Multimedia Reference Religion Travel
From Black Land To Fifth Sun: The Science of Sacred Sites
From The Publisher:
Shamans, spirit mediums, mysterious cave paintings, enigmatic earthworks, and temples - the religious and spiritual lives of our forebears have always seemed inaccessible to archaeologists. Now, however, science is finally beginning to lift the veil. Brian Fagan draws upon a wealth of scientific disciplines - from botany, zoology, and geology to neuropsychology, palynology (the study of spores and pollen), and nuclear physics - to explore this new "archaeology of the mind." Armed with new recording technologies that expose the paintings' finest detail and new radiocarbon dating methods, Fagan describes a revolution in our understanding of the world's first artists. Fagan describes how space-age radar has revealed a network of ancient roadways linking the great pueblos of Chaco Canyon, and how the CAD-mapping of Stonehenge has sparked an intense debate about the original purpose of the site. His story culminates with a vivid depiction of the Aztec civilization of highland Mexico, where a marriage of archaeology, science, and ethnohistory is offering new interpretations of one of the world's last pre-industrial civilizations.
From Booklist , 05/15/98 In Time Detectives (1994), archaeologist Fagan recounted the revolutionary effect of carbon-dating techniques on the practice of archaeology. Here he discusses the challenge of establishing a creditable methodology for creating an "archaeology of the mind." Fagan studies the silent and weathered remains of sacred sites to discern not only the nature of the rituals performed there but also the cosmologies that inspired them, believing that archaeologists can, and should, use the material to illuminate the spiritual. In highly instructive yet engagingly anecdotal accounts of his sojourns at major sacred sites, including the art-laced Cro-Magnon caves of France, the San paintings of southern Africa, the megaliths and stone circles of Europe, and the earthworks of North America, Fagan explains how the chemistry of pigments or food remains, the molecular structure of obsidian, or the dating of tree rings can be used to make ancient iconography and shamanistic practices come alive. Ultimately, his chronicling of the evolution of our interpretations of the significance of ancient sacred sites demonstrates how integral a role technology has played in both religion and science.
Booklist, Copyright© 1998, American Library Association. All rights reserved
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About the Author
Brian Fagan is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. A former Guggenheim Fellow, he has written many internationally acclaimed popular books about archaeology.
Table of Contents
Preface 1. The Archaeology of the Intangible 2. Dark Caves, Obscure Visions 3. San Artists in Southern Africa 4. Fertility and Death 5. Power and the Ancestors 6. Avebury: Landscapes of the Ancestors 7. Stonehenge and the Idea of Time 8. Two Livings: Agriculture and Religion 9. The Moundbuilders of Eastern North America 10. The Bull Beneath the Earth 11. A Shrine at Phylakopi 12. Divine Kings Along the Nile 13. Xunantunich: "The Maiden of the Rock" 14. The World of the Fifth Sun Epilogue Guide to Further Reading References Index
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