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Author : Fabio Silva
ISBN : 9781782978404
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 34.42 MB
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Eleven papers extend discussion of the role and importance of the landscape and the wider environment to past societies, and to the understanding and interpretation of their material remains, into consideration of the significance of the celestial environment: the skyscape. The role of the sky for past societies has been relegated to the fringes of archaeological discourse. Nevertheless archaeoastronomy has developed a new rigour in the last few decades and the evidence suggests that it can provide insights into the beliefs, practices and cosmologies of past societies. Skyscapes explores the current role of archaeoastronomical knowledge in archaeological discourse and how to integrate the two. It shows how it is not only possible but even desirable to look at the skyscape to shed further light on human societies. This is achieved by first exploring the historical relationship between archaeoastronomy and academia in general, and with archaeology in particular. The volume continues by presenting case-studies that either demonstrate how archaeoastronomical methodologies can add to our current understanding of past societies, their structures and beliefs, or how integrated approaches can raise new questions and even revolutionise current views of the past.
Category: Social Science

Foundations Of New World Cultural Astronomy

Author : Anthony F. Aveni
ISBN : STANFORD:36105131668530
Genre : Science
File Size : 63.35 MB
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Gazing into the black skies from the Anasazi observatory at Chimney Rock or the Castillo Pyramid in the Maya ruins of Chichen Itza, a modern visitor might wonder what ancient stargazers looked for in the skies and what they saw. Once considered unresearchable, these questions now drive cultural astronomers who draw on written and unwritten records and a constellation of disciplines. Cultural astronomy has evolved at ferocious speed since its genesis in the 1960s, with seminal essays and powerful rebuttals published in far-flung, specialized journals. Until now, only the most closely involved scholars could follow the intellectual fireworks. In this new reader, Anthony Aveni--one of cultural astronomy's founders and top scholars and a former National Professor of the Year--offers a selection of the essays that built the field, from foundational works to contemporary scholarship. Aveni also serves up incisive commentary, background for the uninitiated, suggested reading, and more.
Category: Science

Towards Skyscape Archaeology

Author : Fabio Silva
ISBN : 1782979557
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 44.3 MB
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The study of beliefs and practices concerning the sky in the past and the uses to which people's understanding of the sky was put has long been of great interest to archaeologists and the wider public, but also controversial. After the dispute in the 1960s and 70s between archaeologists and astronomers over the intentionality behind identified high-precision alignments such as those at Stonehenge, the modern discipline of archaeoastronomy has found its feet deeply rooted in fieldwork and statistical tests for validity. However, archaeoastronomy, particularly its prehistoric variety, is currently at an impasse. Although thousands of structures have now been surveyed for celestial alignments, and statistical analyses do suggest some degree of intentionality in some cases, only very rarely have these been successfully interpreted and integrated into the archaeological narrative. Archaeoastronomers have failed to fully engage with what the alignments meant for prehistoric people and why they decided to incorporate them into their structures. This impasse is one of the reasons why archaeologists have for so long kept their distance. Towards Skyscape Archaeology looks at archaeoastronomical theory and method from the point of view of archaeology. It highlights current limitations and suggests what needs to be addressed and overcome for archaeoastronomy to produce knowledge of value to the broader academic community. It argues that archaeoastronomy needs to come closer to archaeology; it needs to become a skyscape archaeology, and proposes ways to achieve this. Using case studies from Peru, Scotland, Spain, Malta and Stonehenge, Fabio Silva challenges the orthodoxy and argues that with a different approach we can further our understanding of the cosmology and worldviews of the cultures and societies.
Category: Social Science

Astronomy In Prehistoric Britain And Ireland

Author : Clive L. N. Ruggles
ISBN : 0300078145
Genre : History
File Size : 24.41 MB
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Do prehistoric stone monuments in Britain and Ireland incorporate deliberate astronomical alignments, and if so, what is their purpose and meaning? Here, for the first time this topic, a subject of long-standing controversy between astronomers and archaeologists, is approached from a perspective that incorporates both disciplines. The author establishes the importance of studies of astronomy in the context of broader questions of cosmology, ideology, and cognition that are of central interest to prehistorians at the beginning of the twenty-first century. He also makes clear the necessity of multi-disciplinary perspectives in tackling problems of this nature.
Category: History

First Light

Author : Robert Hensey
ISBN : 9781782979524
Genre : History
File Size : 50.60 MB
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Newgrange in Ireland is a world famous monument not only because of its vast scale and elaborate megalithic art, but also because of its renowned alignment to the sun on the winter solstice. Yet the origins of Newgrange remain somewhat mysterious. Across Ireland over two hundred similar passage tombs are found, some of which are considerably older than Newgrange. These less investigated monuments reveal that the origins of Newgrange may be hidden in plain sight. A progression in the scale and sophistication of construction of these passage tombs, developments in the styles of megalithic art, and an increase in the scale and craftsmanship of associated artefacts may be observed, which taken together indicate a lengthy process of development. In short, Robert Hensey uncovers an untold history at Newgrange; an island-wide story of incremental changes over hundreds of years, of a society in evolution, perhaps in extremis, who left behind such a rich, enigmatic and patterned legacy. This book not only charts the earlier history of Newgrange, but addresses why it was constructed, what was its purpose. In the Boyne Valley, through Newgrange and related sites at Brœ na B—inne, we have evidence not only of extraordinary physical accomplishments, but of tremendous acts of imagination; a testament to rich and developed inner worlds. In this book, it is proposed that the concept of an otherworld which could be embodied by and accessed through passage tombs was a central motivator in passage tomb construction from its earliest beginnings. Newgrange is at the end of a long tradition of monuments dedicated to the religious needs of Neolithic communities, from small-scale monuments built by early farming groups; to potent otherworld centres of ritual training at the edge of society; eventually to temple-like monuments standing at the very heart of the religious and political sphere in Neolithic Ireland. Challenging both orthodox archaeological opinions and popular conjecture, this will be an important book for anyone interested in Neolithic archaeology.
Category: History

Astrology And Cosmology In Early China

Author : David W. Pankenier
ISBN : 9781107292246
Genre : Science
File Size : 71.84 MB
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The ancient Chinese were profoundly influenced by the Sun, Moon and stars, making persistent efforts to mirror astral phenomena in shaping their civilization. In this pioneering text, David W. Pankenier introduces readers to a seriously understudied field, illustrating how astronomy shaped the culture of China from the very beginning and how it influenced areas as disparate as art, architecture, calendrical science, myth, technology, and political and military decision-making. As elsewhere in the ancient world, there was no positive distinction between astronomy and astrology in ancient China, and so astrology, or more precisely, astral omenology, is a principal focus of the book. Drawing on a broad range of sources, including archaeological discoveries, classical texts, inscriptions and paleography, this thought-provoking book documents the role of astronomical phenomena in the development of the 'Celestial Empire' from the late Neolithic through the late imperial period.
Category: Science

The Materiality Of The Sky

Author : Fabio Silva
ISBN : 1907767096
Genre :
File Size : 60.21 MB
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This volume presents a variety of research generated in the field of skyscape astronomy across a wide spectrum of ages, cultures and geographical regions. It reveals how concepts, patterns, myths and other creations of this intangible culture were transformed into material culture, including iconography, calendars, structural orientations and more.

The Archaeology Of Malta

Author : Claudia Sagona
ISBN : 9781107006690
Genre : History
File Size : 51.6 MB
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This book synthesizes the archaeology of the Maltese archipelago from the first human colonization c. 5000 BC through the Roman period (c. 400 AD). Claudia Sagona interprets the archaeological record to explain changing social and political structures, intriguing ritual practices, and cultural contact through several millennia.
Category: History

The Imagined Sky

Author : Darrelyn Gunzburg
ISBN : 1781791678
Genre : Religion
File Size : 57.59 MB
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The sky forms fifty percent of our visual world and as such has a voice across cultures. This sky-voice is informed by human images, dreams, and aspirations and thus is complex and contains great diversity. The inherent nature of this sky-voice is transmitted from one generation to another through text, image, oral tradition, physical mapping, and painted description. This volume, written by some of the most noted scholars in their fields, acknowledges the presence of such a voice, from the sky's movement mirrored in the archoeastronomy of British prehistory, the apocalyptic myths of comets and meteors, sky cartography reflected in European globes and frescoes, Australian aboriginal sky myths, the issue of disappearing dark skies, contemporary reflections on the sky, and the recognition that sky imagery has persisted in similar forms since its potential roots in the Palaeolithic period. These eleven essays offer critical engagement in understanding the sky in human imagination and culture and contribute to this new field emerging within the academy.
Category: Religion

Megalithic Lunar Observatories

Author : Alexander Thom
ISBN : 9780198581321
Genre : Astronomical observatories
File Size : 85.48 MB
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This unique text discusses the mathematical principles behind Megalithic stone circles, and how these were used for observing lunar cycles in prehistoric times. The author, A. Thom, shows that stone circles were precisely planned and laid out in accordance with certain geometric figures in the classic Pythagorean tradition. Containing some mathematical and astronomical details, along with notes on site survey and location, this book is ideal for amateur enthusiasts and academicians of archaeology, astronomy, and mathematics.
Category: Astronomical observatories