Battle Point Astronomical Association Lecture Series 2003

Battle Point Astronomical Association Home Page

Cosmologies: Ancient and Modern

An Introduction to Archeoastronomy and Modern Cosmological Theories

A ten lecture series starting January 30, 2003.and ending May 15, 2003

Lectures will be held on Thursdays at Bainbridge High School, Room 311 from 7 9 PM.

This will be the sixth year Paul Middents, retired Olympic College adjunct professor, has offered a lecture series for the BPAA. The lectures are all supported by PowerPoint computer video presentations. Slides and notes will be available on CDROM.

The course will start with an overview of archeoastronomy as revealed in several ancient cultures. Then the basic celestial motions detectable by naked eye will be covered. The causes of these motions as we now understand them will be emphasized. Then the evidence for ancient awareness of these motions will be studied in a variety of cultures. These cultures will include Mayan, early North American native sites, Inca, Polynesian navigators, stone circles of Great Britain, classical world of Egypt, Mesopotamia and Greece, Arab and Indian astronomy and the transmission of knowledge to western Europe.

The last three lectures will outline current ideas about cosmology. These lectures will draw on the recent Scientific American Special Edition, The Once and Future Cosmos.

Jan 30:   Lecture 1: Introduction; What is archeoastronomy? Ethnoastronomy? Some examples from ancient societies

Feb 6:    Lecture 2: Basic theory of celestial motions; Celestial coordinate system and celestial mapping review; Annual solar motions; Annual star motions (heliacal risings)

Feb 13:  Lecture 3: Basic Theory continued; The analemma and the sun in the church; Lunar cycle

Feb 27:  Lecture 4: Eclipses; General precession; Calendar reform and Easter;

Mar 13: Lecture 5: Archeoastronomy in the Americas; The Mayans and The Chacoans

Mar 20: Lecture 6: The Mayans continued; The Willow Creek Petroglyph Site (Archeoastronomers at Work)

Apr 10: Lecture 7: Archeoastronomy around the world; Pacific Navigators; The circles of Great Britain;

Apr 17:  Lecture 8: Modern cosmological ideas: Background and history in the 20th Century

May 1:   Lecture 9: The Cosmic Microwave Background and what it says about the shape and destiny of the Universe.

May 15: Lecture 10: The case for dark energy and the formation of large scale structure.

We will refer to the books:

How the Shaman Stole the Moon by William H. Calvin, Bantam Books 1992.

Astronomy in Prehistoric Britain and Ireland by Clive Ruggles, Yale University Press, 1999

Cambridge Illustrated Astronomy by Michael Hoskin, Cambridge University Press, 1997

The following links provide book searches on the Internet:

Web access will be very useful to all participants.

My home page:

Please contact me with any questions.