ar·chae·o·as·tron·o·my (är'kē-ō-ə-strŏn'ə-mē) n.
The study of the knowledge, interpretations, and practices of ancient cultures regarding celestial objects.
Archaeoastronomy is the branch of archaeology that deals with the use of those astronomical techniques to establish the seasons or the cycle of the year.
This is evidenced in the construction of megaliths and other ritual structures such as Stonehenge or the pyramids of Egypt.
Archaeoastronomy is also closely associated with historical astronomy, the use of historical records of heavenly events to answer astronomical problems and the history of astronomy, which uses written records to evaluate past astronomical traditions.
Archaeoastronomy is an interdisciplinary field that relates archaeology, anthropology, ethnology, and mythology with astronomy. Sometimes called anthropological astronomy, it studies the artifacts and lore of early humans in hopes of tracing the methods and insights behind their astronomical connections to hunting rituals, mythology, religion, philosophy, agriculture, and architecture.
Through this science it has become apparent that - for as long as men and women have walked our planet, the skies of day and night have not only been a practical tool, but also a source of divine inspiration. As our early ancestors repeatedly observed the infinite majesty of the heavens, they imagined the possibility of something greater than themselves supervising its harmonious regularity
At least 20,000 years ago, the abstract concept of a divine consciousness in the heavens above was beginning to form in the imaginations of early humans on the earth below. The supposition that early humans looked to the heavens for answers began in the late 1800s, when the science of archaeoastronomy was beginning to emerge as part of a popular pastime called antiquarianisms
During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries antiquarians were studying cultures of ancient times, writing literature on their discoveries, and collecting antiquities, which are objects from the past.
Noted scholars of that era are William Stukeley and John Aubrey and their work is founded on fundamental archaeological principles. In the last century, Alexander Thom, Sir Norman Lockyer, and others engaged in important prehistoric astronomy research that advanced these practices.
In the last thirty-five years the science of archaeoastronomy has seen its greatest advancements because contemporary scientists like Dr. E.C. Krupp, Gerald Hawkins, Anthony Aveni, Clive Ruggles, David Dearborn, Herman Bender, Bryan Bates and Alexander Marshack have helped introduce the relationship of religion and cosmology to astronomical phenomena.
Having established the legitimacy of this important knowledge into today's scientific and scholastic communities, some universities and colleges have added it to their curriculum and public libraries are now making books on archaeoastronomy, cultural astronomy and ethnoastronomy available.
This is good news for our planet, because as President John F. Kennedy put it . . .
"We seek not the world-wide victory of one nation or system, but a world-wide victory of man. The modern globe is too small, its weapons too destructive, and its disorders too contagious to permit any other kind of victory."
This "world-wide victory of man" can be established through the science of archaeoastronomy. We need only look up and see the light! And if one would like to make the journey, one can begin with the easy to read Sacred Sky Sacred Bond: an Introduction to the Science of Archaeoastronomy.