- Mar 2022
The kothon of Motya in southern Sicily had first been assumed to be an artificial harbor. It wasn’t, archaeologist Lorenzo Nigro of Sapienza proves
Overview of paper: https://doi.org/10.15184/aqy.2022.8
But crucially, he believes the pool at the center of the complex may have also served as a surface to observe and map the stars. The water surface would have mirrored the sky, as water does – none other than Leonardo da Vinci pointed out the attributes of inert standing water when studying the night sky. For one thing, the stars were adored by the Phoenicians, whether as gods or deceased ancestors; and the position of the constellations was of keen interest to the sailors among them for navigation purposes, Nigro points out.
Lorenzo Nigro indicates that the "kothon" of Motya in southern Sicily was a pool of Baal whose surface may have been used to observe and map the stars. He also indicates that the Phoenicians adored the stars potentially as gods or deceased ancestors. This is an example of a potentially false assumption often seen in archaeology of Western practitioners misconstruing Indigenous practices based on modern ideas of religion and culture.
I might posit that this sort of practice is more akin to that of the science of Indigenous peoples who used oral and mnemonic methods in combination with remembering their histories and ancestors.
Cross reference this with coming reading in The First Astronomers (to come) which may treat this in more depth.
Leonardo da Vinci documented the attributes of standing water for studying the night sky.
Where was this and what did it actually entail?
- kothon of Motya
- pool of Baal
- orality and memory
- standing water
- Leonardo da Vinci
- Indigenous science
- Lorenzo Nigro