December 17, 2014

Digging into Archaeoastronomy

Winter Solstice 2014

The Winter Solstice is on December 21 and marks the shortest day of the year, which was once a very important day to many cultures. In fact, there are thousands of structures across the globe, including the impressive Stonehenge, built by our early ancestors to predict the equinoxes and solstices. So why did they make all this effort? Michael Friedlander, a professor emeritus of physics, and John Kelly, a senior lecturer in archaeology, both at Washington University in St. Louis, introduce us to the field of archaeoastronomy, which they use to examine one of the greatest pre-Columbian civilizations in the United States: Cahokia.

If you'd like to hear more from Professor Kelly about the city of Cahokia, you can listen to our previous podcast Cahokia: Ancient City. Or if you're interested in watching the solstice for yourself at Cahokia, visit their website for more information.

image flickr: Gier Arne hjelle. audio free music archive chris zabriskie and lee rosevere.