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Native American Wells

Native wells serve as entrances into Mother Earth.  Found frequently in southern New England, they are closely related to the sipapus associated with Anasazi and Puebloan kivas.  While the sipapus of the Southwest are built into the floor of the kivas (which are analogous to the chambers and foundations of the Northeast), the Northeastern wells almost always are located external to the chamber or foundation.  Normally within 100 feet of the chamber/foundation, the well is generally on either a cardinal or solstice alignment from the chamber entrance or the nearest corner of the foundation.  Sometimes multiple wells are found, generally two. Mystery Hill in New Hampshire, for example, possess two wells in the southern part of the complex. Horizontal shafts have been noted which begin around 10 feet below the surface.  Northeastern wells can be 25 or more feet deep, and are almost always circular, around 2.5 feet in diameter. 

Below are three accounts of ancient Connecticut Native wells:

John W. Barber, Connecticut Historical Collections 1838 (p.78):

"At Bissell's ferry [in East Windsor], near the mouth of the Scantic river, is a well which is supposed to have been made before any English settlements were attempted in Connecticut. The lower part of the well is walled by stones hewn in a circular manner, and the manner in which they are laid together is believed to be entirely different from that in which any Englishman would lay them - there remains no traditions respecting the time, or the persons by whom this well was constructed."

F. M. Caulkins, History of New London, 1860; p. 69n:

"If conjecture be allowed, we should fix the site [of Rev. Blinman's house on Meeting House Hill on the north side of Granite St.] on the slope of the hill upon the northwest side, nearly opposite Richard Post's lot, where is yet remaining an ancient well on the street side."

F. Glynn, Excavation of the Pilot's Point Stone Heaps; Archaeological Society of Connecticut Bulletin 38; 1973; p.79:

"A well of colonial or later origin exists on the western slope of the Point.  This well is said to have been used by coastal schooners for taking on water.  Hurricanes "Carol" and "Edna" in 1955 washed out soil on the northern slope, disclosing a hitherto unknown well.  It's top is washed by average high tides.  It may be of Indian origin."  [Not only is it probable this well is Native, but the rise in sea level since its construction hints at a great age.]





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