Ethnoastronomy: Stories of the Sky
One of humanity’s greatest gifts is storytelling. Stories shape history, develop culture, and inform our children about the past in the hopes of making a better future. Long before GPS and Google, a map in the sky was read by countless curious people. From the dawn of time, we have looked up and drawn narratives between the stars.
Astrology is an ancient form of celestial study, dating back over 4,000 years. Astrology is a pseudoscience that divines information of terrestrial phenomena based on celestial movements. This practice is not to be confused with astronomy, the branch of science that studies celestial objects, space, and the physical universe.
Ethnoastronomy is the study of beliefs and practices of cultures as they pertain to celestial bodies and phenomena. This discipline documents the various stories that humans have told of the night sky. In order to understand the significance of groundbreaking discoveries made by scientists today, it is important to appreciate the other forms of knowledge that people have presented. Take a trip through time and space, looking at the sky through someone else’s eyes.
Explore this frontier in Majarra — Arabic for galaxy — an exhibition on the 1st floor of McCardell Bicentennial Hall.
As you travel through the exhibition, you can use the QR codes associated with each panel to access sources and other information on your phone. Additionally, the entire exhibition is available online at http://go.middlebury.edu/majarra .