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I wrote that "among the Hopi and most Pueblo peoples" kivas are square and above-ground, but I'll that's true for all the modern Pueblos. The "most" was because I'm not sure. I may be able to find out, or maybe someone else can.


San Ildefonso, at least, still has a round kiva.

Wschart 13:18, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

Hi Jerry,

In fact kivas could also be round and semi-subterrainian, I have been in one such in the Pueblos area in New Mexico, to be precise in the Jemez Nation, Walatowa Tourisst centre. I shall dig back in the old info, see what I can find, and post the other suggestions at some point soon. (I am a new contributor, so I also need to learn howe to use Wikipedia.)

Andersjallen 17:27, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Other Uses of the Word Kiva[edit]

Trivia by anon. moved to talk page: "This is also the name of a multi-purpose auditorium at Lakeland High School in White Lake, Michigan." WBardwin 19:23, 9 Jun 2005 (UTC)

User, if you have more material on this place, it may merit an article of its own and a directional finder on the main Kiva page. Is the reference to "The Kiva" in the school found on the web or in media articles? That may make it notable enough for an article. Or do you know of other uses of the word "Kiva?" That may make a seperate section of the main Kiva article worth while. Think about it and place any new information or comments on the talk page. Look forward to working with you. WBardwin 21:02, 26 Jun 2005 (UTC)

One of the buildings in the College of Education complex at the University of New Mexico is round and called the Kiva. One of the fraternities there also has a "kiva", which externally at least resembled the one at San Ildefonso.

At one time, the local TV station in Farmington, NM, had the call letters KIVA, which may have been significant as the nearby Aztec Ruins National Monument has the world's only restored Great Kiva. The station was assigned new call letters sometime in the 1980's, as best I recall

Wschart 13:30, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

More Great Kiva photographs[edit]

This image on the left shows a view "backwards" from the one on the article page. The left pillar shows the construction method (stucco left off intentionally for display), as well as one of the enormous limestone plates beneath the column. According to the text "The purpose of the large floor vaults on both sides of the central fire box is not certain. They may have been covered with wood planks and used as foot drums. Perhaps they were used for germinating seedlings, as similar features are used in some pueblos today." (Cajete and Nichols, "Stop 20" (booklet pages are unnumbered)).

As this is a NPWS (i.e. a US paid-by-taxpayer) document I don't know if the plan diagram of the kiva is within fair use. No copyright appears in the document, but I had to pay $0.75 for it. And I have a free brochure without copyright that shows the entire plan view: it shows the "keyhole" room that looks for all the world like the sanctuary (?, i.e. where the alter is) in a Christian church. I copied the plan view from the free guide.


Does anyone have an opinion about the "fair use" of showing of unknown folks in a photogaph? -- I don't know who these folks are. Clearly the Park Ranger is not an issue.

Also, I have a higher resolution photo of the Great Kiva at Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon, but the kiva floor is overgrown with grass. And I have a good shot of the Pueblo Bonito showing a very high density of kivas in the ruin. This one is definitely a keeper (I'm going to have to learn how to stitch photos to get the panoramic view. Here is one of three photos):

Kiva construction details[edit]

Orientation to the sun [compass?, meridian?] :

"The interior alignement of the siapau, fire pit, deflector and ventilator on a north-to-south axis remained quite standard in most Puebloan kivas into Pueblo III. Mesa Verde-style kivas added new features to this axis (fig. 1-41). With the advent of stone masonry inings, small storage niches were frequently built into the masonry facing. Quite commonly, one of thos niches niches fell on the axis directly opposite the ventilator opening." (Rohn and Ferguson 2006:41)

Construction shape and roofing:

Apparently the details of construction vary by quite a bit in shape, below or above ground, number and type of roof supports, etc. Rohn and Ferguson report that kivas could be square (some kivas in the Mesa Verde and Little Colorado River regions), round (Chacoan), keyhole-shaped (Mesa Verde and northern San Juan region), ovalish (Kayenta region: "small and somewhat squarish with rounded corners"), some "burrowed . . . into the cliffs themselves" (Pajarito plateau), some equipped with towers (Chetro Ketl and Salmon Ruin Chacon sites) (Rohn and Ferguson 2006:42). In fact Rohn and Ferguson note: "Of course, not all kivas exactly fit these standards. Within a single settlement, no two exactly duplicate one another. This probably reflects specific needs of the kin-group rituals and the kiva's setting.(p. 42). They point to "bedrock cave floors", caves and rockshelters as causes of variations.

With regards to Great Kivas: "the so-called great kivas followed a path of development separate from that of the small kin-group kivas. They may be distingished primarily by their large size -- more than forty-five feet across -- by the presence of raised masonry fireboxes and floor vaults, and by rooms attached to the exterior of the main chamber." (p. 43)

They observe that they are "dug partially below ground surface", [usually but not always] have a circular shape from thirty to eighty feet in diameter (e.g. some are rectangular -- Fire Temple at Mesa Verde and Long House), [usually] have roofs supported by four or six large posts, etc. etc. [How much detail would we want to put here??]

They also discuss "Concentric wall structures" (p. 46-48) which appear to be kiva-like in purpose, as well as the "round tower" (p. 46-47): "The kiva-tower combination set apart in some settlements may have functioned as the community ceremonial building."

A detailed description appears on pages 40-43 for "kivas" and on pages 43-48 for Great Kivas (and these pages are 8.5 x 11 inch pages so there's lots of detail) in the following:

Rohn, Arthur H. and Ferguson, William M, 2006 Puebloan Ruins of the Southwest, University of New Mexico Press, Albuqureque NM, 2006. ISBN-13 978-0-8263-3970-6 (pbk :alk. paper)

Kiva interior decoration:

" . . .the graphic art of the late Anasazi has also been preserved on the walls of kivas and other rooms of cliff dwellings, both as paintings as as crude designs scratched into the plaster. Wall painting of this period consist of geometric designs that commonly take the form of decorative bands or small life-forms. The latter resemble rock art elements in type, and like the rock art they are small and rather scattered in arrangement. The paintings of integrated murals decorating an entire wall surface was not yet being practiced." (Schaafsma 1980:142-3).

With regards to the Great Kiva at Aztec, "The colors are based on bits of reddish and white-washed plaster found clinging to the original walls." (Cajete and Nichols, 2004:"Stop 22" )

Rohn and Ferguson display a gorgeous, detailed, highly-abstract, multicolored (what? reproduction? photo?) of a Awatovi mural: "Pueblo IV kiva mural painting cover the walls of kivas at Awatovi and Kawaika-a in Hopiland." (p. 68-69)

Schaafsma 1980:210 displays an equally beautiful, multi-colored mural painting from "Pottery Mound, New Mexico, kva 9, layer 2."

Schaffsma, Polly, 1980, Indian Rock Art of the Southwest, School of American Research, Santa Fe, NM, ISBN 0-8263-0913-5.

wvbaileyWvbailey 18:19, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Scary Kiva thing found[edit]

anyone have any idea what this website is and what it's about?

In case someone is still wondering about this, the answer is out there. Omnipedian (talk) 15:22, 25 November 2008 (UTC) ?[edit]

I really just wanted to know what wikipedia had to say about the microfinance institution. Shouldn't the search kiva send users there (or at least provide a quick redirect at the top of this page?) That said, these kivas are pretty cool. (Though not as cool, in my opinion, as microfinance)

Cheers. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:49, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

sup — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:53, 5 April 2013 (UTC)