418 4th Street • Marietta, Ohio 45750 • 740.373.4180

2024 Solstice Watch

Saturday, Dec. 21, 2024 – 4 to 5:30 p.m.

  • Free to the public and no reservations are required. Donations are encouraged.

One function of large earthwork complexes, such as the one found at Marietta, was to track the passage of seasons through astronomical observations. The winter solstice sunset aligns with the parallel walls of “Sacra Via.” Join The Castle’s archaeologist, Wes Clarke, for this year’s solstice sunset watch at Sacra Via Park on December 21 at 4 p.m. During the program, Clarke will discuss the astronomical alignments of Marietta’s mound structures.
Sacra Via Park is located on Sacra Via Street between Third and Second Streets in Marietta.


About the speaker: Wes Clarke is a Registered Professional Archaeologist with more than 45 years’ experience conducting research in the American Midwest and in Southeast Asia.  He has particular interest in early historic pottery, Ohio art history, the history of pioneer Ohio, and early state development in Southeast Asia, and has published numerous articles on these topics. Clarke is currently in the ninth season of excavations on the historic Clark family pottery site at The Castle Museum, where he works as the Manager of Collections.


The Solstice Watch is weather-dependent, so activity can vary depending on conditions.

Use the map provided to orient yourself to where the sightings are located.

Click Here To View The Map

The Sacra Via location is indicated with a blue dot at the base of a heavy arrow pointing toward the solstice sunset. The Quadranaou platform mound location is indicated with a red dot at the base of another arrow.

If sighting conditions are good, the event will begin with a brief discussion and viewing on the long Scara Via alignment (blue dot), which originally extended between the huge parallel walls of the earthwork complex. The location will then shift to the Quadranaou platform mound (red dot), where the solstice alignment can be witnessed again due to a change in elevation. Here the alignment crosses two access ramps on the mound perimeter.

If there is precipitation or conditions are otherwise poor, comments will be provided from a gazebo shelter on Sacra Via.



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Sacra Via Park

Sacra Via Street
Marietta, OH 45750

Sacra Via was a sacred walled way from Quadranaou to the Ohio River, built by the Hopewell around 900 AD. Although the walls no longer stand, Sacra Via Park remains in place.

Learn more