"The Cahokia Woodhenge”, an illustrated lecture by Dr. Michael Friedlander of Washington University, will be featured at the February meeting of the Saint Louis Astronomical Society. The meeting will begin at 7:30 pm Friday, February 15, in McDonnell Hall, Room 162, on the Washington University campus, Saint Louis, MO 63130. McDonnell Hall is accessible from Forsyth Boulevard via Tolman Way. The event, cosponsored by NASA's Missouri Space Grant Consortium, is open to the public free of charge.
During excavations west of Monks Mound in the early 1960s, Warren Wittry discovered traces of wooden posts that had been set out around five large circles. These circles appear to have been constructed with astronomical alignments. They functioned, centuries ago, as a pre-telescope astronomical observatory. In 1985, a woodhenge of tall posts was erected around the largest circle, and today this is an impressive component of the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site complex. Dr. Friedlander will describe Woodhenge and point out some of the astronomical alignments. He will compare Woodhenge to Britain’s Stonehenge and to other native North American sites. He will also explain something about the astronomy of the ancients, and its place in the lives of our ancestors.
Michael Friedlander is a Professor of Physics at Washington University. His primary area of research has been in cosmic rays, but he is also fascinated by archaeoastronomy – the astronomy of ancient cultures. In addition to numerous technical publications, he has authored books for general readers. These include “'A Thin Cosmic Rain”, about cosmic rays, and “At the Fringes of Science”, which describes how scientists work and examines some pseudo-science topics as well.
The St. Louis Astronomical Society is an organization for individuals interested in astronomy and telescopes. The public is invited to attend its meetings, telescope observing sessions, and special events. For information about Astronomical Society events, please visit the website, , or call (314) 935-4614.