The following is a brief overview of the research and conclusions
of the Solstice Project, founded by Anna Sofaer. To read the
in-depth research on their findings, go the their website: SOLSTICE
The People of Chaco were part of the "Anasazi"
or "Ancient Ones" who once inhabited much of the Southwest.
Through the Solstice Project, Anna Sofaer and her team have done
extensive and open-minded research into the concept that the ruins of
Chaco were once impressive structures created for some cosmic-spiritual
purpose and were not intended for use in the mundane world. To quote
from The Solstice Project website:
"Recent studies by the Solstice Project indicate that
the major buildings of the ancient Chacoan culture of New Mexico
contain solar and lunar cosmology in three separate articulations:
their orientations, internal geometry, and geographic
interrelationships were developed in relationship to the cycles of the
sun and moon.
"...Chaco Canyon was a 'central
archive for esoteric knowledge, such as maintenance of the region's
ceremonial calendar.' "
Rooms in the buildings are mostly very small, with little or no
openings for light and no roof holes for smoke ventilation. There is for
the most part, no evidence that these rooms were ever lived in, or fires
built within them.
Many of these small rooms have entrances
that were sealed off with stone masonry long before the entire structure
THE SUN DAGGER
One of the most intriguing aspects of Chaco
Canyon is the "Sun Dagger" of Fajada
Butte. For detailed
information, photographs and drawings of the Sun Dagger, go to the
Solstice Project pages on this topic: A
UNIQUE SOLAR MARKING CONSTRUCT. In brief, however, the Sun
Dagger is composed of two spiral petroglyphs on a cliff of Fajada Butte
in Chaco Canyon. These petroglyphs are positioned directly behind
three large and obviously carefully positioned stone slabs, through
which the light of both the sun and the moon have access to the two
spiral petroglyphs on the cliff face.
To quote from "The
Solstice Project website:
"An assembly of stone slabs on an isolated butte in New
Mexico collimates sunlight onto spiral petroglyphs carved on a cliff
face. The light illuminates the spirals in a changing pattern
throughout the year and marks the solstices and equinoxes with
particular images. The assembly can also be used to observe lunar
phenomena. It is unique in archeoastronomy in utilizing the changing
height of the midday sun throughout the year rather than its rising
and setting points. The construct appears to be the result of
deliberate work of the Anasazi Indians, the builders of the great
pueblos in the area."