Home Events Skyscape Archaeology Keynote Lecture series – Part 5

Skyscape Archaeology Keynote Lecture series – Part 5

Chumash Cave Paintings in the Burro Flats Painted Cave, Simi Valley, CA. Photo by Niceley on Wikipedia (released under a Creative Commons licence )

In the fifth part of this series, the Journal of Skyscape Archaeology and the Sophia Centre present two Zoom lectures:

Ed Krupp: Uplifted and Transported: Encounters at Burro Flats, California

The Burro Flats Painted Cave Complex, one of the most elaborate and significant prehistoric rock art sites in California, hosts fetching winter-solstice and summer-solstice light-and-shadow events. The presenter was present for their discovery in 1979/1980 and between then and 2004, he systematically monitored the astronomical performance of the painted rock shelter and other nearby zones on 37 visits and also assessed the impact of the 17 January 1994 Northridge earthquake on the site. The astronomical dimensions of the site will be illustrated and described, including details learned in the field from 2011 to 2018 and since the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, where it’s located, closed. This Chumash/Tongva archaeological site, near Chatsworth, California, is just a ridge away from the stands on which the huge moon-rocket and Space Shuttle engines were test fired. The test stands and the Burro Flats Painted Cave site, in fact, comprise the only place on earth where our modern world heritage in space converges with the prehistoric reach for the sky. The rock art and the test stands therefore make Burro Flats irreplaceably significant in the history of space exploration, in the history of NASA, in the history of California, in American history and in the history of the world.

Steven Gullberg: Astronomy of the Inca Empire

Astronomy in the Andes was well developed by the time the Spaniards arrived in the Inca empire. This was due in large to the accumulation of knowledge through observations made by the many civilisations preceding the Incas. Astronomy was not simply observing and understanding celestial movement, however, as it was integrally woven into the very fabric of Andean existence throughout myth, cosmology and culture, thereby playing an important role in daily life. The Incas were a Sun-worshipping people and their emperor was said to be “the son of the Sun”. Their cosmology begins with the primordial rising of the Sun and also that of the Moon. In their astronomy they were aware of many stars and planets and paid particular attention to the Milky Way and the Pleiades. In a practical sense this knowledge was put to work via horizon astronomy as the Incas marked the passage of sunrises and sunsets on their horizons in order to keep time for agriculture and religion. Ultimately, celestial alignments were integrated into their temples and huacas, as well as with other constructs such as solar pillars built more specifically for astronomical purposes. This presentation will explore numerous aspects of the fascinating astronomy of the Inca empire

Information and booking: Sophia Centre