'Bridging the gap' through Australian cultural astronomy

Duane W. Hamacher, Ray P. Norris

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contribution

8 Citations (Scopus)
291 Downloads (Pure)


For more than 50,000 years, Indigenous Australians have incorporated celestial events into their oral traditions and used the motions of celestial bodies for navigation, time-keeping, food economics, and social structure. In this paper, we explore the ways in which Aboriginal people made careful observations of the sky, measurements of celestial bodies, and incorporated astronomical events into complex oral traditions by searching for written records of time-keeping using celestial bodies, the use of rising and setting stars as indicators of special events, recorded observations of variable stars, the solar cycle, and lunar phases (including ocean tides and eclipses) in oral tradition, as well as astronomical measurements of the equinox, solstice, and cardinal points.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArchaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy: Building Bridges between Cultures
EditorsClive L. N. Ruggles
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
ISSN (Print)17439213
ISSN (Electronic)17439221


  • Aboriginal Australians
  • archaeoastronomy
  • Betelgeuse
  • Eclipses
  • ethnoastronomy
  • stone arrangements
  • variable stars (Eta Carinae


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