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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Holbrook in Navajo County, Arizona — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

Summer Solstice Marker

 
 
Summer Solstice Marker Marker image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, September 2, 2013
1. Summer Solstice Marker Marker
Inscription. A solstice is an astronomical event that happens twice annually as the Sun reaches its highest or lowest point in the sky. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, June 20th is usually the longest day of the year and is referred to as the summer solstice.

These photographs illustrate how sunlight from the rising summer solstice Sun flows down the cleft in the boulder in front of you. The play of light and shadow on the spiral petroglyph changes as the Sun rises and moves across the sky. From between June 14th to the 28th a shaft of light forms, moving down the side of the adjacent boulder, until it touches the center of the spiral within a few minutes of 9:00 am. The full interaction of the solar marker takes about a hour, shown in each photograph below.

Why would the inhabitants of Puerco Pueblo want to mark the date of the solstice? Prehistoric peoples used solar calendars to plan their lives around the changing season. For agricultural people knowing when to plant crops or expect summer rains is vital for survival. Solstice days marked important points in the seasonal calendar and formed the cornerstones of annual ceremonial cycles. This importance persists in the ceremonial calendars of contemporary indigenous communities where the year is divided in two by the summer and winter solstices.

In Petrified Forest
Summer Solstice Marker Marker image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, September 2, 2013
2. Summer Solstice Marker Marker
National Park researchers have identified over a dozen calendric petroglyph sites and many more exist throughout the Southwest. These features demonstrate the importance of marking the passage of the changing season to prehistoric peoples and their descendants.
 
Erected by Petrified National Forest Services.
 
Location. 34° 58.471′ N, 109° 47.604′ W. Marker is in Holbrook, Arizona, in Navajo County. Marker can be reached from Petrified Forest Road, on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Holbrook AZ 86025, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A Canvas for Ideas (within shouting distance of this marker); Whispers from the Past (within shouting distance of this marker); Meaning of Place (within shouting distance of this marker); Life in the Village (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Village on the Rio Puerco (about 500 feet away); Santa Fe Railroad (about 700 feet away); Newspaper Rock (approx. 0.9 miles away); Newspaper Rock Petroglyphs Archeological District (approx. 0.9 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Holbrook.
 
Categories. Native AmericansNotable EventsNotable Places
 
Pathway to the Marker image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, September 2, 2013
3. Pathway to the Marker
Petroglyphs image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, September 2, 2013
4. Petroglyphs
Petroglyphs image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, September 2, 2013
5. Petroglyphs
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Denise Boose of Tehachapi, California. This page has been viewed 422 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Denise Boose of Tehachapi, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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