Cosmology, Calendars, and Horizon-Based Astronomy in Ancient Mesoamerica is an interdisciplinary tour de force that establishes the critical role astronomy played in the religious and civic lives of the ancient peoples of Mesoamerica. Providing extraordinary examples of how Precolumbian peoples merged ideas about the cosmos with those concerning calendar and astronomy, the volume showcases the value of detailed examinations of astronomical data for understanding ancient cultures.
The volume is divided into three sections: investigations into Mesoamerican horizon-based astronomy, the cosmological principles expressed in Mesoamerican religious imagery and rituals related to astronomy, and the aspects of Mesoamerican calendars related to archaeoastronomy. It also provides cutting-edge research on diverse topics such as records of calendar and horizon-based astronomical observation (like the Dresden and Borgia codices), iconography of burial assemblages, architectural alignment studies, urban planning, and counting or measuring devices.
Contributors—who are among the most respected in their fields— explore new dimensions in Mesoamerican timekeeping and skywatching in the Olmec, Maya, Teotihuacano, Zapotec, and Aztec cultures. It will be of great interest to students and scholars of anthropology, archaeology, art history, and astronomy.
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.
Compiled in honor of Anthony F. Aveni, America's leading archaeoastronomer, Skywatching in the Ancient World offers state-of-the-art work in cultural astronomy by well-known experts in Mayan glyphic studies, cultural history, ethnohistory, and the history of science and of religions.
This collection's wide range of outstanding scholarship reveals that cultural astronomy has come into its own. The diverse topics addressed by the contributors include the correlation between Colonial Northern Zapotec and Gregorian calendars, the period of use of the Dresden Codex Venus table and the significance of the Lunar Almanacs that precede it, a new interpretation of an Inka tapestry mantle as a commemorative calendar, temple orientations in Hawai'i and church orientations in Medieval England, and the connection in cultural imagery between astronomers (science) and wizards (magic).
Contributors include: Harvey M. Bricker, Victoria R. Bricker, Edward E. Calnek, Clemency Coggins, John Justeson, Edwin C. Krupp, Stephen C. McCluskey, Susan Milbrath, Clive Ruggles, David Tavárez, Barbara Tedlock, Dennis Tedlock, Gary Urton, and R. Tom Zuidema. Mesoamerican Worlds Series