This Friday, Ancient Aliens is going to go in search of the constellation Orion, rehashing the tired old claims that pyramids around the world were designed to mimic the shape of Orion’s belt. (Any three dots not in a straight line could pass for Orion’s belt—like, say, the state capitals of Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio.) In so doing, the program’s promotional spot promises to explore how Hopi villages (actually, both Hopi and ancestral Pueblo—i.e. Anasazi—sites of various types) were aligned to mimic the shape of the constellation Orion, as suggested by Gary A. David in The Orion Zone (2007), from David Childress’s Adventures Unlimited press. David provides this map:
It looks good at first, but this is a very selective interpretation made by slicing only a few (non-contemporary) sites from an Anasazi culture area known as the Kayenta Region. This region stretched from central Utah to mid-Arizona to western New Mexico, as seen in this map from the Cliff Dwellings Museum.
But even at the local level, David is being dishonest. David, for example, has reduced the two major cliff dwelling sites at Navajo National Monument, Keet Seel and Betatakin, to just one—Betatakin—because having two in the area ruins the “shoulder” of Orion and thus the correlation.
The Orion Zone map also mixes and matches different types of sites, from large cliff dwellings to small villages. I can’t find a good map showing all the different sites in this area, but this map of the Chaco Canyon area in neighboring New Mexico gives a good idea of the large number and variety of Anasazi settlement sites, which alternative writers can pick and choose from to make any shape they choose.
When you close in on the Hopi Three Mesas area, which is still occupied today, you begin to see that the settlements are not three neat cities aligned to the stars but a collection of settlements spanning centuries in only the roughest of alignment, and one that does not match David’s map:
Note: Not all of the sites on this map are ancient—and this is an important point.
The specific sites used to make the “correlation” are Old Shungopovi as the belt star Alnilam; Walpi, Sichomovi, and Hano together as Alnitak; and Oraibi and Hotevilla (which are actually miles apart, as you can see) as Mintaka. Alnitak is a triple star, and Mintaka is a double star, thus the “correlation.” Alnitak’s “triple” status was not known by astronomers until the 1970s, nor confirmed until 1998.
Unfortunately, as the map demonstrates, the “correlation” simply picks and chooses among the many settlements (12 in total) on the three mesas, which were founded centuries apart, and for known reasons unrelated to astronomy. Sichomovi, for example, was only settled in the 1680s, following the Hopi revolt against the Spanish. Hano wasn’t even at first a Hopi site, but belonged first to the Hano people and then the Tewa from New Mexico. Nor, incidentally, are the villages still in their original locations. The second mesa’s villages relocated following the 1680 Pueblo Revolt. Hotevilla, on the third mesa, was founded in 1906. Yes, 1906.
In short, drilling down into the “correlation” reveals that the superficial resemblance is the result of modern alternative writers selectively choosing sites from wildly different times (c. 900 CE to 1906 CE) and cultures to produce a pre-determined pattern.
All of this got me thinking about the alleged Hopi prophecies, which I will discuss tomorrow. Hint: They’re not what they claim to be either.
1/8/2013 03:09:56 pm
It's nothing more than ley lines moved to the New World. The tricky think about ley lines is that various civilizations have built structures that were meant to line up for ceremonial reasons, though, to my knowledge, they are almost always within sight of each other. Some cultures have also built sacred roads that have very little practical use. These things give cover to those who want to claim that the same rule works over larger scales (Rennes-le-Château to Rosslyn, for example). If these were entirely ceremonial structures, built by the same culture, the alignment might be worth looking at (as, for example, the enormous, sacred landscape that seem to be emerging around Stonehenge). That said, these kinds of claims face four problems.
1/18/2015 07:18:26 pm
Then how did people in continents with no apparent connection to each other come up with the same thing?
1/9/2013 08:45:02 pm
As I can see the AA fifth season continues the ridiculous stupidity of the previous ones. I continue to watch them only to see how more dumb the AA theories can get and I'm never disapointed. And yet it is hardly an entertainment when I think that many people takes this as a truth. I'm horrified!
7/8/2014 02:20:42 pm
Playing critical parent may be as overstretched as some of the AA theories.
6/7/2015 03:56:25 pm
That's a good point, James. Thanks for making it. AA does stretch things a bit, but there is also truth at the core. The Hopi Indians themselves claim otherworldly origins--and in fact acknowledge twelve inhabited planets with life forms similar to our own in this part of the galaxy. It doesn't matter whether we believe it. But it's ethnographic fact that they believe it.
6/8/2018 01:47:02 am
I'm with you, Martin.
1/10/2013 12:40:24 am
This is the reason why Jason`s blog is one of the best (if not the best in its category). contrary to most debunking sites (that are merely platforms for pseudo intellectual showboatism),on this blog there is always something (or someone)interesting to read.On top of it Jason is by definition my exact opposite, always extremely polite,courteous & diplomatic. "David Hatcher Childress is being dishonest.." Most definitively an understatement,it is like saying that Hannibal Lecter is suffering from eating disorder ;)
1/10/2013 02:53:01 am
Can't agree more
7/8/2014 02:24:52 pm
David proves mysticism and science are not the most amicable playmates - nothing more. But at least he and the other AA people are interesting even when they are wrong. Are you as interesting when you are wrong? Or right, for that matter?
11/16/2013 10:04:13 am
Well done Jason! I was wondering how accurate the actual correlations were and you did my homework for me. THANX And John very perceptive comment about the use of Sumerian constellations even though Orion is so obvious and outstanding that it has carried accross cultures in different guises.
1/18/2015 07:29:53 pm
Why is it always alien's not god ? joseph Smith said Jesus appeared to all nation kindred's and Tung's Also Revelation 14:6
7/2/2018 11:46:26 pm
Joseph Smith is a quack
2/16/2015 03:29:04 am
Anyone has interviewed any of the hopi people to find out if they have any stories on settlement location?
5/12/2015 07:27:24 am
Jason this article is probably the very best article I have ever read about ascribing "correlations" to these ancient sites. Thank you for writing it!!
2/9/2021 11:00:27 pm
Thanks Jayson I enjoyed your facts and reasoning. I admit I like AA. Not for the superficial unbaked theory's, but for all the amazing archeological sites they showcase in every episode, that I could never in several lifetimes hope to visit in person.
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
Enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter for updates on my latest projects, blog posts, and activities, and subscribe to Culture & Curiosities, my Substack newsletter.
Terms & Conditions
Please read all applicable terms and conditions before posting a comment on this blog. Posting a comment constitutes your agreement to abide by the terms and conditions linked herein.