By René White (Feather)
Remarkable discoveries are reported this week from the archeology team studying the 12,000 year old Spout-Run Paleoindian site found in Clarke County, VA in 2009. The Department of Historic Resources added the Paleo-site to the Virginia Landmarks Register as #44CK151 last year (Nov. 4, 2011). This week, just days before the Autumnal Equinox which occurs Saturday, Sept. 22, the team discovered a new solar alignment with a triangular rock formation.
On Wednesday (Sept 19), after the team took this year’s photos of the Equinox in alignment with concentric rings on the Paleoindian site, they visited a nearby triangular site, the land owner discovered last year. On an elevated partial nearby, the triangular rock configuration also aligns with the Equinox.
Wednesday, Sept. 19 photograph shows site owner Chris (Comeswithclouds) White standing on the two petroglyphs found Wednesday (Sept 19), as the equinox sun causes a halo effect over his head. Photo by René White (White Feather)
In 2011 during the Winter Solstice, land owner Chris (Comeswithclouds) White found a triangular shaped 12’- x 12’- x 12’-feet set of stones next to a small boulder set.
“The triangular shape has two lines of stones placed in the ground which form a V shape,” said White. “The open part of the V opens due East. On the west end of the V is a lead stone about 21” x 14” inches in diameter which has foot-type markings on it,” he added.
Lead Archaeologist Jack Hranicky confirmed the shapes as two incised petroglyph shapes carved into the lead stone: a foot shaped print approximately 9½” x 4” inches and a small foot shaped print approximately 7½” x 3½” inches, both attached together at the heel.
White used chalk to outline the shapes which face away from the Equinox sun rise.
“It appears the incising is the shape of two foot prints. When stood on, during the Equinox, the sun causes a halo effect over the person standing on the prints,” confirms Hranicky. “This is a new major feature,” he added.
The triangle of stones is in 105 degree alignment with the Autumnal Equinox as it crosses over the Blue Ridge Mountain, he added.
In 2010, Hranicky suggested the Virginia’s Spout Run Site as among the oldest above-ground Paleoindian ceremonial sites in North America. He describes these first people living approximately 12,000 years ago as, “Virginia’s first Engineers.”
What’s Next for the Site?
Jack Hranicky and Chris (Comeswithclouds) White analyzing the foot-type markings on the triangular shape days before the fall 2012 Equinox.
The University of Washington State has agreed to use the Thermoluminescence (TL) method to help date heat-treated jasper found during the 2011 excavation. The TL technique has a range of 1,000 to 500,000 years, according to the U.S. Geological Survey web site. The team is also in the process of registering the Spout Run Site as a state-recognized prehistoric site with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and as a National Historic Landmark with the U.S. Department of Interior.
White said he is continuing plans to preserve the site for future generations and welcomes partners who wish to do the same. The team has been studying the PaleoIndian site for three years now.
On Sept. 22, during the Autumnal Equinox, the sun will be perpendicular (directly above) the equator. Viewers along the east coast will see the sun rise at a 90 degree in direct line-of-site to the east. In comparison, the site does not have direct line-of-site to the east coast because of the mountain so the sun has to rise higher and at an approximate 105 degree angle as it makes its way over the mountain to be seen at the Paleo-site here.
The Equinox is a precise moment in time which is common to all observers on Earth. Twice a year, in September and March, day and night become equal. There are only two Equinoxes only two days during the year, in September and March. The length of the day and night are approximately 12 hours a part, giving 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness at all points on the earth’s surface. The word Equinox comes from the Latin language “equi” meaning “equal” and “nox” meaning “night,” thus “equal nights.”
Most people recognize the September Equinox as the beginning of fall or autumn in the Northern Hemisphere and spring in the Southern Hemisphere. Others believe the Fall Equinox marks the mid-point between Autumn (which begins in August and ends in October). Seasons are opposite on either side of the equator during the Equinox. Many cultures and religions celebrate holidays or observe festivals around the September Equinox.
The triangular lead stone with foot-type markings outlined in chalk.
The Fall Equinox day of transition shows up on Mayan, Judaism, Buddhist, Druid, ancient Irish, Native American Indian calendars and more. René White (White Feather) is a resident of Clarke County, Bluemont, Virginia and owns the property described above.
By René White (White Feather) is a resident of Clarke County, Virginia and owns the property described in this story