While camping on the south end of the island one day last summer, Kodiak resident Joe Black walked by some rocks and two faces popped out at him.
They were markings he identified as possible petroglyphs, and he found two carvings among them that he thinks might be anatomical – fertility symbols, he says.
“The winter solstice is pretty much about fertility. All life retreats in the earth, a lot of life retreats in the earth, and mother earth needs to be fertilized and nine months later you have fish and you have berries and you have a bountiful harvest.”
Black says he observed that when the sun rose, it struck some of the rocks, and he theorizes the spot may have been an astronomical site that helped Alaska Natives determine the time of year.
“And what’s important is when you determine where the sun rises on the day of the winter solstice, you can reset your calendar for all the festivals and events and nowadays we do the same thing. We get a new calendar and what’s listed on it? Festivals and events.”
Black will talk more about his discovery at a lecture this week, and it should be noted that an archaeologist has not yet looked over the markings and has not confirmed them as petroglyphs.
His wife, Dawn Lea, is presenting alongside him with an emphasis on local history. Among the stories she’ll tell is one about a company that felt it had a monopoly on trade and sued a priest who bought a pelt from Native hunters.
The lecture is part of the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge’s Brown Bag Lunch Series. It’ll be Thursday at noon in the visitor center.