The Sun Dagger: Chaco Canyon

High atop the dramatic Fajada Butte at the entryway to Chaco Canyon is the most enigmatic and celebrated of Chaco's sites. There, a set of spiral petroglyphs pecked into a cliff face behind 3 huge pieces of sandstone rock functions as a sophisticated solar marker. At summer season solstice, a vertical shaft of light pierces the primary spiral precisely at its center. At the winter season solstice, 2 shafts of light perfectly bracket the exact same spiral. Light shafts strike the center of a smaller sized spiral on the spring and fall equinoxes. This site, now called the Sun Dagger, was spotted by Anna Sofaer in 1977. After abundant analysis, Sofaer and her associates published information that revealed that the spirals might likewise track the 18.6-year lunar cycle. Sadly, it's no longer possible to see the Sun Dagger in action. In 1989, the rock pieces moved, potentially from accelerated disintegration due to visitors, and the effect was forever ruined. Today, the site is closed to visitors.

Native American Religion in Early America, Divining America, TeacherServe®, National Humanities Center
Native American tribes in North Dakota have their own distinct origins, history and language, but they all had and still have the same behavior, with the exception of the Nakota (commonly known as Sioux). The tribes of the plain are united by fundamental beliefs and values derived from their history and culture. read more
History & Culture - Chaco Culture National Historical Park (U.S. National Park Service)
For all the remote charm of Chaco Canyon's high-desert landscape, its brutally long winter season, ultra-brief growing season, and scare rains make it an unlikely location for the Capitol of Anasazi / Ancestral Puebloan culture. Utilizing masonry methods never before seen in North America, they built huge, complex stone structures (multi-story Great Houses) consisting of numerous rooms much bigger than any the Anasazi had formerly constructed. read more
Pueblo Bonito - Chaco Culture National Historical Park (U.S. National Park Service)
Pueblo Bonito is one of the most extensively researched and commemorated cultural sites in Chaco Canyon. Planned and built in phases in between 850 AD - 1150 AD by Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) individuals, this was structure in Chaco Canyon was the center of the Chacoan world. read more

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