The "Mystery Stone"

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One of the New Hampshire Historical Society’s most curious artifacts – the “Mystery Stone” – is on long-term display 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 Ladd, donated the "Mystery Stone" to the New Hampshire Historical Society in 1927. The Society does not know of any other reported findings of a stone like this in the United States.


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Founded in 1823, the New Hampshire Historical Society is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to saving, preserving, and sharing New Hampshire history. The Society serves thousands of children and adults each year through its museum, research library, educational programs, and award-winning publications.