The Thinking Behind
by Robert Ford
As a young boy I would accompany my father out onto the Arizona Strip to his friend Bruce McDaniels ranch. On one such trip Bruce pointed out a knoll that I might find an arrowhead on and while there to check out the strange circles on its rocky rim. This was in the early 1960's and my first encounter with a curious petroglyph style. This first sighting didn't mean much and its memory quickly faded from my mind.
Later on, Dennis Ford described to me a strange carving he had seen while hiking along a canyon rim below the town of Fredonia, Arizona. He thought it looked liked a bow and arrow.
We went to photograph it early one morning in the spring of the year. The strange mark had a line piercing a circle then leading to the edge of the cliff in an easterly direction toward the North Kaibab Plateau.
While discussing its meaning one theory came to mind. Standing at the top of the circle and sighting down the groove, the sun was visible as it rose above the Kaibab just to the side of the line of sight. Since the spring equinox was only in a few days we thought the sun would crest the Kaibab that morning directly down this line of sight. What we thought he had found was some sort of Anasazi solstice calendar depicting the seasons.
Later I learned the carving in my photograph resembled one found in Johnson Canyon east of Kanab, Utah known locally as the Aztec Sacrificial Altar Stone.
After examining and photographing this one I was amazed at how similar they were. What was even more interesting is that Johnson Canyon is visible from Dennis's mark.
I wondered, are there