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Salmon Ruins lecture to focus on astronomical observatory

On Friday, July 13, at 7 p.m., the Aztec Ruins Summer Lecture Series will host archeologist Larry Baker.

The presentation, titled “Astronomical Observatory at Salmon Pueblo, “will offer insight into some of the latest research at the Salmon Ruins archeological site.

Just as horizons and respective horizon watching are important to present-day Pueblo people, prehistoric people made celestial observation to mark time and predict calendar events.

Recent research at salmon Pueblo, an 11th century Chacoan satellite community near Bloomfield, N.M., suggests that an astronomical observatory was integrated into the construction of the pueblo’s floor plan. A feature in this room serves as a mechanism to monitor celestial events, thereby marking time as a calendrical device.

The slide lecture will detail the features, which are the components of the functional observation station, present the reconstruction of the features associated with the early Chacoan period floor, and bring the astronomical observations to “light.”

From 1993 to present, Larry Baker has served as the executive director of the San Juan County Archaeological Research Center and Library at Salmon Ruins. Baker has over 37 years of experience as a professional archaeologist in the American Southwest. His expertise includes research, cultural resource management and ruins stabilization/historic preservation. His involvement at Salmon Ruins and in Rio Puerco Valley projects during the 1970s, under the direction of Cynthia Irwin-Williams, led to his current interests in prehistoric and historic architecture, archaeoastronomy, and the Ancestral Puebloans of northwestern New Mexico. Baker has also written numerous agency reports, papers, and publications (

The lecture will be held in the Visitor Center and admission is free.

For more information, call Aztec Ruins at (505) 334-6174 or check the webpage at in the Schedule of Events.

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