Stellar Connections: Explorations in Cultural Astronomy - Pt. 1, Gary Urton
In Indigenous worldviews -- where humanity, nature, and the spiritual realm are closely connected -- the night sky provides spiritual and navigational guidance, timekeeping, weather prediction, and stories and legends that tell us how to live a proper life. Cultural astronomy, also referred to as archaeoastronomy or ethnoastronomy, explores the distinctive ways that astronomy is culturally embedded in the practices and traditions of various peoples. In Part 1, Douglas Herman, Senior Geographer for the National Museum of the American Indian, introduces the symposium and presenters. Gary Urton gives his presentation titled "Cosmologies of the Milky Way: South American Views on the Unity of Earth and Sky." Gary Urton is the Dumbarton Oaks Professor of Pre-Columbian Studies in the Archaeology program of the Department of Anthropology, Harvard University. He received his Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, in 1979. His research focuses on a variety of topics in pre-Hispanic and early colonial intellectual history in the Andes drawing on materials and methods in archaeology, ethnohistory, and ethnology. He is the author of numerous articles and books on Andean/Quechua cultures and Inka civilization, including "At the Crossroads of the Earth and the Sky" (1981), "The History of a Myth" (1990), "The Social Life of Numbers" (1997), "Inca Myths" (1999), "Signs of the Inka Khipu" (2003), and "The Khipus of Laguna de los Cóndores" (2008). He is the Founder/Director of the Khipu Database Project at Harvard University (since 2002). The symposium was webcast on October 20, 2012 from the Rasmuson Theater in the National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall in Washington, DC.