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The Dawn of Cultural Astronomy in Mesoamerica

Presentation #336.07 in the session “Collaboration with Integrity: Partnerships with Indigenous Communities in the Americas and Polynesia”.

Published onJan 11, 2021
The Dawn of Cultural Astronomy in Mesoamerica

Astronomy belongs to everyone, and a transcultural interpretation of the sky can awaken renewed interest in astronomy in people of all backgrounds. The First Mesoamerican Congress of Cultural Astronomy took place in November 2019 in Guatemala and Honduras, fostering collaborations and transfer of knowledge among astronomers, Maya spiritual guides (aj'q'ijab'), archaeologists, and physicists. This gathering allowed participants to share diverse interpretations of the sky, both past and present. In this presentation, we will summarize the main conclusions and experiences derived from the event, which we believe represents an important step in the development of Cultural Astronomy in Mesoamerica. The Congress provided opportunities for participants to learn from each other, from the Maya ancestral sites, and from the landscape through experiences that included authentic observations of the sky. Diverse worldviews converged with integrity in a model of dialogue and knowledge exchange that is worth replicating not only in the Mesoamerican region, but in other parts of the world. Participants included representatives from other cultures from countries like Peru, New Zealand, India, Iran, and the United States. In addition, this meeting included a series of activities directed to support the conservation of dark skies as a world heritage, local community engagement, and the development of astronomical tourism as a sustainable form of disseminating all aspects of Mesoamerican astronomy in ways that respect and take into account the cultural knowledge of the original peoples of the land.

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