Annotated Bibliography for Catastrophism: Astronomy, Archaeoastronomy, and Ethnoastronomy


Allen, Richard Hinckley. Star Names, Their Lore and Meaning.
Dover Publications Inc., New York, 1963.

Allen's book was originally published in 1899 under the title Star Names and Their Meanings. Allen provides a history of the literary and mythological uses of the stars and constellations, including the history of the lunar and solar zodiacs, the legends associated with various constellations and star groups, and the history of astrology. Since the original publication of this book predates important astronomical discoveries from the Near and Far East, it is rather dated. However, the discussions are still enjoyable.


Aveni, Anthony F. Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico.
University of Texas Press, Austin, Texas, 1980.

Aveni provides a good overview of Pre-Columbian astronomy in Mesoamerica. It is useful to compare Aveni's treatment of the Venus observations in the Dresden codex with his later much more illuminating interpretations in Conversing with the Planets. Aveni notes that a number of Mesoamerican buildings were constructed with Venus orientations which indicate that the orbit of Venus was the same as at present in the first and second millenia A.D., contrary to expectations of some Velikovskians that Venus might still be settling into its current orbit after an extended period as a "comet."


Aveni, Anthony F. Conversing with the Planets.
Times Books, New York, 1992.

Aveni discusses a number of topics of interest to catastrophists but from a non-catastrophist viewpoint. Among these topics are the role of Saturn as the "night sun" and the interpretation of the Venus observations by the Maya and Babylonians. Aveni also discusses the role of astronomy in various ancient cultures, and the importance of "astrology" in those cultures.


Bauval, Robert and Adrian Gilbert. The Orion Mystery.
Crown Publishers Inc., New York, 1994.


Beatty, J. Kelly and Andrew Chaikin, eds. The New Solar System.Third edition.
Cambridge University Press and Sky Publishing Corporation, Cambridge, MA. 1990.

Beatty and Chaikin present an anthology of articles about the "new solar system" as revealed by space probes as well as earth-based telescopes. This book provides an excellent summary of recent observational and theoretical work about the Sun, Moon, planets, their moons, and small bodies in the solar system. Many stunning photographs from space probes are included.


Blacker, Carmen and Michael Loewe. Ancient Cosmologies.
George Allen and Unwin Ltd., London, 1975.

This anthology provides an introduction to the cosmologies of many ancient cultures, each chapter written by an expert in a particular culture's history. The chapters are, with one exception, based upon lectures delivered at Cambridge University in 1972. According to the editors, "All seek to answer the question: what was the shape of the universe imagined by those ancient peoples to whom all modern knowledge of geography and astronomy was inaccessible?"

The chapter titles and authors are:

An interesting point these lectures underscore is that only in Jewish cosmology, which informed the Hebrew Scriptures, does linear time appear with any clarity. In other cultures, time was cyclical.


Blake, John F. Astronomical Myths.
Macmillan and Company, London, 1877.


Bone, Neil. Meteors.
Sky Publishing Corporation, Cambridge, MA., 1993.

This book is an entry in the Sky and Telescope Magazine Observer's Series, under the general editorship of Leif J. Robinson. Bone concentrates on the observation and photography of meteors. I often get the feeling that many catastrophists spend lots of time reading books and articles written by others, but they never spend any time actually looking at the sky themselves. For those who wish to observe meteoric phenomena, this book tells you what you need to know.

Bone mentions Clube and Napier's hypothesis regarding the disintegration of the Taurid progenitor, a welcome indication that their ideas are starting to have some impact (pun intended).


Brown, Peter Lancaster. Megalyths Myths and Men.
Harper and Row, New York, 1976.

Although dated in some respects, this book is still one of the best available introductions to astro-archaeology.

Brown reviews science in pre-neolithic times, including the hypotheses of Alexander Marshack that engraved bones over 8,500 years old record lunar cycles. He also discusses Marshack's contention that the 27,000 year old Blanchard plaque also record lunar cycles. Brown continues with a discussion of the role of meteorites in early historic times.

In several chapters, Brown gives an excellent overview of the status of Stonehenge research up to 1976. Brown follows with a discussion of the important work on megalithic sites by the Thom family. Brown also talks about the "ley lines" of Alfred Watkins and others, as well as giving brief attention to pyramidology, Velikovsky, and the Pan-Babylonians.


Chamberlain, Von Del. When Stars Came Down To Earth.
Ballena Press/Center for Archaeoastronomy Cooperative Publication, 1982.

Chamberlain presents an ethnoastronomical study of the Skidi Pawnee Indians of North America. Chamberlain notes that "the Pawnee were obsessed with the sky -- particularly those of the Skidi band who were, in a sense, the astronomers of the tribe." He goes on to say: "The Skidi saw a sky of glorious beauty ... their Spirit Path, the Milky Way, loomed overhead in brilliant splendor. They recognized meteorites, mapped their favored stars on buckskin, and followed the tracks of the sun, moon, and the five planets. They planted corn and beans and squash by a star calendar. Skidi villages were laid out and organized astronomically, and sky symbols decorated their belongings. They worshipped the sun and their most sacred ceremonies were tied to the stars -- from whence, they sincerely believed, they themselves had once come."

One of the ceremonies the Skidi performed was a human sacrifice at certain appearances of the Morning Star. Several different candidates for this Morning Star had been proposed prior to Chamberlain's study, but he makes a strong case for Mars as the "true" Morning Star of the Skidi Pawnee.

Chamberlain analyses a Pawnee leather star chart in detail. This is one of the most interesting parts of the book. Another interesting section discusses the observation methods used by the Skidi.


Clark, David H. and F. Richard Stephenson. The Historical Supernovae.
Pergamon Press, Oxford, 1977.

Clarke and Stephenson investigate supernova remnants and their relationship to historical records, particularly those of the Far East. This book nicely complements that by Murdin and Murdin.


Corliss, William R. The Moon and the Planets.
The Sourcebook Project, Glen Arm, Maryland, 1985.

Corliss collects together a variety of anomalous phenomena concerning the solar system. Many sections here will be of interest to catastrophists. For example, section AVL discusses possible temporary satellites of Venus. Particularly during the 18th and early 19th century, a number of experienced observers saw what appeared to be a moon of Venus. The moon was named Neith. It is certainly not there today. Corliss suggests that it might have been an asteroid or comet passing close to Venus, or even captured into a temporary orbit about Venus. If this is so, I wonder if the orbit possibly disintegrated so that the moonlet impacted Venus? The energy released from the impact or impacts of the moonlet might be the source of the anomalous extra radiation of Venus in the infrared, although the existence of the excess radiation is itself hotly debated.


Gingerich, Owen. "Reflections on the role of archaeoastronomy in the history of astronomy."In World Archaeoastronomy, A. F. Aveni, editor.
Cambridge University Press, 1989.

Gingerich provides a good review of the role of archaeoastronomy in the history of astronomy.


Grondal, Florence Armnstrong. The Romance of Astronomy.
The Macmillan Company, New York, 1926.

Grondal discusses the mythology associated with stars and star groupings, the sun, the planets, and comets and meteors. While the astronomy is dated, the stories Grondal collected about celestial objects still make good reading.


Hadingham, Evan. Early Man and the Cosmos.
University of Oklahoma Press, 1984.


Hadingham, Evan. Lines To The Mountain Gods: Nazca and the Mysteries of Peru.
University of Oklahoma Press, 1988.


Heath, Sir Thomas L. Greek Astronomy.
Dover Publications Inc., New York, 1991.

Heath's work was originally published in 1932 as volume ten in "The Library of Greek Thought." Heath provides a good but occasionally dated introduction to Greek astronomical thought, followed by an excellent short selection of quotations from a variety of classical authors on the subject of astronomy, including Thales, Anaximander, Plato, Aristotle, Eudoxus, Heraclides of Pontus, Eratosthenes, Hipparchus, Strabo, and many others. This book is worth having for this collection of important quotations alone.


Jobes, Gertrude and James. Outer Space: Myths, Names, Meanings, Calendars.
The Scarecrow Press, New York and London, 1964.

Gertrude and James Jobes provide an encyclopedic compendium of the folklore and customs associated with stars, constellations, and planets all over the world. The organization adopted by the authors allows easy comparison of astronomically-oriented beliefs held by widely dispersed cultures. This book fills in many of the gaps in Allen's book. For example, there is an entire chapter devoted solely to Chinese astronomy.


Krupp, Edwin C., ed. In Search Of Ancient Astronomies.
McGraw-Hill, 1978.

Krupp surveys astronomy as practived in ancient Egypt, neolithic Europe, and pre-Columbian North America. In Chapter 7, Krupp discusses Velikovsky, ley lines, the Glastonbury Zodiac, the Sirius lore of the Dogon, and Eric von Daniken.


Krupp, Edwin C., ed. Archaeoastronomy and the Roots of Science.
Westview Press, 1984.


Maffei, Paolo. Monsters in the Sky.
The MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1980.

Maffei's book was originally published in Italian as I mostri del cielo. Maffei discusses puzzling problems with a number of astronomical objects, including comets, planets and moons which have been sometimes reported but not seen again (e.g., Vulcan), novae and supernovae, the bizarre variable "star" eta carinae (which scholars earlier in the century suggested might have been the Sumerian "Star of Ea" mentioned in ancient Mesopotamian documents), black holes, quasars, and the interstellar "hidden mass."


Murdin, Paul and Lesley. Supernovae.
Cambridge University Prsss, Cambridge, 1985.

In their introduction, the Murdins say: "We wrote this volume because we wanted to tell how, from isolated events noted in old manuscripts, smudged on photographic plates, and clocked photon by photon, mankind has pieced together evidence about the place of supernovae in the scheme of things." Chapter 2 on "Guest Stars" discusses the historical records of Supernovae in rock carvings and European, Near Eastern, and Asian records. Chapter 3 discusses the effect on European thought of the supernovae of 1572 and 1604. The rest of the book provides a good survey of the modern history of supernova research. Also see the book by Clark and Stephenson.


Neugebauer, Otto. The Exact Sciences in Antiquity.
Brown University Press, 1957.


Neugebauer, Otto. The Astronomical Tables of Al-Khwarizmi.
Copenhagen, 1962.


Neugebauer, Otto. A History of Ancient Mathematical Astronomy.In three volumes.
Springer-Verlag, 1975.

Neugebauer provides exhaustive coverage of early Babylonian, Greek, Egyptian, and Roman astronomy. The sections on Ptolemy's Almagest are especially valuable. Neugebauer compares the results obtained by Ptolemy and other ancient observers and shows how well these compare to modern results.


Neugebauer, Otto. Astronomical Cuneiform Texts.
Springer-Verlag, 1983.


Newton, Robert R. Ancient Astronomical Observations.
Johns Hopkins University Press, 1970.


Newton, Robert R. Ancient Planetary Observations and the Validity of Ephemeris Time.
Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976.


Olcott, William Tyler. Star Lore of All Ages.
G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York and London, 1914.


Olcott, William Tyler. Sun Lore of All Ages.
G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York and London, 1914.


Pannekoek, Anton. A History of Astronomy.
Dover Publications, Inc., New York, 1961.

Pannekoek, of the University of Amsterdam, suggests that the history of astronomy is an integral part of the history of human culture. Pannekoek continuously relates progress in astronomy to the social and cultural background of the societies in which it developed. Part One of the book discusses astronomy from ancient times, starting with the dvelopment of the calendar, through Babylonia, Assyria, Chaldea, Egypt, China, Greece, up through medieval Arab times. Part Two of the book discusses the history of Astronomy in Europe from the the Dark Ages to modern (1950) times.

Since the original publication of Pannekoek's book in Dutch in 1951, much new material from the Far East cultures like China, Japan, and Korea has become available. Hence, Pannekoek's section on China is outdated. The chapters in Part Two which discuss "modern" astronomy also fares poorly because of the enormous advances in astronomical observation and theory over the last forty years. Still, the chapters on the development of the calendar, on Near Eastern cultures, and the history of Astronomy from the Middle Ages up to 1950 continue to be worth reading.


Proctor, Richard A. Myths and Marvels of Astronomy.
Longmans, Green, and Co., London and New York, 1889.


Reiche, Harald A. T. "The language of archaic astronomy: A clue to the Atlantis myth?" In Astronomy of the Ancients, Second edition, Kenneth Brecher and Michael Feirtag, editors.
The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA., 1993.

Reiche discusses the relationship between ancient astronomy and mythology, particularly in the creation of etiological myths. He adroitly summarizes the precession themes discussed at length in Hamlet's Mill. Reiche also offers an interesting purely astronomical interpretation of the myth of Atlantis.


Santilliana, Giorgio de and H. von Dechend. Hamlet's Mill.
Macmillan, London, 1969.

See Santilliana and von Dechend for details.


Sivin, N. Cosmos and Computation in Early Chinese Mathematical Astronomy.
E. J. Brill, Leyden, 1969.


Taub, Liba Chaia. Ptolemy's Universe.
Open Court, Chicago and Lasalle, 1993.


Weir, John D. The Venus Tablets of Ammizaduga.
Nederlands Historisch-Archaeologisch Institut In Het Nabije Oosten, Istanbul, 1972.


Woolsey, J. M. The Original Garden of Eden Discovered.
New York, 1910.


Note: This bibliography bears a copyright.


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Last modified by pib on March 20, 1999.