|23 October 2005
Native Americans mounds in Ohio hold history
Nearly 2,000 years ago, the inhabitants of what is now Newark (Ohio, USA) revered above all things, the moon - so much that they built an enormous, accurate and perhaps ceremonial moon clock. The clock's face, a 65-acre grassy plain, is surrounded by mounded earthen walls that form a unique and complex shape - a purposely imperfect octagon joined to a perfect circle. The shape's peculiar geometry, as several scientists rediscovered in the early 1980s, aligns with the northernmost and southernmost rising and settings of the moon's 18.6-year cycle.
Skeptical of their own theory, the same scientists used a computer to line up and test the moon's path. Neither they, nor their computers, have found a shape that aligns so perfectly as the Octagon Earthworks.
Excavations to learn more about the people who built these earthworks have provided archeologists with artifacts that lead them to believe large numbers of people made pilgrimages to ceremonies at the Newark sites. The largest gatherings are thought to have occurred when the moon rose at it's northernmost point on the horizon, for which the Octagon Earthworks' geometry has a special aligning axis and an observing platform mound.
As ancient people may have planned for this pilgrimage, modern Native Americans, astronomers and archeologists too have planned a day for the public to view one of several northern alignments last Saturday. "We are perhaps the first in generations to watch where (the Hopewell) would watch the moon rise where it was supposed to rise," said Ohio Historical Society archaeologist Dr. Bradley Lepper, of Newark. Along with a day of scheduled talks and planetarium explanations of the mounds at several Newark-area colleges, the public was invited to look through the mound axis at exactly 10:18 p.m. to watch as the clock once again strikes north.
Source: Chillicothe Gazette, Gannett News Service (19 October 2005)
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