Sunday, January 10, 2010

Archaeoastronomy



Sidebar overhaul with new section on archaeoastronomy.

"Dost thou not know, Asclepius, that Egypt is the image of the Heaven?" -- Hermes Trismegistus, mage, Asclepius, Book IX, Chapter XXIV, date debated

"... there was war between the Lydians and the Medes for five years; each won many victories over the other, and once they fought a battle by night. They were still warring with equal success, when it happened, at an encounter which occurred in the sixth year, that during the battle the day was suddenly turned to night. Thales of Miletus had foretold this loss of daylight to the Ionians, fixing it within the year in which the change did indeed happen. So when the Lydians and Medes saw the day turned to night, they stopped fighting, and both were the more eager to make peace." -- Herodotus, historian, Book I:74, ~440-420 B.C.

"... coasting along the planet Mars, which, as is well known, is five times smaller than our own little globe, they [Sirians] saw two moons. These have escaped the observation of our astronomers." -- Voltaire, philosopher, Micromegas, 1752

"The starting-point of creation is the star which revolves round Sirius and is actually named the 'Digitaria star'; it is regarded by the Dogon as the smallest and heaviest of all the stars; it contains the germs of all things. Its movement on its own axis and around Sirius upholds all creation in space. We shall see that its orbit determines its calendar." -- Marcel Griaule and Germaine Dieterlen, anthropologists, The Dogon, 1954

"... I am convinced that the history of mathematical astronomy is one of the most promising fields of historical research. I hope that this will become evident...." -- Otto E. Neugebauer, archaeoastronomer, The Exact Sciences in Antiquity, 1957

"The wondrous thing is: how could Kepler have known of the red spot in Jupiter, then not yet discovered? It was discovered by J. D. Cassini in the 1660’s, after the time of Kepler and Galileo. Kepler’s assumption that Galileo had discovered a red spot in Jupiter amazes and defies every statistical chance of being a mere guess. But the possibility is not excluded that Kepler found the information in some Arab author or some other source, possibly of Babylonian or Chinese origin. Kepler did not disclose what the basis of his reference to the red spot of Jupiter was — he could not have arrived at it either by logic and deduction or by sheer guesswork. A scientific prediction must follow from a theory as a logical consequence. Kepler had no theory on that. It is asserted that the Chinese observed solar spots many centuries before Galileo did with his telescope. Observing solar spots, the ancients could have conceivably observed the Jovian red spot, too. Jesuit scholars traveled in the early 17th century to China to study Chinese achievements in astronomy." -- Immanuel Velikovsky, polymath, ~1960-70

"Maya astronomy is too important to be left to the astronomers." -- J. Eric S. Thompson, archaeologist, 1974

"How could the ancient and secret traditions of an African tribe contain highly precise information about invisible stars in the Sirius star system? Some of it has only been discovered very recently by modern scientists, half a century after it was recorded by anthropologists studying the tribe." -- Robert K. G. Temple, author, The Sirius Mystery, 1976

"A master plan for the three pyramids of Giza based on the configuration of the three stars of the belt of Orion." -- Robert G. Bauval, author, 1989

"He [Robert K. G. Temple] was baffled as to how the Dogon could have known of the existence of Sirius B, given that it is barely visible using a very powerful telescope (it was only in 1970 that the first photograph of Sirius B was obtained with great difficulty by the astronomer Irving Lindenblad). Most people today remain ignorant of the existence of Sirius B and not many would even be aware of Sirius A, so how could the Dogon have had accurate information concerning Sirius B in the 1950s?" -- Robert G. Bauval, author, The Orion Mystery: Unlocking the Secrets of the Pyramids, 1994

"The situation regarding The Sirius Mystery has changed completely since the initial edition of the book was published in 1976. At that time the Dogon tribal tradition insisted upon the existence of a third star in the system of Sirius which modern astronomers could not confirm. Some critics said this proved the hypothesis of the book to be false. If the earth had been visited by intelligent beings from the system of the star Sirius in the distant past, and they had left behind all this precise information about their star system, the fact that they described the existence of a third star, a Sirius C, whose existence could not be confirmed by modern astronomy rendered the whole account untrustworthy. However, the existence of Sirius C has now been confirmed after all." -- Robert K. G. Temple, author, The Sirius Mystery, 1998

"Though we may try, we cannot really appreciate the degree to which the minds of the ancients were preoccupied with astronomical pursuits." -- Anthony F. Aveni, archaeoastronomer, Skywatchers, 2001

"We are constantly amazed at the seemingly impossible accomplishments of our ancestors." -- Anthony F. Aveni, archaeoastronomer, Skywatchers, 2001

"Stonehenge is perhaps the most famous example of an ancient structure believed to have served an astronomical function. In 1964, astronomer Gerald Hawkins wrote Stonehenge Decoded, thus rekindling an idea made popular at the end of the nineteenth century by Sir Norman Lockyer ([1894] 1964). Hawkins hypothesized that the magaliths standing for 5,000 years on the plain of southern Great Britain constituted a calendar in stone, each component situated deliberately and precisely to align with astronomical events taking place along the local horizon. Detailed works (Alexander Thom 1967, 1971) and cultural syntheses (Euan MacKie 1977, Clive Ruggles 1999, Rodney Castledon 1987, and Aveni 1997) have since helped solidify the basis of our understanding of ancient megalithic astronomy as part of an unwritten record of astronomical achievement. The Stonehenge controversy was responsible for a resurgence in interest in the interdisciplinary field of astroarchaeology, a term first coined by Hawkins (1966) to encompass the study of astronomical principles employed in ancient works of architecture and the elaboration of a methodology for the retrieval and quantitative analysis of astronomical alignment data. The alternate term, archaeoastronomy, came to embody the study of the extent and practice of astronomy among ancient cultures." -- Anthony F. Aveni, archaeoastronomer, Skywatchers, 2001

"In the Americas, investigators from diverse fields have turned their attention to archaeoastronomical pursuits. As a result of cooperation among them, there has been added to the literature an increasing body of evidence relating to the role of astronomy in the lives of the ancient people of this hemisphere. The slow process of integration of the results of these investigations into the mainstream of human intellectual history continues." -- Anthony F. Aveni, archaeoastronomer, Skywatchers, 2001

"Only within the last century have we begun to gain a full appreciation of the magnitude and sophistication of ancient New World cultures. Calendrical documents reveal that mathematics and astronomy were among the intellectual hallmarks of the Maya, who emerge as a people thoroughly devoted to these disciplines." -- Anthony F. Aveni, archaeoastronomer, Skywatchers, 2001

"... people living over seven thousand years ago may have possessed technical knowledge in astronomy and physics more advanced than our current understanding of the same subjects." -- Robert M. Schoch, geologist, 2002

"Even cursory initial consideration of the locations of the six Orion stars in question (Alnitak, Alnilam, Mintaka, Betelguese, Bellatrix, and Meissa) suggests that the megaliths probably represented them." -- Thomas G. Brophy, archaeoastronomer, 2002

"By even the more conservative estimate, these are by far the most certain ancient megalithic astronomical alignments known in the world." -- Thomas G. Brophy, archaeoastronomer, 2002

"Pursuing further what one would expect to be the logical meaning of the alignment distances in a chart, namely the actual distances to the stars, just for fun I looked up our current measures for the astrophysical distances to these stars. The best star distances astronomers have been able to measure are from the Hipparcos Space Astronomy satellite parallax measurements. Astonishingly, these Hipparcos astrophysical distance measurements match the megalith distance pattern quite well." -- Thomas G. Brophy, archaeoastronomer, 2002

"Ancient cultures were often more realistic in their relationship with the heavens. In recent decades we have come to recognize the astronomical sophistication of ancient non-Western cultures. Otto Neugebauer's 1957 Exact Sciences in Antiquity became a foundation text and spurred the beginning of a new interdisciplinary field, archaeoastronomy. " -- Dick Teresi, author, 2002

"Biot (1846) and Humboldt (1850) were the pioneer western astronomers who firstly introduced the historical Chinese astronomical records to North America." -- Zhen-Ru Wang, astronomer, November 2006

"It just intrigues me to think that if I could find one of our 'recent relatives,' Cro-Magnon man for example, he would probably correct me because he would be more familiar with the sky and he would know the constellations just a little bit better than people do today." -- Matt Malkan, professor, February 19th 2008

"One wonders whether this proves a special arcane knowledge of Sirius B, or even a planetary system around Sirius, on the part of Voltaire." -- Noah Brosch, astronomer, Sirius Matters, 2008

11 comments:

Quantum_Flux said...

They didn't have televisions back then.

OilIsMastery said...

I'm not so sure. They had computers and robots so it's logical that they also had television.

However, the Dogon don't have television today.

Quantum_Flux said...

It is possible that they had projectors back then (just take a magnifying glass and line it up with a source of light), and perhaps paper flip drawing animations....if they had a flat mirror at an angle and a flat white painted surface, well, that might be accomplishable for the ancients.

Jeffery Keown said...

Half of all stars are multiples. I call it a lucky guess.

The robots were wind up toys with limited programmability.

As for ancient television, I asked for a citation a while back, and got none. My suppostition at this time is that they didn't have them.

Find me a bit of plastic older than 155 years. You can't have our level of technology without plastic.

KV said...

QF,

They had mirrors and they new how to spy using mirrors (old myths that OIM should able to find through his quote generation machine).

If one is a decent painter, it would be a piece of cake to draw up the star formation...

For OIM, all he needs is smoke to blow in somewhere

Fungus FitzJuggler III said...

A very well organized post! Too many questions for those who have already commented, obviously as they have been polite and even humorous. Perhaps they are impressed?

Fungus FitzJuggler III said...

QF
A "camera obscura" depends on a dark area next to a well lit one. Like a cave in day time!
The image is upside down.

Jeffery Keown said...

The only thing I'm really impressed with is Oil's dedication to his craft (quote-mining, doctoring and denial of science).

In that, he could give other creationists lessons in distortion.

That, and his dogged determination and will to just not give up. If there is a scientific fact left undistorted by him in 10 years, I'll be surprised.

OilIsMastery said...

LOL Jeffery.

That's some compliment.

I hope such praise doesn't go to my ego because, as Steve Smith says, we're all bozos on the bus.

Jeffery Keown said...

...we're all bozos on the bus.

That was Phil Procter actually.

Fungus FitzJuggler III said...

OIM are you a creationist?

I think the answer is that he is not?

What is a creationist?

Someone who believes that an intelligent, very powerful, being created the earth out of nothing and then went on to create the stars for the amusement of humans who were placed on earth out of nothing? Not very scientific and not likely to be able to provoke much thought.

OIM s a pain because.... (he is not a ?)