Study the sun like ancient cultures did; Parowan Gap summer solstice observation

Sunset at the Parowan Gap, Parowan, Utah, undated | Photo courtesy of Parowan Heritage Foundation

PAROWAN – Kids of all ages will learn how to tell time like ancient cultures did at this year’s Summer Solstice Sunset Observation Program at the Parowan Gap on Saturday beginning at 7:30 p.m.

For the first time, those attending the program will have the opportunity to create their own sundial, a similar device as the one ancient cultures used to tell the time of day and seasons. Different hands-on cultural activities will be featured each year.

“As part of creating a sundial, the kids will place it on the ground and mark the time. After the program, the kids will again mark the time and experience the movement of the sun and time through the sun’s shadow,” said Nancy Dalton of the Parowan Heritage Foundation, the event’s co-sponsor. “This year, we wanted to get the audience involved in the presentation, so we came up with the idea of experiencing time movement through creating a simple sundial.”

Solar engineer Nal Morris, who has studied and researched petroglyphic writings throughout the western United States, including the Parowan Gap, will explain the solar interpretation of its most notable marking, the “Zipper Glyph.”

The program begins at 7:30 p.m. with the sundial-making activity, followed by Morris’s presentation. At 8:30 p.m., participants will walk about a mile to the back summer solstice cairn (rock monument) to watch the sun set down the middle of the gap onto the mountain horizon as depicted on the “Zipper Glyph.” The program is free and open to the public. Participants are encouraged to bring their own chairs and drinks, as well as wear good walking shoes.

This event is co-sponsored by the Parowan Heritage Foundation, Cedar City-Brian Head Tourism Bureau and the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah.

The Parowan Gap, a natural passageway through the mountain pass, features hundreds of petroglyphs with various interpretations of how ancient cultures survived, their hunting and water sources, and their traditions. The gap also holds a number of outcroppings that cast shadows at different times of the year, signaling a change in the season.

Event details and contact information

Date: June 22

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Location: Parowan Gap

Admission: Free

Contact: Nancy Dalton – 435-463-3735

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Submitted by: Cedar City-Brian Head Tourism Bureau

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Sunset at the Parowan Gap, Parowan, Utah, undated | Photo courtesy of Parowan Heritage Foundation
Sunset at the Parowan Gap, Parowan, Utah, undated | Photo courtesy of Parowan Heritage Foundation

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