Solar Astronomy in the Prehistoric Southwest

Cliff dwelling image
Mesa Verde has early cliff dwellings.

To varying degrees, nearly every known ancient human civilization has been preoccupied with the heavens. The Sun was especially an object of central importance to the prehistoric Native American civilizations. There is evidence that they carefully watched the movements of the Sun along the horizon and observed the play of light through windows and portholes at crucial times of the year. These ancient people supported full-time religious leaders with shrines or temples (Kivas). Most believed that in the universe there exists an Almighty, a formless spiritual force that is the source of all life. The sun was venerated as the power of the Almighty.

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