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Skywatchers - A Book Review of Aveni's Archaeoastronomy

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Anthony F. Aveni. 2001. Skywatchers: A Revised and Updated Version of Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico. University of Texas Press, Austin.

Newly revised and exhibiting a new breadth of coverage, Anthony Aveni's discussion of prehistoric astronomy and archaeological evidence still retains an essentially Latin American focus. How could it be otherwise? His encyclopedic coverage of naked-eye astronomy and the mathematical and astronomical interpretations of Mesoamerican codices across Latin America, accompanied by voluminous appendices and specialized bibliographies make up over half of the text. The other chapters include an introduction to the study of archaeoastronomy, a historical background for astronomical observances and an overview of early observatories in the Americas and Mediterranean basin.

Although written to the general public, this book is not light reading, by any stretch of the imagination. But as an introduction to the study of archaeoastronomy, and an explanation of how skywatching worked before the invention of the telescope, and an investigation into precolumbian scientific practices, this is a required text for anyone interested in the subjects of astronomy, archaeoastronomy or the history of science.

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