It is only recently that scholars have agreed that they also were keen observers of the sun, the moon, the stars, the planets and the seasons. This, of course, required a number of skills: accurate long term observations and memory of those observations, the ability to pass along that information to others and to pass down that info from generation to generation, and the ability to extract long term patterns in the celestial movements. Comprehending these movements was essential for survival as it told people when to plant and harvest. As I have said from the beginning of this blog, humans could do this because they had a superior memory and sense of time which allowed them to understand time as no other animal had done.
Yet the implications are even more profound. By accurately observing the past and projecting that behavior into the future, humans could now, in a limited way, use time as a resource. They could manipulate time. Being able to predict meant that they not only knew when to plant, but when to start preparing months before the seeds went in the ground plus how much grain to store for the winter and how much fire wood to cut. They had, to use the modern term, a handle on time.
The following pictures from prehistoric and ancient astronomy show both the early interest in astronomy and something about the extent of knowledge, although our full understanding of what humans knew back then will always be incomplete.
For a good listing of our current knowledge about this era, go to Archaeoastronomy: (Prehistoric Astronomers) on the Ancient Wisdom site in the UK.
Also see a list of archaeoastronomical sites by country.
Ironically, the advent of modern computers has made it easier to verify these astronomical calculators of the past -- because the complex movements of the planets thousands of years ago, for example, were quite difficult to simulate until now.
Yet what you will read in this article is only the beginning of ancient wisdom -- in my next blog I will show how about 3800 years ago discoveries were made in astronomy, astronomical science and technology which led directly to the modern day computer and our modern way of life.
"He invented all the arts and sciences, astronomy...and most important of all - writing. ...he was the first of magicians and compiled books of magic which contained 'formulas which commanded all the forces of nature and subdued the very gods themselves'."
(Quoted from www.thewhitegoddess.co.uk)