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14 May 2003
Origin of New England stone face carvings debated

The origin of five flat-backed stone faces with sunken eye sockets and gaping mouths found in Sturbridge and Southbridge, Massachusetts (USA), and weighing between 6 and 25 pounds is currently being debated by archaeologists and antiquary researchers throughout New England.
     Joseph Sinnott, retired state geologist for Massachusetts, is in current possession of the stones, having been given them over the past two years by individuals who either found them out in the wild or have had them in the family for decades. Even though the carvings appear to be centuries old, dating cannot be determined with certainty due to how they've oxidized. According to Sinnott, who wants to organize a dig this summer to look for more stone faces amidst the debris of a much older civilization that can be more easily carbon-dated, there is no evidence the carvings were made with metal tools.
     Ed Hood, an archaeologist and research historian at Old Sturbridge Village, disagrees. After examining the stones, Hood couldn't tell whether metal tools were used or whether the marks left by modern tools have been masked. Others have speculated that the stones were used for sacrificial rituals, their flat backs supposing a supine position so that the faces could stare at the stars while their mouths held burnt offerings. However, members of the Nipmuc, a Native American tribe that dwelled in central Massachusetts for thousands of years, have stated that the carvings match nothing their tribe has ever done.
     Even though Sinnott does not believe the faces to be a modern-day hoax, he is open to any other explanation as to their origin.

Source: Associated Press (10 May 2003)

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