Versions of this article have been published in Dowsing Today, the journal of the British Society of Dowsers; and The American Dowser, the journal of the American Society of Dowsers.
The ‘Beehive Hut’ in Danville, New Hampshire is one of around 500 mysterious stone structures in New England, whose provenance and purpose is unknown. Usually they are square or rectangular in shape, with stone-slabbed roofs and soil floors, but other formations are known, including megalithic constructions such as the stone rows near Jefferson NH, or the strange jumble of structures and aligned stones now called ‘America’s Stonehenge’ near Salem NH.
This particular example is located just off the spur of Hersey Road in Danville, beside the town’s maintenance depot. On the corner of the road is a forest track and a small sign for the Beehive Hut. It is possible to drive a little way down the track if you have a four-wheel drive vehicle, otherwise there is room to park at the side of the road. The trail has been recently marked by the local Scout troop, but in any case there is a fairly clear path to follow that leads to the chamber. There is the suggestion of a wall that appears to be very old to the right of the path, and a higher bluff with large rocks on the left. The path swings round to the north around this bluff, rising up a short hill to a levelled platform area, and the “hut” is set into the hillside in front of you, with a low doorway opening into a rectangular chamber covered by an earthen mound (Fig. 1).
Some academics have claimed that these chambers were built by early colonists as ‘root cellars’ yet they are ill-suited to that task as the floors are soil, which is hardly conducive to dry storage, and there are no signs of any fixings for a door, surely an essential requirement to protect any goods inside the chamber. There is also some documentary evidence from early colonists saying that the chambers were there when they arrived, and some have been found with very old trees growing out of their walls, suggesting that the chamber must be older than the tree. Several have also been discovered on land that was never claimed by settlers, so the “colonists built them” theory doesn’t seem to hold water.
Another theory is that they were sweat lodges used by early Native Americans, but there is no evidence to show that any indigenous groups built stone sweat lodges, and anyway the inside of this chamber is too small for such use. It has also been suggested that they might be birthing chambers, but again there is no evidence to support this theory. So who did build these things, and why were they built? Maybe it was early Viking explorers? An earlier megalithic culture that we don’t know about? It’s a fascinating enigma.
The closest equivalent that we have in Britain is probably the souterrains of Scotland or fogous of Cornwall, but those tend to be larger and have curved layouts, often with side chambers or passages and roofed with large flat stone slabs. Although this particular example is roofed with two massive stone slabs, each over four feet square, it has little else in common with British souterrains. Some other New England chambers are round and have a corbelled roof construction that is superficially similar to the beehive cells constructed in Britain and Ireland by early Culdee monks; and some researchers sought to attribute the New England chambers to transatlantic voyages by these early Christians. This line of research has largely been discredited; although not, however, before many of the structures were erroneously labelled as ‘beehive’ cells, as is the case here.
More recent research by earth mystery researchers like Byron Dix and Sig Lonegren has shown that many of these chambers employ precise geometric ratios in their construction, and that they are aligned to significant calendrical solar events such as midwinter solstice; this one seems no exception. The chamber is about 8 feet long and a shade over 4 feet wide and high, with the entrance located in the upper right corner of the frontage. Over the years the floor filled with sediment deposits, however it has been excavated relatively recently and the floor is now thought to be close to the original level. This makes the chamber an approximate double cube in proportions. The entrance is two foot by three foot and (by my estimation) seems to be aligned to midwinter sunrise. It’s hard to be precise because of the tree cover, and I did not have accurate instrumentation with me. The structure is situated part-way up a hillside, with a near-level horizon across the valley that would allow the rising sun to enter the chamber. Inside the chamber there are an interesting couple of white quartz stones, one in the back wall and one in the south-west wall, which may mark the extremes of the sunrise positions between equinoxes and winter solstice. This would suggest that the chamber has a ‘dark half’ and a ‘light half’ of the year, possibly with different uses for each cycle (Fig. 2). As I’m not resident here I am unable to complete the long-term observations that this theory would require to confirm it so I must emphasise that for the moment this is only speculation. If there are any interested locals who are willing to make the required seasonal observations, I would love to hear your results!
Research by John Burke and Kaj Halberg demonstrated that many of these chambers are sited over negative magnetic anomalies where the geomagnetic field is lower than normal; and that the air inside the chambers carries an unusual electrostatic charge. Experiments with germinating seeds inside the chambers showed dramatically enhanced growth compared to ‘control’ groups. This research is one of the better explanations for these structures and is worthy of further exploration.
Dowsing suggests that the chamber is a well-developed power centre with two crossing energy leys and a central vortex with water veins running through the corners. I didn’t spend as much time as I would have liked at this as the local mosquitos were quite voracious in their appetite for Scottish flesh, but if you want to see a bit more about the site have a look at the video of my visit:
 Burke & Halberg, ‘Seed of Knowledge, Stone of Plenty’ (2010) Council Oak. ISBN 978-1-57178-184-0