MOUNT GILEAD – On Dec. 21, the Mayan long count calendar officially “runs out of time,” leading some to predict that the world will end. However, we plan to be here later that night, so come join the staff at Town Creek Indian Mound at 6 p.m. for what will be our final astronomy program for 2012 at one of the last great dark sky sites in the Piedmont.
“We’ll view many of the celestial waypoints the Maya used to develop their intricate calendar,” says Site Manager Rich Thompson, “as we celebrate the official beginning of winter on the longest night of the year.”
Interested stargazers are encouraged to dress for the weather and may also bring binoculars and telescopes. Warm refreshments will be available in the museum. The staff will have a scope available if you do not have one. Advanced registration is required. Astronomy Night is free and open to the public but donations are welcome. Contact the site at by email or (910) 439-6802 to register.
For more than 1,000 years, American Indians farmed lands later known as North Carolina. Around A.D. 1000, a new cultural tradition arrived in the Pee Dee River Valley. Throughout Georgia, South Carolina, eastern Tennessee and western and southern Piedmont North Carolina, inhabitants built earthen mounds for their leaders, engaged in widespread trade, supported craftspeople and celebrated a new religion.
The mission of Town Creek is to interpret the history of the American Indians who once lived here. The visitor center features interpretive exhibits and audiovisual displays. A national historic landmark, Town Creek Indian Mound State Historic Site is North Carolina’s only state historic site dedicated to American Indian heritage. Tour groups are welcome and encouraged. The site is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. It is closed to the public Mondays and most major holidays.
Located at 509 Town Creek Mound Road in Mount Gilead, Town Creek Indian Mound is a unit of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. For more information on North Carolina arts, history and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. For more information on Town Creek, visit the site online.