Last night on the History Channel H2, America Unearthed went chamber hunting in Tionesta, PA. The rural Pennsylvania area is home of a mysterious stone bath chamber, possibly used for ritual bath ceremonies and may also serve as a marker for the Summer Solstice. Scott Wolter investigates to determine who might have built the structure? Was it Irish monks from the 6th Century. Led by St. Brendan the Navigator? The Knights Templar or 17th Century Freemasons, both of whom used ritual baths in the ceremonies? Or were the sites even older, built by Irish travelers from 3,200 B.C.? Is this chamber somehow connected to more than 800 other such sites scattered throughout America?
The Pennsylvania site was only recently discovered in 2012 by two hunters, Ryan Belcher and Chad Snyder. They send Scott an email with pictures attached of their discovery. Wolter meets with them in Tionesta, located about 80 miles north of Pittsburgh. The bad news is that the property owner refuses to allow Scott on his land. But Chad and Ryan do have permission to hunt there, so Scott gives them a tape measure and a Brunton Compass to survey the site. They provide Wolter with exact dimensions of the interior and bearings of the exterior. Scott is already thinking, based on the numbers, that the chamber might be illuminated on the Summer Solstice.
Scott contacts Cari Merryman and sends her all of the measurements so she can build a scale model of the bath chamber. Meanwhile, he goes to Groton, CT to visit a similar site known as Gungywamp. Steven Sora gives Wolter a tour of the site, which has several chambers and many stone markers, including a circular arrangement which might be an example of archeoastronomy. One chamber, known as the Calendar Chamber, is definitely designed to mark the Fall and Spring Equinoxes. Sora tells Scott that he believes that the Irish may be involved in the construction, as it is very similar to a megalithic site in Ireland at Newgrange. Perhaps St. Brendan the Navigator led a ship of 6th Century Irish monks to the New World? Many experts, however, date the site at Gungywamp to be much older, perhaps with some of the chambers and stones dating back to 2,700 B.C..
So Wolter flies to Ireland for more information. He meets with an expert on early sailing voyages, Tim Severin. Some 30 years ago, he built an exact replica of a leather boat used by St. Brendan and sailed it from Ireland to Newfoundland, Canada by way of Iceland and Greenland. So the voyage was possible using 6th Century technology. Next, Scott meets with Alan Butler at Newgrange and gets a tour of this ancient site, built around 3,200 B.C.. The structure is impressive and quite large, with the ′passage tomb′ or chamber being about 60 meters in diameter. Wolter notices some spiral carvings on stones which resemble similar ones he has seen in America. So is there a connection between the ancient Irish and prehistoric sites in the USA?
Scott Wolter returns home and tests the model of the ritual bath chamber from Tionesta, PA built by Cari Merryman. The scale model proves that on the Summer Solstice, the inner bath basin is illuminated by the Sun through a small opening on side of the chamber. Scott thinks it may indicate the concept of Dualism, which the Knights Templar and Freemasonry believe in. The sunlight beam is the male to the female opening of the chamber. Wolter informs Ryan and Chad that on the next Summer Solstice, that they should watch what happens in the bath chamber. While Scott Wolter of America Unearthed does not know who built the stone structure there, he still believes that there is some connection between it and the 800-plus other such sites scattered throughout the United States.