ECHOES OF THE ANCIENT SKIES - The Astronomy of Lost Civilisations
By E C Krupp, published by Oxford University Press at £12.99. 386pp. ISBN: 0-19-508801-8
Written by a professional astronomer, this is one of those books that most pagans would probably never consider picking off the shelf in a book shop! If so, they would have missed out on a real treat - especially as, despite its subject matter, this is a very user-friendly and approachable book.
Archaeoastronomy is one of those fields within earth mysteries which pagans have, by and large, managed to overlook - which is a shame, since its ideas underlie so much of the thought and civilisation of cultures ranging from the Egyptians and Sumerians to the Maya and the native Australians. From their studies of the heavens, these ancient cultures discovered the concepts of time and the seasonal cycles and the idea of measurement itself. From this base they developed ideas about mathematics and geometry, about sacred space and temple-building, about ritual (especially in relation to the dead and burial practices) and developed myths which deified the sacred heavens and the inhabitants of the night sky.
Want to know why certain crucial alignments crop up again and again in stone circles and other megalithic structures? (And why you can't just plonk a dozen rocks in a circle and call it a "stone circle"?) Why Egyptian temples are orientated and designed like they are? This book answers those (and many more) questions.