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From the square tower’s small third story window noted in the preceding slide, a line pointing to the moon set azimuth of the (southern) major lunar standstill passes through the narrow gap between the two large towers of the Sun Temple. It has been suggested that this is an intentional construct aimed at marking major lunar standstills. Further support for this hypothesis comes from the two aforementioned pictographs, reproduced on Figure 1. The first (on the left) can be interpreted as a space-time diagram of the moon set’s daily displacement along the horizon: azimuth runs horizontally and time vertically upward, and the zigzag lines depict the back-and-forth motion of the moon along the horizon, for the rising (left half of diagram) and setting (right half) Moon. Note that there are a total of twelve zigzags depicted in each half of the diagram, which come as close to adding up to a year as it could, given that the year and lunar month are not commensurate.

Of course, different interpretations of these pictographs are possible, especially since zig-zag patterns and rows of tick marks are common in Anasazi rock art. Other possible evidence for the Anasazi’s lunar interests can be found at nearby Chimney Rock, where, as seen from the mesa-top pueblo, moon rise at major standstills is neatly framed by the twin rock towers giving the site its name (see “1. The Ancient People”). It has been also suggested that the 3-slab slit site on Fajada butte could have also served as a marker of major lunar standstills, based on the way in which the side edge of the outer slab casts a shadow across the spiral petroglyph. Once again the lunar-cycle interpretations of these sites represent only plausible conjectures. A significant counterargument comes from the lunar astronomical practices of modern Pueblo people, who show great interest in the phases of the moon for time-keeping and yearly calendrical purposes, but not in its longer orbital or calendrical cycles.