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This site will explore the approach ancient cultures used to study astronomy as a way of understanding their world. I was fortunate to be able to study Mayan approach to astronomy under the direction of Dr. Barnhart.
I was able to learn about this subject during the National Science Foundation’s Chautauqua course for College Teachers on the topic of archaeoastronomy, which was held in June 12-18, 2002. The course covered the observational methods developed by the Maya and what astronomy meant to them as people. Archaeoastronomical evidence, consisting of architectural forms and hieroglyphic texts was examined. Incorporation of Jupiter and Saturn into the Maya calendar was discussed. The origins of astronomy in Mesoamerica were also covered.
I have wonderful memories of the experience, and you, too can take a trip with Dr. Barnhart to learn about how ancient Mayan and related cultures developed their understanding of astronomy.
Prior to the course I learned about Maya on my own, so that I would be better prepared for the course. Below are listed 15 books that I found very useful.
1) A. F. Aveni, “Skywatchers”, University of Texas Press, Austin, 2001.
2) R. J. Sharer, “The Ancient Maya”, Fifth Edition, Stanford University Press, Stanford, 1994.
3) A. Aveni, “Stairways to the Stars, Skywatching in Three Great Ancient Cultures”, J. Wiley & Sons, New York, 1997.
4) J. Montgomery, “Tikal, The Ancient Maya Capital, An Illustrated History”, Hippocrene Books, Inc., New York, 2001.
5) M. Miller and K. Taube, “The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and Maya, An Illustrated Dictionary”, Thames and Hudson Inc., New York, 1997.
6) “Popol Vuh, The Definitive Edition of the Mayan Book of the Dawn of Life and the Glories of Gods and Kings”, Translated by D. Tedlock, Touchstone Book, Simon& Schuster, New York, 1996.
7) G. Díaz and A. Rogers, “The Codex Borgia, A Full-Color Restoration of the Ancient Mexican Manuscript”, Dover Publ. Inc., New York, 1993.
8) P. G. Bahn, “The Atlas of World Archaeology”, Checkmark Books, New York, 2000.
9) G. Ifrah, “The Universal History of Numbers, From Prehistory to the Invention of the Computer”, J. Wiley& Sons, New York, 2000.
10)G. S. Hawkins, “Stonehenge Decoded”, Doubleday& Co., Garden City, New York, 1965.
11)M. D. Coe and M. Van Stone, “Reading the Maya Glyphs”, Thames and Hudson, 2001.
12)K. Taube, “Aztec and Maya Myths”, The University of Texas, Austin, 1997.
13)A. G. Gilbert an M. M. Cotterell, “The Mayan Prophecies, Unlocking the Secrets of a Lost Civilization”, Element, Rockport, Massachusetts, 1995.
14)P. D. Harrrison, “The Lords of Tikal, Rulers of An Ancient Maya City”, Thames and Hudson, Inc., New York, 2000.
15)“Route of the Mayas”, Knopf Guides, Alfred A. Knopf, Publ., New York, 1999.