The intriguing field of archaeoastronomy--the study of ancient peoples' observation of the skies and its role in their cultural evolution--seeks to explore the "universal evidence that people have used astronomy as the model for injecting order and predictability on their behavior and on life." Examining this universal behavior, Dr. E.C. Krupp takes the reader to sites throughout the world (most of which he has personally visited)--from Egypt, China, Babylonia, and Greece, to Turkey, Scotland, Wyoming, and Mexico. He interprets the significance of celestial observation and its relation to the earthly experiences of our ancestors, from practical applications of farming and the measurement of time to philosophical queries into our particular place within the universe. He covers such fascinating topics as how we see the seasons in the sun and stars, possible ancient and prehistoric observatories such as the megalithic Kintraw monument in Scotland, and sky gods and myths around the world and throughout history--from the Egyptian goddess Nut to the myth of Phaethon and the golden chariot of his father Helios. Krupp goes on to examine the ancient parallels between cosmic creation and our lives (as seen in the great pyramids of Egyptian pharaohs) and monuments of transcendental journey (such as the painted rock shrines of California). He shows us that the effects of celestial observation on our ancestors can also be seen in religious vigils--like shamans' transactions with the sky and their access to the sacred--as well as in calendars and clocks used throughout the centuries, mathematics, ancient temples, sources of world order, and the symbols we draw. This edition also includes a new introduction that brings the research completely up to date.
A fascinating and authoritative exploration, this around-the-world survey shows how the sky was woven into virtually every aspect of civilization and opens our eyes to the powers that shaped the human past and continue to influence us still.
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