Summer Solstice Sun Dagger at Hovenweep National Monument
Archaeo Astronomy in the American SouthWest.
June 28, 2015 – One week ago I was privileged to witness with my own eyes, up close, and with camera of course, the Summer Solstice Sun Dagger at Hovenweep National Monument. The Sun Dagger is a play of light and shadow that the Ancestral Puebloan or Anasazi people created circa 750 years ago in the Four Corner Region of the American Southwest on the border of Colorado and Utah.
The Petroglyph panel on which this Calendar is located is at the Holly Site at the canyon floor on a boulder and features 3 concentric circles or solstice markers. The play of 2 points of light crossing the solstice markers and meeting in the middle is created by a fragment of rock which had calved off the larger boulder. I needed to apply for a special use permit just to access the site which can be seen from the canyon wall but from a fair distance.
Understanding the Solstices and Equinoxes can be helpful in knowing when to plant and also for ceremonial planning.
At this particular site it is believed that the Ancestral Puebloan people probably observed this play of light and then etched the solstice markers on the panel. There is no evidence that any rocks were moved.