Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Evidence for Time Keeping Among Pre-Neolithic Hunter Gatherers: What I Left Out

The goal of the Time Keeping presentation I gave at the 2014 ESHE conference is to establish a framework of data toward understanding the time keeping methods of Pre-Neolithic people.  Geographically, I focus on Europe, Northern Asia and North America in order to limit the scope.

Not covered in the presentation are solar, lunar and astral alignment sites and artifacts in Africa, most sites in Central and South America, Australia, Southeast Asia, East Asia, and India.  I also left out many Neolithic and Bronze Age sites in Europe, Northern Asia and North America.

In terms of the ethnographic record, there is cultural astronomy data on many autochthonous groups in parts of the world that I did not cover.  On every continent, people kept time from an ancient date.

A number of very good books have been written that describe ancient time keeping cultures across the continents. For those interested in exploring archaeoastronomy further, I highly recommend the books, conference proceedings, and summary papers in the list, below.

I'll occasionally refer to some of these references in my blog posts in the coming weeks, in order to place in context the "framework" time keeping cultures mentioned in the presentation.

So, again, my intention isn't to suggest that the only ancient people to keep accurate time were in Europe, Siberia, or North America, but only to limit the scope of the discussion (for now, anyway).

Archaeoastronomy Reading List

Aveni, Anthony, “Archaeoastronomy in the Ancient Americas”, Journal of Archaeological Research, June 2003.

Clarke, P.A., "An overview of Australian Aboriginal ethnoastronomy" in Archaeoastronomy: The Journal of Astronomy in Culture. Vol. 21, pp.39-58. (Link)

Esteban, Cesar, "Archaeoastronomy of North Africa", Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures, 2008, pp 180-187. (Link)

Holbrook, Jarita C. (Chairman), "African cultural astronomy : Current Archaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy rsearch in Africa", Astrophysics and space science proceedings, 2008 (Link)

Kelley, David H., Eugene F. Milone, Exploring Ancient Skies: A Survey of Ancient and Cultural Astronomy, Springer, 2011 (Link)

Penprase, Bryan E., The Power of the Stars: How Celestial Observations Have Shaped Civilization, Springer, 2010 (Link)

Ruggles, Clive (Editor) and Michel Cotte (Editor), Heritage Sites of Astronomy and Archaeoastronomy in the context of the UNESCO World Heritage, August 10, 2012 (Link)

Ruggles, Clive L. N., Ancient Astronomy: An Encyclopedia of Cosmologies and Myth, 2005 (Link)

List of archaeoastronomy sites by country (wiki Link)

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