Meteorites Among Ancient Native American Cultures
The occurrence of meteorites on archaeological sites in North America has been known since the early 19th century. From the Hopewell culture in the eastern United States, to the Polar Eskimo, to the Indians in the American Southwest and northern Mexico, meteorites have been found on these ancient sites. Much like meteorite hunters of today, ancient Native American cultures actively engaged in meteorite collecting. Although we cannot know if a meteorite fall was ever witnessed, the discovery of meteorites at ancient sites and the artifacts made from meteoritic iron appeared to have been reserved for ceremonial purposes.
Kenneth Zoll is the Executive Director of the Verde Valley Archaeology Center in Camp Verde. He is also a volunteer docent at cultural heritage sites in the Coconino National Forest. He has conducted extensive fieldwork in cultural astronomy of the Southwest and is a certified instructor in cultural astronomy with the Arizona Archaeological Society. He is currently working with Arizona State University’s Center for Meteorite Studies on the use of meteorites among ancient Southwest cultures. Zoll is the author of several popular books on cultural astronomy and rock art in Central Arizona, as well as several cultural astronomy articles in professional publications.