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This book is really terrific. I think that for many of us, "wonder," and a sense of personal contact with grand mysteries, are best experienced through either astronomy or archaeology. What I mean by that is that both of these topics necessitate a personal confrontation with the unknown. The origin of the universe; the fate of ancient peoples; the mythic architecture of dreams uponst which olden folk drew, to explain their place in the cosmos... if these topics don't give you at least a slight frisson of wonder, then, face it, you're hopeless. This book provides a concatenated sense of wonder by drawing upon both archaeology and astronomy, and distilling many of the most provocative questions explored in each topic. Added to these topics is a tincture of anthropology, which in my mind solidifies the claim that this book has to true neato-hood. The focus is on the Western Hemisphere, as the title states. The book starts out with a collection of essays by respected, authentic scholars who study this kind of thing. Essay topics include "Archaeoastronomy Today," "Archaeoastronomy and Education," "The Role of Architecture and Planning in Archaeoastronomy," and various and sundry allied topics. If you have a longstanding interest in this kind of thing, you might expect the book to spend a lot of time on the Mayans, because of all the work done on Mayan calendrics, etc. Well, true, there's a lot about the Mayans, but there's also plentiful material about peoples without written records, such as the Chumash, the Apache, some Algonquin tribes, etc.Read more ›
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