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岩画日历揭秘亚利桑那千年神秘古钟

更新时间:2018-5-29 21:08:29 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Arizona's mysterious clock of ancient times
岩画日历揭秘亚利桑那千年神秘古钟

All day the sun had been hiding behind clouds, but Kenneth Zoll wasn’t worried.

一整天都多云蔽日,但卓尔(Kenneth Zoll)并不担心。

Standing in front of panels of rock art carved nearly a millennium ago, the researcher pointed to petroglyphs of snakes, coyote and deer, and singled out several concentric circles. Then he told his 100-strong audience to note the two rocks wedged into a crack above his head.

岩画石板是近一千年前的雕刻艺术,研究员卓尔站在前面,指出蛇、狗和鹿的图案,特别提到几组同心圆。参观团多达百人,他让大家注意他头顶上方,两块石板卡在裂缝中间。

Zoll swept his arm across the entire scene. “This,” he explained, “was a way to track time.”

卓尔手臂一挥,说道:"就是这个,这就是计时的方法。"

As if by command, a few minutes later the clouds began to part. And at 13:40, like a perfectly calibrated Swiss watch, a beam of light passed over the rocks and projected two shadows across the panel. For the next six minutes, their edge held still, just touching three circles.

几分钟后,云层像听从指令一样渐渐散开。13:40时,犹如万分精确的瑞士表,一缕阳光照向岩石,在石板上投下两道阴影。在接下来的六分钟里,投影纹丝不动,刚好覆盖三个圆环。

Spring had arrived in Arizona’s Verde Valley.

亚利桑那佛得谷(Verde Valley)正式入春。

On this day, March 20, at archaeological sites around the globe, from Mexico’s Chichen Itza to Malta’s Mnajdra temple, something similar was happening. On the vernal equinox, ancient ruins were aligning with the sun, and – whether anyone was watching or not – they were silently marking the changing season.

这一天,也就是3月20日,从墨西哥的奇琴伊察(Chichen Itza),到马耳他的姆那拉(Mnajdra)巨石神庙,世界各地的考古遗址都出现相似的现象。在春分这天,古代遗迹都与太阳连成一道直线。不论人们注意与否,这些遗迹默默记录着季节的更替。

When the sun emerged here at the Coconino National Forest near Sedona, Arizona, the crowd began to buzz with excitement. Susie Reed, a local photographer, said she felt it was important to see the rock mark this day, when the sun passes over the equator. “We keep the energy alive by coming out here.”

科科尼诺国家森林位于亚利桑那的圣多娜(Sedona)附近,刚刚拨云见日,人们都很兴奋。当地的摄影师里德(Susie Reed)认为,目睹岩画报春的意义非凡,经历了太阳直射赤道的一天。她说,"我们出来观看,感到活力四射。"

But until the last decade, it had been centuries since anyone noticed.

千百年来都无人问津,直到十几年前才有人注意到。

In 2005, Zoll, then 57 and a volunteer at the forest’s V Bar V historical ranch site, detected a pattern to the shadows cast on the park’s huge rock art panels, which are covered with more than 1,000 petroglyphs.

2005年,57岁的国家森林佛栏佛(V Bar V)农场遗址的志愿者卓尔发现,阳光有规律的投射在公园巨大的岩画上,映照出数以千计的雕刻图案。

Could this, he wondered, be an ancient calendar?

卓尔觉得奇怪,这是不是远古的日历?

He shared his observation with a forest service archaeologist, who wasn’t particularly impressed. Archaeo- or cultural astronomy, the study of how ancient peoples tracked the seasons and studied the cosmos, has fought for respectability. It’s hard to prove that alignment with the sun, moon or stars isn’t mere coincidence. And in the past, some advocates haven’t helped their case, suggesting that prehistoric sites could have been fashioned by space aliens.

他把这一发现告诉林务局考古专家,但并没有得到印象深刻的反馈。考古或风俗天文学研究古人如何观测时间,以及如何认识宇宙,这门学科从来都不受重视。各地的考古遗址与太阳、月亮或恒星成一直线是否纯属巧合,这还难以考证。过去,考古爱好者并未对此投入,认为史前遗址可能来自外星。

But in the last decades, scholars have shown that societies once considered primitive actively monitored celestial events, and Unesco has begun to recognise the astronomical heritage of sites such as Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico and England’s Stonehenge.

然而十几年前,有学者认为,原始部落实际在频繁地监测天象,他们所在的天文遗址也得到联合国教科文组织的认可,比如新墨西哥洲的查科文化国家历史公园(Chaco Culture National Historical Park)和英国的巨石阵(Stonehenge)。

And while the rock art at V Bar V isn’t nearly as grand as more famous markers, Zoll thought it too held a secret. The forest service scientist told him to observe the site for a year and then get back to him.

与著名的象形艺术相比,佛栏佛的岩画并不高大宏伟,卓尔认为有其原因所在。林务局科学负责人让他观测一年后再来汇报考察成果。

Undaunted, the former computer systems manager began to watch and keep careful records. “I went from high tech of the 20th Century to high tech of the 11th Century,” he said.

曾经担任计算机系统经理的卓尔毫无畏惧地投入到了观测和记录工作。他说,"我从20世纪的高科技走到了11世纪的高科技。"

And what he found astonished him.

卓尔对他的发现感到震惊。

Every month, as the sun interacted with the art, the rock, it seemed, was speaking to him. On the summer solstice, which falls on 21 June this year, shadows interplayed with half a dozen images on the stone. Six months later, on the shortest day of the year, the sun shone directly through a notch between two rocks.

每个月,太阳与岩画交相呼应,岩石仿佛在与日光对话。今年的夏至是6月21日,太阳的投影映射在六个图案上。六个月后,在一年中日照最短的一天,太阳直射两块石板间的槽口。

It was agriculture that likely inspired the so-called imaging calendar, Zoll said. The Sinagua people, who researchers believe lived and farmed here between the 7th and 15th Centuries, grew corn, cotton, squash and beans. Their descendants, the Hopi people, now live about 150 miles away.

卓尔说,可能是农耕为所谓的象形日历提供了灵感。据研究人员称,从7世纪到15世纪,西纳瓜人在此生活耕作,播种下了玉米、棉花、南瓜和豆类。霍比人是西纳瓜人的后代,现在住在150英里外的地方。

When Zoll spoke to the Hopi, he learned that the panel appeared to mark religious celebrations and important dates for farmers. On 21 April, a day associated with the first planting, a shadow’s bottom edge touches a carving resembling a corn stalk. One of the most compelling findings comes on 8 July, the end of a 16-day Hopi period of prayer and meditation. On that day, the sun perfectly outlines a figure that appears to be dancing.

卓尔从霍比人那里得知,石板用于记录宗教庆典和重要的农时。4月21日开始春播,在这一天,投影落在类似玉米茎的图案上。7月8日这一天发现了一个最激动人心的现象,霍比人结束了为期16天的祈祷和冥想,当天的投影恰好照在形似舞动的图案上。

“It’s a time machine for the gods to tell you it’s time for a ceremony,” said Scott Newth, an officer with the Arizona Archaeological Society, who tracks rock art across the region.

亚利桑那考古协会的工作人员纽斯(Scott Newth)负责跨区域观测岩画日历,他说,"这是众神的时钟,让你知道何时举行宗教仪式。"

Hopi elder Floyd Lomakuyvaya, 65, said that some of the petroglyphs are the familiar symbols of tribal clans. “I feel proud because our ancestors left these marks. Every month we have different ceremonies, and different things happen. That’s our calendar. It guides us.”

65岁的洛玛奎瓦雅(Floyd Lomakuyvaya)是霍比人的族长,他说某些雕刻图案是部落熟知的符号。"祖先留下这些岩画,我感到很骄傲。每个月我们都有不同的活动,做不同的事。这是我们的日历。为我们指引方向。"

And on this year on the vernal equinox, Hopis were in full-force at the rock art site. They had brought a youth group to learn about their heritage and to help with demonstrations, including an agave pit roast. The sizeable head of the desert plant was a staple for the tribe, providing sustenance throughout the year.

今年春分,霍比人全体出动,来到岩画遗址。他们带来一个青年团学习文化遗产,参与庆祝活动,包括泥烤龙舌兰。这一大小可观的沙漠植物是霍比人的主食,是全年的能量补给。

Zoll has documented a dozen sites in the Verde Valley area of central Arizona that are likely to be calendars, and more than 30 others have been found in the region around the city of Phoenix, he said. Most have rock art with concentric circles, which appear to align with shadows at specific times of year. “We always wondered why we’d see the exact same images.”

卓尔说,他详细记录了十几个遗址的情况,都在亚利桑那中部佛得谷地区,也都可能当作日历使用,他还考察了凤凰城周围的30多个遗址。大部分是岩画,有同心圆,在一年中的特定时间与投影对齐。"我们总觉得奇怪,为什么刚好落在同一个图案上。"

He says one working theory is that outsiders travelled through the region, teaching locals how to construct the calendars. This is based on the discovery of a northern Arizona burial of a man who appeared to be a visitor because his body was larger than others found in the area. He was buried with a medallion etched with concentric circles.

卓尔说,外人游历此地,教当地人如何搭建日历,这是可作为研究基础的推理之一。人们发现亚利桑那北部的古墓里安葬的人中,有一位可能是游客,因为他的体型较当地人而言更高大,他佩戴奖章,上面刻着同心圆。

Researchers have also discovered several observation sites in the area that appear to have been used by sun watchers, tribal members who were tasked with observing the daily rise and setting of the sun. It’s a position of honour that still exists in Hopi communities, where members of the Water Clan attend to that duty. Indeed, turtles, which are their clan symbol, appear to be carved above the V Bar V rock. As the minutes ticked by that afternoon, the shadows grew more distinct on the rock face, and then they slowly started to fade away.

研究人员还发现,附近的几处观测点用作观日,部落成员受命观察日出日落。这是霍比部落引以为荣的使命,流传至今,由水氏(Water Clan)的成员负责。的确,龟是水氏的族徽,刻在佛栏佛岩画的顶上。那天下午过得很快,石板上的投影越来越清晰,然后渐渐褪去。

Zoll didn’t seem surprised that the sky had cleared just in time for the display. Early in his research, something similar occurred during a solstice. It had been overcast all day and then suddenly the sun emerged, just in time for him to record its shadow. A few minutes later, the clouds returned.

活动正要开始时,天空转晴,卓尔并不感到惊讶。他刚开始做研究时,一次冬至也出现类似的现象。那天是多云,然后突然出起太阳,正是他要记录投影的时候。几分钟后,云就挡住了。

When he recounted the story later, a Hopi man offered an explanation: “The creator wanted you to see that.”

后来他回忆时,一个霍比人说:"造物主希望你看到那个场景。"

Forest ranger Terrilyn Green, who was supervising the equinox event, said she’s pleased how the rock art’s fame is growing, but notes there are many ways to track time.

公园管理员格林(Terrilyn Green)负责春分和秋分的活动。岩画艺术越来越受到关注,她感到很开心,还说计时的方法很多。

Every year, the common black hawk returns from its winter migration to Arizona’s Verde Valley in late March. “It’s amazing. It’s like a wonderful harbinger of spring,” Green said.

每年三月底,黑鸡鵟从冬季的栖息地飞回到亚利桑那的佛得谷。格林说,"很美妙。就像美丽的报春者。"

And that morning, like clockwork, she heard the raptor’s call for the first time this year.

那天早晨,像时钟报时一样,黑鸡鵟发出响亮的叫声,她听到了一声春的消息。

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