Astronomy in Cultures

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In Chapters 6 to 14, we discuss the cultural contexts in which premodern astronomy was practiced. We begin each chapter with brief descriptions of the region and of the history, activities, and practices of the people or peoples dwelling there. Three broad sources can be recommended to place the cultures and their monuments in a fuller context of world archeology than we can attempt here. The Times Atlas of Archeology (Past Worlds by Hammond Inc., 1988) provides summary maps and cultural descriptions for archeological remains from the earliest period to the present. A more technical atlas by Whitehouse and Whitehouse (1975) locates the major sites throughout the world, and Jacquetta

Hawkes (1974) has done a summary of the archeologically known cultures of the world. The latter work is described as an atlas also but has substantially less cartography and much more archeological content than do the other two. For North and South America, Willey (1966, 1971), although out of date, still provides the most comprehensive archeological overview. For nonprofessional readers, Ingpen and Wilkinson (1990) gives carefully done reconstructions of many sites discussed in this book, with competent descriptions. We begin by reviewing the evidence of astronomical interest in the earliest of cultures—those of the Paleolithic.

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