The Center for Archaeoastronomy and Ocarina Books, Ltd. publish Songs from the Sky: Indigenous Astronomical and Cosmological Traditions of the World
The long-awaited proceedings of the First International Conference on Ethnoastronomy, which was held at the Smithsonian Institution in 1983, have now been co-published as Songs from the Sky: Indigenous Astronomical and Cosmological Traditions of the World. The chapters within this 380 page collection also serve as volumes 12 and 13 of the Center's journal, Archaeoastronomy.
This substantial collection of papers on indigenous astronomical knowledge is quite unequalled in its scope and extent. The authors are drawn from a variety of academic disciplines, including anthropology, archaeology, astronomy, engineering, art history, history of science, history of religion, folklore, and mythology, and bring a variety of academic perspectives to bear upon aspects of celestial knowledge and perception in diverse social contexts from many different parts of the globe. Native voices speak alongside these academic ones, as indigenous art and folklore are presented for their own intrinsic value, as well as for the insights they offer into the cosmological traditions of their creators.
The Americas provide the main geographical focus, with twenty of the 32 papers concerning indigenous north American groups such as the Navajo, Lakota, Zuni and Blackfoot, the Mixe and Tzotzil Maya of southern Mexico, the Andean highlands and the Amazonian region of Peru, and southern coastal Brazil.
The remaining twelve articles extend to the Arab world, sub-Saharan Africa, southern India, Java, Melanesia, Australia and Polynesia, with a few addressing broader synthetic themes. For a number of the culture areas dealt with in some detail here, other published information about sky knowledge is extremely scant.
Songs from the Sky: Indigenous Astronomical and Cosmological Traditions of the World (Ocarina Books, Ltd: Bognor Regis; Center for Archaeoastronomy: College Park, MD) xiv + 379 pp., ISBN 0-9540867-2-4. £34.95 / $70.00.
The book may be purchased from David Brown Books (for orders in North America) or Oxbow Books (elsewhere in the world). For further information on personal and library orders visit The Oxbow Books/David Brown Book Co. (Click on your country flag, and the Songs ordering page will load.)
Subscribers paid through volume 12 and 13 of Archaeoastronomy: The Journal of The Center for Archaeoastronomy, will receive a copy of the book as fulfillment of their regular subscription.