Anthony F. Aveni (A.B. Boston University, Ph.D. University of Arizona) is the Russell Colgate Distinguished University Professor of Astronomy, Anthropology, and Native American Studies, Emeritus, serving appointments in both Departments of Physics & Astronomy and Sociology and Anthropology at Colgate University. He has also achieved visiting appointments at the University of South Florida, the University of Colorado, Tulane University and the University of Padua, Italy.
Featured in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the ten best university professors in the country, Aveni was also voted National Professor of the Year by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, Washington D.C., the highest national award for teaching. At Colgate he has received, among other teaching awards, the Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching (1997) and the Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society Distinguished Teaching Award voted by the Freshman Class of 1990.
Aveni has spoken or written on astronomy-related subjects on the Learning Channel, the Discovery Channel, PBS-Nova, BBC, NPR, The Larry King Show, NBC's Today Show, Unsolved Mysteries and the N.Y. Times, Newsweek, and USA Today. He has lectured in more than 300 universities around the world. Aveni helped develop and now is considered one of the founders of cultural astronomy, in particular for his research into the astronomical history of the Aztec and Maya Indians of ancient Mexico. He has done similar research in North America, Peru, Israel, Italy and Greece. Aveni has involved his students in research through regular field trips to Central America and Peru to study history, hieroglyphic writing, calendars and architecture; they often contribute as co-authors in the publication of new discoveries. In 2004, Aveni was the recipient of the H.B. Nicholson Award for Excellence in Mesoamerican Studies, given by the Peabody Museum and the Moses Mesoamerican Archive at Harvard University. He also received the Fryxell Medal for Interdisciplinary Research from the Society of American Archaeologists in 2013.
Professor Aveni has been awarded research grants by the National Geographic Society, the National Science Foundation and various private foundations for work in both American continents as well as in Europe and the Middle East. He has more than 300 research publications to his credit, including three cover articles in Science magazine and key works in American Scientist, The Sciences, American Antiquity, Latin American Antiquity, and The Journal of Archaeological Research. Two of his short pieces have been cited as “notable essays” in the volumes Best American Essays of 2002 and Best American Science Writing of 2002.
Aveni has written or edited more than 40 books. His works include Empires of Time, on the history of timekeeping, Conversing With the Planets, a work that weaves together cosmology, mythology and the anthropology of ancient cultures; Behind the Crystal Ball: Magic, Science and the Occult from Antiquity through the New Age, Stairways to the Stars: Skywatching in Three Great Ancient Cultures, Between the Lines, and Nasca: Eighth Wonder of the World, chronicle his 10 year research program on the mystery of the ground drawings of Nasca, Peru; Ancient Astronomers, Foundations of New World Cultural Astronomy, The Book of the Year:A Brief History of Our Seasonal Holidays. Skywatchers, his revised updated version of Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico has served as a basic textbook in archaeoastronomy or cultural astronomy, an interdisciplinary field he helped found. His first children’s book, The First Americans: Where They Came From and Who They Became, received the 2006 Golden Spur Award for Western Juvenile Nonfiction. His memoir on 50 years of teaching in the liberal arts is titled Class Not Dismissed (2014). His three most recent books, In the Shadow of the Moon: The Science, Magic, and Mystery of Solar Eclipses (2017), Star Stories: Constellations and People (2019), and Creation Stories: Landscape and the Human Imagination (2021) are all published by Yale University Press. He is currently merging his dual specialties in cosmos and culture as he explores the history of how we have come to think about extraterrestrial intelligence.
With his artist wife Lorraine, Aveni resides in Hamilton, New York.