Wednesday, October 5, 2011

BBC World Service Discovery Program

The Aboriginal Astronomy Project has been featured on a radio program by the BBC World Service Discovery.  Hosted by Robert Cockburn, it is a discussion about Aboriginal Astronomy and Wurdi Youang and contains interviews by Duane Hamacher (Macquarie), James Wilson-Miller (Powerhouse Museum), Ray Norris (CSIRO), and Janet Mooney (Sydney University).

Click here for full audio (18 minutes in length).


The Wurdi Youang stone arrangement in Victoria.

Were Australia's prehistoric Aboriginal people the world's first true astronomers, predating European and ancient Greek and Indian astronomers by thousands of years?
The stunning discovery of what is being called an "Aboriginal Stonehenge", the first of its kind to be found in Australia, could change that continent's history and with it our whole understanding of how and when humans began to accurately chart the night skies.
The 50 metre egg-shaped arrangement of stones in a farmer's field in Victoria, was forgotten after the arrival of European settlers some 200 years ago and until recently overgrown by meadow grass.
Now, the site called Wurdi Youang has got Aborigines and astronomers scratching their heads.
How did its stones come to be perfectly aligned with summer and winter Solstices and the autumn and winter Equinoxes, like Britain's 4,500 year-old Stonehenge?
The problem is that there are very few Aboriginal records in the literature and nobody left to explain what they meant and what they were used for.
What is becoming clear is that Australia's ancient indigenous people had a command of astronomy and mathematics, and ability to observe and keep accurate astronomical records.
The stones at Wurdi Youang will be a test of Australia's scientists and of Australia’s willingness to properly appreciate its ancient indigenous past.
Read our previous blog post on Wurdi Youang.
We would like to thank Wathaurong cultural officers Reg Abrahams and Trevor Edwards and recognise the Wathaurong people, both past and present.

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