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Aboriginal astronomy and other bits of archaeological news

17 September 2010

At www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/17/cave-paintings-found-in-somaliland/ is a report on the discovery of cave art at numerous sites in Somaliland. In the Irish Times (see www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/0917/1224279093813_pf.html ) there is a report on the discovery of a Viking site in County Louth, believed to be Linn Duchaill, founded in AD841 at the same time as Viking Dublin. A huge defensive ditch was dug across an inlet of a river 200m from the sea. Meanwhile, a bronze age burial site has been found at Slackbuie near Inverness (see www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-11316583?print=true ), but the big story of the day is at www.physorg.com/print203921332.html and at http://news.yahoo.com which is all about an Australian study into the astronomy of Aborigines as preserved in traditional songs, legends, and mythology as well as the more practical purposes of using the sky for navigation, and for marking the seasons and their movements. As a given example we have the position of the Pleiades in a particular part of the sky as a marker to move to a certain area as nuts and berries ripened, or another sign in the sky at night used as a marker to move to where migratory fish were in season etc. However, if Aborigines were using the sky for such things so too were other early people, so the title of the piece, claiming Aborigines were the first people to use the heavens,  is quite misleading. Presumably it was devised in order to make the story attract attention.

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