Mica Tablet Site

Table of Contents
Introduction
Oral History
History
Artifacts
Dr. Nathaniel Miller

Introduction

The Mica Tablet site in Brookhaven is believed to be the area where the unique Mica Tablet was found. The area, being in the “Fire Place” region of Brookhaven, is a sacred spot of the Unkechaug people. South of where the tablet was found, whales were traditionally brought in and their blubber rendered to oil.

The tablet currently remains at the New York State Museum.

Oral History

Chief Harry Wallace of the Unkechaug describes the sacred significance of the area;

Fireplace Neck, the Whales used to be brought in there. The blubber was rendered to oil. That was the place. It was a sacred place, a lot of burials in that area. County Parks officials find many things walking around in that area. I tell him to rebury things found.  It’s a famous place. One of our sacred spots. There’s a photograph called Squassux Indians. You can walk down there, it goes all the way to the edge. That’s where the photo was taken.  There’s an area called Squassux, and the Chief was called Wessquasucks. I believe it means pot maker or basket maker. That’s where he had his home. 1

  1. Chief Harry Wallace, Oral History, 2017[]

History

1849

The New York State Museum in Albany, NY retain an acquisition note describing the tablet;

From Nathan Miller, M. D., member of Assembly from the county of Suffolk, 1849.

A Plate of Mica, turned up by the plow several years since, in the town of Brookhaven, at the depth of about two feet below the ground. On one side of this plate, are several engravings of geometrical and other figures.

Artifacts

The Mica Tablet is both unique in material and content.

The triangular-shaped tablet is approximately 7.75 inches long by 6.25 inches at its widest, and 2.5 inches at the narrow end. 1 The images are very difficult to make out, but there appears to be a serpentine or whale-like effigy (sometimes referred to as great horned-serpent 2) with several horns on its head in the center of the tablet. Around the edges, there appear to be images of whale tail fins. The image may be a variation of the horned serpent beings found in Iroquois, Cherokee, and Mississippian belief systems. 3

In New Jersey, a wood carving ca 1750 depicts a similar great horned serpent based on a Manitou or spirit carved on the doorway of a Lenape home.

lenape-manetto-indianorum Mica Tablet Site Jeremy Dennis On This Site
Manetto Indianorum wood etching. Photo source http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/circa-1750-a-manitou-or-spirit-carved-over-the-doorway-of-a-news-photo/51246183?esource=SEO_GIS_CDN_Redirect#circa-1750-a-manitou-or-spirit-carved-over-the-doorway-of-a-lenape-or-picture-id51246183

 

To Purchase a print of the Mica Stone, please click here! 

  1. Lisa Anderson, May 23rd, 1996, pers.com[]
  2. David Martine, Email Correspondence 2017[]
  3. Hudson 1976, pp. 145-46, String 1989[]
Mica Tablet

Dr. Nathaniel Miller

img_58c3641899426 Mica Tablet Site Jeremy Dennis On This Site
‘Doctor N. Miller’ found toward the center of Fire Place, where the Mica Tablet may have been found. 1858 Chace Map of Fire Pace (Brookhaven) and South Haven Hamlets

Dr. Nathaniel Miller (1784-1863) and his wife Sarah Haven (1791-1863) moved from East Hampton to Fire Place in about 1815. 1 The Fireplace residence he bought in 1813 was described as a farmstead. 2

 

 

  1.  http://brookhavensouthhaven.org/history/TourGuides[]
  2. http://brookhavensouthhaven.org/HamletPeople/tng/showmedia.php?mediaID=747&medialinkID=927[]