By Jarita C. Holbrook (auth.), Jarita C. Holbrook, Johnson O. Urama, R. Thebe Medupe (eds.)
Astronomy is the technological know-how of learning the sky utilizing telescopes and lightweight creditors equivalent to photographic plates or CCD detectors. besides the fact that, humans have constantly studied the sky and proceed to review the sky with out assistance from tools this is often the area of cultural astronomy. this is often the 1st scholarly selection of articles enthusiastic about the cultural astronomy of Africans. It weaves jointly astronomy, anthropology, and Africa. the amount comprises African myths and legends concerning the sky, alignments to celestial our bodies came across at archaeological websites and at areas of worship, rock paintings with celestial imagery, and medical considering published in neighborhood astronomy traditions together with ethnomathematics and the construction of calendars. Authors contain astronomers Kim Malville, Johnson Urama, and Thebe Medupe; archaeologist Felix Chami, and geographer Michael Bonine, and plenty of new authors. As an rising subfield of cultural astronomy, African cultural astronomy researchers are keen on education scholars particularly for doing learn in Africa. the 1st a part of the amount includes classes and routines to aid the start pupil of African cultural astronomy. integrated are routines in archaeoastronomy, cultural anthropology, and naked-eye astronomy penned via authors who use those usually use those equipment for his or her study. This selection of classes and learn papers offers a origin for the cultural astronomy researcher attracted to doing paintings in Africa.
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Extra resources for African Cultural Astronomy: Current Archaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy research in Africa
Irwin (1981, 1983) has extensively discussed the symbolism of Asokan (and pre-Asokan) pillars with regard to pillar worship in India. The yupa, a sacrificial post, the lingam, the central pole of a tent used for dance, and the tree are other examples of sacred or ritual pillars. The stalk of the lotus bearing Brahma, the four-faced creator of the universe, is another cosmogonic pillar from which creation emanates. In the gnomon we encounter the remarkable union of a technical device used to determine true cardinality with a powerful cosmogonic symbol.
McKim Malville The gnomon is the part of a sundial that casts the shadow, and it is probably also the world’s oldest astronomical instrument. As basic as a pole stuck in sand, the gnomon may have been used to measure the passage of time by nomadic cultures of the Sahara for millennia. In the much later high cultures of the Nile Valley, the gnomon could have been used to determine the direction to true north for pyramids, palaces, and temples. For those who carefully watched, the moving shadow of the gnomon revealed a profound symmetry in nature, a space-time pattern that connected heaven and earth.
As climate is regulated by the apparent movement of the sun between the two tropics and the associated movement of winds, it (the climate), tends to change in a similar way in the direction of the north or south of the Equator. This gives rise to symmetrical climatic zones in Africa consisting of the central zone of equatorial climate, two tropical zones, two hot deserts and two Mediterranean zones. It is noteworthy, however, that this symmetry is only perfect in West Africa. In East Africa, the climate is modified by altitude and the belts are longitudinal, while in southern Africa, the modifying factors are the contrasting ocean currents, the prevailing winds and the influence of the highlands.