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Comet and Meteorite Traditions of Aboriginal Australians


This research contributes to the disciplines of cultural astronomy (the academic study of how past and present cultures understand and utilise celestial objects and phenomena) and geomythology (the study of geological events and the formation of geological features described in oral traditions).

Of the hundreds of distinct Aboriginal cultures of Australia, many have oral traditions rich in descriptions and explanations of comets, meteors, meteorites, airbursts, impact events, and impact craters. These views generally attribute these phenomena to spirits, death, and bad omens. There are also many traditions that describe the formation of meteorite craters as well as impact events that are not known to Western science.


Bright comets appear in the sky roughly once every 5 years. These celestial visitors were commonly seen as harbingers of death and disease by Aboriginal cultures of Australia. In an ordered and predictable cosmos, rare transient events were typically...


  • Aboriginal People
  • Impact Event
  • Impact Site
  • Northern Territory
  • Oral Tradition

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Correspondence to Duane W. Hamacher .

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© 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

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Hamacher, D.W. (2014). Comet and Meteorite Traditions of Aboriginal Australians. In: Selin, H. (eds) Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures. Springer, Dordrecht.

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