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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A Stone Alignment in the Northern Great Basin with a (Probably) Coincidental Astronomical Orientation

  • Author(s): Raven, Christopher
  • et al.

I would apologize for the frankly agnostic tone of this paper did I not believe that the limitations of the data strongly support agnosticism and that a more assertive statement now would likely demand greater apology in the future. Since such figures are only beginning to be recorded adequately in the northern Great Basin, and since rumor has it (somewhat more confidently than the published literature) that the data bank will bulk fairly large, it seems enough to have brought this single example to attention. I urge strongly, however, that such figures discovered or reported in the future be examined for astronomical, geographic, or ethnographic referents, and that the coordinates and bearings of all possible alignments be recorded with as much metric precision as possible before the cows and the dune buggies and the attrition commanded by natural forces erase them. The history of petroglyph studies offers probably adequate proof that the data bank will never grow large enough for the facts to speak for themselves, but the much smaller data bank on large, complex stone alignments barely enables us at present to ask any questions that are at once both interesting and answerable.

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