Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thursday's Children - Michigan's Stonehenge...?

I can't remember a time that I wasn't fascinated with rocks - the little ones I put in my pocket, the bigger ones in my garden and on most flat surfaces in my house and the huge monoliths that make up stone circles. It's largely accepted that many of the formations were used as elaborate calendar systems and/or burial grounds. But there is some evidence that some of them may have been used for navigational purposes.

While researching my WIP, I discovered that there's even a recently (well, 1988, so somewhat recent) discovery of a stone circle on Beaver Island (the largest island in Lake Michigan) that suggests that not only was this structure used by the native Ojibwa tribe, it also may have been used by the Celts.

In this pre-Columbian circle which is roughly 400 feet in diameter, there are carvings in many of the stones.  Most of them are eerily similar in nature to early druidic carvings found in rocks in Ireland and Great Britain. However, there are also other markings that indicate an agricultural calendar of sorts. And still more that appear to be solely navigational.

I think the most fascinating on is the relief map of Michigan and the five Great Lakes. The carving is even more evident when it rains and the "lakes" fill with water. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find a shot of that. But I'm stunned by the idea of someone carving such an accurate map without the benefit of an aerial view. 

There are some historians and archeologists that are suggesting that it's possible that some of the very early, nomadic Celts ended up here via the Atlantic Ocean and via the waterways of Canada and into the Great Lakes - with the result being a melded culture with the Ojibwa. It hasn't been proven, of course, and there may be other explanations for it, but the possibilities are totally inspiring me.

I'm hoping to get out to Beaver Island soon and see the circle for myself, but for now, I'm just gonna keep working on the book.

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  1. That is freaking AWESOME. I've been to several stone circles in Britain (including the "biggie") and they are truly magical, spiritual places. There's also one in New Hampshire. But I'd never heard of the Beaver Island one, or the theory of early Celtic explorers getting that far into the continental US. SO COOL.

  2. Awesome! I'd like to go see Beaver Island too. Let me know when you go.

  3. Wasn't aware of this at all, so loved hearing about it. Thanks!

  4. Isn't it amazing how something infinitely non-living can give so much life to your writing?

  5. Wow, that is fascinating! I'd love to find out more about this...I'm going to go do some research now lol : )

    1. me too! I can sit up all night dreaming about these worlds.

  6. I'm totally inspired by things like this. It seems to me that there is too much evidence to say that Europeans didn't come to North American early on. These kinds of things--and stone carving in general--have worked their way into my stories on many occasions.

  7. Oooohhhh-Amazing! I want to go too! Wow, and I can't wait to read what you come up with for your book. Cause truth, so often is stranger than fiction. This is the stuff that works its way into my fiction as well. <3 love it!

  8. Fan-Tastic. Stone circles are amazing, but the carvings on this one just blew me away. I hope you get to visit it soon! :)

  9. Very cool! I visited the "original" Stonehenge on the Salisbury Plains and it was magnificent. Awe-inspiring! There is so much mystery surrounding the stones — not only what their significance was, but how they were moved to that spot and why.

    I heard that they'd solved the mystery recently — that Stonehenge was primarily a burial ground and gathering place (NOT an observatory). But who knows.

    Looking forward to your "report" on Beaver Island!

  10. I love learning things like this. How fascinating to imagine what went before us. Thank you for sharing!

  11. So cool! I find this stuff fascinating! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Wow! Quite intriguing! Can't wait to hear more about your WiP. I love rocks too. When we lived in Hawaii I loved stumbling upon a tall stack along the beach or hiking trail left by the 'menehune' (

  13. That's fascinating, I had no idea. I've been to the real Stonehenge and actually attempted to make it out of some kind of sponge-like material for a seventh grade history project. Unfortunately it imploded pretty quickly. Guess they don't build them like they used to!