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Book & Research > Solstice Project Papers

Inter-site Alignments of Prehistoric Shrines in Chaco Canyon to the Major Lunar Standstill

by Anna Sofaer, Robert Weiner, and William Stone. 2017. In The Science of Time 2016: Time in Astronomy & Society, Past, Present and Future, edited by E. Arias, L. Combrinck, et al, pp. 79-102. Astrophysics and Space Science Proceedings 50. Springer, Cham.

Media > 2017

Chaco Canyon Image

Chaco Canyon Image

Media > 2018

Sundagger Colorimagebullfrog

Sundagger Colorimagebullfrog

Media > 2019













News & Events > Archive

BLM at it Again! Act Fast to Save Chaco Region!


Despite the cancellation of a 4,434-acre lease of oil and gas parcels north of Chaco Canyon, Secretary Zinke and the BLM continue an assault on the cultural resources of ancient America throughout the Four Corners states. Tomorrow, on March 20, the BLM will proceed with a lease of 41,000 acres in southeastern Utah in an area rich with archaeological sites.
At least 10 Chaco Great Houses are within 2 miles of these parcels, including at least two Great House sites within the new lease boundaries. In addition, at least 4 prehistoric road segments are adjacent to or within the parcels.


There are also countless archaeological sites and rock art panels spanning thousands of years in and near the leases. In the words of Jim Allison, a professor at Brigham Young University, “There are so many sites [in the area], it would take an army of archaeologists decades to map them… they shouldn’t do oil and gas extraction there.” Make your voice heard and stand up against further attacks on these invaluable traces of America’s indigenous history!

Call or e-mail Secretary Zinke at

(202) 208-7351,

and Utah BLM State Director Ed Roberson at

(801) 539-4010,



News & Events > Current

Chaco’s Protection Wins a Few Gains!

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt issued a moratorium on oil and gas leasing within a 10-mile radius of New Mexico's Chaco Culture National Historical Park for at least a year after touring the park last week with Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.)! In the meantime, Heinrich and Udall’s legislation to permanently protect federal lands inside this same 10-mile buffer zone is working through the Senate, while a companion bill works through the House.

For Senator Heinrich’s press release, see here.

Last month, the 10th Circuit Court reversed or suspended hundreds of leases for oil and gas drilling in the nearby Chaco Canyon region, which is another gain for its protection. However the BLM had been approving thousands of leases without assessing their cumulative impact as required by law, so we need to continue our vigilance to protect Chaco and require the BLM’s leasing plan for public review.

Untold Stories of Chaco Canyon


The New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science Presents

Untold Stories of Chaco Canyon

with Santa Fe Author Anna Sofaer of the Solstice Project

"Revealing Untold Told Stories of Chaco Canyon: Archaeocosmology"
with Anna Sofaer

at The New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science
December 12th from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. 



For Immediate Release: December 5, 2019 (Albuquerque, New Mexico) The New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science will present “Revealing Untold Told Stories of Chaco Canyon: Archaeocosmology” on December 12th from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Author Anna Sofaer, and researchers Richard Friedman and Robert Weiner will discuss their latest findings on the Chaco Culture.

The research team uses new three-dimensional computer modeling to examine the complex developments of Pueblo Bonito (considered the most important ritual center in Chaco Canyon). Pueblo Bonito’s intriguing geometric formations united with its solar alignments show the vast mathematical, architectural and astronomical knowledge of the Chacoans.

Pueblo Bonito, the largest house in Chaco Culture National Historic Park had up to 800 rooms built up to four stories using solar alignments. It was built and rebuilt over a span of 300 years. The structure was built by Ancestral Puebloans between 828 and 1126 AD. Items such as copper bells, scarlet macaws, gambling pieces and cacao, reveal rich ceremonial activity in Pueblo Bonito.

The latest research opens a wider window on the American Southwest with comparisons to cosmology centers around the ancient world. The new research uses LiDAR technology to document the enigmatic Chaco “roads” which connect the Great Houses with Great Kivas.

The lecture at the Museum will discuss astronomy’s importance to the Chaco culture as well as unique objects found at the site. The themes and illustrations presented in this talk also form the core of the Solstice Project’s new film in progress: “Pueblo Bonito: Heart of the Chaco World.” The Solstice Project’s earlier films directed by Anna Sofaer, include “The Mystery of Chaco Canyon” and “The Sun Dagger” (broadcast by PBS and narrated by Robert Redford.) For more information visit

Videos and signed books from expert Anna Sofaer will be available for purchase on the evening of the event. The Museum’s one-of-a-kind exhibit on the Sun Dagger (produced by the Solstice Project) will be open for viewing in the Space Science wing.

Tickets are $8 for the general public, $7 for Museum members, and $5 for students. Preregistration is encouraged. Visit for tickets and more details.

(Anna Sofaer rediscovered the Sun Dagger in Chaco Canyon. Her non-profit Solstice Project focuses on research and education of the Chaco culture. Richard Friedman is an expert in GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and has integrated aerial technologies with ground surveying. Robert Weiner, PhD. is a student at the University of Colorado Boulder and has focused his research on Chacoan roads and Mesoamerican objects from Chaco Canyon.)


More Details:

Image: Courtesy: Bob Adams

Media Contact: Andrea Jacquin,">  505-206-9144


New Mexico Geospatial Advisory Committee's Techno High event

Anna Sofaer and Rich Friedman of The Solstice Project presented “Chaco Canyon: Unraveling More Mystery” during the New Mexico Geospatial Advisory Committee's Techno High event. Their talk explored how new modeling and imaging technology have created new appreciation of the stunning grandeur and ritual intensity of Chaco’s architecture and “roads.” Using detailed 3-D modeling, they examined the development of the Chacoans’  two largest Great Houses —Pueblo Bonito and Chetro Ketl— as they grew over centuries from modest Pueblo style architecture to four stories,  containing  hundreds of rooms and scores of kivas. The labor and planning entailed is unprecedented in the American Southwest. Results of  the Solstice Project’s recent analysis of the Chaco “roads”, with LiDAR acquisition and Drone imagery, also shows the Chacoans’ extraordinary investment in developing these elaborate linear features for symbolic purpose. The Solstice Project is working on its third PBS film documenting this fascinating story.


Here’s a message from Von Del Chamberlain we found very beautiful:

"The planet Venus is creeping up on the star cluster known as the Pleiades. Venus will appear to join this tightly-knit star group on the nights of April 2 and 3. This will be beautiful to our eyes (binoculars will help), but most important of all it can be a provocative message for our minds.


This comes to us through old traditions of the Pawnee Nation of North America. For those true Native Americans, the planet Venus was considered the mother of the human race and the Pleiades were symbolic of the significance of unity among the human family.


Go out and watch between now and those two days in early April as the perceived mother of humanity moves into the family in the sky. Listen with your eyes as She, along with Her celestial family shout down to us the message that we must be united as one family. Surely no more important memorandum is needed, all around the globe, right now. WE, THE HUMAN FAMILY – ALL OF US – MUST LIVE THE PRINCIPLE OF UNITY – IF WE ARE TO SURVIVE!"


Annual Letter from the Solstice Project

Chaco Films & Videos/The Mystery of Chaco Canyon/chaco_mystery.jpg
We're honored that NMPBS will air our award-winning film, "The Mystery of Chaco Canyon," in honor of National Native America Heritage Month.

The film will air twice—at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 18 on channel 5.1 and again at 10 p.m. on Monday, November 22 on channel 5.4. Hope you can tune in .

Since its release in 2000, the film has aired more than 10,000 times on 95% of PBS stations across the country.

We're thrilled to announce that our award-winning film, "The Mystery of Chaco Canyon" is now streaming on Amazon Prime at this link:

In addition, you can now purchase the DVD of our full-length documentary, narrated by Robert Redford, on Amazon. Here's the link:



Annual Letter from the Solstice Project

Dear Friend,

Alonso Mendexa and Ann SofaerWith great thanks for your continuing interest and support, we wish to share the exciting progress of our new film Written on the Landscape: Mysteries Beyond Chaco Canyon, and the results of our recent research in the greater Chaco World.

For details, please see our Annual Letter by clicking the image here, to the right.

You will view our innovative modeling and animation of the monumental Chaco buildings and go on an in depth journey into Pueblo Bonito, a building on a par with temple architecture of the ancient world. With these new technologies, our film draws out the remarkable complexity of the Chaco World and its vast expanse across the Four Corners. Media/2021/Annual Letter Html E3ae345ef5557dc0/Annual_Letter_Html_E3ae345ef5557dc0.pngWe explore the stimulating impact of Mesoamerican objects in the inner precinct of Bonito and learn from parallel developments in the wider Mesoamerican region of solar and lunar astronomy.

In our recent interviews and field work we have gained insights into the intensity of the ritual lives of the ancient Chacoans and perceptions of their skills of mapping an immense desert terrain with their intricate cosmology.

Our efforts continue to protect the Chaco legacy, and to share its beauty and accomplishments through our films and papers. Look for a rebroadcast by KNME at summer solstice of our last film The Mystery of Chaco Canyon.

Your support is vital to our work. Please send your tax deductible contributions by clicking here, or mailing a check to our address below. You can follow us on Facebook for current news at, you can also follow the page for our new move at!


Anna Sofaer
Founder and President
Solstice Project


Our Research Continues in the Wider Chaco World…

Rob Weiner, John Stein, and Rich Friedman at Kin Nizhoni Great House, AZ, perusing Rob’s Ph.D. dissertation research on Chaco Roads.