These stone chambers can be found around Vermont and other Eastern states. Their construction varies, but many are built with megalithic masonry--huge interlocking slabs of granite or stone forming the roof, supported by arched stone walls. They are captivating structures and many of them now seem to stand alone in the forests of Vermont, creating many questions for those who stumble upon them.
A few of the most prevalent theories on Vermont's stone chambers include:
- Prehistoric European Cultural Sites: a theory based on similarities to other sites in Europe and on the now refuted work of retired Harvard University Professor Barry Fell from 1975.
- Native American Shrines: remains from larger Native ceremonial communities.
- Colonial Root Cellars: the most widely accepted theory is that stone chambers were built to protect crops from Vermont's long winters and support other agricultural needs from the 17th through 19th centuries.
An extensive study was undertaken between 1977-1979 with the findings published by the Vermont Historical Society. Links to the full report can be found below. Their report supported the theory that the structures were created for agricultural use and did not provide evidence of prehistoric or previously unknown Native settlements.