Session: #247

Theme & Session Format

Interpreting the archaeological record: artefacts, humans and landscapes
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

SEAC 27: Frontiers in Theory, Methodology and Education within Cultural Astronomy
From its inception, archaeoastronomy has relied on ‘alignment hunting’ with little theory, systematic methodology or engagement with the wider socio-historic record. But the field has evolved and expanded into other areas of scholarly research seeking ways to identify and reconstruct the role played by celestial objects in the lifeworld and cosmovision of the societies. Current approaches allow for inferences to be drawn from the material record of past societies which, in turn, permit the role played by celestial objects to be examined, including the conceptualization of time, space and wayfaring. Computational approaches have become available, allowing for robust statistical tests to be widely implemented while new visualization tools are being used to present results for a wider audience. In addition, investigators working in other fields under the purview of Cultural Astronomy have brought their own theories and methods to bear on the historical, archaeological and anthropological record, making this a truly multidisciplinary field with its own rewards but also its own challenges.
This session will focus on the theoretical, methodological and educational frontiers of Cultural Astronomy. Papers will discuss traditionally and more recent approaches. Questions to be addressed include: What assumptions are implicit in current approaches? Which methodologies can be successfully applied and how are they related? Under what conditions can astronomy help with dating, if at all? What statistical inference methods are relevant? What tools can be used to aid researchers in visualizing prehistoric skies and communicating research results to a broader audience? How can the borders between pseudoscience, amateur science, bad science, pathological science, and even popular science be demarcated and evaluated? What initiatives are underway to teach students and members of the public about the field of Cultural Astronomy?
archaeoastronomy, cultural astronomy, methodology, education, visualization tools, multidisciplinarity
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SEAC 27th


Main organiser:
Michael Rappenglück (Germany) 1,2,3,4,5,6
Georg Zotti (Austria) 7,8,9,2,3,2
1. SEAC (European Society for Astronomy in Culture)
2. Vice President
3. Society for Archaeoastronomy (Germany)
4. President
5. Adult Education Centre and Observatory, Gilching, Germany
6. Head of
7. Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology (LBI ArchPro)
8. Researcher
9. European Society for Astronomy in Culture (SEAC)