Their Eyes Were Watching the Heavens:
Rapanui and Polynesian Ethnoastronomy
Edmundo Edwards is the foremost archaeoastronomer working in Polynesia today, but having lived and worked on Rapa Nui for almost 60 years, and his copious work experience elsewhere in the Pacific have not only made him a distinguished scholar, but also an esteemed friend, colourful local character, and fantastic storyteller.
For Polynesians the celestial sphere was composed of several superimposed heavens, which together with the stars and constellations were believed to be the abode of the gods. The careful observation of the sky was useful for navigation but also to determine the time of the year, establishing a calendar, and regulating farming and fishing activities. If the superb seafaring abilities of Polynesians are any indication, their knowledge of celestial phenomena was vast. Astronomer priests or skywatchers studied the Sun, Moon, stars, and planets from special observatories built in places with the best vantage point for each astronomic event, announcing when festivities, ceremonies, prohibitions, and the different seasons started and ended. In the past 50 years hundreds of ceremonial sites from Tonga all the way to Rapa Nui, have been found to be oriented to the celestial markers of the very events that were celebrated there, reflecting a shared bank of knowledge that dates back to their common ancestors and evolved for very practical reasons: subsistence, immigration and trade.
Duration: 45 minutes
Followed by one of our feature films
We also have lectures by visiting astronomers, astrophotographers, ethnoastronomers, and more.
For more information regarding talks by Guest Speakers, prices, and availability, please contact us at +56965090433.