African Cultural Astronomy

Current Archaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy research in Africa

  • Jarita C. Holbrook
  • Johnson O. Urama
  • R. Thebe Medupe
Conference proceedings

Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Proceedings book series (ASSSP)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-VIII
  2. J. McKim Malville
    Pages 39-51
  3. J. C. Holbrook, Audra Baleisis
    Pages 53-75
  4. Shawna Holbrook
    Pages 77-82
  5. Sanlyn Buxner, Shawna Holbrook
    Pages 83-93
  6. Timothy F. Slater
    Pages 95-107
  7. J. McKim Malville, Romauld Schild, Fred Wendorf, Robert Brenmer
    Pages 131-143
  8. Rodney Thebe Medupe, Brian Warner, Shamil Jeppie, Salikou Sanogo, Mohammed Maiga, Ahmed Maiga et al.
    Pages 179-188
  9. J. O. Urama
    Pages 231-238
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 257-260

About these proceedings


Astronomy is the science of studying the sky using telescopes and light collectors such as photographic plates or CCD detectors. However, people have always studied the sky and continue to study the sky without the aid of instruments this is the realm of cultural astronomy. This is the first scholarly collection of articles focused on the cultural astronomy of Africans. It weaves together astronomy, anthropology, and Africa. The volume includes African myths and legends about the sky, alignments to celestial bodies found at archaeological sites and at places of worship, rock art with celestial imagery, and scientific thinking revealed in local astronomy traditions including ethnomathematics and the creation of calendars. Authors include astronomers Kim Malville, Johnson Urama, and Thebe Medupe; archaeologist Felix Chami, and geographer Michael Bonine, and many new authors. As an emerging subfield of cultural astronomy, African cultural astronomy researchers are focused on training students specifically for doing research in Africa. The first part of the volume contains lessons and exercises to help the beginning student of African cultural astronomy. Included are exercises in archaeoastronomy, cultural anthropology, and naked-eye astronomy penned by authors who use these regularly use these methods for their research. This collection of lessons and research papers provides a foundation for the cultural astronomy researcher interested in doing work in Africa.


Africa Anthropology Archaeoastronomy CCD Celestial mechanics Ethnoastronomy Science History astronomy celestial bodies instruments

Editors and affiliations

  • Jarita C. Holbrook
    • 1
  • Johnson O. Urama
    • 2
  • R. Thebe Medupe
    • 3
  1. 1.University of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  2. 2.University of Nigeria NsukkaNigeria
  3. 3.University of Cape TownRondeboschSouth Africa

Bibliographic information