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Figure 13.7. An Ipai ground painting of Earth and Sky shows four directional mountains, one of which may correspond to Creation Mountain at Black Point. Drawing by Sharon Hanna, after Hudson (1984).

Figure 13.7. An Ipai ground painting of Earth and Sky shows four directional mountains, one of which may correspond to Creation Mountain at Black Point. Drawing by Sharon Hanna, after Hudson (1984).

The useful summary article of Hudson (1984) together with his work on the Chumash (Hudson and Underhay 1978) provides a wealth of helpful information. Hudson thought that information from California may throw light on the origins of astronomy among beginning agriculturalists, in marked reliance on the ahistorical concept of people in widely separated times and places going through comparable development stages. This version of social evolution assumes some sort of functional coherence among many diverse characteristics. Hudson rejects the idea that astronomical interpretations might have reached these complex hunter-gatherers from agriculturists or even urban dwellers during the several thousand years that the latter have been coexisting with their ancesters.

Although early information on astronomical and cosmo-logical beliefs of the California Indians is scanty, Father Geronimo Boscana of the Mission at San Juan Capistrano from 1814 to 1826 recorded some relevant data from the Juaneño tribe (a partial translation is in Grant 1965, Appendix B). According to this account, Nocuma made the world, which was spherical in shape and rested in his hands. Laws and religious ceremonies were introduced by a god, variously called Ouiamot, Chinigchinich, and Tobet. He was painted red and black and came from the stars. The major ceremony was the annual sacrifice of a condor (known from other accounts to be considered a messenger to heaven). According to Hudson (1984, p. 44), Altair was identified by several southern California tribes as a buzzard (the condor was frequently regarded as a kind of buzzard).

One of the problems in interpreting sketchy data is to differentiate astronomical knowledge from the way in which it is phrased. A group, or some members of it, may be well aware that Venus seen in the west as Evening Star is the same body as Venus seen in the east as Morning Star. However, that does not preclude using a different myth/analog for the two positions, which will make it immediately clear where Venus is. Similarly, the shifting tropical year positions of Venus in the eight-year cycle may be designated by different names with no intention to deny their ultimate identity. After all, when Venus ceases to be visible in the west, it is near a particular group of stars and when it reappears in the east, it is not far removed from the same group. Hudson's otherwise sophisticated analysis of the rela tionships of astronomy with myths and ceremonies never considers this kind of possibility.

At the time that Grant reproduced many of the rock paintings found in the Chumash area, very little was known of Chumash astronomy. Then it was found that J.P. Harrington had collected a mass of texts and interpretations from Chumash informants early in this century. The material was not collected from 'alchuklash, "astronomers," but astronomy was so involved in all aspects of the society from the most practical to the timing of ceremonies that all members of the society understood some aspects of astronomy.

Chumash accounts of the winter solstice ceremonies indicate that people tended to stay indoors at this time of year, so that the Sun would not eat them (Hudson and Underhay 1978, pp. 62-63). We are told that two men, Rafael Solares and Joaquim Ayala, went into the mountains (in Santa Barbara county) at the time of the winter solstice to paint rock art (Hudson and Underhay, p. 58). The paha, or religious leader, became a "Sun-priest" at this time and his 12 assistants, the antap, were identified as rays of the Sun. On the second day of the ceremony, these 13 people set up a "Sun-stick" or pole about 3' to 5' (~1-2. m) high. At its top was an angled stone disk, painted "greenish" like a fresh sand dollar, with a red and black crescent for the moon. The ritual name for the sand dollar was Chakwitii loka kakunup-mawa, "the shadow of the child of the winter solstice." Interestingly, the particular descriptions of the sand dollar in Chumash myth do not apply to a Californian species but correspond with one known farther south on the Mexican coast (Hoskinson 1983). The Sun-stick was ceremonially raised, and it was said "this is the pole symbolizing the center of the earth" (Hudson and Underhay 1978, pp. 63-65, 69). Such poles have been recovered archeologically, although sometimes the old pole was ceremonially burned. Some poles were feathered, with condor or eagle feathers above, and crow feathers below. The top feathers pointed east-west.

Although Hudson and Underhay have many interesting and plausible suggestions for the interpretation of Chumash myths and paintings, the interpretations are seldom decisive. We suggest that one area that is worth more attention is the study of turtle images in various degrees of stylization. They seem to be cosmic images, and the Chumash said that Shaq,

Figure 13.8. (a) A spiral pictograph illuminated by the Sun on January 10, therefore not long after winter solstice, at Burro Flats, California. (b) The ceiling of the Sapaksi cave, a small, south-facing, semi-elliptical sandstone cave located near the crest of the Sierra Madre Ridge in the Sisquoc Wilderness.

Figure 13.8. (a) A spiral pictograph illuminated by the Sun on January 10, therefore not long after winter solstice, at Burro Flats, California. (b) The ceiling of the Sapaksi cave, a small, south-facing, semi-elliptical sandstone cave located near the crest of the Sierra Madre Ridge in the Sisquoc Wilderness.

(c) A sun dagger striking the ceiling of Sapaksi (House of The Sun) at the September equinox, 1982. Photo (a) by E.F. Milone. Photos (b) and (c) by Tom Hoskinson and Arlene Benson, respectively, reproduced by permission of the Slo'w Press.

"Turtle," was once chief of the land of the dead (Hudson and Underhay 1978, p. 153) (a role later held by "Condor"). The study of the road to the land of the dead by Hudson and Underhay (1978, pp. 119-121) suggests that the souls traveled westward along the Milky Way. After passing through the land of the Widows, the souls had to slip between clashing rocks (known as the Symplegades motif) after which two ravens plucked out the souls' eyes, which were replaced by poppies! Then these tortured souls met Scorpion Woman, "She who Thunders," Malahshishinish— Hudson and Underhay think in the neighborhood of Cygnus and Lyra.

More and more light plays in connection with paintings on rock faces or in caves are being recognized in the Chumash area (see Figure 13.8 and Plate 6, color insert) and elsewhere in the southwest. Eventually, it may be possible to distinguish iconographically between summer and winter solstices and perhaps to recognize equinox iconography as well. Both solsticial and equinox light plays have been seen at Sapaksi (House of the Sun) in the Sierra Madre ridge (Hoskinson 1985 and Figure 13.8b).

More generally, Hudson (1984, p. 21) says that it was attested that 16 groups determined the solstices by observation of the Sun on the horizon, that 10 used shadow-casters, and that others used sunlight on previously prepared marks or paintings. At that time, 11 archeological sites were known where one or more of these methods had been recognized. The importance of solstice determinations is reported for most California Indians. In several sites in California, a shadow bisects a spiral at sundown at a calen-drically significant day. Kelley personally witnessed the summer solstice shadow play at sunset in the Paiute area. At the La Rumerosa site in Baja California, a pictograph panel is intricately lit by the winter solstice Sun about 20 minutes after local sunrise, the horns of a horned figure painted on the wall being the last to be lit. Other examples of spiral pic-toglyphs on which shadow play can be found are those at Burro Flats (Plate 6 and Figure 13.8 are early morning views about two weeks after winter solstice) and at Agua Dolce Canyon in California.

A widespread California tale (Hudson 1984, pp. 17-18) says that (some of?) the Sky People were grouped into teams for gambling. Sun was the captain of one team (which included Evening Star), and Polaris was the captain of the other (which included Morning Star). Moon kept the score, and humans decided at the winter solstice who had been the winner that year. A contest between Sun (representing the ecliptic?) and Polaris (controlling the equator?) sounds like a precessional myth, but we would need to know how Moon kept score to be at all sure of this. Some of the California tribes kept records over long periods of time, but we have no knowledge of what information was kept. The Pomo (Hudson 1984, p. 62) kept bundles of sticks, 13 to a year. They had further bundles representing 8 years, 64 years (8 x 8), and 512 years (8 x 64). Hudson (1984, p. 58) discusses a rock record from Kerns County in the territory of the Tubatulabal (Uto-Aztecans) that he interprets as a solar record on the left referring to an eight-year period and a lunar record on the right. Comparative data will be needed to support such an interpretation.

Interest in eclipses is mentioned for a number of groups (Hudson 1984, p. 31). It is usually maintained that eclipses were caused by an animal eating the Sun or Moon—frequently Bear (a constellation) or Dog—sometimes Condor, Blue Jay, Coyote, or Raccoon. In a Yokuts account, Coyote moved along Sun's path and blocked it, coiling up with only his tail showing and getting burned. Given the widespread Southwestern equation of Coyote with Moon, this may be a more realistic description than is common. Coyote was also widely identified with Aldebaran. Hudson (1984, pp. 44-84) has notes on asterisms (arranged alphabetically by modern names) that reveal that many concepts were shared and many differentiated, entirely expectable in such a complex mosaic of groups speaking different languages, with major differences in economic patterns and very little political integration, even locally. The Pleiades frequently marked the beginning of the year; stellar markers for seasons and months were also common, but little is known of specifics. Buzzard is often Altair. Castor and Pollux were twins, a Boy and Girl in northeast California, holding a bow, and followed by a rabbit. The Belt of Orion was widely identified with mountain sheep, although the Yana (in northern California) thought that it was Coyote's arrow. The Chemehuevi thought that the Sword was an arrow shot by two hunters (Rigel and Betelgeuse) at the mountain sheep (the Belt). The Kamia (Yumans) identified the Belt as an antelope, a deer, and a mountain sheep (a view also attested for their relatives, the Maricopa, according to Spier 1955). Ursa Major is variously identified as a rabbit net or as seven boys (sometimes changed to geese). Polaris may have been equated with Wolf or Coyote in a number of groups. The star was of major ritual importance.

In rock art, the three mountain sheep of Orion are found with some frequency. Hudson gives other depictions in which he thinks a stellar identification is reasonably clear. It is unknown whether such representations are simply individual asterisms or whether they represent visually contiguous groups.

Gillespie (1998) presents a sophisticated analysis of a number of petroglyphs at the California archeological site INY272 in the Owens Valley. The area was at colonization (and still is) occupied by Paiutes, a Shoshonean group in the Uto-Aztecan language family. Modern Paiutes regard some of the petroglyphs as "important" and may repeck them, but at least some modern Paiutes do not think that their ances-ters created the petroglyphs. Geometric forms in the Great Basin Curvilinear Abstract style are typical at the site and include a number of designs that seem to mark astronomical features. There are also some animal figures, especially mountain sheep. Six groups of petroglyphs are distinguishable by degree of patination and erosion. A line of petro-glyphs of the same group as those under discussion was covered by a mud flow that formed a rind of CaCO3. A 14C date for this rind indicates an age of ~2100 years. The basis of this special application of the 14C dating technique and factors causing uncertainties are discussed by Gillespie, who regards this as a minimal age.

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