In 1872, so the story goes, workers digging a hole for a fence post near Lake Winnipesaukee in the central part of this New England state found a lump of clay that seemed out of place. There was something inside -- a dark, odd-looking, egg-shaped stone with a variety of carvings, including a face, teepee, ear of corn and starlike circles.
And there were many questions: Who made the stone and why? How old was it? How was it carved?
To date, no one has been able to say for sure, and the item has come to be known as the "Mystery Stone." Seneca Ladd, a local businessman who hired the workers, was credited with the discovery.
"I've seen a number of holes bored in stone with technology that you would associate with prehistoric North America," said Richard Boisvert, state archaeologist. "There's a certain amount of unevenness ... and this hole was extremely regular throughout."
Boisvert suggested the holes were drilled by power tools, perhaps from the 19th or 20th centuries. "What we did not see was variations that would be consistent with something that was several hundred years old," he said.
The analysis, which included comments from geologist Eugene Boudette, concluded that the stone is a type of quartzite, derived from sandstone, or mylonite, a fine-grained, laminated rock formed by the shifting of rock layers along faults. The rock type was not familiar to New Hampshire, but the state could not be ruled out as the source, Boudette said.
Boisvert said to his knowledge, the stone is unique. "That makes it very hard to figure out where it fits," he said. - cnn