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Archaeoastronomy: A Sustainable Way to Grasp the Skylore of Past Societies

AuthorsGonzález-García, A. César ; Belmonte, Juan Antonio
KeywordsCultural astronomy
Field techniques
Bohí Romanesque churches
Canary Islands
Landscape archaeology
Issue Date14-Apr-2019
PublisherMultidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute
CitationSustainability 11(8): 2240 (2019)
AbstractIf astronomy can be understood as the contemplation of the sky for any given purpose, we must realize that possibly all societies throughout time and in all regions have watched the sky. The why, who, how and when of such investigation is the pursuit of cultural astronomy. When the research is done with the archaeological remains of a given society, the part of cultural astronomy that deals with them is archaeoastronomy. This interdisciplinary field employs non-invasive techniques that mix methodologies of the natural sciences with the epistemology of humanities. Those techniques are reviewed here, providing an excellent example of sustainable research. In particular, we include novel research on the Bohí Valley Romanesque churches. The results provided go beyond the data. This is because they add new value to existing heritage or discovers new heritage due to the possible relationship to the spatial and temporal organization of past societies. For the case of the Bohí churches the results point to a number of peculiarities of these churches in a valley in the Pyrenees. This links these aspects to the ritual, practical and power sphere of past societies. A wonderful example of such links is the high mountain sanctuaries in Gran Canaria, where archaeoastronomy helps promoting a World Heritage candidacy.
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