By Lillee Allee
You are driving down the road and see a huge rock supported by some smaller stones, and it is guaranteed to pique your interest. The North Salem dolmen or also known as The Balanced Rock is found in North Salem, New York State is on Route 121/116 south of Keeler Road, on the left. The barn next to the rock is a town building that has a small pull-off area out front.
Balanced Rock is what is known as a propped boulder. According to Nativestones.com, a propped boulder is a huge stone supported with one or more stones under them. The big stone, lifted by the smaller ones, shows a gap between the boulder and the soil. When lifted above the land, the structure is called a dolmen (Gaelic for table). The main boulder, that measures 16 x 14 x 10 feet, is a pink granite boulder balanced on five limestone (or marble) supports.
While no one questions its existence, there are theories and debates about what has caused or who has built this dolmen in the state of New York.
It is important to remember that some propped boulders were naturally created by glaciers during their recession at the end of the ice age. Others say that it was a construction by Native Americans as a worship site. Still others saw that it was constructed by Celts who had come to North America before Columbus. The Celts would have constructed the dolman for tombs, worship or ceremonial rituals. This Celtic theory also allows that the dolmen was built to honor a king, such as in Ireland,
The roadside informational sign adjacent to the boulder long maintained the stone was a glacial erratic. In recent years, the possibility of it being a Viking construction has also been added to this sign, despite the fact that there is no evidence of Vikings in New York.
It is up to the observer to make his own conclusions. If you visit the site, first look at the smaller stones. Natural creation would show evidence of the stones being tumbled with round edges. Check the measurements between the stones. Decide if these stones may have been purposely positioned by a human being. Rounded smaller stones cannot automatically be considered as natural, so look at the evidence.
In the larger boulder, many see pronounced striping that is visible in some photos. Some visitors even believe that there is evidence of old paint on the stone.
Judge for yourself. who or what set these stones up? Native Americans? Glaciers? Nordic visitors? Celts? Or, is there another possible answer?
Balanced Rock, North Salem, NY. Retrieved October 10, 2015 from http://www.adventuresaroundputnam.com/day-trips-outside-putnam/balanced-rocknorth-salem-ny/
The Balanced Rock, Town of North Salem. Retrieved October 10, 2015
North Salem Dolmen. Retrieved October 10, 2015 from http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=15600
Propped Boulders. Retrieved October 10, 2015 from http://www.nativestones.com/prop.htm
Sacred sites of Northeast USA: North Salem Dolman or Balanced Rock
(May 9, 2010). Retrieved October 10, 2015 from http://www.examiner.com/article/sacred-sites-of-northeast-usa-new-york-north-salem-dolmen-or-balanced-rock-north-salem-ny
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