Author of the Month

Serpent of the North: The Overlook Mountain/Draco Correlation (cont.)
By Glenn M. Kreisberg, New England Antiquities Research Association (NEARA)

Could this be more evidence of a diffusion of the Adena, mound building culture into the northeast region? After all, these are mounds we are talking about, albeit mounds made of stone in the northeast. But then again, stone would have been one of the only materials, available in this region, from which to construct mounds. Mound made of stone instead of earth makes sense if there is no earth to use, yet mounds are what you wish to build. And, should we also consider conversely, that the “mound building” concept and culture of the Adena may have spread from the northeast to the Midwest, having first arrived on our eastern shores from Europe, in an early wave of megalithic migration from northwest Europe? Until the full picture is known, this idea should not be ruled out, especially since the case for cultural diffusion and early transoceanic voyages is growing stronger with time.

It’s reasonable to wonder: Were a people and culture present at the Overlook Mountain site that created ritual and ceremonial constructions of stone, exploiting and manipulating the natural environment and materials found there, to express certain aspects of their belief system? Perhaps this was not uncommon. Were landscapes routinely identified and modified appropriately to create relationships between the land and the sky, to venerate and preserve symbols and events associated with celestial observation? Many examples of this have been identified, reported and documented in the northeast and elsewhere. To say the ancient native civilization of the northeast, of the Hudson Valley and Catskills region, did not create these types of sites or recognize a serpent in the stars, in the sky, as did the ancient east Indians, Chinese, Persians, Egyptians, Norse, Celts and more, is to sell short the great thinkers and sky watchers, of the early people, from our own region.

As has been suggested with the serpent mound in Ohio and the sacred temples of Angkor Wat in south east Asia, is the Overlook Mountain serpent petroform a representation on the ground, which is connected to the constellation Draco in the night sky? The crucial question, whether Draco currently or in the past appears in the night sky above the Overlook Mountain has been answered; it has and does. But, does it match up and align with the position of the large cairns and effigies as laid out on the ground? Are the orientation, i.e. the direction, position, layout and configuration consistent, matching or close to the position of the constellation in the sky above? In shape and form I believe yes, but I don’t believe there is an actual, visual line up and alignment based on a fixed orientation, as the ground constructions on Overlook Mountain appear to “mirror” the stars in the sky, creating a negative or opposite image on the ground, something not uncommon among other known ground/sky matches. But, perhaps most critically, considering precession of the equinox, what was the position of Draco above the site, going back hundreds or thousands of years? Starry Night Pro astronomy software shows the constellation Draco raises over Overlook Mountain, visible high and directly above the mountain summit, at various times throughout the night, marking the position of true celestial north, for thousands of years, regardless of the drifting of precession. Further careful examination of the site could point the way to more answers.

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