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1 October 2004
Massachusetts mystery heads: history or hoax?

The discovery of several carved stone heads along Central Massachusetts (USA) riverbanks has many people, including an archaeologist from Worcester, wondering if they are truly ancient artifacts or simply a hoax.
     "Nine years ago, when the first one showed up, most people thought it was a hoax," said Alan F. Smith, a Worcester archaeologist. "But since, then a lot more have turned up. We've heard about a lot of them." Smith provided a dozen photographs of the carved stones, but does not have any of the artifacts in his possession. Recently, he said, he has come to believe that the stones are American Indian, and may have had a ceremonial use.
     But local tribal leaders indicate that their oral histories never mention such artifacts. Iroquois Indians in western New York made similar carvings, and traveled into Western Massachusetts, Smith said.
      Most examples found in the Sturbridge, Southbridge, and Dudley area appear to have been made by the same person - or at least members of the same group, Smith said. But the one example found in Brimfield is different, and Smith speculates that it may have been carried here and left behind. The heads weigh from two to 65 pounds, Smith said.
     There are no signs that metal tools were used to create the stone heads, and the examples found here have not been suitable for carbon dating. But others, including one from Pennsylvania, were concluded to date from 2180 BCE to 1960 BCE.
     Smith said he is hopeful that someone will find another stone head and call him before he or she removes it. "I'd like to see it where it's found," he said. "I'd like to get a soil sample, look for evidence of a campfire. If anyone finds one, they should call and not remove it."
     As for the question, history or hoax? Smith said it has yet to be answered. "Whether they're real or not?" he said. "You can make up your own mind."

Source: The Republican (26 September 2004)

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