People and The Sky: Our Ancestors and The Cosmos
Few people today can accurately identify the stars and constellations or the phases of the moon, but our forebears had an intimate relationship with the heavens. People and The Sky explores how ancient hunters farmers, sailors rulers and storytellers were all cosmically grounded.
Anthony Aveni reveals how !Kung and Mursi hunter-gatherers depended on signals in the sky for their survival and sustenance; how Polynesian sailors navigated a seemingly limitless watery world by star bearings; how social cohesion in cultures as diverse as the Pawnee and the Inca was mirrored in celestial imagery; and how the cosmic connection between the arrangement of Chinese and Aztec cities and the constellations served as an expression of political authority.
For most of human history, people found meaning in the dance of the cosmic denizens. Today, many aspects of this intimate contact between daily life and what happens in the sky have disappeared. Did our ancestors have an understanding of the cosmos that we ourselves lack? How and why did it all happen? These are the questions addressed in this engaging and erudite book
With 66 illustrations, 9 in color
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Foundations of New World Cultural Astronomy (Scholastic, 2005)
Gazing into the black skies from the Anasazi observatory at Chimney Rock or the Castillo Pyramid in the Maya ruins of Chichén Itzá, a modern visitor might wonder what ancient stargazers looked for in the skies and what they saw. Once considered unresearchable, these questions now drive cultural astronomers, who draw on written and unwritten records and a constellation of disciplines to reveal the wonders of ancient and contemporary astronomies.
Cultural astronomy, first called archaeoastronomy, has evolved at ferocious speed since its genesis in the 1960s, with seminal essays and powerful rebuttals published in far-flung, specialized journals. Until now, only the most closely involved scholars could follow the intellectual fireworks. In Foundations of New World Cultural Astronomy, one of cultural astronomy’s founders and top scholars, Anthony Aveni, offers a personal selection of the essays that built the field, from foundational pieces to contemporary
Including four decades of research throughout the Americas by linguists, archaeologists, historians, ethnologists, astronomers, and engineers, this reader highlights the evolution of the field through thematic organization and point-counterpoint articles. Aveni—an award-winning author and former National Professor of the Year—serves up incisive commentary, background for the uninitiated, and suggested reading, questions, and essay topics.
Students, readers, and scholars will relish this collection and its tour of a new field in which discoveries about ancient ways of looking at the skies cast light on our contemporary views.
The Russell Colgate Professor of Astronomy and Anthropology at Colgate University, Anthony Aveni is the author of Empires of Time, Behind the Crystal Ball, Conversing with the Planets, Uncommon Sense, and several other books, as well as co-editor of The Madrid Codex.
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The First Americans: Where They Came From and Who They Became (Scholastic, 2005)
Tony was awarded the 2006 Spur Award for Juvenile Nonfiction by the Western Writers of America, an award given annually for distinguished
writing about the American West.
Named to the International Readers Association Teachers' Choice List for 2006.
For thousands of years nomadic people from east Asia followed caribou walking east. Sometime around 20,000 BCE, they crossed the land bridge into North America. These
waves of people are the ancestors to every culture on the continent. Tony Aveni, whose expertise is the scientific, mathematical, and cultural accomplishments of the
first Americans, celebrates the disparate cultures by highlighting one or two from each region of the country: the Taino, the Iroquois, the Adena, the Anasazi, the
Kwakiutl, and the Timucua.
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The Madrid Codex: New Approaches to Understanding an Ancient Maya Manuscript (edited with Gabrielle Vail)
Winner, The Colorado Endowment for the Humanities Publication Prize & the Eugene M. Kayden U Press of Colorado Award
This volume offers new calendrical models and methodologies for reading, dating, and interpreting the general significance of the Madrid
Codex. The longest of the surviving Maya codices, this manuscript includes texts and images painted by scribes conversant in Maya hieroglyphic writing, a written
means of communication practiced by Maya elites from the second to the fifteenth centuries A.D. Some scholars have recently argued that the Madrid Codex originated
in the Petén region of Guatemala
and postdates European contact. The contributors to this volume challenge that view by demonstrating convincingly that it originated in northern Yucatán and
was painted in the Pre-Columbian era. In addition, several contributors reveal provocative connections among the Madrid and Borgia group of codices from Central Mexico.
“I cannot think of another interdisciplinary study in Mesoamerican cultures that has produced such innovative results.”—Davíd
Carrasco, Harvard University
“The exciting new approaches to interpreting the codices will make this a volume essential for those studying the Postclassic Maya.” —Susan
Milbrath, University of Florida
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