Archeoastronomy is the study of how ancient cultures used astronomy in their everyday lives. This can encompass everything from studying ancient astronomical artifacts to trying to recreate ancient ceremonies.
There are many different Archeoastronomy sites around the world including the Giza Pyramids, Stonehenge and Tikal.
Archeoastronomy has three main pillars of: Orientation, Alignment and Observation.
Orientation is determining the cardinal points, or directions, north, south, east and west.
Alignment is lining up a structure with a specific point on the horizon, such as the rising or setting sun or moon.
Observation is using astronomical events to measure time, such as the solstices or equinoxes.
In this entry we explore a list of some of the most important Archaeoastronomy sites around the world:
-Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
The Pyramids of Giza are a complex of ancient Egyptian monuments located in the desert on the outskirts of Cairo. The three main pyramids were built in the 4th dynasty for the pharaohs Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure. They are some of the oldest structures in existence and remain some of the most recognizable symbols of ancient Egypt.
The Giza complex is also home to the Great Sphinx, a massive limestone statue of a lion with a human head. The Sphinx is thought to date back to the reign of Khafre and was likely built to guard the entrance to his pyramid.
The Pyramids of Giza have long been associated with astronomy and have been studied by archaeologists and astronomers alike. The alignment of the pyramids with certain stars has led to speculation that they may have been used as an astronomical observatory. The Great Sphinx is also thought to have astronomical significance, as its position aligns with the rising sun during the equinoxes.
Whether or not the Pyramids of Giza were actually used for astronomical purposes remains unknown, but their connection to the stars has captivated people for centuries.
-Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in Wiltshire, England. It consists of a ring of standing stones, each around 13 feet (4.0 m) high, 7 feet (2.1 m) wide, and weighing around 25 tons. The stones are set within earthworks in the form of a crescent, and surrounded by a circular ditch.
Archaeologists believe that Stonehenge was built between 3000 and 2000 BC. It is thought to have been used as a burial ground for the elite members of society, as well as a place of worship or pilgrimage. The precise purpose of the monument is still unknown, but it has been suggested that it was used to mark the movements of the sun and moon, or to align with other important astronomical events such as solstices and eclipses.
Today, Stonehenge is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world, and receives over 1 million visitors per year. It is protected as a World Heritage Site, and has been managed by English Heritage since 1984.
Tikal is an ancient Maya city that was once the capital of a powerful kingdom. The city is located in present-day Guatemala, in the heart of the jungle. Tikal was rediscovered by archaeologists in the 19th century, and it has since become one of the most important archaeological sites in the world.
The ancient Maya were skilled astronomers, and they used their knowledge to construct elaborate temples and observatories. The most famous of these is the Temple of the Great Jaguar, which was built to align with the movements of the planets and stars. Tikal also contains many other fascinating ruins, including palaces, pyramids, and a huge ceremonial plaza.
Visiting Tikal is an unforgettable experience. The city is vast and mysterious, and it’s easy to imagine what life was like here centuries ago. If you’re interested in archaeoastronomy, or simply want to explore an amazing archaeological site, Tikal is well worth a visit.
In addition, there are also many important Archeoastronomical sites around the world such as El Castillo, a prehistoric temple in Spain, Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, USA and the Temple of Heaven in Beijing which was built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
Archeoastronomy sites help us learn more about our ancestors and the way they viewed the world.
The Archeoastronomy sites on this list are just a few of the many important Archeoastronomy sites around the world, each with its own unique story to tell.