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Archeoastronomy Studies by Artist Janet Saad-Cook


A Solstice Sun Marking Phenomenon
at the Chaco Canyon, Wijiji 931 Site
by Janet Saad Cook, 1983


 

A Report to Chaco Canyon for the Wijiji, Site 931 File
©Janet Saad-Cook

 June 22, 1983

5:58 A.M., MDT, site visit begins

I was on the Wijiji site with astronomer Michael Zeilik to observe and to photograph sunrise activity as a possible Anasazi sun-watching station. Due to cloud cover, we could not accomplish this.

At 7:54 A.M., MDT, I observed a diagonal triangle of light touching the left point (viewer's left when facing sun symbol) of the painted white sun symbol on the site. I photographed what became a transit of light that moved from the lower left face of the sun symbol to the upper right of the same, passing onto the red painted and incised petroglyph that is adjacent (viewer's right when facing sun symbol) to the sun symbol. This transit of light on the sun symbol began at 7:54 A.M., MDT, and ended at 8:32 A.M., MDT. Highlights of the transit are as follows:

  1. A triangle of light begins the transit at the lower left of the sun symbol and moves in a diagonal fashion to the upper right, eventually touching the red arc of feathers that are part of the adjacent red painted and incised petroglyph.
  2. Soon after the transit begins, a shadow image appears in the shape of the left-pointed lower quadrant of the sun symbol, creating a three-dimensional effect. This shadow image is caused by the passage of light over the rock's uneven surface. What then is visible all at once is the sun symbol, the diagonal of light, and the shadow form.
  3. Shortly after the triangle of light touches the arc of feathers of the adjacent red petroglyph, the shape of light transforms into a long rectangle.
  4. At 8:32 A.M., MDT, the form of light is off the sun symbol and only touches the adjacent red petroglyph.

     
    This report was submitted to the Chaco Canyon Park Superintendent
    on JUne 25, 1983 by Janet Saad Cook



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