he asked me if I knew anything about the
[in Concord and Carlisle, Massachusetts.] I
was involved with an orienteering group when I
from Montreal to Boston around 1970, and I had
set up a
course in Estabrook Woods. During the process of
up, I came across a log structure, hewn logs.
me if I could show him this log structure. It
1995 or `96. When we walked in the Estabrook
finally found the structure, it didn't look like
I had recalled. It was all knocked down and
On the way back he said, "Are are you interested
structures, unusual enigmatic structures?
There's one here
in the Estabrook Woods and I can show it to
followed a colonial wall along the base of
Integrated into the wall was an above-ground
some sort, without the roof. The walls were
entire feature was fascinating.
Then he told me that Mark Strohmeyer had written about
the chamber and gave a report to Harvard
owns the land. Steve said if I wanted to know
the chamber, I should write to Mark, which I did
when I got
home. I never met Mark. We only had a few long
conversations about the different things he
found. What I
recall from our conversations is that his voice
ing--very emotional--when talking about the
he had found. He said, "Read Manitou.
You've got to read
Manitou. Read it! After
you've finished it, call me back."
I bought the book, and after I read it, I called him back.
He said, "You've got to meet my high school
Werkheiser, who lives in Bethlehem,
knows a lot of sites." Fred owned a shoe store
So I met Fred around 1996, and he took me to
one of which was Scot Run in Pennsylvania.
was around the Delaware Water Gap. At one point
that summer at his store, he showed me
photographs of a
site in Berks County, which I called the Oley
Hills site. He
had been there many times and thought it was a
cent site. He showed me some photographs of the
there, and I thought, yeah, it looks interesting.
Early November--1996, I think it was--we drove
in his truck
to Oley Hills to the base of the hill. We went
up the back
way and he showed me these features after an ice
November. It's spectacular. There's a stone
mound with a
curved wall leading to it. When I saw it at that
time, with all
the ice covering it, I thought, "My God, it's an
The ice, of course, made it look more impressive
than it does
without it, but it's still an awesome site. I
thought, "I've got
to learn more about this site" (Figure 1).
I corresponded with just about everybody. I corresponded
with the state archaeologist, who at the time
saying that it looks industrial. Of course, they
pooh-poohing this idea that the Indians built
Then I invited other people, archaeologists, up
There was a conference in 2002 that Fred
focused on the Oley Hills site, where people
came up from
the Archeological Conservancy from Washington.
gave presentations. I gave a little talk at the
time. But still,
most people in authority discounted it as an
What did they think it was?
But what was it serving in the colonial context?
They didn't talk about that. The authorities were not
interested in the features at the Oley site
since they, the
archaeologists in Harrisburg, thought everything
nial. That was it. Case closed. Except for a
of archaeologists, such as the late Jim Peterson
University of Vermont, who had an open mind and
afraid of searching for the truth.
So that's where it began and ended.
Just a little more on that. Was there a farm or some colonial
Below the hilltop. There was nothing on the ridge itself.
very rocky. There was farming down in the valley
but not on the summit, the ridge top. I mean the
very, very thin, and it's really crummy. In
fact, the person
who first bought the farm, a Christian
Abentschon back in
the early 1750s, owned the land for ten years,
he disappeared. He left the area, never paid his
whole thing became a legal mess until the 1870s,
the people who owned the land around there
straighten it out. Christian Abentschon was
just tired of not making ends meet. Certainly he
farm the ridge. There was nothing to farm. The
just too poor there to farm. I think he just had
Abentschon left Pennsylvania and moved to North
to farm. He just moved away and abandoned his
Did you ever check to see what was down there in North
Well, that's for another lifetime. My lifetime, it's sort of
running out, you know.
Around 1997 or `98 I invited a state geologist to the site,
Figure 1. A curved wall and cairn at
the Oley Hills site in
Pennsylvania. Photo by Norman Muller,