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There is evidence in many parts of the world that people were able to accurately predict the summer and winter solstices thousands of years ago. For example, Newgrange in Ireland and the Pyramids in Egypt were built with this function. How widespread was this knowledge? Should we expect to find evidence of this practice all over the world, or just in isolated pockets?

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do you mean astrology? – Daniel Pendergast Oct 12 '11 at 14:07
No, but I understand it may be difficult to separate the two in ancient times. I am interested in the methods used to make accurate measurements and predictions. – Liam Oct 13 '11 at 8:52
up vote 3 down vote accepted

While providing links is not the best way of answering, Wikipedia's article on History of Astronomy could, in this case, be made-to-order.

It reviews astronomical evolution, beliefs and practices right from Babylonians to modern astronomy sequentially and points to dedicated chronicles were relevant (ex- Egyptian, Indian, China etc.)

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How could info on Babylonians and later people make answer to the question on prehistoric ones??? – Gangnus Mar 26 '12 at 7:17

Astronomy was necessary for a calendar and calendar was necessary in all agricultural (neolithic) societies.

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