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.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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