Let the sun shine through...
In his long prophetic poem Jerusalem, William Blake writes of stony Druid temples, where men reared mighty stones, danced naked around them. Blake was describing one of Britains stone circles, perhaps even that famous one known as Stonehenge.
It was a circle in Montana on Blackfoot Indian land that inspired astronomy professor JUDITH YOUNG to undertake the UMass Sunwheel project a circle 120 feet around which, after four years of existence with more modest markers, is now formed by 14 nine-foot-high granite monoliths in a field south of Alumni Stadium.
Although there has been a steady stream of visitors to the site from its inception, and an especially good turnout to celebrate this winters solstice on December 21, so far there have been no reports of naked dancing. Completed last November 9, the structure is a version of our first calendar and observatory, says the astronomer. She hopes it will help people experience the motions of sun, moon and stars in a more direct way.
Initiated by Young in 1996, and the result of steady fund-raising by her, the sunwheel project was accomplished with the help of the Chester Granite Company of East Otis and Karls Excavation Company of Hadley.