Tuesday, September 19, 2017

What's in a name?

Early European settlers along the Animas River in northern New Mexico thought they'd discovered Aztec ruins. So they named their town Aztec. However, the Ancestral Puebloans (who we used to call Anasazi) who built the stone villages were only very distantly related to the Aztecs. They also predated the Aztecs. But mistakes often stick.

I went to Aztec Ruins National Monument because Craig Childs wrote about it in House of Rain. He went there on a rainy day to sit and meditate in the reconstructed kiva. I did the same. It even rained briefly.

Archaeologist Earl H. Morris rebuilt the kiva in 1934. There was a lot of guesswork involved, so it's more about an impression than architectural detail. And about getting out of an afternoon cloudburst.

A fellow visitor asked if I knew what this was. Her guess was as good as mine. And Earl H. Morris's.


  1. Replies
    1. Very possible. The left and right spikes could align with the equinoxes and the center could align with the solstices. Or the center spike could cast its shadow across different parts of the circle at diferent times of year.