Van Nuys Earthworks Site
In the graphic below you can see the original survey (in grey) of the earthworks at Van Nuys, overlooking Little Blue River. It is overlaid on a satellite image (Google Earth, in green) of the area of the bluff southeast of intersection of Hwy 103 and CR 200 N - about 3 miles southwest of our campus. Dr. Walter Van Nuys was the superintendent of the Epileptic Village in the area, and the site is named after him.
This was the former site of the administration buildings of the State Hospital and later used as “North Campus” for New Castle Schools. I have added all of the labels.
Red Circles indicate the rough locations and the relative sizes of the mounds.
They’re faint, but in the original grey map (overlaid) the mounds are numbered, while lettered structures are former hospital facilities. All but three mounds are now gone.
Alignment and relationship between the “Great Mound” and the smaller mounds.
At 40° North Latitude the declination of sunrise and sunset from true east at the solstices is approximately 30° north in the summer and 30° south in the winter, and, like everywhere else on Earth, is at 90° and 270° at the equinoxes. This alignment creates an equilateral triangle between sight points on the mounds.
There is also evidence of alignment to the ratio known as the “Golden Ratio” which is the ratio of 1 to 1.61. This has been recognized as an aesthetically and mathematically pleasing ratio in many cultures since very early times.
Below, in gold, it is the measure of the east-west distance between the “Great Mound” (Westernmost and largest mound) and the north-south line created by the northernmost and southernmost earthworks, and the north-south line created by the “corner” mounds.
Some of the relationships between lines appear to be the same ratio as is one to the square root of two. They are shown in a rust color. Many other mounds also have a 30° alignment as well, also shown in red.
(The image above shows what “archaeology” did to the site.)
We’ll remove the old grey survey drawing overlay on the image below to see the relationships more clearly.
The “Golden Spiral” is also found in the spacing between the center-line created by the Great Mound and the rest of the complex, as well at the proportions of the complex from east-to-west and from north-to-
If you connect the corners of the squares which are created by multiplying the side of the previous square by the golden ratio, the shape grows by the golden ratio and the arcs create a seashell shape as they grow.
The red arcs show two other examples of this “seashell” ratio in the design of the site.
It becomes even more clear that this is a sophisticated and complex calendar, carefully designed and obviously guided by generations of careful astronomy. You can see how the sight lines for the solstices and equinoxes and true north determine the whole composition.
In a moment we’ll subtract the background completely
and you can see the complexity of the design.
The structures, alignment, and science become art. The aesthetic arrangements work precisely because it is science. All things art are science, and science, art. This is very much more than dirt arranged to watch the sky.
We do, in fact, come to work each day about 3 ½ miles from what may be one of the largest works of art in Indiana.
Most of this site was pillaged by the early settlers, then the hospital construction started the major leveling of the site, which was finished by the Ball State University Archaeology department. Only three small mounds remain, in pretty bad shape, all north of the old road.
And this very morning, Monday, March 20, at 7:46 am (local time), the sun will rise exactly along a path measured by each of those red east-west lines and will set that evening on the western horizon on a point perfectly opposite. Art and science, observed and realized.