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The study of the astronomical
practices, celestial lore, mythologies,
religions and world-views of all ancient
Early Astronomy
Why People Began to
Watch the Sky
– First constellations
recorded by Sumerians is
first written astronomy-but
astronomy is still older
Astronomy Timeline
3500B.C.-Construction of Stonehenge I
2500B.C.-Pyramids in Egypt.
2300B.C.-Megaliths appear at
1400B.C.-Chinese record solar eclipse
500B.C.-Babylonian astronomy reaches
highest point
300B.C.-Greek astronomy reaches its
Eratosthenes determines size of the
135B.C.-Hipparchus develops first star
catalog and measures star brightness
Astronomy Timeline Continued
astronomers estimate size of
the round earth and moon
28B.C.- Chinese record
200A.D.-Teotihuacan Empire
reaches its height
250A.D.-Rise of Mayans,
300A.D.-Nazca Culture in
500A.D.-Rise of Anasazi in
American Southwest
820A.D.-Muslim astronomy
Astronomy Timeline Continued
900A.D.-End of Mayan
period/Begin Mississippian culture
920A.D.-Building of Uxmal in
940A.D.-Oldest Chinese star map
1000A.D.-Caracol at Chichen Itza
1100A.D.-Decline and
disappearance of Anasazi
1200A.D.-Rise of Inca
1300A.D.-Aztec Civilization
Rises/Height of Cahokia
• It’s the oldest timepiece in existence.
• Designed for astronomical observation.
• Located in Southern England.
• Helps in predicting eclipses & cycles of
• Aligns at the solstice’s.
Map of
Stonehenge Astronomy
Egyptian Pyramidal Astronomy
Astronomy used for positioning of the
Vents & passageways align with specific stars.
Pyramids are slightly off. (Plate Tectonics?)
Divide the sky into constellations.
Pyramid of Giza
The Teotihuacan
Civilization located in Mexico (approx. 600 A.D.).
Calendar with moon phases.
Built 2 important pyramids – sun & moon.
Pyramids are flat topped.
Teotihuacan Pyramid
The Maya
Portrayed ecliptic in art work.
Concluded year was slightly more than 365 days
(Evidence of a calendar system).
Observed Venus & Mercury when visible
Math – they created the number 0
Also created a writing system (hieroglyphics).
Civilization found in Mexico.
Mayan Architecture
The Nazca
Built lines in the Earth for aliens. (500 B.C.)
Located in Peru. (South America)
Nazca lines that they created are known as
Nazca Geoglyphs
The Anasazi
Known for their agriculture.
Saw supernova in 1054 in Chaco Canyon, New
Forecast weather by insect activity & wind direction.
“Cliff Dwellers”
Anasazi Architecture
The Inca
Interest in dark space between stars.
1200 A.D.
Built their cities high in the mountains.
Machu Picchu was the capital. Wanted to be closer to
the “heavens”.
Incan Architecture
Incan Architecture
The Aztecs
1300 A.D.
Observations of nature & all its cycles, stars, and
Built pyramids aligned with solar system.
Created a writing system.
Created a sun stone calendar (sun dial).
Mapped out the sky.
Aztec Architecture
Archeoastronomy in Illinois
1000 A.D. woodhenge in Illinois – allows us to tell
Used woodhenge for harvest.
This was an ancient calendar built in the
Mississippian landscape. (Collinsville, IL)
Map of Cahokia
Monk’s Mound
Amesbury, England (thought to be older than
Many made through out the world.
“Wooden Stonehenge”
Sun aligned with poles at solstices, equinoxes, and other
important dates
The End