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Archaeoastronomy in the 1990s

£ 9.95 each


This volume has been reprinted in 2014 as a downloadable e-book. The original hardback edition, published in 1993 by Group D Publications, is OUT OF PRINT.

This e-book has been regenerated from the original Word Processor files and by digitizing the original drawings and photographs. Many figures are now of improved quality, including a number in colour.


About the book

Archaeoastronomy in the 1990s

Edited by Clive L.N. Ruggles

E-reprint: Ocarina Books, Bognor Regis, UK, 2014

ISBN 978–0–9540867–4–9, xiv+364 pp.

A collection of 31 papers from the third “Oxford” international symposium on archaeoastronomy, held in St Andrews in 1990.

Archaeoastronomy in the 1990s (E-reprint)


This classic and wide-ranging collection of 31 papers, one of two proceedings volumes arising from the third “Oxford 3” International Symposium on Archaeoastronomy held in Scotland in 1990, demonstrates the state of the art in the field 25 years ago. Many of the contributions pioneered new areas of research and remain of direct relevance to researchers today; the collection as a whole will fascinate anyone interested in the development of theory and practice in archaeoastronomy.

While the companion volume Astronomies and Cultures is still available in hardback, Archaeoastronomy in the 1990s has been out of print for several years.

This new e-reprint has been regenerated from the original Word Processor files and by digitizing the original drawings and photographs. Many figures are now of improved quality, including a number in colour, and show features that were not clearly visible in the hardback edition. These include photographs of sun-serpent phenomena relating to petroglyphs in the USA, Navajo star ceilings, the Slatino model furnace from Bulgaria, and Aboriginal rock engravings.




List of contents

1   Introduction: Archaeoastronomy—the way ahead. Clive Ruggles 1
Part I: Thematic contributions
2   Archaeoastronomy in the Americas since Oxford 2. Anthony F. Aveni 15
3   Space, time and the calendar in the traditional cultures of America. Stephen C. McCluskey 33
4   Some social correlates of directional symbolism. Stanislaw Iwaniszewski 45
Part II: New horizons
5   Moon Man and Sea Woman: the cosmology of the Central Inuit. Susan M. Pearce 59
6   Time-reckoning in Iceland before literacy. Thorsteinn Vilhjálmsson 69
7   The geometry of pastoral stone octagons: the Basque sarobe. Roslyn M. Frank and Jon D. Patrick 77
8   The moon and Indo-European calendar structure. Emily Lyle 92
9   Some remarks on the moon cult of Teutonic tribes. Emília Pásztor 98
10   Astronomical knowledge in Bulgarian lands during the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age. Tsvetanka Radoslavova 107
11   Four approaches to the Borana calendar. Clive Ruggles 117
12   Astronomy in the ancient written sources of the Far East. Ildikó Ecsedy and Katalin Barlai 123
13   Orientations of religious and ceremonial structures in Polynesia. William Liller 128
14   Aboriginal sky-mapping? Possible astronomical interpretation of Australian Aboriginal ethnographic and archaeological material. Hugh Cairns 136
Part III: New techniques, methods and approaches
15   Basic research in astronomy and its applications to archaeoastronomy. Bradley E. Schaefer 155
16   A method for determining limits on the accuracy of naked-eye locations of astronomical events. Rolf M. Sinclair and Anna Sofaer 178
17   An integrated approach to the investigation of astronomical evidence in the prehistoric record: the North Mull project. Clive Ruggles and Roger Martlew 185
18   The astronomy and geometry of Irish passage grave cemeteries: a systematic approach. Jon D. Patrick 198
Part IV: Continuing research: new results
19   Sun and sun serpents: continuing observations in south-eastern Utah. Carol W. Ambruster and Ray A. Williamson 219
20   The origin and meaning of Navajo star ceilings. Von Del Chamberlain and Polly Schaafsma 227
21   Organisation of large settlements of the northern Anasazi. John McKim Malville and James Walton 242
22   Summer solstice: a Chumash basket case. Edwin C. Krupp 251
23   Counting and sky-watching at Boca de Potrerillos, Nuevo León, Mexico: clues to an ancient tradition. Wm. Breen Murray 264
24   Venus orientations in ancient Mesoamerican architecture. Ivan Sprajc 270
25   Mesoamerican geometry combined with astronomy and calendar: the way to realise orientation. Franz Tichy 278
26   Mesoamerican cross-circle designs revisited. Stanislaw Iwaniszewski 288
27   Were the Incas able to predict lunar eclipses? Mariusz S. Ziólkowski and Arnold Lebeuf 298
28   Callanish: maximising the symbolic and dramatic potential of the landscape at the southern extreme moon. Margaret Curtis and Ronald Curtis 309
29   The Bush Barrow gold lozenge: a solar and lunar calendar for Stonehenge? Archibald S. Thom 317
30   New evidence concerning possible astronomical orientations of "Tombe di Giganti". Edoardo Proverbio 324
Part V: Education and dissemination
31   An image database for learning archaeoastronomy. Clive Ruggles 335
Photographs (top to bottom):

Aboriginal bark painting of Orion and the Pleiades incorporated within mythological themes, Groote Eylandt, Australia. © Aboriginal Arts Management Association of the Aboriginal Arts Board and Weldon Pty. Ltd., Sydney (see Chapter 14)

Two “sun-serpents” meet on a spiral carving in Holly petroglyph panel, Hovenweep National Monument, USA. © Carol Ambruster and Ray Williamson (see Chapter 19)

The major standstill moon seen looking southwards through the standing stones of Callanish, Scotland. © Margaret and Ronald Curtis (see Chapter 28)


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Ocarina Books publishes and distributes books relating to archaeoastronomy and ethnoastronomy. Our printed books can be ordered on-line, either from Oxbow Books / Casemate Academic or (within the United Kingdom) directly from this site. Exceptionally, Nā Inoa Hōkū is distributed outside Europe by the University of Hawai‘i Press.

We are starting to reprint out-of-print titles as low-cost e-books (PDF files) which can be purchased and downloaded immediately.