The Real Stone Chambers of Vermont

After I posted The Stone Chamber some time back, a friend of mine who’s a real life archaeologist loaned me a copy of Vermont’s stone chambers: an inquiry into their past, by Giovanna Neudorfer. This is a scholarly work from 1980 that did practical research and field work on some of the stone chambers still existing around Vermont. It was a quick read, but also dense, given the amount of information Neudorfer collected in her study.

Unsurprisingly, her research pointed to practical, historical origins for the chambers, typically after the arrival of Europeans in the area. Used for storage, distilling and other conventional purposes, the stone chambers are part of the historical record, not artifacts from a bygone, unrecorded civilization.

In role-playing games, we make up the things we do because it’s fun to make believe, quite frankly. Role-playing is a highly escapist pastime. I think it’s a fair estimation that most participants in the hobby do so to vicariously live out the thrill of smiting foes, exploring strange worlds and otherwise getting out of their real lives for a few hours in a positive, socially-centered way.

The distinction is it’s made up and we know it. The willful invention of pseudo-history in the fact of contradictory facts — which is distinct from those topics when there is a genuine lack of knowledge about a historical event or era — is a significantly different and problematic issue.

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