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Winter Solstice on Frank's Hill
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Frank Shadewald has made the vernal and autumnal equinoxes and the summer and winter solstices special events in the lower Wisconsin River valley.  Shadewald formerly owned a farm on the river in Richland County west of Muscoda that contained a group of mounds.  The farm was sold to the Ho-Chunk Nation and became part of three farms that comprised the now defunct, or on hiatus, bison ranch.  Frank then purchased a nearby property that contains another very special group of effigy mounds and calendar mounds.  The site is known as Frank’s Hill and is on the National Register of Historic Places.  There appears to be clear alignments between the mounds and celestial happenings, including the solstice and equinox events.  For photos of the intriguing mounds go to www.clli.org.

 

On Sunday, December 19th, a hearty group of mound and astronomy enthusiasts gathered atop Frank’s Hill to watch the sunset, tell stories around the campfire and to observe the night sky.  Frank was on hand to relate the tale of his acquisition of the parcel and the many fascinating things he has learned about this sacred site.  John Heasley, an official Solar System Ambassador and a man very generous with his time, brought his telescope and shared his knowledge of the night sky.  I was able to provide some information on the effigy mound building culture.  Ritchie Brown, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation and a longtime member of the Riverway Board, discussed the significance of the mounds to the Ho-Chunk people.  Despite the cold temperatures, everyone had a wonderful time. 

 

As the final embers of the twin fires flickered under the brilliant moonlit sky, it was time to head down the hill for warm environs of home.  Another great day in the valley.

 


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Last Modified:  2/15/2011 9:32:30 AM
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