SKYSCAPES THE ROLE AND IMPORTANCE OF THE SKY IN ARCHAEOLOGY

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Skyscapes

Author : Fabio Silva
ISBN : 9781782978404
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 68.53 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

The Archaeology Of Darkness

Author : Marion Dowd
ISBN : 9781785701924
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 37.98 MB
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Through time people have lived with darkness. Archaeology shows us that over the whole human journey people have sought out dark places, for burials, for votive deposition and sometimes for retreat or religious ritual away from the wider community. Thirteen papers explore Palaeolithic use of deep caves in Europe and the orientation of mortuary monuments in the Neolithic and Bronze Age. It examines how the senses are affected in caves and monuments that were used for ritual activities, from Bronze Age miners in Wales working in dangerous subterranean settings, to initiands in Italian caves, to a modern caver’s experience of spending time in the one of the world’s deepest caves in Russia. We see how darkness was and is viewed at northern latitudes where parts of the year are spent in eternal night, and in Easter Island where darkness provided communal refuge from the pervasive sun. We know that spending extended periods in darkness and silence can affect one physically, emotionally and spiritually. How did interactions between people and darkness affect individuals in the past and how were regarded by their communities? And how did this interaction transform places in the landscape? As the ever-increasing electrification of the planet steadily minimizes the amount of darkness in our lives, curiously, darkness is coming more into focus. This first collection of papers on the subject begins a conversation about the role of darkness in human experience through time.
Category: Social Science

Astronomy In Prehistoric Britain And Ireland

Author : Clive L. N. Ruggles
ISBN : 0300078145
Genre : History
File Size : 33.1 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 : 46.57 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

The Imagined Sky

Author : Darrelyn Gunzburg
ISBN : 1781791678
Genre : Religion
File Size : 40.84 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

Astrology And Cosmology In Early China

Author : David W. Pankenier
ISBN : 9781107292246
Genre : Science
File Size : 71.3 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 Archaeology Of Malta

Author : Claudia Sagona
ISBN : 9781107006690
Genre : History
File Size : 68.44 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

Commercial Space Exploration

Author : Jai Galliott
ISBN : 9781317163770
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 68.35 MB
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Not since man set foot on the moon over four decades ago has there been such passion and excitement about space exploration. This enthusiasm and eagerness has been spurred on by the fact that for the first time since the very beginning of the space age, space travel is no longer limited to an elite group of highly trained and well-disciplined military officers and test pilots. Instead, we must understand that the possibility of commercial space travel is already on our horizon and that it comes with a number of significant practical and moral challenges. Our level of scientific development and ability to influence international affairs and policy confers upon us an obligation to study the ethical, legal and social considerations associated with space exploration and understanding the potential consequences from the beginning is critical. This volume provides the first comprehensive and unifying analysis concerning the rise of private space exploration, with a view toward developing policy that may influence real-world decision making. The plethora of questions demanding serious attention - privatisation and commercialisation, the impact on the environment, health futures, risk assessment, responsibility and governance - are directly addressed in this scholarly work.
Category: Political Science

The Origins Of The World S Mythologies

Author : Michael Witzel
ISBN : 9780199812851
Genre : Religion
File Size : 78.51 MB
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Michael Witzel persuasively demonstrates the prehistoric origins of most of the mythologies of Eurasia and the Americas ('Laurasia').
Category: Religion

Handbook Of Archaeoastronomy And Ethnoastronomy

Author : Clive L.N. Ruggles
ISBN : 1461461405
Genre : Science
File Size : 27.57 MB
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How human communities interpret what they perceive in the sky is vital in fulfilling humankind’s most basic need to comprehend the universe it inhabits, both from a modern scientific perspective and from countless other cultural standpoints, extending right back to early prehistory. Archaeoastronomy, which is concerned with cultural perceptions and understandings of astronomical phenomena, is a rich cross-disciplinary field. The central aim of “Handbook of Archaeoastronomy” is to provide a reliable source for theory, method, interpretation and best practices that will give a definitive picture of the state of the art research in this field for serious scholars regardless of the discipline(s) in which they are qualified. It will be equally suitable for those already contributing to the field and those interested in entering it. Also included are studies in ethnoastronomy, which is concerned with contemporary practices related to astronomy, particularly among modern indigenous societies. A major part of this MRW is comprised of a set of wide-ranging archaeoastronomical case studies both geographically and through time, stretching right back to Palaeolithic days, and also in terms of the types of human society and nature of their astronomical ideas and practices. However, these are chosen in order to best illuminate broader issues and themes, rather than to attempt, for example, to provide systematic coverage of recent ‘discoveries.’ Thematic articles cover general themes such as cosmologies, calendars, navigation, orientations and alignments, and ancient perceptions of space and time. They also highlight various aspects of the social context of astronomy (its relationship to social power, warfare, etc) and how we interpret astronomical practices within the framework of conceptual approaches. There are also discussions of broad issues such as ethnocentrism, nationalism, and astronomical dating. The “methods and practices” articles cover topics from field methodology and survey procedures to social theory, as well as providing broad definitions and explanations of key concepts. We are also including a number of “disciplinary perspectives” on approaches to archaeoastronomy written by leading figures in the constituent fields. These articles cover material that, generally speaking, would be familiar to graduates in the relevant discipline but, critically, not so to those with different backgrounds.
Category: Science