Shortcut Navigation:

Looking Skyward


Zodiacal Lamp

Thousands of years ago, the ancients looked skyward because they believed the natural world was filled with divine clues about future events. Associating the planets with gods, royal astrologers interpreted the movements of the heavenly bodies to predict the future. Well before 1000 BC, sky watchers developed a way to track planting and harvesting seasons by charting the Sun and Moon--the beginnings of the science of astronomy.


Petra exhibition

© AMNH Photo Studio

The Nabataeans embraced the zodiac by building on earlier notions passed down through the Greeks and Romans, who had assigned their own gods to the planets. In depicting the zodiac, the Nabataeans incorporated images of Tyche and Nike to symbolize the abundance and prosperity bestowed by the heavens.

American Museum of Natural History

Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, NY 10024-5192
Phone: 212-769-5100

Open daily from 10 am-5:45 pm
except on Thanksgiving and Christmas
Maps and Directions

Enlighten Your Inbox

Stay informed about Museum news and research, events, and more!