Astronomi er den ældste videnskab kendt for menneskeheden. Arkæoastronomi i sin reneste form,
er studiet og fortolkning af sol, måne og stjernernes tilpasning fundet på antikke
monumenter såsom pyramiderne, tårne (Caracol, Chitchen Itza, Mexico), grundlinjer (Nazca, Peru).
og megalithic lokaliteter (Stonehenge, CARNAC, Newgrange) osv.
Når vores forfædre udlagde deres byer eller steder var nogle funktioner primært rettet ind som
calender enheder til at måle tid og årstider.
På denne måde kunne de sikre et regelmæssigt kalibreret landbrugshøst til at føde deres
indbyggere. Ofte har de udføres rituelt ceremonier på gunstige tidspunkter under
året. I nogle samfund pergament registre foreligger af deres kapacit til at følge retningerne.
Nogle forfædre brugte Solen og Månen bevægelser at forudsige sol- og måneformørkelser og
udlede prognoser baseret på disse varsler, andre kunne følge både stjernernes og planeternes baner.
Der var en entusiastisk tilbedelse af solen, månen og stjernerne, som oldtidens folk antog var guder,
styrendehver deres anliggender. Ingen udgifter eller anstrengelser var for stort et offer for
berolige "Guderne" og derfor blev store sten strukturer bygget på "hellige" steder rundt på hele
kloden. Strukturer, som sandsynligvis var styret af "en elite" af iværksættere eller 'videnskabelige'
fordomsfrie observatører. Ved "videnskabeligt" fordomsfri, forstås at de omfattede
både magi og religion i deres udgave af "videnskab".
Astronomy is the oldest science known to humankind. Archaeoastronomy, in its purest form,
is the study and interpretation of solar, lunar and stellar alignments found at ancient
monuments such as pyramids, towers (Caracol, Chitchen Itza, Mexico), ground lines (Nazca, Peru),
and megalithic sites (Stonehenge, Carnac, Newgrange) etc.
When the ancients laid out their cities or sites sometimes they delibrately aligned
certain features to act primarily as calendrical devices to measure time and the seasons.
In this way they could ensure a regularly calibrated agricultural harvest to feed their
peoples. Oftentimes, they performed ritualistic ceremonies at auspicious times during
the year. In some societies parchment records exist of their tracking capabilities
Some ancients tracked the Sun and Moon movements to predict solar and lunar eclipses and
draw forecasts based on these omens, others tracked both stellar and planetary objects.
There was a keen worship of the sun, moon and stars which ancient peoples took for Gods
presiding over their affairs. No expense or time factor was too great a sacrifice to
appease the 'Gods' and therefore vast stone structures were erected at 'sacred' locations around
the globe. Structures which were probably governed by an elite learned echelon of initiates
or 'scientifically' minded observers. By 'scientifically' minded we mean they encompassed
both magic and religion into their brand of 'science'.
Alignments and their meaning
In order to align their monuments with celestial bodies, ancient societies sometimes utilized local elevation points to help them track and record celestial movements. In this way they fixed a point in the sky with objects on the ground. Usually hilltops, valley depressions or mountains served as horizon points.
The nasca lines in Peru have long tracks made of stone clusters etched out on the ground. These tracks travel in straight lines for miles and miles even over any obstacles such as mountains. They have generally been accepted as pointing to rising constellations over the Atacama desert.
Sometimes other adjacent structures (buildings) served as sight lines.
The summer and winter Solstice points measured respectively longest day/shortest night and shortest daylight time. If these were accurately calculated, the society, frequently agrian in nature, guaranteed maximum sowing and harvest times year after year, weather permitting,of course.
Following the sun and moon's movements across the skies could denote Solstice times and Spring and Autumn Equinoxes (periods in between solstices) to give 4 even measurements. over a yearly cycle.
Archaeoastronomy in Progression
As an embryonic discipline, Archaeoastronomy has progressed to encompass other scientific areas,most notably, Astronomy, Surveying, Mythology, Archaeology, Geodesics etc. Just as the ancients studied science from an undifferentiated viewpoint, today's practitioners must blend and draw from many diversified specialised fields.
Back in the 1960's Gerald Hawkins,attached to the Smithonian Institute, was intrigued by observations taken at Stonehenge concerning lunar alignments. Asking IBM, the computer giant, Hawkins wondered if computers could map out alignments going back into the past. He discovered hundred of correspondances. Naturally the nascent science of Archeoastronomy comes up for criticism from the more well established fields of science and more than one comment has been the overwhelming preponderance of correspondances in the sky. However, astute researchers are keen to point out that these correspondances are narrowed down in relation to terrestrial landmarks, contemporaneous cultures and timelines established usually by the archeological sciences. The idea of being open minded but not too misguided is the sure approach to gaining confidence in one's abilities for alignment determination.
Unlike today ,computers back then were klunky machines, absorbing vast quantities of power on mainframes. So a new research tool was made available to astronomers, engineers, surveyors, artists and laypeople to use to ascertain celestial tracking at monuments.
Today we have that computer power, at our fingertips, thanks to the rapid development of computer science and small scale electronic installation. It now means researchers can augment field studies for tracking back in time. In some cases, the computer can replace field observations. The clear advantage is overcoming the constraints of weather, time, resources,manpower and travel expenses.
21 st. Century Archaeoastronomy
On the eve of the 3rd millennium, a new bold and forward approach to this study is taking place on a small island in western Europe. Once known as the 'Island of Saints and Scholars' back in the pre-medieval period, Ireland, now stands ready to push forward in time and innovation new ground, new avenues, ready to explore uncharted territory in unmasking what our ancient ancestors once did when they watched the skies and formed the earth with stone and light.
This new millennium sees the opening of a new national monument in Ireland, a monument staggering in its astronomical implications, a monument older than the pyramids of Egypt, more ancient than the old cities of Mesopotamia , millennia back in time from Stonehenge. It may lack the artistic grandure of a Luxor, or the monumental enormity of Stonehenge but Knowth National Monument, at Bru Na Boinne (Boyne Valley) is now open the the world's general public. It is only THE oldest chambered structure in the world (5600 BC - 3800 BC) with arguably the oldest known surviving megalithic iconography/artwork even seen by human eyes. Irish Archaeoastronomers assisted by their knowledgeable counterparts in Europe and America are using breakthrough instrumentation such as lazer alignment, GPS, EMF sensoring, powerful astronomical software, creativity and resoursefulness to probe the depths of the Mesolithic and Neolithic minds.To attempt to understand the powerful urges that our ancestors had to build these stone edifices as lasting silent legacies to their descendants, you and I.
Now assisted by the advent of the Internet we are gradually bringing to you, the reader, our discoveries, our patience, and our energies in the hope of spreading this knowledge across the world for a greater understanding of our environment and our ever driving compulsion to explore and progress......
Now the silent stones speak.....and this is what they have to say.....
For yderliger information, prøv at se på følgende hjemmesider:
List of archaeoastronomical sites by country
Almendres Cromlech, Spanien
Ale's Stones, Sverige
Astronomisk tolkning av slipskåror på Gotland, Sverige