Ted Pedas “Science at Sea

Dr. Anthony F. Aveni

[ Panel Discussion] [Aveni and Patrick Moore]

Eclipse '99 - Black Sea Voyage to Darkness aboard Royal Olympic's Countess
Caribbean '98 - Voyage to Darkness aboard Sun Line's Solaris
Maya Equinox Cruise - Sun Serpent descending at Chichén Itzá
Panama Canal - Millennium Cruise to the Future
Voyages of Discovery - The Cradle of Civilization; The Ancient World
South America - Voyage to Lost Civilizations

[Aveni Panel Discussion] Dr. Anthony F. Aveni wears many hats — energetic teacher, tireless researcher, prolific author and riveting speaker. He is considered one of the founders of Mesoamerican archaeoastronomy, in particular for his research in astronomical history of the Maya Indians of ancient Mexico. His research has also extended further south to the lands of the Inca as well as the enigmatic Nazca Plain in Peru.

Dr. Aveni is the Russell B. Colgate Professor of Astronomy and Anthropology at Colgate University, where he is serving appointments in both the department of Physics & Astronomy and Sociology & Anthropology.

[Feathered Serpent Film] Dr. Aveni has taught courses in astronomy, archaeoastronomy, cultural anthropology and the history of science as a professor and visiting professor at the University of South Florida, the University of Colorado and the University of Padua, Italy. For more than 25 years his students have been involved in research through regular field trips to Mexico and Peru to study history, hieroglyphics, calendar systems and architecture. He has spent six seasons of Earthwatch-sponsored research studying the Nazca lines as well as the star lore of the Inca of Cuzco and Machu Picchu.

Featured in Rolling Stone magazine's 1991 list of the 10 best university professors in the country, Dr. Aveni was also voted the 1982 Professor of the Year by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the highest national award for teaching. He has lectured on astronomy-related subjects for The Learning Channel and in numerous American and European universities as well. Recent interviews include the New York Times, Newsweek, USA Today, NPR, CNN, The Larry King Show, The Tom Snyder Show, NBC's Today Show, Unsolved Mysteries, BBC Horizon, Channel 4 London and the Discovery Channel.

Dr. Aveni received his Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Arizona, and has been awarded research grants by every major funding agency, including the National Geographic Society and the National Science Foundation for work in the Americas, Europe and the Middle East.

[Tony Lorraine] Dr. Aveni has more than 200 research publications to his credit, including three cover articles in Science magazine and key work in American Scientist, The Sciences and American Antiquity. He has edited and/or authored more than a dozen books on ancient astronomy, including Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico, Empires of Time: Calendars, Clocks and Cultures, and Ancient Astronomers. Among his most recent books is Conversing With the Planets, a popular work that weaves cosmology, mythology and the anthropology of ancient cultures by showing how to discover the harmony between their beliefs and their study of the sky.

Other recent books include Behind the Crystal Ball: Science & Magic from Antiquity through the New Age, which chronicles the history of magical beliefs; Ancient Astronomers, for the Smithsonian's “Exploring the Ancient World Series,” and Stairways to the Stars: Astronomy in Three Great Ancient Cultures, which highlights the astronomical achievements of the Maya, Incas, and the builders of Stonehenge. His latest book is “Between The Lines: The Mystery of the Giant Ground Drawings of Ancient Peru.


Archaeoastronomy is a science that studies the astronomical beliefs and practices of ancient peoples. It looks at the achievements of remote cultures, such as the builders of stone monuments that have astronomical orientation and the makers of glyphs (symbolic figures) that have astronomical significance.

The basis for archaeoastronomy is the supposition that early peoples took notice of the sky and its changes. What they saw became the basis of ritual and myth, calendars, and the anticipation of agricultural and seasonal events. Study of the sky included the movement and phases of the Moon, the motion of the sun and the changing star patterns. More complex cultures took notice of the planets and their cycles. The type and number of astronomical features recognized and recorded indicates the complexity of the people being studied.

An interdisciplinary field, archaeoastronomy requires cooperation between archaeologists, astronomers, and others to examine and interpret subtle and diverse findings.

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