Ancient astronomers of Oz

Astronomically-related chat

Moderators: joe, Brian, Guy Fennimore

Post Reply
brian livesey
Posts: 5369
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:05 am
Location: Lancashire
Contact:

Ancient astronomers of Oz

Post by brian livesey »

We are used to associating stone circles and menhirs with Europe and the Middle East, when Neolithic and Bronze Age farmers needed to register the time of the solstices and other stages of the sun across the sky.
However, in the Australian state of Victoria there's a set of standing stones that also trace the path of the sun through the year. The Wurdi Yuang circle could be over 11,000 years old. If so, it would be the oldest know observatory in the world. Nearby, there's evidence of terraces used in agriculture ( strictly speaking, horticulture, as there were no draught animals in Australia to pull the plough until Europeans arrived ), which was first thought to have appeared later in Mesopotamia.
Half way between Melbourne and Geelong, there are traces of semi-permanent villages, adding to the evidence that the Aboriginals were not entirely nomadic. The basalt rocks at the stone circle are about three feet high and lie along an east-west axis. Some of the egg-shaped orientated rocks align with the setting sun at the equinox and the summer and winter solstices.
Anthropologists and archaeologists are working with tribal elders to to find out what the rocks were used for. The area is thought to have been inhabited for more than 25,000 years. Elders are unsure how old the stones are because the traditional native language, culture and ceremonies were eliminated by missionaries.
Last edited by brian livesey on Thu Oct 27, 2016 4:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
brian

Brian
Posts: 3656
Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Wellingborough
Contact:

Re: Ancient astronomers of Oz

Post by Brian »

Dear Brian, very interesting.

I happened to be watching History Channel this weekend, and one program was investigating the pre-pre-history of Australia. A point made was that there is evidence the ancient Egyptians knew of Australia and even voyaged there to seek wisdom and enlightenment thousands of years BC. They left hieroglyphs carved into rock walls and these have been deciphered by Egyptologists.
Brian
52.3N 0.6W
Wellingborough UK.

254mm LX90 on Superwedge, WO ZS66SD, Helios 102mm f5 on EQ1, Hunter 11x80, Pentax 10x50
ASI120MC Toucam Pros 740k/840k/900nc mono, Pentax K110D
Ro-Ro roof shed

David Frydman
Posts: 5344
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:25 am
Contact:

Re: Ancient astronomers of Oz

Post by David Frydman »

I suppose that kangaroos or dingos puling ploughs might not work too well.

Camels came about later.

Regards,
David

brian livesey
Posts: 5369
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:05 am
Location: Lancashire
Contact:

Re: Ancient astronomers of Oz

Post by brian livesey »

It's the first time I've heard about ancient Egyptians in Oz Brian! Sounds like it might be a clever hoax. The ocean-going Chinese junks certainly got around. A Chinese shrine was discovered in the tropical north of Australia that pre-dates Cook's voyage. Here#'s the Wurdi Yuang circle:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15098959 .
Last edited by brian livesey on Thu Oct 27, 2016 4:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
brian

Brian
Posts: 3656
Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Wellingborough
Contact:

Re: Ancient astronomers of Oz

Post by Brian »

While I treat anything I see on the History Channel with appropriate scepticism :wink:

I do think the experts take a far too linear view of the progress of human civilisation, with the knowledge and capabilities of older civilisations in pre-history being inferior in some way to more modern ones. I think there is evidence (circumstantial maybe) that great civilisations have come and gone in cyclical fashion over many millennia, learning and re-learning as they did so. We today are only scratching the surface of knowing what homo sapiens was able to achieve maybe 15,000 and more years in the past.

Don't write off the Ancient Egyptians just yet :lol:

Brian.
Brian
52.3N 0.6W
Wellingborough UK.

254mm LX90 on Superwedge, WO ZS66SD, Helios 102mm f5 on EQ1, Hunter 11x80, Pentax 10x50
ASI120MC Toucam Pros 740k/840k/900nc mono, Pentax K110D
Ro-Ro roof shed

RMSteele
Posts: 544
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:32 am
Location: New Farnley, Leeds lat 53.8N long 1.6W
Contact:

Re: Ancient astronomers of Oz

Post by RMSteele »

Hello chaps, the stone circle is just a little way to the west of where I now am in Victoria Aus, in fact I will be passing near there tomorrow as we head towards the great ocean road for the weekend. It's on land that is traditionally within aboriginal peoples areas and the precise location isn't advertised for fear of damage. The problem is dating it, since investigators are now very loathe to move anything out of respect for aboriginal peoples beliefs, rightly in my view. There was a much more extensive site in New South Wales, but little is now known of it because the local farmer had it destroyed years ago, as indeed the culture of aboriginal people has been destroyed in various ways. A great pity because they definitely had a lore relating to the stars. Their constellations are intriguing, for example the Milky Way from the far south to the great Cygnus rift was pictured as an emu at full stretch. And as an aside our familiar constellations look most unfamiliar at times from here, for example last night I was looking for the field of the latest nova in Sagittarius near gamma Sagittarii and I had to adjust to seeing Scorpio stood on its head with Antares low in the west and the sting raised high above, while the teapot of Sagittarius was tipped upside down. As for the Egyptian hieroglyphs, I think it is well known that the Egyptians talked of a mysterious far southern land called punt but if I recall correctly most scholars identify it tentatively with areas around the Red Sea and the gulf. I have seen images of the Australian glyphs and imho they look a little too clear cut and even to my inexpert eye not quite right in some way I can't quite put my finger on. I will be interested to see some further investigations on that subject. Kind thoughts from bob.

Alastair McBeath
Posts: 770
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2005 6:51 pm
Contact:

Re: Ancient astronomers of Oz

Post by Alastair McBeath »

For anyone interested in finding out more about Indigenous Australian astronomy, starlore, etc., I'd recommend taking a look at this blog, run by Dr Duane Hamacher, who has spent some years researching and writing about many aspects of such matters. There are also links from the blog to some fascinating papers he's published about the subjects as well.

In respect of the putative "Australian" Egyptian hieroglyphs, details online seem to be very scant. It's not even clear sometimes if images are genuinely from the Australian site, or if they're really examples added for supposed "clarity" from ancient Egyptian sites in northern Africa, nor do the carvings seem to have received the scholarly examination they'd need to confirm if they're more probably ancient Egyptian, or a modern hoax (some suggest 1970s or 1980s AD, if the latter).

Brian
Posts: 3656
Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Wellingborough
Contact:

Re: Ancient astronomers of Oz

Post by Brian »

Oh yes, I forgot about the glyphs found in Egypt showing men wielding boomerangs :)

Alright, I'll get my coat.......
Brian
52.3N 0.6W
Wellingborough UK.

254mm LX90 on Superwedge, WO ZS66SD, Helios 102mm f5 on EQ1, Hunter 11x80, Pentax 10x50
ASI120MC Toucam Pros 740k/840k/900nc mono, Pentax K110D
Ro-Ro roof shed

David Frydman
Posts: 5344
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:25 am
Contact:

Re: Ancient astronomers of Oz

Post by David Frydman »

Probably Chinese fakes.

Regards,
David

Post Reply