'Bridging the gap' through Australian cultural astronomy
International Astronomical Union Symposium (278th : 2011) (5 - 14 January 2011 : Lima, Peru)
Ruggles, Clive L. N.. Archaeoastronomy and ethnoastronomy : building bridges between cultures : proceedings of the 278th Symposium of the International Astronomical Union and 'Oxford IX' International Symposium on Archaeoastronomy, held in Lima, Peru, January 5-14, 2011, p.282-290
For more than 50,000 years, Indigenous Australians have incorporated celestial events into their oral traditions and used the motions of celestial bodies for navigation, time-keeping, food economics, and social structure. In this paper, we explore the ways in which Aboriginal people made careful observations of the sky, measurements of celestial bodies, and incorporated astronomical events into complex oral traditions by searching for written records of time-keeping using celestial bodies, the use of rising and setting stars as indicators of special events, recorded observations of variable stars, the solar cycle, and lunar phases (including ocean tides and eclipses) in oral tradition, as well as astronomical measurements of the equinox, solstice, and cardinal points.