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University of Texas Press
Skywatchers: A Revised and Updated Version of Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico / Edition 1

Skywatchers: A Revised and Updated Version of Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico / Edition 1

by Anthony F. AveniAnthony F. Aveni


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Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico helped establish the field of archaeoastronomy, and it remains the standard introduction to this subject. Combining basic astronomy with archaeological and ethnological data, it presented a readable and entertaining synthesis of all that was known of ancient astronomy in the western hemisphere as of 1980.

In this revised edition, Anthony Aveni draws on his own and others' discoveries of the past twenty years to bring the Skywatchers story up to the present. He offers new data and interpretations in many areas, including:

  • The study of Mesoamerican time and calendrical systems and their unprecedented continuity in contemporary Mesoamerican culture
  • The connections between Precolumbian religion, astrology, and scientific, quantitative astronomy
  • The relationship between Highland Mexico and the world of the Maya and the state of Pan-American scientific practices
  • The use of personal computer software for computing astronomical data

With this updated information, Skywatchers will serve a new generation of general and scholarly readers and will be useful in courses on archaeoastronomy, astronomy, history of astronomy, history of science, anthropology, archaeology, and world religions.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780292705029
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Publication date: 08/28/2001
Edition description: REVISED
Pages: 423
Sales rank: 619,529
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Anthony F. Aveni is the Russell B. Colgate Professor of Astronomy and Anthropology at Colgate University in New York.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • I. Introduction: Archaeoastronomy and Its Components
    • Archaeoastronomy: Twenty Years of Hindsight
    • Additional Selected Readings
  • II. The Historical, Ethnographic, and Ethnological Background for Native American Astronomy
    • The Civilizations of Ancient Mesoamerica
    • Chroniclers and Codices
    • Aztec Constellations
    • Astronomy and the Ethnological Record: The Importance of the Zenith Solar Passage
    • Additional Selected Readings
  • III. Astronomy with the Naked Eye
    • The Celestial Sphere: Coordinate Reference Frames
    • Charting the Sun's Movement
    • The Moon, Eclipses, and Eclipse Cycles
    • Cycles of the Planets
    • Miscellaneous Observable Sky Phenomena
    • Appendices
      • A. Glossary of Astronomical Terms of Importance in Archaeoastronomy
      • B. Factors Affecting the Precise Determination of Astronomical Orientations
      • C. Heliacal Rise and Set Phenomena
      • D. Determining the Approximate Date of Sunrise or Sunset for a Given Azimuth
      • E. Change of Direction of the Magnetic Compass with Time in Mesoamerica
      • F. Some Basic Formulas Useful for Fieldwork in Archaeoastronomy
      • G. How to Determine Alignments with the Surveyor's Transit
    • Additional Selected Readings, Electronic Resources, and Star Maps
  • IV. The Mathematical and Astronomical Content of the Mesoamerican Inscriptions
    • A Brief History of Calendrical Decipherment
    • The Mesoamerican Philosophy of Numbers
    • The Long Count
    • The Calendar Round
    • The Union of Time and Space in Mesoamerican Cosmology
    • How the Calendar Works
    • The Supplementary Series and the Lunar Synodic Month
    • Tropical Year Calculations
    • Planetary Events in the Monumental Inscriptions
    • Astronomy in the Maya Codices, I: General Content of the Codices
    • Astronomy in the Maya Codices, II: Eclipses and Eclipse Tables
    • Astronomy in the Maya Codices, III: Venus
    • Astronomy in the Maya Codices, IV: A Mars Table
    • Was There a Mesoamerican Zodiac?
    • Summary
    • Appendices
      • A. The Problem of the Correlation of Maya and Christian Dates
      • B. A Scheme for the Conversion of Maya Dates
    • Additional Selected Readings
  • V. Astronomy and Architecture in the Ancient Americas and Mediterranean Basin
    • The Orientation Motive
    • City and Cosmos: Urban Planning in Highland Mexico
    • Cosmic Order in the Aztec Capital
    • Maya Cities: Architecture and Sacred Landscape
    • Specialized Architectural Assemblages
    • North America
    • The Andean World
    • Summary: Astronomy in Ancient American Cultures
    • Circum-Mediterranean Archaeoastronomy
    • Appendix A. An Analysis of the Pecked Cross Petroglyphs
    • Additional Selected Readings
  • Postscript
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

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