Ancient Astronomy

Barasana "Caterpillar Jaguar" Constellation

  The Barasana are a group of forest-dwellers in the Colombian Amazon. They survive by a mixture of fishing, hunting, and gathering, supplemented by slash-and-burn agriculture. June, July, and August (in our calendar) are difficult months for them, since their regular food sources are scarce. But at this time of year pupating caterpillars fall down […]


  Ballochroy is one of many hundreds of small megalithic monuments found in western Britain. The casual visitor is unlikely to be greatly impressed at the sight of it: a row of three standing stones, one broken off, occupying an unassuming location in a field behind a barn at Ballochroy farmhouse on the west coast […]

Brainport Bay

  The landscape of much of the western highlands of Scotland is one of mountains dissected by long narrow lakes, similar to Norwegian fjords, extending inland from the coast. Loch Fyne in Argyll is one of the longest of these, stretching for more than 50 kilometers (30 miles). On its shores, about halfway along, is […]

Boyne Valley Tombs

  The northern banks of the river Boyne in County Meath, Ireland, at a spot called the Bend of the Boyne, are the site of a remarkable concentration of Neolithic tombs dating to the late fourth millennium b.c.e. These include three large passage tombs: Newgrange, Knowth, and Dowth. At Newgrange a single 19-meter (60-foot) passage […]

Borana Calendar

  The Borana are a group of nomadic cattle herders inhabiting an area that lies partly in southern Ethiopia and partly in northern Kenya. Their calendar, which regulates both subsistence and ceremonial activities, is of vital importance to them and is regulated by experts on sky observation known as ayantu. The Borana calendar is conventional […]

Brodgar, Ring of

  The Ring of Brodgar is one of the most impressive, and one of the two most northerly, examples in Britain of a henge monument containing a stone circle. The stone circle is over 100 meters (330 feet) across, standing within a ditch over 120 meters (400 feet) in diameter (the outer bank has now […]

"Brown" Archaeoastronomy

  This term denotes an approach in archaeoastronomy that is not primarily focused upon alignment studies but is concerned with a much broader range of types of evidence, such as written documents or ethnohistorical accounts. This approach emerged in North America during the 1970s, particularly in the context of studies of astronomy in native North […]


  The regular motions of celestial bodies can be used to keep track of the passage of time, and observations of different cycles in the sky have underlain many different types of calendars developed and used from early prehistory to the present. The moon is an obvious tool for this purpose: it is conspicuous in […]


  The many huge earthworks or mounds that remain visible in the Mississippi and Ohio valleys form a conspicuous testimonial to the technical achievements of indigenous North Americans before the arrival of European settlers. Inevitably, a number of them have attracted interest in potential astronomical alignments, and it is scarcely surprising that this includes the […]


  The citadel of Cacaxtla is prominently located on a hilltop in the highlands of Mexico, in the state of Tlaxcala, about eighty kilometers (fifty miles) southeast of Mexico City. It dates to the Epiclassic period (c. c.e. 650-850), a time when great cities such as Teotihuacan had collapsed and independent highland kingdoms had begun […]