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The Council Circles of Central Kansas: Were They Solstice Registers?

  • Waldo R. Wedel (a1)

Abstract

At five Little River focus village sites in Rice and McPherson counties, Kansas, so-called council circles are probably the most notable features present. Each consists of a low central mound surrounded by a ditch or a series of depressions (borrow pits) or both. No village site has more than a single circle. At the only one yet excavated (Tobias site), elongate house pits arranged around a patio within the ditched zone formed a structural complex which is apparently unique in Plains archaeology. The houses were built of poles and grass, earth-covered wholly or in part, and had evidently been destroyed by fire. The covering fill contained numerous large boulders and scattered human bones, some fire-blackened. From their plan and contents, it is suggested that these house complexes were special-purpose structures; from their demonstrated orientation, it is further suggested that one of their functions may have been to record solstitial sunrise (and sunset?) points on the horizon.

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References

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The Council Circles of Central Kansas: Were They Solstice Registers?

  • Waldo R. Wedel (a1)

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