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"Freeman's fascination with prairie prehistory dates back to his Saskatchewan boyhood.
"Looking for a hobby, he asked a friend with an interest in history to suggest a few intriguing sites to visit.
On a warm late-August day in 1980, that list drew him to what he has come to call Canada's Stonehenge, which is also the title of his book.
"A central cairn atop one of a series of low hills overlooking the Bow River, about 70 kilometres east of Calgary, had been partially excavated in 1971 and dated at about 5,000 years old.
But as he approached it, Freeman strongly felt there was much more there than previously thought.
Site Name: Majorville Medicine Wheel Alternative Name: Iniskim Umaapi, Sundial Medicine Wheel, 'Canada's Stonehenge'Country: Canada Type: Round Cairn Nearest Town: Calgary Nearest Village: Milo Latitude: 50.585167N Longitude: 112.410639WCondition: Image: Majorville Medicine Wheel submitted by Runemage Medicine Wheel in Vulcan County, Alberta.
The central cairn is nine metres in diameter and is surrounded by a stone circle 27 metre across. In 1971 an excavation yielded artifacts which were "dated" by stone tool style.
This method and radiocarbon dating of bone place initial construction of the central cairn at some 4,500 BP, although another source dates the initial site to 3200 BP.
The tool finds indicate a succession of added material over the centuries.
The site became known to the world in 2009 when academic Gordon Freeman published a book stating his theory that the site was an astronomical calendar on par with Stonehenge.
Canadian Press story no longer available at their site: "An academic maverick is challenging conventional wisdom on Canada's prehistory by claiming an archeological site in southern Alberta is really a vast, open-air sun temple with a precise 5,000-year-old calendar predating England's Stonehenge and Egypt's pyramids." "Mainstream archaeologists consider the rock-encircled cairn to be just another medicine wheel left behind by early aboriginals.
But a new book by retired University of Alberta professor Gordon Freeman says it is in fact the centre of a 26-square-kilometre stone "lacework" that marks the changing seasons and the phases of the moon with greater accuracy than our current calendar.
"'Genius existed on the prairies 5,000 years ago,' says Freeman, the widely published former head of the university's physical and theoretical chemistry department.