• Jasper Forest is magical in twilight, particularly the logs on stone pedestals

    Petrified Forest

    National Park Arizona

Summer Solstice Celebration at Petrified Forest

summer solstice marker

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Date: June 1, 2009
Contact: Hallie Larsen, 928-524-6228 x274
Contact: Rita Garcia, 928-524-6228 x273

Petrified Forest, AZ― Around the world, cultures have been fascinated with the passage of the seasons and movements of the sun and moon, creating such places as Stonehenge in the United Kingdom, Carnac Stones of France, and Uxmal in the Yucatan. For several thousand years the prehistoric people of the Southwest have made their own versions of these ancient calendars. Solar calendars are petroglyphs which interact with sunlight and shadow as the sun moves across the sky to mark the passage of the seasons. Solar calendars have been discovered throughout the Southwest marking the summer and winter solstice, and the equinoxes.

Activities for the Summer Solstice Celebration will include:

  • Rangers will be at Puerco Pueblo 8:30 am to 9:30 am June 14-28, to help visitors watch an ancient solar calendar—peaking about 9:00 am each morning.
  • A free publication about the solar marker will also be available upon request and online.
  • Exhibit featuring archaeo-astronomy, in particular Petrified Forest National Park’s petroglyphs, including online at http://www.nps.gov/pefo.
  • June 20th 1 pm: Ancient Calendars at the Holbrook Public Library: an introduction to the main event at the park—the peak of the Summer Solstice petroglyph interaction.

Puerco Pueblo is located on the main park road about the middle of the park 11 miles from the north entrance. A short paved trail leads through Puerco Pueblo to a boulder featuring a small spiral petroglyph that marks the summer solstice. During the sun’s morning trek, a shaft of light is projected onto the boulder and travels down the side to touch the center of the spiral about 9 am. Join us for this remarkable event!

For more information call (928) 524-6228 weekdays, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time; or write to the Superintendent, Petrified Forest National Park, P.O. Box 2217, Petrified Forest, AZ 86028; or e-mail the park Superintendent. Our website has more news and press releases: www.nps.gov/pefo/parknews/newsreleases.htm.

Did You Know?

closeup of colorful agatized petrified wood

Petrified wood at Petrified Forest National Park is almost solid quartz, weighing in at 168 pounds per cubic foot. It's so hard, you can only cut it with a diamond tipped saw! More...