Encyclopedia Article


In Puebloan tradition, a kiva is a sacred space to observe religious rituals. Kivas symbolize Puebloan emergence, or birth, into this world and their architecture evokes an enclosed space of sacred potential. The kiva is a round room that is dug underground with a domed roof that protrudes above ground. The structure's opening is a round hole in the rooftop, from which the kiva's dancers and medicine men emerge during public ceremonies, using a long wooden ladder. The ladder is an essential, functional part of the structure and also has a symbolic function as the line that connects the underground chamber with the outside world.

Photo Credit: 

"Interior panorama of a reconstructed kiva at Mesa Verde National Park, August 2006" by BenFranzDale is licensed under CC BY-SA.

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