The Circlestone Ruin

2006 GIS Project Maps
Below are map images from the MCC@Red Mt. Circlestone Mapping Project reflecting the data collected on the 2006 expedition. Click on any of the maps to enlarge them to their original size.

Click for Large Map

Satellite imagery showed the flat portion of the east wall of the ruin is very close to a north/south alignment, as compared with the 1984 and 2003 maps shown in the upper left corner of this map. Click here for the: geo-referenced image used for mapping the ruin and All Out Aerial photo used for digitizing.


Circlestone Series
Introduction Map

The map to the right reflects a discrepancy between earlier maps of the ruin and the geo-referenced satellite imagery the team used for this new GIS generated map series.


Click to enlarge to original map size

Reavis Ranch to the Circlestone Ruin

The Project Team set their base camp just north of the Reavis Ranch homestead site in a meadow bordered by apple trees.

There are many historic ruins deep in the Superstition Wilderness. When visiting, please leave them just as you found them. Arizona's wilderness areas are national treasures; visitors are obligated to share responsibility for preserving these unique natural and cultural resources.

Base Camp Photo
Reavis Foundation
Aerial Photo of Ruin

Solstice & Equinox Alignments

One of the first questions everyone seems to ask when confronted with the Circlestone ruin is, "Was the ruin some kind of calendar akin to Medicine Wheel, Wyoming or even Stonehenge?" There does appear to be possible sun alignments suggested after accurately mapping the ruin.

Solstice and equinox sunrise may have been marked or measured on or by the straight portion of the east wall. The other alignment the data suggests is a horizon marker at Spring Equinox. The sun sets directly atop Tortilla Mountain in the photograph on the map which was taken from the ruin on March 21, 2003.

Click for a large version of the map.
Click for the large map

The Unique Veiw Window toward Phoenix from Circlestone

The Circlestone Ruin is geographically placed so that in looking west from the ruin, one not only can view the equinox sunset on Tortilla Mountain, you also look directly down on the city of Phoenix 45 miles away.

This map shows the view window between the Usary Mountains and the Superstition Mountain on to the desrert basin. The ancient Hohokam pueblos and irrigation system is layered over the metro street grid.

The Red Mountain campus of Mesa Community College is also centered in the view window. The project team was unable to attempt signaling between the campus and the ruin, but without light polution, signaling between Circlestone and the Hohokam's Pueblo Grande would have been possible.

Picture of Tempe Town Lake from Circlestone


The Surrounding Ruins

The sites plotted on this map are all recorded in the Tonto National Forest Archeological Archives.  There are surely many more, since most that have been recorded are near trails.  The trails in the Superstitions probably follow routes used by ancient people.  Therefore the habitations depicted here are most likely representative of geographic habitation patterns.

While researching these sites, Chris Allen found another stone circle recorded as "Paridise Spring Overlook."  The circle is 70 meters in diameter with a stone pile in the center, almost twice as big as Circlestone; although, the walls are apparently not nearly as thick or tall.  It is labeled "Paradise Overlook" on this map.  The site was recorded by Charles Vernon on 4/15/93.  In his report, he wrote: "Site is very similar to the well known Circlestone site to the southeast, but not nearly as well defined. . . . Similarity to Circlestone indicates possibility that it too, was a ceremonial site."

Surrounding Ruins




Click here to enlarge equinox picture