History and Science of Ancient Astronomy – Stonehenge and Archaeoastronomy

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Ancient people viewed the sky differently than we do. Skywatching was crucial to the ancients’ daily life, since the motions of the heavens served as timekeeper, calendar, compass, and almanac for planning when to plant and harvest.

The regularity of celestial cycles was the only guaranteed aspect of life and inspired religious and philosophical views, as different cultures struggled to grasp the unseen forces that govern the cosmos.

For eons, this was humanity’s experience of the Sun, Moon, planets, stars, and transient phenomena such as meteors, comets, and eclipses.

The ancients’ meticulous records and conjectures laid the foundation for modern science. Ancient astronomy encompasses archaeoastronomy, which is the study of how ancient monuments are oriented to the sky, but it also includes cosmology, mythology, mathematics, celestial mapping, astrology, divination, timekeeping, calendars, navigation, and ancient technology, among other fields.

It is part science, part history, part archaeology, part cultural anthropology, and part detective story as your professor unravels the complex relationship of ancient people with the sky.

If you’ve ever wondered how the ancient world saw the stars, The Remarkable Science of Ancient Astronomy investigates each of these disciplines to give you unprecedented insight into the understanding of our first astronomers.

In these dazzling and provocative 24 half-hour lectures presented by Professor Bradley E. Schaefer, a professional astronomer and multi-award-winning educator at Louisiana State University, you will see the sky like never before.

Familiar Western constellations are contrasted with the very different systems of other cultures, and the star patterns of the Babylonians and Chinese are shown in detail not available elsewhere.

Plus, animations demonstrate the celestial alignments of ancient monuments as well as the workings of ingenious devices such as the armillary sphere, astrolabe, and incomparable Antikythera mechanism.

Designed for learners of all ages and backgrounds, these lectures on ancient astronomy are a visual delight.

In this lecture: Why were the motions of the Sun, Moon, and stars so important to ancient people? Investigate key astronomical directions noticed by all cultures. Then embark on your study of Stonehenge, seeing how it gave birth to the field of archeoastronomy and to some very curious modern theories

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