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History of Astronomy - Lecture 1 Notes

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York University
Natural Science
NATS 1745
Robin Metcalfe

Sept 9, 2011 Archaeoastronomy and the Sun We will be looking at three sites that show a connection to the sun, study of these sites is archaeoasronomy Newgrange passage tomb, Ireland(~3200 BC): -Newgrange’s roofbox is aligned to the winter solstice sunrise -has oldest known roof structure - has roofbox facing winter solstice sunrise, so on shortest day of year, light shines through -the alignment of the tomb likely reflects a belief in rebirth or reincarnation (because it’s the shortest day of the year: moodle site has youtube video) -based on newgrange’s construction (how difficult it would have been to move rocks) we can assume that this was built to commemorate people/something of great importance The Sundagger of Chaco Canyon, New Mexico (1000 AD) -on the summit of fajada butte in new mexico, 2 spiral carvings were found behind 3 stone slabs -at noon on the solstices and equinoxes, the sundagger exhibits 2 beams of sunlight which either bisect or frame the spiral Stonehenge (3000 BC) Southern England -stonehenge
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