of the islands of Japan its very earliest forms of pottery have been compared with those of Vietnam’s Da But culture, which thrived 5000-1000 BC. Both the Jomon and De But cultures were hunter-gatherers, not agriculturalists. The stone tools of the early Jomon have also been compared with those of a Palaeolithic culture known as the Hoabinhian, which existed in Vietnam ca. 13,000-3000 BC.

The Hoabinhian possessed a prolific pebble tool (that is, tools made using the centre sections of large pebbles, which are then rerouched into shape) and flake industry. More significantly, the Hoabinhian thrived also on the island of Sumatra and, to a lesser degree, on Java. At the time both would have formed part of the much larger Sundaland landmass, which broke up into the islands of Indonesia and the Malay peninsula between ca. 14,000 and 10,000 years ago. Their toolkit included something referred to by archaeologists as the Sumatralith considered the precursor to the Hoabinhain’s more widespread pebble tool technology. In other words, Sundaland was quite possibly the true origin point of the Hoabinhain, a Palaeolithic tradition that went on to influence the foundation of Japan's Jomon culture.


The idea that Sundaland might be the genesis point of many Southeast and East Asian cultures and civiliations is argued by British geneticist and author Stephen Oppenheimer in his truly ground-breaking book Eden in the East (1998). Indeed, Javanese geologist Danny Hilman Natawidjaja argues in his book Plato Never Lied (2013) that Sundaland was Plato's Atlantis, a theory that some, more ancient high profile researchers are currently running with in new books. Personally, I think this link is untenable, and maintain that everything weitten by Plato concerning the location of Atlantis indicates that it was in the Atlantic Ocean. Moreover, that its sunken lands are a memory of the original Bahaman landmass with its main island being Cuba. It is this that I conclude in my book Gateway to Atlantis, republished next year by Inner Traditions.

Back to the Hoabinhian now. Since we know that on Sumatra it employed the use of obsidian to make flake tools (i.e. flakes produced by percussion from larger pebbles), and that the same culture existed also in Java, there has to be a chance that it is connected with Bandung's obsidian industry. So is it possible that the Hoabinhian, or its successors, were responsible for the construction of Gunung Padang? Such a realization would be important indeed. It might also help throw better light on the true origins of many East and Southeast Asian populations and cultures, which could well have begun their journey on the Sundaland landmass before its eventual submergence, ca. 14,000-10,000 years ago.

A pebble tool known as a sumatralith.

Another thing both Hugh and I noticed when in Java were similarities between the layout and construction of Gunung Padang and those of Peruvian sites, most notably the mountaintop city of Machu Pichu. What is more, there seemed to be clear similarities between the physical appearance of the Javanese peoples and the facial features of carved stone heads at Tiawanaku in neighbouring Bolivia. There is a strong sense of connection between Peru. Bolivia and Java, which makes sense of ancient legends of transpacific voyages between the former Sundland landmass and the islands of Polynesia and Peru. It is something I shall hopefully be exploring further when in Peru and Bolivia with Hugh and Brien Foerster in June-July.

Gudung Padang's Terrace 2 in the mist.
(pic copyright: Andrew Collins, 2015)


Shortly after returning from Cambodia and Java, I embarked on another adventure, this time to the United States. I was there to further explore the accounts of giant skeletons being found with incredible frequency in Native American mounds, and also to investigate the stone-building culture responsible for a whole series of stone chambers and dry-stone walls right across New England, and even into Canada.

Archaeologists will tell you that all these structures date to historic times. They say they were constructed by early settlers – hunters, trappers, farmers – most likely during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The chambers are dismissed as root cellars, places where root crops were stored at a constant low temperature and humidity, while the walls are seen simply as divisions between early colonial properties or pastoral enclosures for animals. Tentative archaeological work to test these ideas has always appeared to bear out this conclusion, even though the sites concerned are in areas where Native American settlements and artefacts have invariably been found.

Greg and Lora Little and I visited a number of these stone structures and came to a quite different conclusion. For instance, in the Borderlands State Park, close to the towns of Easton and Sharon in Massachusetts, we investigated a series of stone walls in dense woodland. They are located more than a mile away from a colonial house built within the park area, and seem to snake this way and that for some distance before hitting a large glacial boulder (of which there are many in the area), and then veering off in another direction, almost like they mark the track of a giant invisible pinball bouncing off obstacles. Others seem to converge on rocky outcrops, or even go over the top of them. The walls are of loosely stacked rocks and rise to only one to two feet in height. This suggests they are unlikely to have acted as boundaries to animal pens or individual properties.Tracing the source of the stone walls can occasionally take you to the mouth of a small rock shelter or cave, almost as if they commence at these features.

Andrew Collins in a stone chamber to the south of America's
Stonehenge (pic copyright: Andrew Collins, 2015).

We also found at the end of one stone wall a recently exposed stone chamber, capped with a huge table stone of some considerable weight. Its interior featured a carefully built stonewall. Other similar chambers exist elsewhere in Borderlands, even though the map guide makes no mention of them. That the stone chambers and natural caves, which are of similar size, are located at the beginning of stone walls seems to suggest they both symbolized the same thing to whoever built these walls. In other words, the caves and chambers possessed the same basic functions.


In my opinion the idea that colonials built all the stone walls and cave-like chambers is grossly unhelpful in trying to determine their true function and age. Since it is known that Native Americans inhabited the area as early as the Early Archaic Period, some 9,000 years, I suspect the walls and chambers are the legacy of an indigenous people that was once widespread across the region. For me, the walls marked either the flow or boundaries of spirit, seen in terms either of river-like energies, or as the presence of power animals, whose movement could be channeled, blocked or directed by the presence of the walls.

The small caves and constructed stone chambers are, in my opinion, spirit houses, places of access to the other world. Inside them initiates, experiencers, priests or shamans would have communicated with intelligences thought to inhabit this otherworldly realm. Offerings, such as tobacco, are likely to have been deposited at these openings to the otherworld to appease the spirits, while the bones of ancestors would have been left inside them in order that they might guard the location or continue their communication with the world of the living. It is also likely that magical items were concealed within the caves and chambers so as to prevent unwanted spirits from exiting the underworld and haunting the areas in which they are located.

See the video “Borderland, MA: Stone Walls & Hidden Stone Chambers” by Greg Little and featuring Lora Little and myself:

This provides a perfect introduction to the Borderlands mystery with its strange stone walls and mysterious stone chambers.


Whilst at Borderlands, which is a very magical woodland site, full of glacial erratics of granite, I sat on top of one rocky outcrop where a series of stone walls converged. Here I opened my mind in order to try and communicate with the spirit of the place. I saw just two images – one, quite specifically, a moose, which seemed redirected by the flow of a wall. The other was a finely worked stool tool or point, triangular in shape, made from pure white quartz. My sense was that the moose had been important to the indigenous people locally, perhaps as a power animal, while quartz was significant to them also (linking the two images together, I wondered whether white quartz points were the only type of arrowheads used to kill moose, which was seen as an important power animal).

I subsequently found that immediately north of Borderland State Park is a place called Moose Hill. No moose are seen there today, although they were frequent visitors in the past. Moreover, I discovered that the Native American tribe known as the Obijwe, or Chippewa, who inhabited areas around Lake Superior and Canada and spoke a language linked with that the Algonquin, saw the moose as a psychopomp, an accompanier of souls into the next world. Moreover, I later realised that large, singular pieces of quartz have been found in connection with a number of stone chambers in New England. Indeed, in a stone chamber at the megalithic complex of America’s Stonehenge, aka Mystery Hill, near North Salam, New Hampshire (see below), and also within the so-called “beehive hut” stone chamber at nearby Daneville, New Hampshire, which we visited the day after our trip to Borderlands, large pieces of white quartz have been inserted into the rear walls of the chamber’s interior. They are positioned centrally about three courses from the floor (what is strange is that I might not have noticed this fact had I not glimpsed the white quartz artefact during my meditation at Borderlands the previous day).

Quartz block in the interior of a stone chamber at America's
Stonehenge (pic copyright: Andrew Collins, 2015).

In addition to this, pieces of quartz, including a triangular stone, have been found deposited in other New England chambers, while both America’s Stonehenge and a stone chamber named the Bear’s Den, near New Salem, Massachusetts, sit close to recognisable quartz veins. It is my reckoning that white quartz was seen by the stone builders as a portal or point of access to otherworldly environments, perhaps replacing the seelenloch, or soul holes, found in many megalithic dolmen structures in Europe, Western Asia, and even in India. Quartz most likely served as a means for the soul of the deceased or that of the shaman to enter the otherworld. So while the stone chambers were like entrances to the otherworld, the quartz was the hole through which absolute access was achieved.

One cannot help but link the shiny, sparkling quality of quartz with the light seen by people during near death experiences. By entering this light the deceased finds access to the afterlife. Is it possible that the Native Americans were also aware of this process of “seeing the light” at the moment of death, and somehow came to link it with the properties of quartz? Was quartz connected in some manner with the Native American death journey, the soul’s entry into the afterlife?


One place I visited for the first time on this trip was America’s Stonehenge, a megalithic complex made up of a series of stone-lined chambers, standing stones and stone enclosures built on the slopping bedrock of a hillside close to North Salem, New Hampshire. I had read about this site many years ago, but had been dissuaded from taking much interest in it after reading that it had been built either by Phoenicians or Irish hermits reaching the Americas long before the age of Columbus.

Archaeologists dismiss America’s Stonehenge as the handiwork of an early settler named Jonathan Pattee who occupied the site during the late eighteenth, early nineteenth century. Indeed, the site was once known as Jonathan Pattee’s Cave. He even built a house on part of the ruins, in which he is said to have sheltered slaves during the Civil War. However, as he never claimed to have built it, and radiocarbon dates obtained from stone walls and charcoal from fire pits have produced dates varying between 1700 to 300 BC there is clear evidence of a greater antiquity attached to the site.

Andrew Collins in a stone enclosure at America's Stonehenge
(pic copyright: Andrew Collins).

Despite all the conflicting stories about its origin, America's Stonehenge still seemed worth a visit. All I can say is that the site is extraordinary, its main stone enclosure, with large megalithic stones standing in dry stone walls, reminded me of key megalithic complexes in the old world, such as Göbekli Tepe in southeast Anatolia, those in Malta and Sardinia in the Mediterranean, and even other examples in Great Britain. I saw nothing here that suggested the site dated to colonial times, or that it was a hermitage built by Irish monks! I also saw no evidence of Baal worship, although I don’t dismiss the likelihood of Phoenician or Canaanite traders reaching New England as early as 2000 BC. Indeed, I discuss this possibility in my book Gateway to Atlantis.

Yet the complex does not end here. Directly above it to the north were once two rock mounds side by side, although neither exist today. From here the observer would have been able to look out towards a series of standing stones set within distant boundary walls. The largest mark important solar events of the calendar year, including the risings and settings of the sun at the equinoxes and solstices as well as the four cross-quarter days. Others mark the maximum and minimum risings and settings of the moon during its 18.61-year lunar standstill cycle. Still another stone, located in the north, marks the direction of the celestial pole, around which, in a tight circle, revolved a former Pole Star named Thuban in the constellation of Draco, the celestial dragon. Smaller stones either side of the “True North Stone” are thought to mark the extent of this tight circle made by Thuban around the year 1750 BC.

America's Stonehenge with the famous Slaughter Stone behind
the standing stone in the foreground (pic copyright: Andrew Collins, 2015).


One further monolith, estimated to be 14 feet in length, and now lying in four separate pieces some distance to the north-northwest of the main observation point, was examined by Dr Louis Winkler, an archaeoastronomer who made a thorough examination of the site’s astronomical alignments during the 1990s. He found that, when standing, the now fallen monolith would have marked the extinguishing of a near circumpolar star named Izar (Epsilon Boötis) in the constellation of Boötes, the heavenly ox driver or ploughman, ca. 2000 BC. He felt this made sense as one of the brightest stars in the northern night sky is Arcturus, another of Boötes stars, meaning that this constellation, which is often seen to “drive” or turn the much bigger constellation of Ursa Major, the great bear, as it revolves around the Pole Star, was perhaps important to the builders of America’s Stonehenge. Near circumpolar stars, or grazing stars, are those that make their circuit of the sky and then set, or simply extinguish immediately above the horizon, before rising again soon afterwards.

Since Winkler had also considered the star Deneb in Cygnus as important at America’s Stonehenge, I felt it was a good idea to check the proposed alignment featuring the fallen monolith. I contacted Dennis Stone, the son of Robert Stone, the owner of the site, who kindly provided the coordinates of both the observation point, today occupied by a wooden tower containing a compass marker, and also that of the fallen monolith. British engineer Rodney Hale entered the coordinates and worked out that the azimuth bearing from the observation tower to the fallen monolith is 347.6 degrees. He then checked the setting of near circumpolar stars at this azimuth for the date 2000 BC (+/- 1000 years). What he found was interesting, for it seems Dr Winkler was correct – in 2000 BC the star Izar did indeed extinguish in line with the fallen monolith when viewed from the observation tower (this calculation is based on an extinguishing elevation of 2º above the horizon). However, there is a problem, as due to the fact that the alignment is so close to north, any near circumpolar star extinguishing at this azimuth only synchronize with the position of the monolith for around 100 years. This is due to its shifting position caused by the process of precession, the slow wobble of the earth’s axis across a cycle of around 26,000 BC. What this means is that if the alignment between the fallen monolith and Izar was indeed created around 2000 BC it would have been good for only a century. After that the star would have drifted too far away from the stone marker to have had any impact. If, on the other hand, America’s Stonehenge was constructed in any other epoch, then the importance of Izar evaporates into thin air, as at no time before or after does it synchronise with this stone. Deneb fairs little better, synchronizing with the monolith only in around 8000 BC. If we were to find that America’s Stonehenge was built at this time, then Deneb might become important, otherwise it is not a contender.

Greg and Lora Little examine a stone enclosure at America's Stonehenge
(pic credit: Andrew Collins, 2015).

So where does this leave us? The honest truth is that until we know the exact construction date of America’s Stonehenge, the proposed alignment to Izar can still stand.

All I can say right now is that America’s Stonehenge is a remarkable place, and I urge my American friends wherever you are to pay this site a visit. You will not be disappointed, and check out a few of the stone chambers locally as well.

Until next time, happy questing!

Andrew Collins

Inside one of the chambers at America's Stonehenge
(pic copyright: Andrew Collins, 2015)