Stone Prayers -- Talk and Book Signing by Dr. Curtiss Hoffman

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Ashland Open Space and Recreation Commit
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Scattered throughout the woodlands and fields of the eastern seaboard of the United States and Canada are tens of thousands of stone monuments. These stone constructions have been the subject of debate among archaeologists and antiquarians for the past 75 years. Prominent among the competing hypotheses have been the allegations that all of these structures were built by colonial farmers removing rocks from their fields; or that they were built by pre-Columbian transatlantic voyagers; or that they are the result of natural deposition by glaciers or downslope erosion; or that they were constructed as sacred places by the indigenous peoples of the region. The latter hypothesis has gained significant attention over the past decade, as the result of strong and vocal support from the regional descendant indigenous communities for the preservation of these monuments, called by them "stone prayers," from encroachment and desecration by development interests. The purpose of this book is to provide quantitative support for the indigenous construction hypothesis, by providing a framework firmly and explicitly situated in the scientific method to test the 4 hypotheses above against a robust set of data—a total of 5,550 sites from the entire region.

Co-sponsored by Arcadia Publishing and the Ashland Open Space and Recreation Committee.

Dr. Curtiss Hoffman, an Ashland resident since 1978, holds a PhD from Yale University in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures (1974), and since 1973 has directed field operations at archaeological sites in southern New England. He is Emeritus Professor in the Dept. of Anthropology at Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, MA, where he has taught since 1978. He is past president of the Massachusetts Archaeological Society and recently served as the editor of its Bulletin. He has an abiding interest in cognitive anthropology: the study of the ways in which the members of cultures represent their world-view in the form of material culture.



Artists / Speakers: Dr. Curtiss Hoffman, Emeritus Professor, Dept. of Anthropology at Bridgewater State University, Bridgewater, MA

Category: Community | History

Street Address

State Park Rd
Ashland, MA 01721


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