As initially stated in my project goals, I made a poster to represent key facts about African and Australian Archaeoastronomy to a person with no knowledge of the subject. I have provided a link to my final poster, which I will be presenting at the Charles Center Summer Research Symposium on Thursday, October 3, 2013. Thank you very much for reading about my project!
There is an overall lack of information on cultural astronomy and archaeoastronomy in Sub-Saharan Africa. This having been said, it was rather difficult for me to gain access to scholarly works on the subject, resulting in my eventual purchase of African Cultural Astronomy, a collection of articles pertinent to “current archaeoastronomy and ethnoastronomy research in Africa.” Within this book, many articles were not relevant to my project as they either dealt with Northern Africa or initiatives to increase astronomy research and education in Africa.
I spent the past few days reading articles on archaeoastronomy in Oceania and will present some interesting finds in this blog post. I have never studied Aboriginal Australians or other Pacific island cultures in the past and found it worthwhile to explore new views on ancient astronomy. Australia was first inhabited at least 40,000 years ago. These peoples then traveled outward from Australia and moved toward the many islands of the Pacific. Fiji was populated in 1800 BCE, and Easter Island, the last of the Pacific islands to be populated, was colonized in 1000 CE.
The summer of 2013 has been my summer of astronomy. I just finished my summer research program, Undergraduate Research in Computational Astrophysics, at North Carolina State University at which I simulated the way that matter interacts and moves around neutron stars producing x-ray flares. I am also in the preliminary stages of a neutrino research project in William & Mary’s Department of Physics. Upon my return from North Carolina, I began a series of readings on archaeoastronomy. Archaeoastronomy is a fusion of archaeology and astronomy in which the way past cultures viewed and interpreted the heavens is studied.