Throughout history, the ability of a people to survive has been tied to environmental conditions. The skill to predict the seasons was an essential element in the ability to “control” those conditions. Seasonal calendars became the foundation of early cultures for hunting and gathering, planting and harvesting, worshiping and celebrating. The goal of cultural astronomy is to understand how these early skywatchers fashioned and refined systems for regulating their calendars around celestial events, both cyclical and unique. This presentation describes the diverse ways in which prehistoric Native American cultures perceived and integrated the objects in the sky into their worldview.
Ken Zoll is the Executive Director of the Verde Valley Archaeology Center in Camp Verde. He is also a site steward with the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office, and a volunteer docent at cultural heritage sites in the Coconino National Forest. He has conducted extensive fieldwork in cultural astronomy of the Southwest and is a certified instructor in cultural astronomy with the Arizona Archaeological Society. Zoll is the author of several popular books on cultural astronomy and rock art in Central Arizona, as well as several cultural astronomy articles in professional publications.