Please note: Gungywamp is not open to the public. Anyone interested in touring the Gungywamp land and its sites should contact the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center, which is steward of the Gungywamp lands and its sites. The Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center gives tours by appointment with the permission of Gungywamp property owners. The Nature Center also leads two Equinox tours for the public in the spring and fall. To schedule a private tour, please call the Nature Center at 860-536-1216.
A Little Background
The Gungywamp in Groton, Connecticut, is a complex of stone structures. Much of it is like most any place in New England where colonists were using the available rocks to build house foundations, walls, barns and root cellars. There have been many interpretations of the structures based on their similarities to stone structures in other areas where they had well documented uses.
The archaeological excavations and document research indicate that the Gungywamp complex contains paleo and woodland Native American artifacts (stone implements and pottery shards) and colonial and Early American structures and artifacts. Earliest written primary source documentation indicates that Native Americans throughout Northeast America (and a good deal of the rest of North America) built usually seasonal structures from trees (saplings and bark) and other plants.
There is no primary source documentation, either from Native American eye-witnesses or from European eye-witnesses, that stone structures of any kind were built by Native Americans in Northeast America or existed prior to European settlement.
The Gungywamp, with all of its enigmas, is not a new discovery. As early as the mid-sixteen hundreds the strange array of stone walls and structures might have excited the interest of Colonial settlers. In a letter dated 30 November, 1654, John Pynchon wrote to his mentor, John Winthrop in New Haven. Following is a portion of that letter:
30 November 1654
Understanding you are now at Newhaven, & supposing there will be opportunity from Hartford for Conveyance thither, I make bold to scribble a few lines to you . . . Sir I heare a report of a stonewall and strong fort * in it, made all of Stone, which is newly discovered at or neere Pequet, (presently known as the Gungywamp Range), I should be glad to know the truth of it fro your selfe, here being many strange reports about it.
This letter was written nearly a year after the last American Indian fort had been discovered in the area. Those forts were composed of wooden stockade walls, not of stone. Today, we continue to be intrigued by the rambling stone walls, unusual stone chambers, inscriptions on rocks, standing stones, and peculiar stone bridges. We wonder just how vast a portion of the Town of Groton, Connecticut may once have held these and similar mysteries. Because modern development, age, undergrowth, and weathering have all combined to destroy or hide much evidence of past habitation, it is not realistic to suppose that we will ever know. And so it is with concern, as well as enthusiasm, that we endeavor to preserve this area called The Gungywamp.