Solstice Project researchers Anna Sofaer, Richard Friedman and Robert Weiner will share their latest research findings revealing the vast extent of the Chaco culture across an area the size of Ohio and the compelling cosmology that underlay its regional power, according to a news release.
The presentation is sponsored by the San Juan Basin Archaeological Society and the San Juan Citizen’s Alliance, society publicity chair Jill Tripp said. More information is available at www.solsticeproject.org.
Titled “Chacoan Astronomy, Cosmography, Roads, and Ritual Power: New Insights into Chaco’s Powerful Expanse using New Technologies,” the talk by the three researchers will review the Chacoans’ complex solar and lunar astronomy, as commemorated at the Sun Dagger site and in the alignments of buildings, Janice Sheftel said in a news release.
“The three will talk about the striking ritual objects found at Pueblo Bonito, such as macaws, cacao, copper bells and gambling pieces,” she said. “The hundreds of outlying Great Houses throughout the Chaco world are brought to life through 3-D models.”
The researchers also will share the results of the Solstice Project’s use of LiDAR technology to document enigmatic Chaco “roads,” Sheftel said.
“The group’s latest findings reveal that the topographic trajectory of Chaco Canyon aligns to the major lunar standstill as viewed from a Great House, just as Chimney Rock’s landform frames the standstill moon’s rising from ritual architecture,” she added.
About the speakersAnna Sofaer rediscovered the Sun Dagger site in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, at the summer solstice in 1977. She founded the nonprofit Solstice Project and has conducted three decades of research at Chaco, according to Sheftel’s news release. She has produced, directed and co-written two award-winning PBS documentaries “The Sun Dagger” and “The Mystery of Chaco Canyon,” narrated by Robert Redford. Her work has been republished in the book “Chaco Astronomy: An Ancient American Cosmology.” She is producing and co-directing a third film and writing a book.Richard Friedman has studied Chaco Canyon for more than 30 years, Sheftel said, by combining skills in geology, remote sensing, archaeology and digital technology. Friedman worked with the Navajo Nation Chaco Sites Protection Program to document countless Great Houses and roads throughout the Four Corners region. Friedman has published numerous articles on Chacoan architecture, roads, and agriculture. He teaches in the GIS program at San Juan College in Farmington.Robert Weiner is a research associate with the Solstice Project and Research Affiliate with the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology at Brown University and plans to start a Ph.D. in archaeology at Harvard this fall. Weiner studies gambling, roads, ritual, Mesoamerican connections and astronomy at Chaco. The published researcher has conducted archaeological fieldwork in New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Turkey.The program is free and open to the public. For more information, visit sjbas.org.