Medicine Wheels: Digital Study
Medicine Wheel studies are ready for a digital make-over.
You can participate!
A few decades ago Stonehenge, the Medicine Wheels and other prehistoric sites became instantly famous when scientists from a new field called "archaeoastonomy" interpreted them as astronomical calendars and observatories. However, more careful analysis has since deflated these ideas: some form of astronomical orientation is common, but deeper scientific intent is just speculation. There remain no evidence-based conclusions to explain the patterns and features of Medicine Wheels.
Rationale for a Digital Study
Medicine Wheels are worthy of serious study for a number of reasons, but the inspiration here is their original "information" content. The Medicine Wheels comprise a rich information field; the patterns and placements of their stones are essentially digital. They are a puzzle that - with careful respect - we have a great chance to solve part of.
It's almost certain we'll never fully understand what Medicine Wheels meant to their makers. It's also almost certain that we'll make mistakes: discover patterns that aren't relevant, overlay aspects of our current reality that don't belong, etc. However, in this information age, using digital tools, we have a wonderful opportunity to explore Medicine Wheels in a brand new way, without ever disturbing a stone, to discover their mystery.
Medicine Wheels 2.0
The opportunity is that Medicine Wheel studies have barely begun. Archaeological excavations are destructive by nature and have limited value here because Medicine Wheels aren't about human occupation and the kinds of structured artifacts and interpretations that might arise from this. Enthusiastic approaches to Medicine Wheels by "new age" practitioners have been similarly unhelpful, and destructive. Year after year, more of these fragile sites are being destroyed
Meanwhile, we haven't yet assembled in any careful, accurate or complete way the obvious data regarding Medicine Wheel form, structure, pattern and context. Unlike the megaliths of Europe, where the size of the stones create myriad uncertainties, the boulders of Medicine Wheels are relatively precise points in three-dimensional space. And the family of Medicine Wheels offers sufficient variability for statistically reliable conclusions rather than open speculation.
Call to Action
Make a virtual leap into Medicine Wheel studies! Centuries ago, intrepid explorers would charter a ship to explore unknown lands. The purpose of this blog and the site records channeled here are to gather interest for a digital expedition - to assemble the resources for state-of-the-art remote sensing of Medicine Wheels that, coupled with all of the appropriate cultural knowledge available, will allow them to be explored in serious new ways in a digital dimension.
Email me at david dot vogt at ubc dot ca if you are interested to participate.