Archaeoastronomy

Start year
1993
Organizational Unit
    General
    Description

    The main objective of this project is to study the importance of astronomy as a fundamental part of human culture and civilization from Paleolithic to the present day. Our interest is mainly devoted to the people of the ancient Mediterranean cultures from the Atlantic to the Middle East, with a special dedication to Spain, its geographical neighbourhood and ancient Egypt. However, we are also developing projects in Mesoamerica, Peru and the Pacific islands.

    Principal investigator
    Project staff
    Collaborators
    Dr.
    José Luis Escacena
    Dr.
    Magdi Fekri
    Dr.
    M.C. Gallegos
    Dr.
    Marco García Quintela
    Dr.
    Michael Hoskin
    Dr.
    Migel Ángel Molinero Polo
    Dr.
    Mª Antonia Perera Betancor
    Dr.
    Manuel Pérez
    Dr.
    Margarita Sanz de Lara Barrios
    Dr.
    Antonio Tejera Gaspar
    Dr.
    José María Vaquero
    Dr.
    Mauro Zedda
    1. The summit of Gran Canaria has been considered as an excellent example of a Cultural Landscape worthy of being declared World Heritage site within the Astronomy and World Heritage Initiative of UNESCO and the IAU. In 2018 the memory has been completed and the process of evaluation by ICOMOS has begun.
    2. A rock engraving or petroglyph of the aboriginal era on the island of La Palma (Benahoare) has been interpreted as an island map where its major landmarks are represented for purposes of sympathetic magic. This is without doubt one of the finest examples of prehistoric map produced before the development of modern cartography.
    3. The megalithic monumental complex of Castillejo del Bonete stands as the first evidence of a solar marker (towards the winter solstice sunrise) in a megalithic site of the Iberian Peninsula, indicating that the precise location of the monument was carefully chosen (Benítez de Lugo Enrich, L., Esteban, C., 2018).

    Related publications

    • Ad orientem: Las iglesias románicas del Camino Francés en los reinos de Castilla y León bajo la perspectiva de la Astronomía Cultural*Ad orientem: Romanesque Churches of the French Way in the kingdoms of Castile and Leon from a Cultural Astronomy perspect

      RESUMEN: En este trabajo se examina, desde la perspectiva de la Astronomía Cultural, si las iglesias románicas del Camino de Santiago siguen un patrón de orientación común a todas ellas. Para ello, se ha obtenido la orientación Ambos reinos comparten orientaciones hacia la salida del sol el domingo de Pascua, probablemente obtenidas en su mayoría

      Belmonte, J. A. et al.

      Advertised on:

      12
      2021
    • Orientación solar del Traianeum de Italica (Santiponce, Sevilla, España)

      El Traianeum fue un gran complejo sacro del siglo II d.C. construido por el emperador Adriano en la antigua ciudad de Italica (Santiponce, Sevilla, España), situada en la provincia Baetica. Su nombre actual nace de la hipótesis de que dicho templo estuvo dedicado al culto imperial de Trajano. En este artículo se trabaja con esta interpretación. Los

      Escacena Carrasco, J. L. et al.

      Advertised on:

      4
      2021
    • El espacio ordenado. Paisaje, orientaciones y astronomía en los albores de la época ibérica en Mazaleón (Teruel).

      Presentamos un estudio arqueoastronómico de la denominada habitación 2 del poblado preibérico de San Cristóbal de Mazaleón (siglos VII-VI a.C.) y de varios túmulos de la necrópolis contemporánea asociada. La habitación 2 presenta una orientación ajustada a los ejes cardinales y un marcador del orto solar en fechas alrededor de los

      Esteban, C. et al.

      Advertised on:

      1
      2021
    • East or Easter? keys to the orientation of Romanesque churches along the way of Saint James

      The pilgrimage along the Way of Saint James constituted the principal mechanism for the introduction of new currents of thought into the Iberian Peninsula, such as Romanesque architecture. Taking this into account, we examined whether the standard tradition on the orientation of Christian churches was followed. We measured the orientation of 108

      Urrutia-Aparicio, Maitane et al.

      Advertised on:

      8
      2021
    • Archaeoastronomy/Cultural Astronomy

      Archaeoastronomy and cultural astronomy are often considered synonyms, but they actually express different concepts, the former being a sub-discipline of the latter. Cultural astronomy is a fascinating but controversial discipline, which serves as an auxiliary subject to social sciences such as history, archaeology, anthropology, and ethnography

      Belmonte, J. A.

      Advertised on:

      2021
    • ¿Atrapando el solsticio? Un análisis crítico de la orientación de los templos de Deir el-Bahari

      Resumen: Durante campañas realizadas la década pasada en el marco de la Misión Arqueoastronómica del Egipto antiguo se estudiaron los templos de Deir el-Bahari, en particular el de Mentuhotep II y el de Hatshepsut. Aunque grosso modo parecían pertenecer a la familia de los templos orientados a la salida del sol en el solsticio de invierno, dicha

      Belmonte, J. A. et al.

      Advertised on:

      1
      2021
    • The River and the Sky: Astronomy and Topography in Caral Society, America's First Urban Centers

      America's first urban centers may have been located in the Supe Valley, Peru. After investigating the location and the orientation of the main built structures, we show that it is not only the presence of the Supe River that determines their orientation but also that astronomical relationships within the orientation of the buildings dictate their

      González-García, A. César et al.

      Advertised on:

      3
      2021
    • Determinación de orientaciones de ciudades romanas por medio de la varatio / Orientation layout of Roman towns by using the varatio

      En el presente artículo se aborda la tan debatida cuestión de las orientaciones de ciudades romanas combinando dos procedimientos: un análisis estadístico de las orientaciones de una muestra significativa de ciudades romanas en la península ibérica, y los resultados de una investigación basada en la experimentación y reconstrucción de instrumental

      Orfila Pons, M. et al.

      Advertised on:

      9
      2020
    • Equinox in Petra: Land- and Skyscape in the Nabataean Capital

      In earlier works, we had shown the actual possibility that the Nabataeans had used the Equinox, or an astronomical event equivalent to this, as an important milestone to control the calendar, stablish festivals and perform pilgrimages to important sacred sites. In this paper we present evidence that this was indeed the case. In a research carried

      Belmonte, J. A. et al.

      Advertised on:

      6
      2020
    • Lunar Standstills or Lunistices, Reality or Myth?

      There is an intense debate in cultural astronomy on the importance of lunar standstills in prehistory or antiquity, and even on whether this elusive and difficult-to-understand phenomenon actually was then recognised. In the present paper, we seek to address those who advocate no longer using the terms "lunar standstill" or the related "lunistice"

      González-García, A. C. et al.

      Advertised on:

      3
      2020
    • Cuando la ortodoxia no es lo más relevante: El paisaje de La Gomera y la orientación de sus iglesias

      Presentamos un estudio de la relación entre astronomía y paisaje centrado en la orientación de las iglesias y ermitas cristianas de la isla de La Gomera, situada en el Archipiélago Canario (España). El trabajo de campo consistió en la medición de las coordenadas precisas de ubicación de 38 iglesias y ermitas, lo que representa la casi

      Di Paolo, A. et al.

      Advertised on:

      4
      2020
    • The Penas Pasera tumulus field of the Celtiberian city of Aratis (Aranda del Moncayo, Zaragoza, Spain) and the Celtic calendar

      Within the actions carried out by the Directorate General of Cultural Heritage of the Government of Aragon in relation to the judicial procedure on the pillage of the Celtiberian city of Aratis (Aranda de Moncayo, Zaragoza), a large area was located with several concentrations of tumular structures in the area of Penas Pasera, previously

      Esteban, C. et al.

      Advertised on:

      7
      2019
    • Enduring Sacred Places: The Astronomical Orientation of the Iberian Cave-Sanctuary of Cueva Santa del Cabriel in Spain

      This paper presents the results of an archaeoastronomical study of the Iberian Iron Age cave-sanctuary of Cueva Santa del Cabriel, near the town of Mira in the province of Cuenca, Castilla-La Mancha, central Spain, together with a review of the latest archaeological and ethnographical data about the site. We found that the cave's 12 m-long access

      Machause López, Sonia et al.

      Advertised on:

      8
      2019
    • Archaeoastronomy: A Sustainable Way to Grasp the Skylore of Past Societies

      If 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

      González García, A. C. et al.

      Advertised on:

      4
      2019
    • Essay review on ‘Land of the Shamans: archaeology, cosmology and landscapes'

      Essay review on the book: ‘Land of the Shamans: archaeology, cosmology and landscapes' by Gheorgiu, D.; Nash, G.; Bender, H.; Passztor, E.

      Belmonte, J. A.

      Advertised on:

      11
      2019
    • El equinoccio en el ritual ibérico. El santuario de La Malladeta (La Vila Joiosa, Alicante)

      Presentamos un estudio arqueoastronómico del yacimiento arqueológico de La Malladeta (La Vila Joiosa, Alicante), santuario ibérico y posteriormente romano altoimperial que se utilizó entre los siglos iv a. C. y i d. C. situado en la cima de un promontorio costero. El seguimiento fotográfico de los ortos solares desde la cima del santuario en fechas

      Esteban, C. et al.

      Advertised on:

      3
      2018
    • Arquitecturas simbólicas orientadas astronómicamente durante el Neolítico Final, el Calcolítico y la Edad del Bronce en el sur de la Meseta

      Resumen: Este trabajo presenta los resultados arqueoastronómicos de un proyecto interdisciplinar que estudia yacimientos de La Mancha fechados durante la Prehistoria Reciente. El centro ceremonial monumentalizado de Castillejo del Bonete muestra un marcador del amanecer del solsticio de invierno en la montaña más peculiar de su horizonte, así como

      Benítez de Lugo Enrich, L. et al.

      Advertised on:

      2
      2018
    • Estudio arqueoastronómico de dos santuarios ibéricos en abrigos rocosos: Cueva del Rey Moro (Ayora, Valencia) y Cueva Negra (Fortuna, Murcia)

      Presentamos un estudio arqueoastronómico de dos santuarios rupestres situados en abrigos rocosos, Cueva del Rey Moro y Cueva Negra. Cueva del Rey Moro es un santuario ibérico asociado al poblado de Castellar de Meca. Aunque descartamos resultados anteriores que proponían la orientación del núcleo del santuario hacia el ocaso del solsticio de verano

      Esteban, C. et al.

      Advertised on:

      5
      2018
    • Astronomy in Roman urbanism: a statistical analysis of the orientation of Roman towns in the Iberian Peninsula

      The work presented in this article is part of a wide-ranging and ambitious project, started few years ago, to study the role of astronomy in Roman urban layout. In particular, the main aim is to check whether Roman cities present astronomical patterns in their orientations. The project emerged from ideas on how to properly orientate the main

      Rodríguez Antón, A. et al.

      Advertised on:

      9
      2018
    • Astronomy and ritual in the protohistory of the southeast of the Iberian peninsula

      Along the first millennium BCE and up to the beginning of the Roman conquest at the end of III century BCE, the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula was colonized by Phoenicians, Greeks and Punics. All these cultures influenced the religious and funereal world of the indigenous peoples. Tartessians and Iberians were the main Protohistoric

      Esteban, C.

      Advertised on:

      9
      2018

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