Stephen W. Oachs Photography

"Star Tales"

This ancient circular room is known as a Great Kiva, and it's one of the largest ever discovered. Kivas are built into the ground and are generally believed to be ceremonial centers for regional communities. This particular kiva is thought to possibly have had a wooden structured roof at one time, but it has long since weathered away over the centuries.

The Pueblo, Anasazi and other Indian tribes of the desert Southwest four corners region were highly skilled at observing the night sky, much like the Egyptian and Mayan civilizations. The ancient tribes built their structures, including their kivas, around celestial patterns. This particular kiva is built perfectly aligned with Polaris (the North Star).

In this one-hour exposure, the stars were forever captured dancing through the night sky as the earth rotated as it has through centuries past. With the full moon exactly overhead at 1:29 am, the kiva walls and floor were illuminated, providing an ethereal glimpse of what little remains of this once great and culturally important landmark.



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