PAROWAN — On Saturday, visitors to the Parowan Gap will have the opportunity to enjoy the day learning more about the petroglyphs and viewing the summer solstice sun setting down the middle of the Gap, just as past Native Americans did.
Parowan Gap is a natural formation that were created as a result of earth movement, wind and water. Nancy Dalton, Parowan Heritage Foundation secretary, said in a press release that the natural rock outcroppings at the Gap cast shadows at various times of the year, thus supporting one use of the Gap as a calendaring system.
Along with the outcroppings there are hundreds of petroglyphs with a few dating back as far as 2,500-3,000 BC. The most prominent petroglyph is the “Zipper” glyph, which has at least two interpretations that are explained at the site. One interpretation is that it shows tribal migration from north to south. The other is a solar calendar including the depiction of watching the summer solstice sun set down the middle of the Gap, Dalton said.
The public is invited to attend any or all of the events on Saturday, which include an interpretive slide presentation, a BBQ dinner and the annual Summer Solstice Sunset program at Parowan Gap.
3 p.m. – Free slide presentation on recent research comparing Parowan Gap petroglyphs to those found in Rochester Creek and Capitol Reef National Park. This one-hour presentation will be given by archaeologist Garth Norman at the Parowan City Office Council Chamber, located at 35 E. 100 North in Parowan.
6:30 p.m. – BBQ dinner at Parowan Gap. Cost: $15 per person. You can purchase tickets online or at Parowan Visitor Center, Hamburger Patty’s in Parowan, the Visit Cedar City website or the Brian Head Visitor Center, located at 581 N. Main St. in Cedar City.
7:30 p.m. – Free interpretive program featuring guest speakers archaeologist Garth Norman and solar engineer Nal Morris. You will need to bring your own chairs to sit in for the program.
8:30 p.m. – Free walk a quarter of mile to the Summer Sunset carins — a rock monument — and watch the sun set down the middle of the Gap as depicted on the “Zipper” glyph.