Top 10 Archaeological Mysteries of the United States

A CENTURIES-OLD STONE WALL, STRETCHING for miles; enormous pictures scratched into the ground of a desert; rocks arranged in a circle. You know what these landmarks are, right?

Guess again. Instead of the Great Wall of China or Stonehenge, these are all ancient American ruins and landmarks. The United States is a relative newcomer to the world stage, but there have been people long living on this continent, and they’ve left traces of their presence just as mysterious as those found in other countries.

1. Mystery Hill: America’s Stonehenge

SALEM, NEW HAMPSHIRE

America's Stonehenge.
America’s Stonehenge. NIKISUBLIME/CC BY 2.0

Although locals sometimes call this “America’s Stonehenge,” Mystery Hill bears little resemblance to the English megalith. Instead, it’s a complex of stone structures and artificial caves, most likely only as old as the 17th century. However, exact dating may never be possible, as the ruins suffered from tampering at the hands of a 1930s landowner who was convinced the structures were the remains of a 7th-century Irish monastic colony. So convinced, in fact, that if parts of the site didn’t match his theory, he’d “fix” them.

The site’s “mysterious” reputation has made it a popular tourist attraction for decades, and it’s even earned some pop culture fame—H.P. Lovecraft reportedly visited the site for inspiration, and The X-Files set one episode nearby.

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