Winter Solstice 2018 . . . Indigenous towns that were solar calendars
How the Southeastern Indigenous Calendar has changed through the centuries
Because from a very early date, the indigenous peoples of the Southeastern United States oriented their shrines and then their towns to objects in the heavens, we can usually tell what time in the year marked the renewal of their solar calendar. For example, about 150 yards west of my house is an ancient mountaintop worship site, very similar in size and shape to the “Old Stone Fort” in Manchester, TN. It and the Tennessee shrine are oriented to the Winter Solstice Sunset. On the other hand, the ceremonial gate of the mountaintop shrine at Fort Mountain, GA is oriented due south. The calendar of its builders began on the Summer Solstice. We will now take a journey back in time to chart the changes to shrine and town plans, plus approximately when they occurred.
It is hard to believe, but today marks the sixth anniversary of the premier of America Unearthed on the History Channel. Attached to my annual Christmas Epistle, I wrote a note to Scott Wolters that I wish we could redo the show somehow. I know so much more now than then. I now realize that some of the most famous Native American sites in the Southeast were occupied over and over again by different peoples. In fact, this is what the Wata-re chief near present day Franklin, NC told William Bartram in 1776. Who would have thought that all but two of the petroglyphs on the boulders at Track Rock Gap are identical to those on the boulders at Nyköping, Sweden . . . which have been dated to 2000 BC! Yes, it is clear that humans on both sides of the Atlantic at a very early date were aware of the solar azimuth and movement of the moon, stars and planets across the sky.
Formerly, there were many stone circles . . . essentially stonehenges . . . on the mountains in Metro Atlanta and then northward to Track Rock Gap. Two of the few that remain intact are on a hill top near the base of Kennesaw Mountain and on top of Alec Mountain, very close to where I live. Although appearing to be extremely ancient, the Alec Mountain Stone Circle expresses sophisticated astronomical skills. An oval shape allows for more precise calculation of the date from the solar azimuth. There were also breaks in the stone circle, which marked true south and the azimuth of the Winter Solstice Sunset. It is highly likely then that the earliest calendar utilized in this section of the Southern Appalachian Mountains recycled on the Winter Solstice.
Around 400 BC, settlements were founded in the Teotihuacan Valley in Central Mexico and at the Mandeville Town Site on the Lower Chattahoochee River in Georgia. The city plans of both were tilted about 15 1/2 degrees. The plans contain a central avenue, a pyramid of the sun and a pyramid of the moon. Mandeville is a mirror image of Teotihuacan. The elite of both sites abandoned the location around 600 AD and both sites were fully abandoned around 750 AD.
Astro-archaeologists are still puzzled by Teotihuacan. Its city plan seems to be related to the paths traveled through the sky of the Pleiades Constellation, moon and sun. However, this angle may actually be a perpendicular line to the azimuth of the Spring Equinox Sunrise. If so, the Spring Equinox was probably the time when their calendar recycled.
Soon after the Mandeville site was abandoned, Patauli, the Singer-Moye town site, was founded about 35 miles north of Mandeville, which also had the 15 1/2 degree angle. It was a much larger town, but also contained a cluster of mounds, which replicated the Pleiades.
Today is the sixth anniversary of the premier of America Unearthed
I had just moved into a dilapidated rental cabin that was partially burned. I was horrified that the History Channel was filming there . . . especially when five vans and an SUV showed up with a million dollars of filming equipment. The locale made it easy for Caucasian archaeologists in Georgia to paint me as an ignorant hick, when I actually had 8 years of college, a fellowship in Mexico and two professional certifications. The weird sound that you hear in the background is a 16 inch long lizard in my garden that is only supposed to live in southern Mexico and Central America. It is only found in Georgia within the region where several Itza Maya terrace complexes were constructed about a thousand years ago.
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