Archaeoastronomy is a relatively new scientific discipline, which as the name implies combines archaeology and astronomy, particularly in the study of ancient megalithic monuments and their possible alignment with various celestial bodies.
Arguably the most famous example is Stonehenge, but our globe is littered with ancient monuments incorporating solar, lunar or astral alignments. Not all are as impressive or accessible as Stonehenge, Callanish or Newgrange but in remote places such as Nabta Playa or Fajada Butte (see Hadingham[1308.152]).
The subject was initially considered by some to be a ‘fringe’ topic, but in 1999 Clive Ruggles was appointed Professor of Archaeoastronomy at the University of Leicester(a) and is the author of the encyclopedic Ancient Astronomy +.
The University of Maryland has had a Center for Archaeoastronomy since 1978(c).
The subject has never been central to Atlantis studies but has hovered in the background, with writers such as Egerton Sykes(b) and Graham Hancock who employed aspects of the discipline in their publications.
Giulio Magli (1964- ) is an Italian archaeaostronomer with a website in English(e) dedicated to the application of the discipline in Egypt. In 2013, Magli proposed that aspects of the Göbleki Tepe site are related to the recent appearance of Sirius in the night sky around 9300 BC(f). Andrew Collins and Rodney Hale argue against this interpretation(g), which is perhaps understandable as they support a linkage with the Cygnus constellation. A 2004 paper by Magli, on precessional effects in ancient astronomy(h), has recently been applied by Lenie Reedijk to her contention that the Maltese temples were oriented to Sirius.
A further application of the discipline was employed by Martin Sweatman and Dimitrios Tsikritsis who used it to interpret the carved symbols at Göbekli Tepe. In a 2017 paper(d) they concluded that the pillars there were used to record meteor showers and cometary encounters. They believe that one such encounter involved the explosion or impact of part of Encke’s Comet around 13,000 years ago, which triggered the Younger Dryas Event that kick-started the Neolithic Revolution. Scientists who have worked on the site responded critically(i), which in turn evoked further comments from Sweatman and Tsikritsis(j).
Sweatman later expanded their theory in his book Prehistory Decoded .
The Sixth Oxford International Conference on Archaeoastronomy and the Seventh Annual Meeting of the Société Européenne pour I’Astronom~e dans la Culture (SEAC, European Society for Astronomy in Culture) was held jointly on the days around the summer solstice of 1999 at the Museo de la Ciencia y el Cosmos, in the historical city of La Laguna, in the island of Tenerife. One hundred participants from more than 20 countries of the five continents and almost 60 talks indicate undoubtedly the relevance of this meeting. The Proceedings of that Conference are available online(l) offering a global view of the subject.
Noah Brosch of Tel Aviv University offers a wide-ranging paper on the ancient sites and artefacts around the world that clearly had astronomical functions(k).
Archaeoastronomy is one of only a few dozen words with four consecutive vowels.
+ Available online: https://archive.org/details/an-encyclopedia-of-cosmologies-and-myth-in-ancient-astronomy-clive-ruggles/mode/2up *
(a) Professor Clive Ruggles — University of Leicester (archive.org)
(b) Seachild: Fields of Study: Archaeological Evidence 2 – Archaeoastronomy
(e) Archaeoastronomy egypt (archive.org)
(j) https://www.academia.edu/33931844/MORE_THAN_A_VULTURE_A_RESPONSE_TO_SWEATMAN_AND_TSIKRITSIS (See the end of the paper)
(k) (99+) (PDF) Thinking about Archeoastronomy | Noah Brosch – Academia.edu