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A Hike at Gungywamp, Groton, Connecticut

Updated on March 15, 2017
LiteraryMind profile image

I like to get outdoors and walk, aka hike, especially if it's a natural beautiful surrounding. I enjoy sharing my favorite spots with others

Stone Structure at Gungywamp
Stone Structure at Gungywamp | Source

Gungywamp: Ruins? Or What Is It?

Gungywamp is a most unusual Connecticut attraction. It's a collection of strange unexplained stone structures and walls, of which little is known. When you ask the people who are the most knowledgeable about Gungywamp questions, often their answer is "we just don't know".

On September 22, 2012 we took a guided tour of the Gungywamp site. This was my second tour, the previous one being about 10 years ago.

So, come with me, will I take you on a pictorial mini-tour of Gungywamp and tell you what I know.

Path Through Gungywamp

Path Through Gungywamp (left of photo)
Path Through Gungywamp (left of photo) | Source

How to take a Gungywamp Tour

Gungywamp is located in Groton, Connecticut.

In the above photo, you see what a typical part of the trail looks like at Gungywamp. Most of it is in the shade. Some of it is on an incline -- and decline. Some of it is rocky and some has a lot of fallen logs left over from two storms this year.

The walk is about 1-1/2 miles. It took about 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Be prepared. Our tour guide brought a walking stick, which was a very good idea.

There are no facilities.

What does Gungywamp mean?

" We just don't know."

Sounds Native American but has no translation.

Dugout Site

Dugout-Site-Gungywamp
Dugout-Site-Gungywamp | Source

This is called the "Dugout Site" as members of the Gungywamp Society discovered and uncovered, or "dug it out". It has three sides (two of which are shown).

Perhaps there was a roof over these stones or other log construction. This is believed to be from Colonial times.

Remains of Another Colonial Home—Site 7

Colonial house foundation, Gungywamp
Colonial house foundation, Gungywamp | Source

Many of the sites are numbered for reference. Site 7 is believed to be what remains of a colonial period home.

(The log across it has no relationship. It is the result of a recent storm).

Cursing Stones—Site 10

Cursing Stone, Gungywamp
Cursing Stone, Gungywamp | Source

Speculations on this is that it could be a native American war memorial.

Or, the native Americans also had a custom of put a stone in place before battle and removing it when the returned from battle.

The other possibility and the reason it is named the cursing stone, is based on a tradition in other parts of the world. When a person is angry at another they take a stone and place it as a curse against the other person . This, instead, of having an altercation with the person.

Row of Standing Stones—Site 8

Row of standing stones, Gungywamp
Row of standing stones, Gungywamp | Source

These were here before the colonial period

This is the South Row and points toward true North.

There are stones similarly arranged in the British Isles.

The mystery?

Although some of the structures are from the colonial period, many of the stone structures were already there in 1654.

The Native American Pequot tribe in the area did not construct stone structures.

What Do You Know About Gungywamp?

Four sided enclosure, Gungywamp
Four sided enclosure, Gungywamp | Source

Shown in the picture above is a four sided stone fence. Was it some sort of animal pen?

You can see some lose stones all around, which were probably on top of the wall, making the wall higher.

Have you ever visited Gungywamp?

See results
Tomb-Gungywamp
Tomb-Gungywamp | Source

The Tomb—Site 2

Site 2 pre-dates the Colonial Era. It's named "The Tomb", but there is no evidence it was used as a tomb or burial chamber.

This appeared to be just a dirt mound until the 1950s when it was discovered that under the dirt there is a chamber constructed of stone slabs. The entrance was closed (sealed) with another slab, which when removed revealed the inside.

Hunting Blind? Lookout Post?

Stone structures, Gungywamp
Stone structures, Gungywamp | Source

These pre-date the colonial era settlements in Connecticut. Both of these structures were similarly built. A wall was built up against a large rock.

The one on the left has fallen apart a little; the one on the right is a little more in place.

Someone went to a lot of trouble to lift these heavy stones and build these walls, so what was their purpose?

The Large Chamber—Site 1—Pre-Dates the Colonial Era

Click thumbnail to view full-size
This rock structure is under a mound of dirt. If you look to the right of the entrance you can see another little side chamber.Another view of the main entrance.Once inside the chamber, you can see an opening in back. Twice a year, during the Equinox sunset,the light comes through this opening and through a tube illuminates the side chamber. This type of construction has been seen in ancient structures in EuThis is a view of the opening on from the outside of the chamber. "The Greater Gungywamp" book, referenced at the end of this article, further explains and diagrams the Equinox light reflection.
This rock structure is under a mound of dirt. If you look to the right of the entrance you can see another little side chamber.
This rock structure is under a mound of dirt. If you look to the right of the entrance you can see another little side chamber. | Source
Another view of the main entrance.
Another view of the main entrance. | Source
Once inside the chamber, you can see an opening in back. Twice a year, during the Equinox sunset,the light comes through this opening and through a tube illuminates the side chamber. This type of construction has been seen in ancient structures in Eu
Once inside the chamber, you can see an opening in back. Twice a year, during the Equinox sunset,the light comes through this opening and through a tube illuminates the side chamber. This type of construction has been seen in ancient structures in Eu | Source
This is a view of the opening on from the outside of the chamber. "The Greater Gungywamp" book, referenced at the end of this article, further explains and diagrams the Equinox light reflection.
This is a view of the opening on from the outside of the chamber. "The Greater Gungywamp" book, referenced at the end of this article, further explains and diagrams the Equinox light reflection. | Source

The Double Circle of Stones—Site 5—Pre-Dates the Colonial Era

Double Circle of Stones, Gungywamp
Double Circle of Stones, Gungywamp | Source

There is speculation on how this circle within a circle was used. But nothing definitive decided.

There has been nothing found that can help date the circle or its use. The charred remains, you see, are from modern day trespassers who have built fires.

An Interesting Object

Gall-Gungywump
Gall-Gungywump | Source

There were quite a few of these scattered around Gungywamp.

I will give you the answer at the end of the article.

What do you think this is?

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Gungywamp and Other Stone Sites on YouTube

Did you check out Skara Brae?

What do you think? Do you see similarities between Skara Brae and Gungywamp?

See results
A markerLocation of Gungywamp -
1 West Gungywamp Road, Groton, Connecticut
get directions

For in-depth reading on Gungywamp, there is a book, The Greater Gundywamp (Twentieth Anniversary Edition) authored by David P. Barron and Sharon Mason, with a supplement by Vance Tiede—members of the Gungywamp Society.

It is available for checkout at the Groton Public Library under catalog number "974.65 BAR."

Answer to poll question:

It's an oak gall, created when a gall wasp lays its eggs in a developing leaf bud on an oak tree

© 2012 Ellen Gregory

Please Comment: Does Gungywamp Sound Interesting to You?

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    • KarenHC profile image

      Karen 4 years ago from U.S.

      Gungywamp sounds like a fascinating place to visit, with some great history behind it. When I first saw the title, I was guessing that this was a place in Australia and certainly not in the U.S.

    • laughingapple profile image

      laughingapple 4 years ago

      Really interesting site. I had not heard about it before. Also great photos for those who cannot visit in person.

    • aviwolfson profile image

      Avi Wolfson 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Very interesting indeed!

    • Deadicated LM profile image

      Deadicated LM 4 years ago

      Indeed, I never heard of this site; thanks for sharing, you learn something new on Squidoo everyday.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I like visiting places such as these. They feed my imagination.

    • CruiseReady profile image

      CruiseReady 4 years ago from East Central Florida

      Wow - I sure would like to visit there. So intriguing! I's like to see what it feels like to be there ...

    • spids1 profile image

      spids1 4 years ago

      great lens love this!

    • profile image

      Thamisgith 4 years ago

      Fascinating subject. I take it that they didn't find any artefacts or items which would have allowed them to date the site more accurately?

    • LiteraryMind profile image
      Author

      Ellen Gregory 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @Thamisgith: The guide indicated there were stories about objects being found and taken some place for analysis, but no one seems to know what happened to them. Also, there are rumors of objects being found there, before there was any analysis considered -- some things found in colonial times.

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 4 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      I would love to visit sites like this and do some meditations there - to get insights on the origins of structures. It is on my list of places to visit.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      This sounds like a very interesting place to visit. I love places that have a mystery to them. Blessed!

    • profile image

      MarcellaCarlton 4 years ago

      Oh Yeah! This is very interesting. I would love to visit.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 4 years ago from Canada

      Wow but I am very impressed by Gungywamp. I stopped by to wish you a happy Halloween but you really did give me a Halloween adventure to ponder.

    • KamalaEmbroidery profile image

      KamalaEmbroidery 4 years ago

      Fascinating. I had no idea there were such structures there.

    • profile image

      katiesnow 3 years ago

      very cool indeed!

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 3 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      This looks like a great place to catch some lovely nature photographs and get exercise while trying to solve a mystery (or make up a story).

    • profile image

      angelatvs 3 years ago

      I can't wait to visit!

    • profile image

      Gungywamper 7 months ago

      To the readers of this article...please note. The dirt road mentioned on this sight is a private road. It is not open to the public and trespassers will be prosecuted. To the author....please remove your directions to this site...they are in accurate and you are directing people to trespass on private property. This is not a public tourist attraction. Thank you.

    • LiteraryMind profile image
      Author

      Ellen Gregory 5 months ago from Connecticut, USA

      In response to Gungywamper's comment I have deleted directions so nothing will be misconstrued. However, I believe I make myself clear in the article that it is private property and reservations to tour need to be made through Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center

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