Although there are old stone walls in many places in the world, only in New England do they rise to the status of landforms, icons of a region linking natural history with human history. There once were probably more than 250,000 miles of stone walls in New England, more than the distance to the moon, requiring three billion man-hours to build. Geologist Robert Thorson (University of Connecticut) follows these walls from geologic history to modern times in his new book, Stone by Stone: The Magnificent History in New England's Stone Walls.
Thorson was the principal investigator of Earthwatch's Stone Walls of New England project in 1992, researching many of the concepts explored in Stone by Stone. His book explores the unusual set of geological and historical circumstances that led to the walls, from the buried litter of stones within glacial soils to the deforestation and agricultural economy that brought them to the surface. Stone by Stone is a rich history of the New England landscape and people from a sentient stone's point of view, and is rewarding reading for anyone interested in history, geology, or the New England landscape.
Stone by Stone: The Magnificent History in New England's Stone Walls. By Robert M. Thorson. Walker and Company, 2002.