In the gorgeously rustic country hills of Northern Ireland, about an hour north of Derry, is the tiny hamlet of Laraghirril. In the distant southwestern fields of this town sits an ancient cairn with beautifully placed megalithic stones. The cairn is perhaps 4000 to 6000 years old, with crafted slabs protruding in dramatic symmetry out of the ground. If you want to learn more about this ancient cairn at Laraghirril, interestingly enough, it will not be from this article. Amazingly, the ancient Celtic altar in the image above is found in Heath, Massachusetts, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean in the northeastern United States, otherwise known as New England.
Mysterious Megalithic Works in New England
New England is a small set of states about the size of Ireland, in terms of square kilometers. It stretches from Connecticut, northward along the Atlantic coast of Rhode Island, into the mountainous forests of upstate New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine. The old-growth forests and rocky mountain ridges of this area contain the same megalithic wonders that Celtic countries endear as part of their ancient mystical past. The images below are of Celtic megalithic works all within the region of New England. This includes: eloquent stone-chambers, ancient stone-linings of massive proportion at high elevations, cairns in practically every forest, altars on high rocky elevations, and beautiful standing-stones of a unique style specific to New England.
A stone chamber found in New England
High elevation stone lining in New England
This standing stone (image/above) is located several miles into Tully Lake Forest Reserve, Massachusetts, which is only about 15 miles from the Heath Altar, which I will soon describe. It has never been documented before now. Standing at 6 feet in height, and roughly 2 tons in weight, it is clearly an intended fixture, with incremental indents on its side culminating at an apex. This stone has stood elegantly as an amazing example of the megaliths in Massachusetts for, most likely, thousands of years, and may have been placed in this spot before the forest surrounded it. There is so much more to understand about stones like this. The questions emerge: what culture during the antiquity period of New England had the technical ability to cut and craft megalithic stones as if they were wooden blocks? How could they place them on mountaintops, or in deep forests so easily? And who did this? In Ireland, these incremental markings can be found on white-granite stones in the heights of places like the Pass at Mount Bearnagh in the Mourne Range (image/below). There are literally thousands of other crafted megalithic stones in the forests and mountain ranges of Celtic and New England ranges.
If this type of standing stone at Tully Lake Forest is not compelling enough for those who embrace a more “classic” stylization of “the standing stone”, take a look at this monument just twenty-five miles east of Tully Lake Forest. Looming at the top of a rocky hill in the Lynn Woods Reserve is a 10-foot high, 20-ton standing-stone. This megalith could easily be mistaken for a standing-stone at the top of any Irish, Welsh, English or Scottish valley. This stone, however, is in Massachusetts.
20-ton standing stone in Lynn Woods Reserve
Advanced Ancient Culture in New England – Could it be the Celts?
And this is just the beginning. In every forest in New England there are megaliths waiting to be deciphered and appreciated. It seems clear now that a megalithic culture, nearly identical to the Celtic style, once existed in New England. One of the very finest examples of this, in all of New England, is located in the country-town of Heath, Massachusetts, known simply as The Heath Altar Stones.
The Heath Altar sits on a gorgeous rocky plateau surrounded by pristine old-growth forest. This rocky elevation in north-central Massachusetts is only seven miles from the boarder of Vermont, where Green Mountain National Forest rolls dramatically into the northwest. Strategically, this vista is an intelligent place for an altar, with an elevated vantage harnessing the sun’s rays from dawn to dusk. Simultaneously, this altar is not far from a rolling stream in the small valley below, just over a mile to the east.
This water runs in a narrow channel cutting through the hills into several streams that merge and eventually rush as waterfalls through the town of Savoy, south of Heath. At certain points of the stream there is ancient stonework directing the flow of the water. These beautiful stones are an indicator of an extremely intelligent culture capable of harnessing and directing resources to certain focal points in the landscape. The stonework is perfectly leveled with corbel placement.
Rock wall in New England
Identifying this particular style is a challenge to those unfamiliar with Celtic fixtures. The masons of the colonial period generally utilized brick or cut-cobble stone with mixed cement. Native Americans were seasonally nomadic in their lifestyle, and generally did not work with megalithic stones in the northeastern part of the continent. Additionally, native tribes simply did not take credit for the existing stonework. Local stories from remaining Native American peoples in places like Upton, Massachusetts, say that the megalithic stones were there before the ancestral tribes arrived. This would coincide with the testimony of Peruvian and Mexican native peoples of South America, who say that the megaliths of their region were not made by their ancestors, but by “the gods”, and again, were there before their ancestors arrived.
Quartz Used to Harness Energy?
Returning to the Altar at Heath, there are several thought-provoking stone features before reaching the hilltop. Massive quartz stones have been placed all around the area.
A large quartz block sits atop a stone lining
Beautiful small ridges made entirely of quartz are fixed into the landscape. Quartz blocks have clearly been quarried and inserted above the granite stone linings surrounding the area. These white transluscent blocks stand in stark contrast against the rusty colored fauna of the field and grey granite stone-linings surrounding the hill. The question arises: why would the builders of this altar choose to extract and set quartz blocks around the area?
The answer is in the properties of the stone. Quartz has the ability to harness and store energy. In the present era we utilize quartz in our computers to transfer and store digital energy within the tiny landscapes of switchboards. Placing quartz all around the hill creates a type of “energy zone”. It is clear that this culture was well aware of the unique properties of the natural elements in the landscape, and made a serious effort to utilize them. This culture recognized the sun’s value as the ultimate energy source, as well as elements in the landscapes that have the reciprocal ability to harness that energy. Furthermore, streams carry subtle electrical currents through the friction of the waters continual motion against the stones. There are stones that indicate that this ancient culture was aware of the subtle energies produced by the water as well.
Long stone-linings that look to our modern eyes like “walls” run directly from the river up to the Altar at Heath. The granite stones might actually be a type of “cable system” connecting the subtle electrical energy of the stream to the quartz stones on the hill. The entire periphery of the hill is circled with these stone-linings. They branch off in dozens of varying directions. On a sunny day, this place would be absolutely charged with subtle energies.
Continuing towards the pinnacle of the hill where the altar sits, are smaller standing-stones. From the crafting and positioning of these stones, it is clear that they have a directional purpose rather than the utility function of the quartz. Perhaps they are marking the cardinal directions, or Solar and Lunar patterns in the sky. They certainly look to be pointing at something.
A standing stone near the main altar
The stone in the image above stands at about 3 feet, with specifically cut dimensions that point cardinal-south. This small standing stone is about 50 yards from the main Altar. The angles are of a particular type in New England that exists at many other sites in the mountains. The image below is of a larger, but dimensionally identical, standing-stone which sits near Squaw Peak of Monument Mountain Reserve in Massachusetts, about 60 miles southwest of Heath. This larger stone stands at about 6 feet, and points to the Sun at exactly mid-day, as seen in the image below.
Standing stone near Squaw Peak of Monument Mountain Reserve
The similarity between these two standing-stones, in terms of specific geometry, is remarkable, not to mention difficult. Two parallel sides lead to a 45-degree pinnacle which points, like an arrowhead, to the sky. Remember also, this is cut out of solid granite, and isn’t exactly a simple process. This is an iconic statement that requires serious skill and understanding, cutting through granite to form exacted parallel lines and points. More questions emerge, similar to those asked in Celtic places: how could this be done with granite slabs some 4000 to 6000 years ago, and at an elevation of about 2000 feet? With what tools did this culture cut and move these massive stones? Where are those tools? And why is there so little acknowledgement of this megalithic culture in New England, as opposed to Ireland where it is revered?
Continuing on to the western extreme of the hill at Heath there is an entirely quartz standing stone that looks to be a marker of some kind, or perhaps a warning for those passing by. This stone is similar in scale to the other peripheral standing stones around the Altar, only about 3 feet in height, but brilliant in contrast to the fauna of the area.
Quartz standing stone at Heath
At the northern face of the hill is a deeply lodged granite stone facing cardinal- north, where the forests of Vermont roll into Canada. This stone is also protruding about 3 feet out of the ground. As you can see, each stone points to a stellar scene beyond.
Standing stone at Heath
A Celtic Altar in Massachusetts?
After acknowledging the amount of stonework around the Altar, the feeling that this is hallowed ground is inevitable. This is an anthropologically sacred place where the stones have been placed in specific orientations. The meaning of the chosen stones, as well as their positions, is yet to be deciphered. It is obvious that this place is not the whimsical machinations of some bored colonial farmer, which would be totally out of context with colonial work ethic. Colonials did not waste the planting or harvesting seasons, not to mention the strength of their cattle or horses, moving megalithic size rocks around for pleasure. With that in mind, everything about this area says: “Celtic altar”. It is with this understanding that you finally approach the main Altar at Heath.
On the highest ground of the hill sits an 8-by-5-foot square granite slab, guarded at each corner by a massive standing stone.
The Altar at Heath
These stones that stand in the corners of the central slab look to weigh at least 2 tons each, if not more. They are notched into the ground like fitted posts, each standing at relatively the same height at 6 feet. There is definitely a type of intended symmetry to this scene. A smaller standing stone centers the entire scene like an emblem, creating a pinnacle just above the main square slab (image/below).
A short distance away, to the west, is another standing stone which is roughly the same size as the corner stones. It looks to be an entry point to the Altar, the final marker and warning to anyone approaching the central scene from just beyond.
The Altar at Heath
Many things could have taken place on this altar. It is the focal point of all the various stones surrounding the hill. Perhaps sleeping here was beneficial in certain ways, or burning a fire for cooking and general warmth with a full vantage on the hill. This would be a perfect place to center an existence, with all the harnessed subtle energies culminating here. The view from the central granite table is incredible. (Image below)
Celtic and northeast-American landscapes have an incredible similarity in scale and style. It makes complete sense that a Celtic altar was built on the hill at Heath, when the hill itself is so similar to native Celtic hills in places like Kinnitty, Ireland. The rolling hills beyond are of the same height and scale. It becomes impossible to ignore the Celtic aspects of New England, and how attractive a place like Heath must have been to a megalithic culture. The megaliths, the landscapes, the enduring similarity and beauty of both Irish and New England ancient sites continues to compel us towards understanding what this similarity means. Is it one Celtic megalithic culture producing stone-works in several different places? It certainly looks that way.
The Heath Altar Stones remains one of the most beautiful and blatant anthropological connections to the Celtic world that New England has to offer, but it is only a fraction of the overall picture emerging. There is an incredible megalithic culture within the forests and mountains of northeastern America just waiting to be understood, and many New Englanders are excited to continue this research!