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.
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.
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