Holbrook in Navajo County, Arizona — The American Mountains (Southwest)
Summer Solstice Marker
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
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. Touch 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). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Holbrook.
Categories. • Native Americans • Notable Events • Notable Places •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 29, 2013, by Denise Boose of Tehachapi, California. This page has been viewed 474 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on September 29, 2013, by Denise Boose of Tehachapi, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.