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America's Stonehenge

America's Stonehenge, once known as Mystery Hill, is the site of a number of large rockss and stone formations scattered around roughly 30 acres in the town of Salem, New Hampshire, in the northeast United States.

The site has become a popular tourist attraction, with appeal to believers in New Age systems. Some say the site could be an astronomical observatory built by some unknown, pre-Columbian civilization. They point to the fact some stones are encased in trees that sprouted before the arrival of the first colonists, and to similarities between the ruins and Phoenician architecture.

On the other hand, artifacts found on the site lead many mainstream archaeologists to think that the stones were assembled for various reasons by farmers in the 18th and 19th centuries. For example, a much-discussed "sacrifical stone," which contains grooves that some say channeled blood, looks very much like "lye-leaching stones" found on many old farms. As the name implies, these stones were used to leach lye from wood ashes, the first step in the manufacture of soap.

The site's history is muddled partly because of William Goodwin, an insurance agent who bought the area in 1936 and became convinced that Mystery Hill was proof that Irish monks lived here long before Christopher Columbus. He moved a lot of the stones around to support his idea, and the current owners, The America's Stonehenge Foundation, say his efforts are "one of the reasons the enigma of Mystery Hill is so deep".