Starless and Bible-black


The last in our academic travelogues from our 2005 Field School in Anthropology and Astronomy (soon to come Seattle , Portugal , and more!). Meantime, Kath Williams continues her report from Chaco Canyon

Day 7/8 Also on our itinerary was a rafting trip from Paige to Lees Ferry taking in the sights of Glenn Canyon You gain access to the rafts by travelling down a tunnel cut into the sides of the canyon where you eventually reach the foot of the dam where the rafting trip begins. As we were down river of a series of dams that have been built on the Colorado River , the water in the canyon was calm. This though, gave us the opportunity of looking up at the canyon walls in a leisurely manner and added greatly to our understanding and appreciation of those who had ‘gone before’.

Day 9/10 Chaco Canyon. Arrived at night and the skies were incredible . . . inky black and riotous with stars. Woke to find our camp ground featured an ancient ruin – a lovely and most welcome surprise! Toured the site both independently and with a Ranger and managed to get a general ‘feel’ for the place as well as some in-depth information on two of the most famous and important buildings, Casa Rinconada and Pueblo Bonito Although the Ancient Pueblo Indians seem to have concentrated their astronomical observations on the Sun and Moon, they were extremely accomplished astronomers and were able to build complex (probably public) buildings that are aligned with the cardinal directions and, perhaps, allowed for solar observations from within their confines. There are both pictographs and petroglyphs to be found at the site and two, in particular, have created great excitement and on-going discussion in the disciplines of Astronomy and Archaeology. One is the alleged record of the occurrence of the supernova of 1054 which resulted in the deep sky remnant now known as the Crab Nebula and the second is the Sun Dagger , discovered (or re-discovered) atop Fajada Butte in 1977 by Anna Sofaer.

Day12/13 Back into California and on to Saddleback Butte and the Antelope Valley Indian Museum This quirky and interesting site has hosted sessions for students of Glamorgan for the past three years. We were once again greeted by the knowledgeable and gracious curator, Edra Moore, who gave us a completely new programme this year which included a tour of Paiute Butte and the rock art and assumed rock passageways that can be found there.

Day 14 Santa Monica Back to reality and the unpacking and storage of the field school equipment just waiting to be put back into action for another year and another batch of students. Once more, a successful end to an informative and highly enjoyable ‘Glamorgan Field School’

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