Making a point for the validity of archeoastronomy and arguing for an interest in antiquity. Arguing for the validity in researching the immaterial, ideas and concepts which would have shaped peoples outlook and therefor how they have shaped the world since ancient times according to astronomical principles
To begin, a couple of definitions: Archeology is defined as the study of the past, but importantly, it is contingent on interpreting evidence dug up to speculate about the past based on the examination of material remnant. Astronomy encompasses a study of the stars and planetary bodies in relation to the Earth, largely based on observation and calculations. Antiquarianism refers to the study and collection of antiquities, which can be taken to include old books and therefore old knowledge.
One of the latest and more interesting trends is Archeoastronomy which is defined as the speculation about the past based on relationships between existing ruins and the skies. There has been a whole body of research on this area, becoming increasingly popularized over the past few years and helping to generate interest in antiquity. It seems that going back as far as Megalithic times, humanity have literally been building into the landscape – and not just this, but making decisions based on astronomical relationships and calculations. The degree to which this has been done is still much debated, but it is generally agreed that there is at least some correlation here.
Of course, we do have some physical, material, remains. However, much has been lost over time. Ancient sites have been quarried or otherwise destroyed by man, and not just this but forces of nature. The water table has changed in different areas so has the climate. Empires have risen and fallen.
The interpretation of layout and carving has lead some to believe that places were used as points of observation. For example, megaliths.net contains such interpretations from
Many believe that ancient sites like stone circles were used to mark astronomical calculations, and indeed alignments are already charted in many places on the solstices, equinoxes and other times of year. There seems to be an increasing body of evidence on the understanding of the movements of the plantary bodies (…) Astrology would be separate, though interlinked, the study of how the moving of the planetary bodies affects humankind … . Perhaps in the past, theology and knowledge had no separation, but from what we know of the point of view from ancient civilizations the planetary bodies were understood as gods. Remembered in mythologies and stories throughout the ages
In ancient times the night sky would have been much more visible, before light pollution and useful for navigation and …
Irrespective of our current perspectives on imagination, the shaping of the earth too place alongside the development of astrological and astronomical principles. Some have suggested that sites like Newgrange and Stonehenge were used to measure the earths tilt which would have required generations of observation. There are numerous theories on …
Creation myths are often lined to astronomical events, even places in stories
Perhaps we need to come to an understanding of cultures interactions of the night sky, the understanding of the celestial bodies and the relationship to life on earth. This is a massive undertaking in a way, as there is so much that we simply cannot know. The connections between certain narratives and astronomical events has been extensively charted, mythologies are full of celestial reference.
One idea is to explore the concept of “as above so below”, a phrase that is used in different contexts. This includes the Esoteric, and refers to at least a couple of different meanings. One, we can look at layout and alignments in relation to the skies –
Perhaps we should move to a cultural understanding of what we have left of the past, the night sky would have played a much larger role in the lives of our ancestors. The stars were used for navigation, for telling the time (…) a complex calculation requiring not just an understanding of the night sky but also the relationship between the earths movements and tilt according to the season
We may need to reconfigure our understandings of the night sky which draw from a particular epistemological framework, building on existing knowledge coming from a particular source. For example, the constellations such as the zodiac largely derive from a middle eastern or Arabic system. While some take it for granted that, for example, Taurus is symbolised by the bull, this would likely have changed from culture to culture. The constellation itself isn’t essentially bull like, it has had symbol and interpretations imposed on it – astronomy and astrology go hand in hand. An overly materialist outlook on this would thwart the purpose of investigation i.e to separate the physical remnants and their investigation and draw conclusions in choices is to impose a worldview from the present on the structure of the past
I’d like to propose a new interdisciplinary study, astro-antiquarianism: which would be characterized by as study of the old knowledge used to describe the heavens and the planetary bodies. This includes the allegorical, mythology and stories
Any thoughts? Weigh in, that’s what the comment section is for. Any constructive criticism welcomed, useful links or opinions