Master of Arts in Anthropology
First Committee Member
Barbara Roth, Chair
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
Graduate Faculty Representative
Number of Pages
This thesis is an archaeoastronomical study of a Late Pithouse Period (A.D. 550-1000) Mimbres-Mogollon site in the American Southwest. It specifically examines whether there is an association between architecture and astronomy at the Harris Site in the upper Mimbres Valley in southwestern New Mexico. The hypothesis for the study is that Mimbres pithouse groups observed astronomical phenomena and used such phenomena to guide the construction of their structures and establish a calendar. The methods used in this investigation include evaluating whether the site placement, the orientation and alignment of structures/houses, and the presence of cultural features on surrounding ridge tops are related to astronomical sight lines, or the direction of celestial events. The results are that while the site placement is not significant, the orientations and alignments as well as the placement of cultural feature placements do show a connection to astronomy, likely related to the establishment of a calendar.
Archaeoastronomy; Architectural alignments; Astrology and architecture; Calendar; Indians of North America; Mimbres-Mogollon; New Mexico – Mimbres River Valley; Southwest archaeology; Southwest; New
Archaeological Anthropology | History of Science, Technology, and Medicine | Indigenous Studies
Ruzicka, Denise, "Is there evidence for the observation and use of astronomy at the Harris Site in the Mimbres Valley?" (2010). UNLV Theses, Dissertations, Professional Papers, and Capstones. 848.