ISBN 978-1782978404
Paperback 210 pages
Publisher: Oxbow Books; Illustrated edition (12 Mar. 2015)
Product Dimensions 16.76 x 1.27 x 23.88 cm


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.


“Archeoastronomy in the UK has been by-passed by the archeological community until fairly recently and is largely ignored by astronomers. Nevertheless, a growing body of evidence supports the idea that the sky, particularly with respect to sun and moon setting and rising, was of some importance to our prehistoric ancestors of the late neolithic and early bronze age. This book covers several aspects of this and touches on other foreign examples that for some reason have been more readily accepted. My only reservation is that this book, based on a Liverpool conference, clearly suggests that archaeologists have little of even the most elementary astronomical knowledge.”
~K. J. Kilburn; Reviewed in the United Kingdom (12 November 2017)

“Skyscapes seems to foresee new ways for development in the field that ought to be useful to any potential readers, notably archaeologists.”
~Juan Antonio Belmonte; Journal for the History of Astronomy (09/01/2017)


The Role and Importance of the Sky in Archaeology

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<br. ~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
<i~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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