Skyscapes: The Role and Importance of the Sky in Archaeology

Skyscapes: The Role and Importance of the Sky in Archaeology


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Skyscapes: The Role and Importance of the Sky in Archaeology by Fabio Silva

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 rigor 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 revolutionize current views of the past.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781782978404
Publisher: Oxbow Books Limited
Publication date: 03/12/2015
Pages: 210
Product dimensions: 6.70(w) x 9.50(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Fabio Silva is a Research Associate at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London and teaches a postgraduate module on archaeoastronomy for the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. His main interest is in how humans perceive their environment and use that knowledge to time and adjust their social and productive behaviours. His research is split between archaeoastronomy and landscape archaeology, at regional scales, and the study of culture-dependent dispersal dynamics and their modelling, at larger space and time scales. He is also co-editor of the Journal of Skyscape Archaeology.

Nicholas Campion is the Director of the Sophia Centre and a Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. His research interests include the nature of belief, the history and contemporary culture of astrology and astronomy, magic, pagan and New Age beliefs and practices, and millenarian and apocalyptic ideas.

Table of Contents

Preface: Meaning and Intent in Ancient Skyscapes – An Andean Perspective
J. McKim Malville

1. The Role and Importance of the Sky in Archaeology: an introduction
Fabio Silva

2. Skyscapes: Locating Archaeoastronomy within Academia
Nicholas Campion

3. An examination of the divide between archaeoastronomy and archaeology
Liz Henty

4. Skyscapes: Present and Past – From Sustainability to Interpreting Ancient Remains
Daniel Brown

5. 30b – the West Kennet Avenue stone that never was: interpretation by multidisciplinary
triangulation and emergence through four field anthropology
Lionel Sims

6. Can archaeoastronomy inform archaeology on the building chronology of the Mnajdra Neolithic
Temple in Malta?
Tore Lomsdalen

7. Star phases: the naked-eye astronomy of the Old Kingdom Pyramid Texts
Bernadette Brady

8. An architectural perspective on structured sacred space – recent evidence from Iron Age Ireland
Frank Prendergast

9. The Circumpolar Skyscape of a Pembrokeshire Dolmen
Olwyn Pritchard

10. The View from Within: a ‘time-space-action’ approach to Megalithism in Central Portugal
Fabio Silva

11. Afterword: Dances beneath a diamond sky
Timothy Darvill

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