|This row of stones laid east to west would |
have shown an ever decreasing shadow
at mid day on the north side as the sun
approached zenith day of June 21
Update Feb 2015
Solar Observations, Zenith Day
Alta Vista ruin site's position on the Tropic of Cancer would allow the observation of the one Zenith day each year for this point on earth. The people living south of the tropic of Cancer in the ancient MesoAmerican cities would have observed two zenith days annually. Alta vista being on the Tropic of Cancer would observe just one: June 21 or June 22.
When I saw the Hall of Columns at Chalchihuites I was reminded of Stonehenge. The literature claims that the tightly grouped columns, 28 in all, supported a roof in ancient times but this is hard to swallow; the columns are too closely packed and appear to be significant in themselves. I suspect that they were used to observe the movement of the sun over the earth in its seasonal changes. (28 columns)
With the standing stones of Stonehenge still in my mind I remembered other standing stones a lot closer to Chalchihuites, a group of isolated columns at the ruin site of Izapa in Chiapas. At Izapa, a sprawling ruin site in the thick, humid jungle along the coast of
|Hall of Columns, Alta Vista Zacatecas|
|Stone column at Izapa |
Ruin Site, Tapachula, Chiapas
Olmec culture of 1200 BC. When you see these columns and stones with no apparent utility you could imagine a sun worshiper religion that developed their observational skills over thousands of years to evolve into the use of mathematics and detailed observations of planets and stars. These observations later fluoresced into the complex calculations evident in the later Mayan civilization.
Other standing stones on the Alta Vista site which seem to have no structural significance could also have been sun trackers. A row of low stone blocks runs roughly from east to west and another crosses it that runs north to south. These would make a perfect solar time piece and calendar. By observing the length and direction of shadows throughout the day and throughout the year, one could track the seasonal progression of the sun and its approach to the annual zenith day.
|Walls at Alta vista Ruin that create |
sight lines to the distant peaks
The town of Chalchihuites could provide lodging and limited services for visitors but it must be some scramble for lodging on the runup to the 21st of June. On a recent 2014 trip I found only one hotel open due to the influx on mine workers occupying all other hotels. I didn't need to worry about a hotel on this trip I was on a day trip so I caught a late afternoon bus back to Zacatecas where I spent the night in the Hotel Condesa, a solid place in the Historic Center and not a bad value at $39.00 USD although it did not offer WiFi.
Early the next day I went about 30 miles south from Zacatecas City by local bus to the town of Vilanueva where I could get a taxi back north nine miles to another enigmatic Zacatecas ruin site, the ruin of La Quemada.
Next, Ruin of La Quemada or Chicomostoc