Foundations of New World Cultural Astronomy: A Reader with Commentary / Edition 1

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Gazing into the black skies from the Anasazi observatory at Chimney Rock or the Castillo Pyramid in the Maya ruins of Chichén Itzá, a modern visitor might wonder what ancient stargazers looked for in the skies and what they saw. Once considered unresearchable, these questions now drive cultural astronomers who draw on written and unwritten records and a constellation of disciplines to reveal the wonders of ancient and contemporary astronomies.

Cultural astronomy, first called archaeoastronomy, has evolved at ferocious speed since its genesis in the 1960s, with seminal essays and powerful rebuttals published in far-flung, specialized journals. Until now, only the most closely involved scholars could follow the intellectual fireworks. In Foundations of New World Cultural Astronomy, Anthony Aveni, one of cultural astronomy's founders and top scholars, offers a selection of the essays that built the field, from foundational works to contemporary scholarship.
Including four decades of research throughout the Americas by linguists, archaeologists, historians, ethnologists, astronomers, and engineers, this reader highlights the evolution of the field through thematic organization and point-counterpoint articles. Aveni - an award-winning author and former National Professor of the Year - serves up incisive commentary, background for the uninitiated, and suggested reading, questions, and essay topics. Students, readers, and scholars will relish this collection and its tour of a new field in which discoveries about ancient ways of looking at the skies cast light on our contemporary views.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“10 out of 10 for the idea of bringing together difficult-to-access seminal articles and carefully selected newer material to provide an introductory reader."
Clive Ruggles

"From one of the preeminent scholars in this field, Aveni's introductory essays to each section will of themselves be invaluable resources."
—Gabrielle Vail

"A superlative supplementary reader for courses in both astronomy and archeaology."
—George Eberhart, College and Research Libraries News

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780870819001
  • Publisher: University Press of Colorado
  • Publication date: 9/28/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 768
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Anthony Aveni is the Russell Colgate Distinguished University Professor of Astronomy, Anthropolgy, and Native Amerifan Studies at Colgate University. He has researched and written about Maya Astronomy for more than four decades. He was named a U.S. National Professor of the year and has been awarded the H.B. Nicholson Medal for Excellence in Research in Mesoamerican Studies by Harvard's Peabody Museum.

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments Anthony Aveni xi Introduction: The Unwritten Record Anthony Aveni 1 Part I Archaeoastronomy: Establishing a Method and Applying a Paradigm Anthony Aveni 13
1 Astronomical Alignment of the Big Horn Medicine Wheel John A. Eddy 19
2 Geometry and Astronomy in Prehistoric Ohio Ray Hively Robert Horn 39
3 Archaeoastronomy at Machu Picchu D. S. Dearborn R. E. White 61 Part II Acquiring Cultural Context Anthony Aveni 71
4 The Inca Calendar R. T. Zuidema 77
5 Horizon Astronomy in Incaic Cuzco Anthony Aveni 109
6 Here Comes the Sun: The Cuzco-Machu Picchu Connection David S.P. Dearborn Katharina J. Schreiber 125 On Seeing the Light: A Reply to Here Comes the Sun by Dearborn and Schreiber Anthony Aveni 158 Blinded by the Light: A Response to On Seeing the Light by Anthony Aveni David S. P. Dearborn 162 Here Comes the Sun: the Cuzco-Machu Picchu Connection: A Reply to Dearborn and Schreiber R. T. Zuidema 168 Stand and Deliver: A Comment on Zuidema's Reply to Dearborn and Schreiber David S. P. Dearborn 171 On Shadows of Doubt: A Reply to Dearborn's Review of Inkawasi: The New Cuzco John Hyslop 173 Lengthening Shadows: A Response to Hyslop's Comments David S.P. Dearborn 177
7 Chankillo: A 2,300-Year-Old Solar Observatory in Coastal Peru Ivan Ghezzi Clive Ruggles 181
8 Keeping the Sacred and Planting Calendar: Archaeoastronomy in the Pueblo Southwest Michael Zeilik 199
9 Native Astronomy in Mesoamerica Michael D. Coe 231
10 The Role of Astronomical Orientation in the Delineation of World View: A Center and Periphery Model Anthony Aveni 253
11 Astronomical Alignments at the Templo Mayorof Tenochtitlan, Mexico Ivan Sprajc 273
12 Astronomical Observations from the Temple of the Sun Alonso Mendez Edwin L. Barnhart Christopher Powell Carol Karasik 305
13 Astronomy, Ritual, and the Interpretation of Maya "E-Group" Architectural Assemblages James J. Aimers Prudence M. Rice 347
14 A Reflection of the Ancient Mesoamerican Ethos Miguel Leon-Portilla 383 Part III The Role of Ethnoastronomy Anthony Aveni 395
15 Current Astronomical Practices among the Maya Judith A. Remington 399
16 Quichean Time Philosophy Barbara Tedlock 413
17 Astronomical Models of Social Behavior among Some Indians of Colombia G. Reichel-Dolmatoff 425
18 The Hooghan and the Stars Trudy Griffin-Pierce 439
19 Animals and Astronomy in the Quechua Universe Gary Urton 457
20 Culture Confronts Nature in the Dialectical World of the Tropics Billie Jean Isbell 485
21 Ethnoastronomy and the Problem of Interpretation: A Zuni Example M. Jane Young 495 Part IV The Classic Maya: A Testing Ground for Precise Astronomy in the Written Record Anthony Aveni 503
22 Ancient Maya Ethnoastronomy: An Overview of Hieroglyphic Sources John S. Justeson 509
23 Astronomical Knowledge and Its Uses at Bonampak, Mexico Floyd G. Lounsbury 565
24 A Palenque King and the Planet Jupiter Floyd G. Lounsbury 587
25 Archaeoastronomical Implications of an Agricultural Almanac in the Dresden Codex Victoria R. Bricker Harvey M. Bricker 607 Part V Cultural Astronomy's Greatest Mysteries Anthony Aveni 617
26 Between the Lines: Reading the Nazca Markings as Rituals Writ Large Anthony Aveni Helaine Silverman 621
27 Possible Rock Art Records of the Crab Nebula Supernova in the Western United States John C. Brandt Stephen P. Maran Ray Williamson Robert S. Harrington Clarion Cochran Muriel Kennedy William J. Kennedy Von Del Chamberlain 635
28 A Thousand Years of the Pueblo Sun-Moon-Star Calendar Florence Hawley Ellis 647
29 Astronomical Markings at Three Sites on Fajada Butte Anna P. Sofaer Rolf M. Sinclair 669
30 Romancing the Stone, or Moonshine on the Sun Dagger John B. Carlson 693
31 Lunar Standstills at Chimney Rock J. McKim Malville Frank W. Eddy Carol Ambruster 711 Part VI The Present and Future of Cultural Astronomy Anthony Aveni 721
32 The Study of Cultural Astronomy Clive L.N. Ruggles Nicholas J. Saunders 725
33 Cosmograms and Maya City Planning: Selected Articles Michael E. Smith Wendy Ashmore Jeremy A. Sabloff Ivan Sprajc 751
34 Archaeology and Astronomy: A View from the Southwest W. James Judge 793
35 I Wasn't Going to Say Anything, but Since You Asked: Archaeoastronomy and Archaeology Keith W. Kintigh 803 Nobody Asked, but I Couldn't Resist: A Response to Keith Kintigh on Archaeoastronomy and Archaeology Anthony Aveni 806 Index 809
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