Skip to main content
Physics LibreTexts

2.2: Prehistoric Astronomy

  • Page ID
  • Astronomy is the earliest branch of classical mechanics. Astronomical observatories date back to around 4900BC when wooden solar observatories, called henges, were built in Europe. Stonehenge in England is a well-known example which was built ∼ 3000 \(\mathit{BC}\).

    The mesopotamian people, who lived in the land between the Tigress and Euphrates rivers, developed cuneiform writing and recorded accurate numerical data around 3500 − 3000 \( \mathit{BC}\). They recognized that the motion of the planets was periodic as reported in Babylonian tablets. After 2700 \(\mathit{BC}\) the Egyptians built pyramids that are aligned to the pole star and they made significant advances in astronomy, mathematics and medicine