Summer Solstice Marker

Summer Solstice Marker (HM1AZC)

Location: Chambers, AZ 86502 Apache County
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Country: United States of America
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N 34° 58.471', W 109° 47.604'

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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 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.
Placed ByPetrified National Forest Services
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, October 12th, 2014 at 9:39pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)12S E 610141 N 3870881
Decimal Degrees34.97451667, -109.79340000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 34° 58.471', W 109° 47.604'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds34° 58' 28.26" N, 109° 47' 36.24" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)928
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 301-399 Petrified Forest Rd, Chambers AZ 86502, US
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