Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Ancient and Modern Celestial Navigation -"star-path" sailing - Nautical Astronomy - Ancient Crete - LexiLine Journal 316

Navigation by celestial objects in modern times is discussed at CelestialNavigation.net
http://www.celestialnavigation.net/astro.html and at Henning Umland's, A Short Guide to Celestial Navigation. http://home.t-online.de/home/h.umland/ In part, modern navigation is complicated mathematics.

Ancient celestial navigation http://www.celestialnavigation.net/history.html had to be much more simple than that, but not that much is known about the navigation used in distant prehistoric periods.

The following is a seminal source for an understanding of ancient navigation:
Navigation in the Ancient Eastern Mediterranean - Thesis by Danny Lee Davis of Texas A&M University, which can be downloaded as a .pdf of 21.58 MB (some pages unfortunately sloppily scanned), at http://nautarch.tamu.edu/pdf-files/Davis-MA2001.pdf. This is an absolutely new and essential work in this field, especially chapter V "Night-Time Navigation and Celestial Aids" and Chapter VI Ancient Navigational Systems: A Synthesis of the Evidence (p.186) including the Section "Imagining Ancient Systems of Navigation: A View from Antiquity: The Neolithic System".

Davis writes among other things about "star-path" sailing. This method of sailing steers directly by the stars, keeping the vessel directed toward a particular star and changing the star used as stars change their positions over time. Davis writes - correctly in our opinion - that this may explain the depiction of particular stars above the bows or sterns of ships on ancient reliefs.

Davis also writes about ancient navigation as follows:
"Crete is believed to have been colonized by migrant farmers from Anatolia as early as the eighth or seventh millennium B.C., although hunter-gatherers surely landed there earlier. Broodbank and Strasser have shown that the colonization of this island must have been deliberate and that a minimum number of people and livestock were required to sustain its initial population. From what we know of visibility and the limitations of paddled craft, this colonization and its maintenance are a further indication that a navigation system embracing celestial observation was in place this early. The colonization of many other Aegean island and Cyprus in the Final Neolithic serves also to indicate a high level of navigational confidence -- and one that must have entailed the usage of some system of reference for sailing at night, if only the circumpolar stars for orientation." (pp. 145-146)
Other sources on celestial navigation are:

Traditional Navigation in the Western Pacific
showing navigation by rising and setting stars

Gary Agranat - Astronomy: Time and Navigation (links)

Peter Ifland, in The History of the Sextant
http://www.mat.uc.pt/~helios/Mestre/Novemb00/H61iflan.htm discusses how the North Celestial Pole (currently the star Polaris) can be used to determined latitude and how the Arabs later used the kamal, see http://snipurl.com/brqd for this purpose, employing also their fingers (issabah) for measurement. Ifland also explains the concept of "shooting the stars". Take a look at that. Ifland is the author of Taking the Stars: Celestial Navigation from Argonauts to Astronauts. http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1575240955/

Peter Tyson - Secrets of Ancient Navigation

John Davis - Seaman's Secrets

Cogswell and Schiøtz - Navigation in the Information Age: Potential Use of GIS for Sustainability and Self-Determination in Hawai'i

E.G. R. Taylor - The Haven-Finding Art: A History of Navigation from Odysseus to Captain Cook, published by Hollis & Carter,London, for the Institute of Navigation, 1956.
See also http://www.celestialnavigation.net/haven.htm.

Charles H. Cotter - A History of Nautical Astronomy, William Clowes and Sons, London

Charles H. Cotter - The Complete Nautical Astronomer

Nick Strobel - Astronomy Notes
and History of Astronomy

Heavenly Mathematics: Cultural Astronomy

The Mariners Museum

The Gilbertese Skydome. Polynesian and Micronesian Astronomy

Crichton E.M. Miller - Ancient Navigation

Ancient Navigation Techniques

Ancient Discovery Before Christ

The Etruscan Bronze Liver of Piacenza

No comments:

Most Popular Posts of All Time

LexiLine Journal Archive

Our Websites and Blogs

3D Printing and More 99 is not 100 Aabecis AK Photo Blog Ancient Egypt Weblog Ancient Signs (the book) Ancient World Blog AndisKaulins.com Anthropomorphic Design Archaeology Travel Photos (blog) Archaeology Travel Photos (Flickr) Archaeo Pundit Arts Pundit Astrology and Birth Baltic Coachman Bible Pundit Biotechnology Pundit Book Pundit Chronology of the Ancient World Computer Pundit DVD Pundit Easter Island Script Echolat edu.edu Einstein’s Voice Energy Environment and Climate Blog Etruscan Bronze Liver of Piacenza EU Laws EU Legal EU Pundit FaceBook Pundit Gadget Pundit Garden Pundit Golf Pundit Google Pundit Gourmet Pundit Hand Proof HousePundit Human Migrations Idea Pundit Illyrian Language Indus Valley Script Infinity One : The Secret of the First Disk (the game) Jostandis Journal Pundit Kaulins Genealogy Blog Kaulinsium Kiel & Kieler Latvian Blog LawPundit.com Law Pundit Blog LexiLine.com LexiLine Group Lexiline Journal Library Pundit Lingwhizt LinkedIn Literary Pundit Magnifichess Make it Music Maps and Cartography Megalithic World Megaliths Blog Megaliths.net Minoan Culture Mutatis Mutandis Nanotech Pundit Nostratic Languages Official Pundit Phaistos Disc Pharaonic Hieroglyphs Photo Blog of the World Pinterest Prehistoric Art Pundit Private Wealth Blog PunditMania Quanticalian Quick to Travel Quill Pundit Road Pundit Shelfari Sky Earth Drones Sky Earth Native America SlideShare (akaulins) Sport Pundit Star Pundit Stars Stones and Scholars (blog) Stars Stones and Scholars (book) Stonehenge Pundit The Enchanted Glass Twitter Pundit UbiquitousPundit Vision of Change VoicePundit WatchPundit Wearable Technology Wizard WeTechWi Wine Pundit Word Pundit xistmz YahooPundit zistmz