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Dream a Little Dreaming

5 Jun 2009, 22:35 UTC
Dream a Little Dreaming
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England has its Stonehenge, and Australia has Wurdi Youang, an egg-shaped ring of stones just outside of Geelong. It was built by the Wathaurung people -- long before the arrival of European settlers --and measures a good 50 meters across. And as with Stonehenge, no record exists of why the ring might have been built, or how it was used. But according to a new paper appearing this week on the arXiv, it might just be an example of Australia's earliest form of astronomy.Aboriginal mythology is largely associated with the "Dreaming," an ancestral world of spirits who are still manifest in the night skies. Certain nomadic Aboriginal Australians apparently used the sky as a kind of calendar to determine when it was time to on to a new site, for example. And the various Aboriginal cultures across the huge continent share some common threads in their mythology. For instance, there is a female sun warming the land, and a male moon who starts out slim (the crescent moon) and grows fat as he ages (full moon), then dies to begin the lunar cycle again (new moon).A cultural historian named John Morieson noticed a few years ago that, when viewed from ...

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