Initial Sun Ray on the Palette

As the sun move across the horizon, the direct light is allowed to enter a pyramid-shaped chamber with the palette on the bottom of it. [1] [2] The LRS is turned on a precisely at the earth’s sun noon and starts a sun ray on the palette. Figure B4 shows the sun’s position as it moves into position to shine in to the LRS. Until the sun reaches the sun noon, there is no light in the chamber.

[1] Solar noon is the moment when the sun transits the celestial meridian – roughly the time when it is highest above the horizon on that day ("Sun transit time"). This is also the origin of the terms ante meridiem (a.m.) and post meridiem (p.m.). The sun is directly overhead at solar noon at the Equator on the equinoxes, at the Tropic of Cancer (latitude 23°26′16″ N) on the June solstice, and at the Tropic of Capricorn (23 26′16″ S) on the December solstice.

[2] For a modern interpretation, see

This Light Ray Site (LRS) on a hill-side slope in Blackberry Hill site in Franklin County was discovered by using the Sun Dial model at the Spout Run solstice site in Clarke County, Virginia. The senior author published the basics of solstice features, and the junior author used them on his property to find what is being called the Blackberry Hill solstice clock, or the LRS. The physical properties of both site clocks are the same; however, the overall rock configuration is different. The daily LRS operation was documented on December 27, 2015 by both authors.

Close Up of the Site’s Palette

LRS Block Diagram

The LRS is a configuration of five boulders with three small adjuster (wedges) boulders. Figure 1 shows an overview with each boulder having a letter designation. The boulders are:

A = Base boulder

B = Light Controller boulder

C = Support boulder

D = Boulder broken off C

E = Large unknown purpose boulder.

The sun noon on the horizon casts sunlight downward to the LRS. The boulders have been arranged so that only a small beam of light gets through a slot and shines on the palette. Figure B3 shows the palette. The palette’s black coating has partly eroded due to long-term exposure. The palette’s position could have been changed as well as Boulder B to obtain different light images. The current image configuration is assumed to be the way it was used.

Wm Jack Hranicky RPA

​ rockart glyphs pictographs petroglyphs

There are numerous small boulders around the LRS. They are probably objects without a purpose, but more study will be made. The LRS structure is in the top end of a 40-foot circle of boulders. There is an internal spiral of smaller boulders and a five-foot circle believed to be a hearth. The LRS is part of a larger 5-10 acre site containing stone mounds and circles, lithic effigies, voice echo, bed-rock mortars, waterfalls, solstice and equinox orientations, and numerous blade-made artifacts (44FNxx). Stone type is to be identified… LRS measurements will also be provided in the final report.

This physical precision based on the earth’s geology is remarkable. The LRS turns on its passing of light by suddenly appearing as the beginning of the light beam on the palette. This timing has been verified by two previous observations using an accurate watch. The entire process lasts 35 minutes after which the light ray is turned off. A video has been made and is available from the Virginia Rockart Survey. It will eventually be on the Survey’s website ( Figure 5 shows the light beam at 25 minutes.

1 - General Overview of the Light Ray Site (LRS), Franklin County, Virginia

Blackberry Hill Ceremonial Complex

Class: Solar Clock

Time: Undetermined

​Location:Franklin County, Virginia

5 - LRS Light Beam on the Palette