The sun, moon and stars of the southern Levant at Gezer and Megiddo: Cultural astronomy in Chalcolithic/Early and Middle Bronze Ages
Astronomical images are found on monumental structures and decorative art, and metaphorically in seasonal myths, and are documented by calendars. In Israel and the southern Levant, images of the sun, the moon, and the stars were common decorating motifs. They were found on walls, pottery, and seals and date to as early as the Chalcolithic period; for example, the wall painting of a star at Teleilat Ghassul (North 1961). This dissertation establishes that the people of the Levant were aware of the apparent movement of the sun, and this will be discussed in Chapter 4. They began recording through representation drawings, astronomical phenomena no later than the Chalcolithic/Early Bronze Age and continued to do so late into the Middle Bronze Age. The argument moves beyond the simple use of symbols to the use of images to represent constellations, with the focus on the constellation Leo in Chapter 5. Furthermore, the use of astronomy as a power and political tool is also suggested in Chapter 6. Nonetheless, the primary purpose that is addressed here is the tendency in Syro-Palestinian archaeology has been to attribute technological evidence found in the northern and southern Levant as diffused from Egypt or Assyria, particularly astronomy. This dissertation firmly establishes that astronomy was used in the southern Levant before any significant contact with the civilizations of Egypt or Assyria.
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- Anthropology: Archaeology, Education: Language and Literature, Physics: Astronomy and Astrophysics, History of Science