New Hamphshire Carved Stone Still a Mystery After a Century

Posted by Chris Parker
Jul 12 2006

One of the New Hampshire Historical Society’s most mysterious and requested artifacts – the “Mystery Stone” – is now on display in the exhibition New Hampshire Through Many Eyes at the Society’s museum

In 1872, construction workers dug up a suspicious lump of clay near the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee, and Seneca A. Ladd of Meredith discovered this intriguing carved stone within the clay casing.

Amateur and professional archaeologists have speculated about the “Mystery Stone’s” origin for over one hundred years.

At the time of discovery, the American Naturalist described it as “a remarkable Indian relic.” In the next decade sources claimed, “This stone has attracted the wonder of the scientific world, European savants having vainly tried to obtain it.”

Frances Ladd Coe of Center Harbor, the daughter of Seneca A. Ladd, donated the Mystery Stone to the New Hampshire Historical Society in 1927. The Society staff know of no other reported findings of a stone like this in the United States.

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