Saturday, December 22, 2007

Ancient Astronomy - Fascinating!


We are so fortunate these days in the information available to us and the technology that delivers it. (In this case, I mean pay TV - cable to some, in our household's case delivered by satellite).

I was watching (I think) 'Discovery' channel earlier and the show was about Stonehenge, which there is little doubt was an ancient astronomical calculator. Knowing when the winter solstice happens, accurately, is a huge aid in knowing when to prepare ground and plant crops, for example.

The show also fleetingly covered what are described as 'the Golden Hats', which themselves appear to be astronomical calculators. One interesting thing (of many) was that several of these items were found in various places in Europe, suggesting Bronze age Europe was quite homogeneous. (There are even earlier 'calculators').

But the REAL lesson is that our ancestors of 3-4,000 years ago were very much more advanced, and accomplished in the sciences than most people these days give them credit for. The could determine summer and winter solstice, track the moon phases. They also knew about Metonic cycles as well it seems. Fascinating stuff.

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