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Publisher: dna Multimedia
Ancient Buildings Connecting Earth and Sky
This far in time from the creation of the starsites, we are like alien beings when we observe them. In some cases, we have no written record of their purpose, nor an operating manual. Yet the buildings themselves reveal their relationship to the stars, and in so doing display the incredible intelligence, sophistication and wisdom of their architects.
At the root of much of our knowledge is our relationship with the night sky. Our sense of time is derived from the regularity of the stars, the planets, the moon, and the one lonely body of the daytime sky: the sun. Patterns of the sky change as winter approaches. The patterns change again as spring nears. If we can measure the changes in the sky, then we know when to plant, or gather wood or observe rituals.
As humankind, we learned to measure and display our knowledge of the changes in the sky through ancient buildings that served as models of the heavens, observatories, timepieces, calendars and places of worship and play. But they were even more. We built these places as proof of our understanding.
This Is Mystery, Science, Culture and Art...
We are only beginning to understand how ancient civilizations used their observations of the stars, sun and planets to govern their lives and learn the laws of the universe. You can take part in unraveling the ancient mysteries. Explore sites that are up to 5,000 years old. Play ancient games and face modern challenges along the way. And meet the brilliance of our ancestors face to face.
Five thousand years ago, in what was to become Ireland, a structure was designed to draw sunlight through a small aperture in an artificial mound. Once a year, on the morning of the Midwinter Solstice, the sun shone through the roof box and along the length of an underground passage. It is believed to have served as stage lighting for a "theater of the dead."
The Forbidden City...
This structure was built to mediate between Heaven and Earth. The Forbidden City was designed to reflect the shape of the heavens as portrayed in Chinese myths.
Just as the pole star lay at the center of Heaven, so the Emperor, in a complimentary role, took his place at the heart of the Middle Kingdom. And, every year as the seasons changed, he circled the Forbidden City and visited temples representing Heaven, Sun, earth and Moon.
Deep in the jungle of modern-day Honduras, this Mayan site contains both a simple observatory and a stadium devoted to a ball game. The observatory functioned as a celestial calendar based on the cycles of Venus. The ball game was also connected with the sky. A ball representing the sun had to be kept in the air. When it hit the ground...the player at fault was sacrificed.
A unique and spectacular site in Jaipur, India, Jantar Mantar was created as an observatory within a palace. Built in 1732, it represented one man's ambition: to create star maps more accurate than any that had been drawn up to that time.
The pyramids are the great mystery. Of their origins and purpose, what do we know or suspect so far? Perfectly aligned with the sky, they are interpreted as a symbolic representation of the constellation Orion. Their orientation is believed to be connected with the sun's nighttime journey through the underworld - the land of the dead.
An in-depth look at five ancient civilizations
Dozens of sophisticated games and interactive activities
English to hieroglyph translator
560 screens of multidimensional hypertext
Exciting 3D environments and models
Unique maps and site diagrams provide a true sense of time and place.
Requirements: Windows - 486, 66MHz processor (Pentium recommended), 8 MB or RAM (Windows 3.1), 16 MB of RAM (Windows 95 or higher), 640 x 480, 256 color monitor, MPC compliant, 16-bit sound card, double speed CD-ROM drive.
Runs OK on Windows XP using Windows 95 Compatibility Mode. To install run install/win95/install.exe on CD.
Requirements: Macintosh - 68040 processor or higher, System 7 or later, 8 MB RAM, 640 x 480, 256 color monitor, double speed CD-ROM drive.
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