- Series: Ballena Press Anthropological Papers
- Paperback: 405 pages
- Publisher: Ballena Pr; First Edition edition (June 1, 1981)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0879190949
- ISBN-13: 978-0879190941
- Package Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 0.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,737,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Archaeoastronomy in the Americas (Ballena Press Anthropological Papers) First Edition Edition
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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.
Let me just point out that the people who contributed to this volume are all respected scholars -- there are no von Danikens, no Velikovskies, no Stichins to call the whole book into question with wild claims about pre-historic extraterrestrial contact, or the like. This book is for real.
The body of the book, like the introduction, is divided into essays by academics with backgrounds in the appropriate fields. The essays are broken up into geographical regions -- North America, Mesoamerica, and South America. Essays delve into all kinds of fascinating subtopics about many archaeoastronomical questions. There is a little essay at the end, about prospects for teaching archaeoastronomy in the classroom. This essay is over twenty years old now, but it still has much of relevance to say.
If you enjoy this kind of thing, you may wish to know about the "Journal of Archaeoastronomy," which you can find either online or in "Magazines for Libraries." Also, you can't go wrong reading anything at all by Anthony Aveni. Anyway, this book is a lot of fun. I would recommend it to anyone.