"It should be read by anyone even remotely interested in the long saga of the universe's profound and lasting influence on mankind’s development." — New Scientist
"A grand book." — Publishers Weekly
"Dr. Krupp teaches us once more to look up at the stars and marvel." — Ray Bradbury
The intriguing world of archaeoastronomy — the study of ancient peoples' observations of the skies and the impact of what they saw on their cultural evolution — is the focus of this eminently readable and authoritative survey. Author E. C. Krupp, an astronomer, is the director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California. He is one of the world's greatest experts on archaeoastronomy, and the author of numerous books including Beyond the Blue Horizon (1992) and In Search of Ancient Astronomies (1978). His interpretations of sky-watching customs from around the world range from everyday pursuits such as measuring time and calculating planting seasons to philosophical issues concerning the role of humanity within the larger context of the universe.
Beginning with an explanation of how the sky works and how people have relied upon its guidance for centuries, Dr. Krupp explores ancient and prehistoric observatories, from sites in China and Babylonia to Scotland and Peru. He relates sky god mythology from many cultures, discusses astronomy's influence on funerary rites and other vigils and rituals, and profiles sacred places such as Stonehenge and the kivas of the American Southwest. An extraordinary interdisciplinary work of investigation and discovery, this book offers a compelling portrait of the ancient stargazers, their beliefs, and their customs. 208 illustrations. Bibliography. Index.