MGMT 1050 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Facing Windows, Irregular Galaxy, Chaco Culture National Historical Park

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20 Jul 2016
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Archaeoastronomy
Throughout the world, we find evidence that prehistoric mankind developed the ability to predict the
cycles of the sky.
Earth speed 30km per second
Moon sets westward every 24hrs
Location of the sunrise shifts along the horizon throughout the year
Stars move in a circle around the same point in the sky
Venus follows a curved path, stars do not
Planets are different from stars
Things above could be noticed by prehistoric people
How celestial bodies move
Three sites that have an archaeological evidence of having a connection to the sky:
Study of these kinds of sites is archaeoastronomy
Most common connection to sky that we find in these sites is to the sun
Sun- very important. Light, time tracking
Newgrange –Ireland- 3200BC
Very simple solar alignment. Over 5000 thousand years old
Original roof
Predates pyramids by about 500 years. Oldest known roof structure
Spiral carvings everywhere. Bowl shaped rock could’ve possibly held ashes and bones of
important people.
Above the entrance is the roof box. Roof box is aligned to the winter solstice sunrise. (sunrises
on the shortest day of the year December 21st)
Sun hits the roof box on that day, illuminates the stone passageway, as sun gets higher, beam
gets longer and goes farther. After about 15 mins, it illuminates the main chamber (central room). (Light
stops for about 15 mins at the main chamber)
Stoneage equivalent of our modern cathedral
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The alignment of the tomb likely reflects a belief in rebirth or reincarnation. Builder’s probably
believed in some form of reincarnation. The dead reborn on this day?
Sundagger of Chaco Canyon- New Mexic- 1000AD
Over 600 rooms.
Natural rock formations throughout the canyon. Ex. Rock Summit known as Fajada Butte
1970’s American study, 2 spiral carvings were found behind three large stone slabs
Two thin Daggers of light shone on the wall. They moved across the wall because sun was moving across
the sky.
At noon on the solstices and equinoxes, the Sundagger exhibits 2 beams of sunlight which either bisect
or frame the spirals.
Perfectly bisected on the summer solstice June 22nd. Only day when the sun can perfectly bisect the
spiral
Made to mark noon on summer, winter solstice and spring, fall equinox
Stonehenge – south west England 3000BC
Stonehenge’s heel stone is aligned to the summer solstice sunrise.
Wooden sticks to standing stones
Stones are the size of a car and weigh 25 tonnes
Store ashes, healing powers theories
Summer solstice sun rises behind the Heel Stone if your standing in the middle of the circle
Druids- sun worshiping.
Stone structure was there before Druids got there (2300bc)
Theory- two heel stones to begin with. When Stonehenge was built, the summer solstice sun rose beside
the heel stone. There used to be 2 Heel Stones to frame the sunrise
Blocked Vs Framed sunrise. One heel stone vs two
The Sun’s Daily Cycle
Due to earths 24hr eastward spin around the polar axis, the sun moves westward across the sky;rises in
the east, reaches its highest point at noon and then sets in the west. (earth spins east, everything looks
opposite)
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