My father-in-law is an avid reader of Louis L’Amour’s books and has given me several to read lately. I’ve enjoyed reading the books so far and have noticed that in several of the books he mentions a Medicine Wheel on Medicine Mountain in Wyoming so I decided to research it on the world wide web and here is what I found and wanted to share with my readers what I found:
“Medicine wheels are stone structures built by the natives of America and Canada for various spiritual and ritual purposes. Appearing mostly in Alberta, Canada, medicine wheels were built by laying out stones in a circular pattern that often looked like a wagon wheel laying on its side. The wheels could be large, reaching diameters of 75 feet. Although archaeologists aren’t exactly sure what each one was used for, it is thought that they probably had ceremonial or astronomical significance.
Erecting massive stone structures is a well-documented activity of ancient man, from the Egyptian pyramids to Stonehenge, and the natives of Northern America are no different in this regard. What does separate them from the rest is how non-intrusive their structures were. Unlike the usual towering stone monoliths, the natives simply laid down lots of stones on the earth in certain arrangements. One of the more obtuse arrangements is the medicine wheel.
Medicine wheels appear all over northern United States and southern Canada, specifically South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. Most of the wheels have been found in Alberta. In all over 70 medicine wheels have been found.
One of the prototypical medicine wheels is in Big Horn County, Wyoming. This 75 foot diameter wheel has 28 spokes, and is part of a vast set of old Native American sites that document 7,000 years of their history in that area. It is located on a ridge of Medicine Mountain, part of northern Wyoming’s Big Horn Range.
It is a circular arrangement of stones measuring 75 feet across with 28 rows of stones that radiate from a central cairn to an encircling stone rim. Placed around the periphery of the wheel are five smaller, stone circles. The Medicine Wheel’s function and builders remain a mystery. However, there is general agreement that it was built approximately 200 years ago by indigenous Native Americans, and that its 28 “spokes” may symbolize the days in a lunar month. To Native Americans, this remains a sacred, ceremonial site.”
I guess I’ll put this place on my ever growing list of places that I want to visit before I die.