© 1998 by James Q. Jacobs
A recent discovery in Sterling, Conn., an arrangement of petroglyphed boulders, may add to our understanding of the prehistoric peoples who lived in the area.
During 1996, I communicated with Professor David Wagner, who provided his articles (The Ekonk Hill Petroglyphs, Aug. 1995, and The Ekonk Hill Petroglyphs Update, Jan. 1996), a location map, and a map of the triangle of three large boulders. According to Mr. Wagner the three boulders form a triangle with sides measuring 190, 182 and 79 feet.
I calculated that the acute angle of the triangle equals 24.40 degrees.
From a USGS topographic map I determined the site's coordinates to be 71.8631° W. longitude at 48.3472° colatitude. Given the following:
level horizon lunar minor bearing (w/o refraction, etc.) [(23.43929 - 5.1454)° / (41.6528° cos)] = 24.484°.
I therefrom conclude that the Ekonk Hill is a site worthy of further study, especially so because the site combines rock art with possible place marks in the form of arranged boulders. At Ekonk Hill's latitude, the angle 24.484° insinuates lunar minor. To accurately assess this correspondence of 24.4° angles, an exactive survey measuring both boulder to boulder and petroglyph to petroglyph distances in three dimensional space is needed. Only the most precise possible measurements will allow equating the angle with epoch.
If the Ekonk boulders record the level horizon lunar minor angle, the angle might indicate the approximate date the boulders were placed and, possibly, changes in angle during an epoch of site use and inscription. One thousand years ago the lunar minor angle (w/o refraction, etc.) was 24.658°. Given a 190 feet hypotenuse the short triangle side changes only about six inches per 1000 years, if aligned to lunar position. Given the size of the boulders, only petroglyph to petroglyph measurements can provide such accuracy. At best a rough age estimate will be possible. This should illustrate the need for exact measure.
The three boulder configuration is either coincidence or the petroglyph field demonstrates evidence of knowledge of the local latitude's lunar rise-set geometry. If the petroglyphs producing the lunar minor angle are an intentional arrangement, then their iconography may be related to lunar minor. Their context may be relevant to their meaning.
Another discovery of relevance may be the latitude to longitude proportions at Ekonk Hill. Using the IAU accepted standard for the figure of the meridional ellipse (see Astronomy Formulas Page), I calculated the proportion of one degree latitude to one degree longitude for the Ekonk Hill latitude. The result is 69.0214 miles : 51.7602 miles (1.3333363 : 1 or 4.0000 : 3). This is a latitude specific property and both the proportions and numerics (of a 3 : 4 : 5 triangle) should be included in any considerations of the site and the petroglyphs. I consider this site feature to be significant. It might demonstrate an exactive knowledge of latitude and the correspondent spatial and mathematical properties of place. Perhaps this is the reason why the monument was placed at the latitude where it is. The latitude where the proportion is exactly 4 : 3 is 41.65263°, an almost nil margin of error.
The largest earthwork in North America, Monks Mound at Cahokia, is located at the latitude where tangent equals 0.80 with equal precision. In fact, if secular polar motion is used to date Monks Mound the results concur with radiocarbon measurements.
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