Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Pinson Mounds in Tennessee -- Largest Middle Woodland Mound Complex in the USA -- Sauls Mound, Ozier Mound, Earthworks -- Mark the Stars of Cassiopeia as a Bird

This is one of our most significant decipherments because it is so clear and involves one of the largest mound complexes in America.

Pinson Mounds in Madison County, Tennessee, at Pinson Mounds State Archaeological Park near the Madison County seat Jackson, between Memphis and Nashville, is the largest Middle Woodland mound complex in the United States, with the second largest mound in the country (Sauls Mound).

We have deciphered the Pinson Mound Complex to mark the stars of Cassiopeia, an expected result given our previous identification of stars in Alabama below Tennessee as marking the stars of Perseus. Since Cassiopeia is above Perseus this identification was still work, but not exceedingly difficult, since the mounds look like Cassiopeia anyway, even though star identification can be touchy.

We append our decipherment image below, taking note that:
  • The Ozier Mound and quadrant of stars mark Epsilon Cassiopeia (Segin). The ramp to the northeast may mark the Galactic Equator (or) the position of the Celestial Meridian somewhat later than the date we give here.
  • Sauls Mound marks Gamma Cassiopeia, which in the modern era is a brighter star than the variable star Alpha Cassiopeia, Schedar, "the breast". Richard Hinckley Allen in Star Names writes that Gamma "was the first star discovered to contain bright lines in its spectrum -- and so is of much interest to astronomers. The spectrum is peculiarly variable, as also is its light."
  • the nearby star Delta Cassiopeia (Ruchbah) marks the tailfeathers, and as noted by Richard Hinckley Allen in Star Names "was utilized by Picard in France, in 1669, in determining latitudes during his measure of an arc of the meridian, -- the first use of the telescope for geodetic purposes".
  • The circular so-called "Geometric Earthwork" marks Beta Cassiopeia and neighboring stars, whose circular form marks the head of a bird, with Rho Cassiopeia and Sigma Cassiopeia marking the eye and beak of the bird's head respectively. Indeed, at Pinson Mounds the stars of Cassiopeia were represented by earthworks, mounds and wetland edges formed in the shape of a bird with the right wing and tailfeathers marked.
There are at least 30 mounds and earthworks at the Pinson Mound Complex, of which 17 have thus far been identified as anciently man-made. See Mark Norton, The Pinson Mounds Complex, West Tennessee Historical Society Papers 55, 2001. Given this many mounds and earthworks, the identification of the stars of Cassiopeia is crystal clear, since there are few uncertainties.

The mounds and earthworks mark stars ca. 1 A.D. between the Celestial Meridian on the left, the Galactic Equator and edge of the Milky Way at the top, the  Ecliptic Meridian to the right and the edge of the Milky Way at the bottom. Note that different software programs, sky maps and planispheres mark the edges of the Milky Way differently, some broader, some thinner, but the general pattern is quite obvious. Richard Hinckley Allen in Star Names has noted that Cassiopeia "almost wholly lies in the Milky Way".

The Pinson Mounds as the Stars of Cassiopeia
 (in the corresponding lower star map below from Starry Night Pro,
to which we have added the thick colored lines, circles and figures,
the Milky Way is colored in a blue-purple color)

Our map diagram of the Pinson Mounds above is based on three map sources:
What Tennessee State Parks writes about the Pinson Mounds is worth reading as regards the important preservation of ancient valuable Native America sites:
"Pinson Mounds is a national historic landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In the 1950s and 1960s, local citizens, believing in the value of the site, convinced the state to purchase the land and preserve it as a park. Pinson Mounds officially became a Tennessee State Park in 1974. To this day, the park contains the largest Native American Middle Woodland Period mound group in the United States.

The Pinson Mounds museum is designed to replicate a Native American mound. The building includes 4,500 square feet of exhibit space, an archaeological library, an 80-seat theater and 'Discovery Room' for historical exploration, park offices and the West Tennessee Regional Archaeology Office."
 Looks like a great place to visit!

Greetings to family in Rocky Top! You know who you are!
Happy Birthday Bob!

THIS POSTING IS Posting Number 68 of
The Great Mound, Petroglyph and Painted Rock Art Journey of Native America

Pinson Mounds in Tennessee -- Largest Middle Woodland Mound Complex in the USA -- Sauls Mound, Ozier Mound, Earthworks -- Mark the Stars of Cassiopeia as a Bird

Most Popular Posts of All Time

Sky Earth Native America

Sky Earth Native America 1:
American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
Volume 1, Edition 2, 266 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Sky Earth Native America 2:
    American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
    Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
    Volume 2, Edition 2, 262 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Both volumes have the same cover except for the labels "Volume 1" viz. "Volume 2".
    The image on the cover was created using public domain space photos of Earth from NASA.


    Both book volumes contain the following basic book description:
    "Alice Cunningham Fletcher observed in her 1902 publication in the American Anthropologist
    that there is ample evidence that some ancient cultures in Native America, e.g. the Pawnee in Nebraska,
    geographically located their villages according to patterns seen in stars of the heavens.
    See Alice C. Fletcher, Star Cult Among the Pawnee--A Preliminary Report,
    American Anthropologist, 4, 730-736, 1902.
    Ralph N. Buckstaff wrote:
    "These Indians recognized the constellations as we do, also the important stars,
    drawing them according to their magnitude.
    The groups were placed with a great deal of thought and care and show long study.
    ... They were keen observers....
    The Pawnee Indians must have had a knowledge of astronomy comparable to that of the early white men."
    See Ralph N. Buckstaff, Stars and Constellations of a Pawnee Sky Map,
    American Anthropologist, Vol. 29, Nr. 2, April-June 1927, pp. 279-285, 1927.
    In our book, we take these observations one level further
    and show that megalithic sites and petroglyphic rock carving and pictographic rock art in Native America,
    together with mounds and earthworks, were made to represent territorial geographic landmarks
    placed according to the stars of the sky using the ready map of the starry sky
    in the hermetic tradition, "as above, so below".
    That mirror image of the heavens on terrestrial land is the "Sky Earth" of Native America,
    whose "rock stars" are the real stars of the heavens, "immortalized" by rock art petroglyphs, pictographs,
    cave paintings, earthworks and mounds of various kinds (stone, earth, shells) on our Earth.
    These landmarks were placed systematically in North America, Central America (Meso-America) and South America
    and can to a large degree be reconstructed as the Sky Earth of Native America."

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