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Australian Indigenous Astronomy

Identifying Seasonal Stars in Kaurna Astronomical Traditions

30 May 2015, 04:17 UTC
Identifying Seasonal Stars in Kaurna Astronomical Traditions Duane W. Hamacher
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By Duane W. HamacherEarly ethnographers and missionaries recorded Aboriginal languages and oral traditions across Australia. Their general lack of astronomical training resulted in misidentifications, transcription errors and omissions in these records. In western Victoria and southeast South Australia many astronomical traditions were recorded but, curiously, some of the brightest stars in the sky were omitted. Scholars claimed these stars did not feature in Aboriginal traditions. This continues to be repeated in the literature, but current research shows that these stars may in fact feature in Aboriginal traditions and could be seasonal calendar markers. This paper uses established techniques to identify seasonal stars in the traditions of the Kaurna Aboriginal people of the Adelaide Plains, South Australia.This paper was published in theJournal of Astronomical History and Heritage, Vol. 18(1), pp. 39–52 (2015)It is freely available online.

By Duane W. HamacherEarly ethnographers and missionaries recorded Aboriginal languages and oral traditions across Australia. Their general lack of astronomical training resulted in misidentifications, transcription errors and omissions in these records. In western Victoria and southeast South Australia many astronomical traditions were recorded but, curiously, some of the brightest stars in the sky were omitted. Scholars claimed these stars did not feature in Aboriginal traditions. ...

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