In any given month, the rising moon swings between two extremes on the eastern horizon, similar to the oscillation of the rising sun during the year. When the moon reaches its maximum northern or southern declination, it has a “standstill” similar to the sun at summer and winter solstices. The standstills could be said to be the moon’s equivalence to the Solar Solstices. [for details on lunar standstills, refer to Native American Skies: Lunar Standstills]
This week’s article can be viewed as a video [click here]
The mystery to me is, “Why here?” Casa Rinconado is the largest and most elaborate great kiva built by the Chacoan Culture. The other great kivas comparable to Casa Rinconada are in Great House plazas, but not this one. This Great Kiva was constructed across Chaco Wash; across the canyon valley from the major great houses amongst smaller, poorly constructed villages probably occupied by plebeian workers and farmers. And yet its size, beauty and accommodations were fit for royalty.
It was constructed atop a natural hillside and the imposing architecture of this great kiva dominated the view from the smaller villages and the valley. A segment of Chacoan road connected Casa Rinconada to Pueblo Bonito. So, was it built for the poor villagers or did the ellite cross regally on the grand road across the creek to attend glorious ceremonies?
Mayans in New Mexico? In the Chaco Culture National Historical Park there is a Great House built by the ancestral Puebloan culture that is a glaring example of the influence of the Mayan culture. If you look closely at the front wall facing the plaza at Chetro Ketl, you can see that it “was originally built as a row of masonry columns which once held horizontal timbers to support a roof over an open cloister-like porch.” This quote is from the guide book provided by the NHP. It goes on to say, “Sometime later the spaces between the columns were filled with masonry to completely close the passageway.” And later the area was divided further into smaller rooms.