Hopewell Moon

On his blog Ahcuah, Bob Neinast has a great article about a lesser known astronomical alignment at the Newark Earthworks, which you can go see pretty much now without having to worry about getting run over by a golf cart. That’s because this alignment can be experienced at the Great Circle Earthworks.

I won’t bother trying to summarize Bob’s post. Just go read what he has to say about the Hopewell Moon! You’ll come away with a better understanding of the incredible sophistication of Hopewell astronomy.

I do take exception to Bob’s characterization of the Newark Earthworks as a “lunar observatory.” Just because you can use the site as a lunar observatory today doesn’t mean that’s what the Hopewell had in mind when they built it.

I think embedding the lunar (and solar) alignments into the architecture of the earthworks was a way to link them and the ceremonies that took place there to the rhythms of the cosmos. It is as if they built the earthworks to serve as a giant gear that meshed with the clockwork mechanisms of the heavens. Being linked in such a direct way with the Above World made the earthworks an especially sacred place.

I certainly understand how privileged Bob felt to be standing in Newark’s Great Circle witnessing it “doing part of what it was designed to do, over 2,000 years ago.”

I hope you get to share that experience — whether it’s at the Great Circle, the Octagon, or at one of the other monumental earthworks of the Hopewell.

Posted February 13, 2015
Topics: Archaeology

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