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VA Paleo-Indian Ceremonial Site, Twice As Old As Stonehenge

"We sent it off to the University of Washington and they gave us a date of 10,470 years ago,” said Hranicky. “Based on that date, that makes this the oldest, ceremonial, above-ground, extant site in North America."

CLARKE COUNTY, Va. - Four years ago, Rene and Chris White noticed something unusual while hiking through their property; straight lines.

"There are no straight lines in nature. Mother Nature just doesn't make straight lines,” said Rene White. “If there are any, then they were made by man."

Then steps in Dr. Jack Hranicky, an archaeologist out of Alexandria. Using thermal luminescent technology on jasper artifacts, which is not native to Clarke County, they were able to determine approximately how old the site is.

"We sent it off to the University of Washington and they gave us a date of 10,470 years ago,” said Hranicky. “Based on that date, that makes this the oldest, ceremonial, above-ground, extant site in North America."

That’s older than the Egyptian Pyramids and twice as old as Stonehenge.

The site has many concentric circles, including what the team believes to be a ceremonial and observational circle, priest altar, rock art and 32 solar references that line up perfectly with things like the solstices and equinoxes.

However, out of all their discoveries, one of the most important was the ancient, Paleo-Indian sun dial.

"The sun dial has never stopped working,” said Hranicky with a laugh. “It works as well then as it still works today."

Perfect rock alignment in a seemingly random group of boulders close to the ceremonial, concentric circles are what lead the team to investigate further.

"To think that Mother Nature could of eroded those big boulders out of the top of the mountain and rolled down and all that, that's ridiculous,” said Hranicky. “They were placed there."

“What it does, is it measures the sun’s midday point, or the highest point the sun rises in the sky,” said Chris White.

It also is one of the only sun dials in the world that measures the solar equinoxes and solstices from the sun’s midday point (also called the solar noon), and not from the horizon line.

After the discovery, The Whites decided to honor their Native American heritage and restore the site to its original purpose.

"With the establishment of our sanctuary, this is the oldest ceremonial site in continuous operation in the world," said Rene.

The archeology team plans to release an official report in the coming weeks.

For more information on the site, visit their official Facebook page.

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