The eight articles and dozens of photographs and drawings in this book introduce the reader to the ancient astronomers—their observatories, their instruments, and their explorations of the awesome regularities (and shocking irregularities) that appear in the sky.
The authors draw upon a wide range of disciplines—history, archaeology, technology, even mythology in discussing their subjects. This book is one endeavor toward a reconstruction of the past of the human mind, using all available evidence: text, myth, spade; yet, there is a difference. That difference is that in the world of the heavens there are real phenomena, striking or subtle, enduring or transient, which can be invoked today to challenge or to support the inferences of the archeologist, epigrapher, historian, or mythologist.
The authors go back to one sole source: real human beings watching the real sky; if we do so reflectively, we can share at every glance the roots of the power of human thought, the thought which once married science and literature, art and number, wonder and insight, when thoughtful people were still rather few under this ceaseless sky.