PALEOLITHIC ART MAGAZINE




EDITORIAL


Archeoastronomy:why?.

The Archeoastronomy is the only discipline that takes care at the same time of both aspects of the material and spiritual culture of the prehistoric man.
It concerns the material culture, in how much it watches to the function of the stars in the guideline, to the development of the calendar, and to other asset; it concerns the spiritual culture, in how much inquires on the use of the stars in several types of cult rituals, therefore in the religion.
From it, it achieves that the Archeoastronomy as science re-enters in the Palethnology, science of the ancient populations in a generalized manner.
The Archeoastronomy is a discipline that, through the analysis of archaeological findings as petrogliphs and the rock engravings, stone artifacts, temples, places and the ancient necropoli astronomically oriented, tries to reconstruct the astronomical acquaintances diffused between the ancient people, above all in the period in which, being no still introduced the writing, did not were produced written testimonies that tell to us which it was the vision of the sky and its phenomena, own of the ancient cultures that have been alternated on the planet.
The Archeoastronomy is a young science in how much only around XVI and XVII century was begun to see the possibility that some ancient monuments (which those megalithic, scattering for all the Europe, or aegyptians pyramids) could have been builds up according to rules connected to the visibility, in the sky, of the main celestial phenomena.
English astrophysical Norman Lockyer, one of the first scholars of this matter, ended around half of XIX century a series of searches on the Egyptians pyramids and European megalithic monuments, demonstrating the obvious astronomical orientation .
Around 1960, scholars as the American Gerald Hawkins and English Alexander Thom gave new vital lymph to this discipline also with the support of new methods archaeological discoveries and new methods of research that carried to the official acknowledgment of the Archeoastronomy and to the legitimation of the theory on the existence of a diffused astronomical culture near the ancient populations, since the neolithic age and also, in some cases, paleolithic. The Archeoastronomy is a science having character distinctly interdisciplinare in how much founded on the collaboration of various scientific disciplines as Mathematics, Anthropology, Archaeology and Physics and has carried to the birth of the Ethnoastronomy.
This last discipline takes care of the study of the astronomical meaning of the rituals, of the folklore and of the oral traditions diffused between the populations of today, but that derive from the customs diffused between the cultures of the past. The Archeoastronomy is a scientific discipline able to supplying useful indications to the aim of the solution of many problems still opened of Archaeology, but also of modern Astronomy like, as example, the experimental determination of the rhythm of slowing down of the speed of rotation of the Earth, the passages of ancient comets, the supernova outbreaks happened during the antiquity, and, last but not least, the climatic conditions in the prehistoric and protohistoric ages.
The importance of a discipline as the Archeoastronomy is well testified from the words of Franz Boll: "Mankind measures time using the stars. Lay people, whose knowledge is based on belief, rather than science, say: "The course of the stars determines Time," and from this, religious people drifts the saying that "Heaven guides everything on Earth." (Franz Boll "Sphaera", 1903).


Licia Filingeri (Editor)

Genova, March 2003

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