David Greenwald of the Jornada Research Institute announces a recent publication of interest to the GCAS and describes the circumstances of its development:
Beginning in the Spring of 2020 (during early Covid), myself and John Groh (JRI Research Associate) were invited to participate in a symposium on communal and ritual locations in the Mogollon region of the Southwest. The impact of Covid on the symposium resulted in delays in submitting and presenting our contribution to the professional community, eventually presenting our contribution as a Zoom talk in the Fall of 2021. John and I prepared a paper on the function of the first documented great kiva in the Tularosa Basin that dates to approximate AD 650 to 725. The discovery of this great kiva is highly significant in itself, but our research also showed that the great kiva served functions beyond that of a community ritual structure, that being as an observatory from which celestial events were monitored (both solar and lunar positions and possibly Venus and bright stars).
The contribution we made to the recently released book by the University of Utah Press is the first published information available on the great kivas, community irrigation systems, and villages in Tularosa Canyon and southern New Mexico. We plan to release more about the discoveries in Tularosa Canyon over the next few years in various formats because these archaeological discoveries are some of the most significant yet reported for this area. Although we lack the outstanding architecture of places like Chaco Canyon and other monuments such as Stonehenge, the ability of the people living 1400 years ago in Tularosa Canyon to monitor celestial activities is on par with other peoples around the world. Archaeologists have not yet developed an in-depth understanding of “primitive” knowledge as it relates to time keeping, charting of the celestial movements, or what we refer to as scared geometry, archaeoastronomy, or archaeogeometry. But, more and more sites are being discovered that exhibit a relationship to specific celestial events, and with the recognition of associations, we are beginning to understand a little better that what we have referred to as “primitive” cultures should probably include some of our own thinking and understanding of the universe. The Jornada Mogollon may not have had a written language, but they had a great understanding of the universe around them, a universe that they were a part.
To acquire a copy of MOGOLLON COMMUNAL SPACES AND PLACES IN THE GREATER AMERICAN SOUTHWEST, edited by Robert J. Stokes, Katherine A. Dungan, and Jakob W. Sedig, follow this link or contact The University of Utah Press directly.