Notes on the Shaw Butte Hilltop

Archaeological Site


On a barren hilltop in the Phoenix Mountains of Arizona, ancient Hohokam built a monument to their gods, the seasons and their own intelligence. The stone walled oval with its mysterious petroglyphs and purposeful architecture is but a hint of the of the intelligence of these people. Hidden within the nearby rocks is a shelter built of stone. These stones, the sun and probably the moon, act as a calendar marking the seasons as beams of light move to and fro across the stone and dirt floor.

The construction of the shelter allows light to shine into it from various holes left in the roof. The light patterns undergo changes throughout the year. Light spots appear and disappear, wax and wane, as the year progresses from summer through winter solstice and back again to summer. The cycles of appearance, and change, seem to occur in multiples of 28 days with some full cycles lasting 56 days.

Click on the opening notebook picture to your right to start your discovery process. In the notebook, the left hand column is an index of the seasons. Clicking on a season will take you to an explanation of how the season was marked. Links within the text will show videos and pictures in the center. 

This study is run on a volunteer basis along with City of Phoenix Archaeologist, Todd Bostwick.

CLICK HERE for more information about the site. This was published in The Practical Observer Magazine in 1997 and was written by Todd and myself.


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