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Archaeoastronomy, study of the astronomical knowledge of the prehistoric and proto-historic populations. It makes use of the contributions of archaeologists, historians and ethnologists, as well as the decisive contribution of the astronomers. Archaeoastronomy is a combination of astronomical and archaeological studies; It represents the knowledge and understanding that the ancient inhabitants of the earth were of celestial phenomena, how they used them and interpreted and what role the “reality” of the movements of the heavens has done within their cultures.
This discipline is often twinned with the ethnoastronomy, ie the observation anthropological study of the sky in so-called contemporary primitive societies. Archaeoastronomy also makes use of the use of historical records, prior to the origin of modern astronomical discipline, to study ancient astronomical events, and is therefore closely associated with historical astronomy. To facilitate a better understanding of the historical record archaeoastronomy uses finally also of current astronomical knowledge. Archaeoastronomy uses a variety of methods to find evidence of past practices, including archeology, anthropology, astronomy, history, statistics and probability. Because these methods are different from each other and the use of data from these sources can be interpreted in different ways, their integration within coherent argument has long been one of the biggest problems to be solved for archaeoastronomers . Archaeoastronomy can be applied to all cultures and all eras. The meanings derived from careful observation of the sky may vary from culture to culture; However, there are scientific methods that can be applied transversely within cultures in the examination of ancient beliefs and by which we can arrive at certain archaeo-astronomical interpretations. Is it the need to balance the social and scientific aspects of archaeoastronomy which brought the aforementioned Clive Ruggles describing it as “one of the fields of academic work of the highest quality and order on the one hand, but whose uncontrolled speculation can easily abut the madness on the other side. “
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