Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Utah town burns 16-foot mammoth effigy for solstice

BLUFF, San Juan County — A Southern Utah town will burn a 16-foot effigy of a mammoth Friday to celebrate the winter solstice and draw attention to the historical significance of the area.

The town is relying on the wooden mammoth to hopefully catch the attention of researchers. The effigy, built to scale, was built over the course of three weeks by Pachak and Bluff residents, using only sticks and two support poles.

The 8 p.m. ceremony will include drumming, and Gulliford said the effigy won't be set on fire with just matches.

"What's really gonna be fun is they're gonna set it on fire with primitive Native American technology, meaning they're either going to use bows and arrows or they're going to use atlatl spears," Gulliford said. "It'll be fun to see if they can even hit the thing with a flaming atlatl dart."

The mammoth is meant to represent the discovery of mammoth petroglyphs near Bluff, a town of a few hundred people located on the San Juan River. Rock expert and local artist Joe Pachak first discovered the petroglyphs in 1987, but they have been a source of controversy ever since.

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