<CENTER><B>"Sunset on the rock" to<br> observe autumnal equinox</B></CENTER>

Meet the Blue Mounds naturalist at the Interpretive Center and venture onto the windswept prairie atop the Blue Mounds at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22, to watch the sun set on this first day of autumn.

A mysterious quarter mile long row of stones lying near the crest of the mounds aligns true east and west, and the sun seems to rise and set directly over these stones on the first days of spring and autumn, signaling the change of the seasons ahead. The boulders of this unnatural alignment are all sizes, some small and others quite large. At its east end, in places the wall is four to five feet high; in others the stones recede into the rocky ground and become obscured among the big bluestem grass. There are very few answers to the many questions raised by those stones, only many theories and "might have beens."

Not officially photographed until an aerial survey accidentally recorded it in the 1930s, this unusual line of rocks has been known, but not widely publicized. Since the 1970s, the -alignment' has been studied by both professional and amateur archaeologists, without much agreement to what the meaning of this 1,250-foot-long stone wall may be. The only points everyone seems to be in agreement upon is that this is the work of man and these rocks have been in place a very long time. A recent and popular theory explains this alignment as an attempt by early plains dwellers to develop a rudimentary native astral observatory or compass.

Maybe someday investigation will provide additional information to answer the questions. Until that time, since the stones aren't speaking, this simple rock formation will continue to pose more questions than answers. This will be your opportunity to look at and to ponder this rare and interesting feature of our local prairie landscape. This program is free of charge; however, a vehicle permit is required to enter the state park.

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