Complex Landscapes of the World

Explorations of cosmic geometries, sacred landscapes, and large-scale self-organized systems

      Complex landscapes lie between perfect order and total randomness in the same geometric realm as fractals, scale invariance, and self-similarity.

In the natural world, systems tend to evolve spontaneously away from the mindlessness of perfect order and randomness to states of high information content. Well-known examples in the natural world are the fractal structures of coastlines, roots and branches of trees, veins in leaves and human lungs, fault lines, and river systems.

Sacred human landscapes have additional sources of complexity due to the interactions of people and the inclusion of the sky with its powerful gods and seemingly endless enigmas. The fractality of these sacred landscapes is most often manifest as the parallelism of the macrocosm and microcosm, such as in the cardinal alignments of ritual architecture such as Changu Nayaran temple in the Kathmandu valley,

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or Bueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon. Parallelism of the cycles of the heavens and

earth is visible in the circular movement of pilgrims around Mt. Kailash in Tibet.

 This web page has developed from the work of Professor J. McKim Malville in the archaeoastronomy of south Asia, Egypt, and North America.

Click on the pictures to visit the landscape sites!


Chaco Canyon, New Mexico

Varanasi, India

Nabta Playa, Egypt

Kathmandu Valley, Nepal

Chimney Rock, Colorado


Website design by Ryan C. Wallace