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New Astro-Archaeology & Archaeoastronomy Discoveries made in 2019 will appear below as we encounter them ...

 

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Astro-Archaeology & Archaeoastronomy Discoveries that were
made in 2018 are listed below ...

"Prehistoric Cave Paintings Show That Ancient People Had Pretty Advanced Knowledge of Astronomy"

November 30 2018, Universe Today, USA

"For some time, scholars believed that an understanding of complex astronomical phenomena (like the precession of the equinoxes) did not predate the ancient Greeks.

However, researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh and Kent recently revealed findings that show how ancient cave paintings that date back to 40,000 years ago may in fact be astronomical calendars that monitored the equinoxes and kept track of major events.

The study team included Martin B. Sweatman (an associate professor at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Engineering) and Alistair Coombs – a researcher and PhD candidate with the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Kent.

Together, Sweatman and Coombs studied the details of Paleolithic and Neolithic art featuring animal symbols at sites located in Turkey, Spain, France and Germany.

What they found was that all of these sites used the same method of date-keeping, even though the artwork was created by people living tens of thousands of kilometers and years apart.

According to the team’s analysis, the cave paintings were not simply depictions of wild animals (as previously thought) but instead represented star constellations in the night sky.

These paintings were apparently used to represent dates and mark major astronomical events like comet strikes.

In this sense, they demonstrate that ancient humans kept track of time by monitoring the precession of the equinoxes."

[Read The Full Story]

[A really brilliant story in Universe Today!! The more we discover about the abilities of ancient peoples to accurately observe and record live-sky events many millennia ago, the more we begin to understand that temporary celestial phenomena, events such as comet and asteroid strikes, are the likeliest of celestial encounters they would have recorded.

That such events were catastrophic goes almost without saying, but there is strong resistance by archaeologists and prehistorians to the very idea that these ancient peoples were as intellectually capable as we are today - and probably moreso.

This study shows that our interpretation of ancient celestial events needs to be as much urgently reviewed as the standard paradigm of the abilities of ancient peoples. to accurately record them.

You can find the original study by Sweatman and Coombs referred to here, and is essential reading for those wanting a more accurate view of prehistoric peoples abilities to observe and record events they witnessed in the ancient skies.

It's well worth a visit to read the full story, and do read the original study as well - Ed]





"Ancient Egyptians Were Aware Of The Variability Of The Algol Triple Star System Thousands Of Years Ago"

November 13 2018, Inquisitr, USA

"Researchers have determined that ancient Egyptians were well aware of the variability of the Algol triple star system thousands of years before modern astronomers after studying the Cairo Calendar, which documents this star system's brightness.

As Phys.org reports, the Cairo Calendar has also been called the Calendar of Lucky or Unlucky Days and was determined to have been written between the years 1244 and 1163 BC.

This special calendar would have allowed Egyptians to learn what days were either favourable or unfavourable for them by assigning particular days, and even certain times during these days, as either good days or bad days.

But besides allowing ancient Egyptians the opportunity to decide whether certain days would be good or not, the Cairo Calendar was also found to have had an astronomical function, which included ascertaining the changing brightness of Algol."

[Read The Full Story]

[An excellent story from Inquisitr! The more we discover about the abilities of ancient peoples in general, and the ancient Egyptians in particular. to accurately observe and record live-sky events many millennia ago, the more we begin to understand that mainstream archaeology has concocted a very inadequste picture of the ancient peoples of Africa. It's well worth a visit to read the full story and see the images and video - Ed]





"Ancient lake holds secrets to Mayan civilisation's mysterious collapse: study"

August 03 2018, Stuff, New Zealand

"The sediment under a lake in Mexico contains some of the long-sought answers to the mystery of the Mayans' demise.

Ancient Mayans, primarily concentrated in what is now Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, were among the most advanced civilisations of their time.

Mayans were some of the first to build cities.

They used astronomy to advance agricultural production, and they created calendars and used advanced mathematics.

But despite all of their progress, the Mayan empire, built over thousands of years, may have crumbled in just a few hundred."
[Read The Full Story]

[A really great story from Stuff! Why such a great ancient civilisation went into decline and crashed so quickly is the subject of great controversy and debate. It's well worth a visit to read the full story and see the many images, diagrams and video - Ed]





"From the pyramids to Stonehenge
were prehistoric people astronomers?"

March 20 2018, Heritage Daily, UK

"Ever since humans could look up to see the sky, we have been amazed by its beauty and untold mysteries. Naturally then, astronomy is often described as the oldest of the sciences, inspiring people for thousands of years.

Celestial phenomena are featured in prehistoric cave paintings.

And monuments such as the Great Pyramids of Giza and Stonehenge seem to be aligned with precision to cardinal points or the positions where the moon, sun or stars rise and set on the horizon.

Today, we seem to struggle to imagine how ancient people could build and orient such structures. This has led to many assumptions.

Some suggest prehistoric people must have had some knowledge of mathematics and sciences to do this, whereas others go so far as to speculate that alien visitors showed them how to do it.

But what do we actually know about how people of the past understood the sky and developed a cosmology?"
[Read The Full Story]

[A really fascinating article from Heritage Daily! One of the main focal points of The Morien Institute research has been the obvious fascination ancient peoples worldwide had with events observed in the skies, and this article is a welcome addition to the growing corpus of research about ancient astronomy as reflected in all aspects of the monuments they left behind.

So to answer the question in the title - 'were prehistoric people astronomers?' - YES it's very obvious that they were, and they certainly didn't need any ancient aliens to help them.

In fact, ancient African peoples were far more intelligent and capable not only of recording accurate observations of celestial events than they have ever been given credit for by the authors of the Euro-centric version of prehistory that has been taught in schools, colleges and universities over the past 200+ years, but also of recording those observations in accurately positioned megalithic monuments on almost every continent.

In fact, it is becoming blatantly obvious that 'Out of Africa' came the science of the ancient world, which they spread to amlost every corner of it. It's well worth a visit to read the full story and follow many of the expertly selected relevant links - Ed]





"Secret to Great Pyramid's Near-Perfect Alignment
Possibly Found"

February 19 2018, Live Science, USA

"Though it's slightly lopsided, the towering Great Pyramid of Giza is an ancient feat of engineering, and now an archaeologist has figured out how the Egyptians may have aligned the monument almost perfectly along the cardinal points, north-south-east-west - they may have used the fall equinox.

The fall equinox occurs halfway between the summer and winter solstices, when Earth's tilt is such that the length of the day and night are almost the same.

About 4,500 years ago, Egyptian pharaoh Khufu had the Great Pyramid of Giza constructed; it is the largest of the three pyramids - now standing about 455 feet (138 meters) tall - on the Giza Plateau and was considered a 'wonder of the world' by ancient writers.

Turns out, the pyramid builders somehow designed this ancient wonder with extreme precision.

'The builders of the Great Pyramid of Khufu aligned the great monument to the cardinal points with an accuracy of better than four minutes of arc, or one-fifteenth of one degree', Glen Dash, an engineer who studies the Giza pyramids, wrote in a paper published recently in The Journal of Ancient Egyptian Architecture."
[Read The Full Story]

[An interesting story, but the use of sticks and stone gnonoms to determine solar positions has been known about for some time. They also used distance hills and mountain peaks to determine the exact times and days of the equinoxes and solstices as viewed from appropriate backsites. It's worth a visit to read the full story and see the diagram - Ed]





"Two suns? No, it's a supernova drawn 6,000 years ago
say scientists"

January 10 2018, The Guardian, UK

"For decades, stone carvings unearthed in the Himalayan territory of Kashmir were thought to depict a hunting scene.

But the presence of two celestial objects in the drawings has piqued the interest of a group of Indian astronomers.

According to a study published in the Indian Journal of History of Science, the Kashmir rock drawings may be the oldest depiction of a supernova, the final explosion of a dying star, ever discovered.

Archaeologists found the carvings nearly half a century ago in Kashmir's Burzahama site, where the oldest settlements have been dated to about 4,300BC.

It showed two hunters, a bull, and two beaming disks in the sky initially speculated to be two suns.

That explanation did not satisfy Mayank Vahia and a team of astrophysicists in India and Germany.

They settled on Supernova HB9, a star that exploded around 4,600BC.

Viewed from Kashmir, the supernova would have occurred somewhere near the Orion constellation, 'Which is known as the scene of a hunter', said Vahia

'The supernova also went off just above the constellation of Taurus, the bull, which is also seen in the drawing', Vahia added."
[Read The Full Story]

[What an amazing story from The Guardian! Well Done! The many ways and symbols used by ancient peoples to depict events they observed in the skies continue to again surprise us.

But it should also be remembered that in that area of the sky at those times was the bright fragmenting comet known as proto-Encke, which was responsible for many bombardments of Earth with cometary debris from the Taurid debris streams. Two large pieces of any fragmenting comet may well appear as two suns to observers on Earth.

A full review of all ancient petroglyphs and carvings is urgently needed, and it may be better directed by open-minded astronomers than left to mainstream archaeologitsts - but take them along too as they may well learn something useful.

It's well worth a visit to read the full story and see the images of the carvings and their projection onto a star chart - Ed]





"Depiction of mythical Aztec universe discovered in natural pond near Mexico's Iztaccihuatl volcano"

January 04 2018, IB Times, UK

"A team of archaeologists in Mexico have discovered a stone shrine in a pond that depicts the design of the universe, as imagined by ancient Aztec civilisations.

The stone "tetzacualco" or sanctuary was found at Nahualac, a site at the foothills of the Iztaccihuatl volcano.

According to the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), along with the stone shrine, ceramic fragments, lithic materials, lapidaries and organic remains were found nearby, which have been associated with the Aztec rain god Tlaloc.

The researchers have surmised that the placement of the stones is meant to portray a miniature model of the mythical universe.

The placement itself creates the effect of making it seem like the stones are 'floating' on the water's surface rather than lying on the pond bed."

[Read The Full Story]

[A great story from IB Times! The ingenuity of ancient peoples when portraying the cosmos never ceases to amaze as new discoveries uncover very, very different ways of perceiving the universe that do modern peoples. It's well worth a visit to read the full story and see the images - Ed]





"Was God Mithras Born on December 25?"

January 03 2018, Netral News, Indonesia

"An 1,800-year-old temple in northern England that is dedicated to the god Mithras was built to align with the rising sun on Dec. 25, a physics professor has found.

The temple is located beside a Roman fort in Carrawburgh, near Hadrian's Wall, which served as the most northerly frontier to the Roman Empire, beginning around AD 122.

Some modern-day scholars believe that the Romans celebrated Mithras' birthday on Dec. 25 - the same day eventually chosen by Christians to celebrate the birth of Christ.

Using satellite imagery and astronomical software that shows the direction of the sunrises and sunsets, 'we can easily see that the building is in good alignment along the sunrise on December 25', wrote Amelia Carolina Sparavigna, a physics professor at the Politecnico di Torino in Italy, in a paper published online recently in the journal Philica. The paper has not been peer reviewed.

There is also an alignment between the Mithras temple and the rising sun on the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, Sparavigna said.

Roger Beck, an emeritus professor of Classics at the University of Toronto, who has written extensively on the cult of Mithras, said that he hypothesized that such an alignment existed in a paper published in 1984 in the journal Aufstieg und Niedergang der Römischen.

In that 1984 paper, he speculated that the rays of the sun might have illuminated a statue and altar within the Mithras temple on the winter solstice.

In his 1984 paper, Beck did not propose that the reason for such an alignment was to celebrate the birthday of the god Mithras on Dec. 25, and he's skeptical that the Romans celebrated the god's birth on that day."
[Read The Full Story]

[A great story from Netral News to open the new year with, and all the more so because of the Decmber 21 Winter Solstice confusion with December 25th - the supposed birth of Jesus. The solsticial sunrise itself was not what they were observing ritually but scientifically.

The ritual sunrise observation was the following day when the sun began to rise higher in the sky and was portrayed as 'reborn'. This ritual was true of many ancient cultures, as was the scientific observation on the solstice day itself. It represented a marking point from which to start the new solar year. Well worth a visit to read the full story and see the temple image - Ed]





"The Antikythera Mechanism Research Project"
Cardiff/Athens Universites (Cymru/Greece)
[In October 1900, Captain Dimitrious Kondos was leading a team of sponge divers near the the island of Antikythera off the coast of Greece. They noticed a shipwreck about 180 feet below the surface and began to investigate. Amongst the artifacts that they brought up was a coral-encrusted piece of metal that later archaeologists found was some sort of gear wheel.

The rest of the artifacts, along with the shape of the boat, suggested a date around 2000 years ago, which made the find one of the most anomalous that had ever been recovered from the Greek seas. It became known as The Antikythera Mechanism.

In 2006 the journal "Nature" published a
letter, and another paper about the mechanism was published in 2008, detailing the findings of Prof. Mike G. Edmunds of Cardiff University. Using high-resolution X-ray tomography to study the fragments of the anomalous Antikythera Mechanism, they found that it was in fact a bronze mechanical analog computer that could be used to calculate the astronomical positions and various cycles of the Moon - as seen from the Earth: - Ed]


Part of the Antikythera Mechanism
an image of Part of the Antikythera Mechanism, which is also a clickable link directly to the Lichfield Blog story
Copyright © 2006
Antikythera Mechanism Research Project



2000-year-old analog computer recreated



More Antikythera Mechanism Information & Commentary:

"Antikythera Man"
Archaeology Magazine (USA)

"Human Skeleton Found on Famed Antikythera Shipwreck"
Scientific American (USA)

"Scientists decipher purpose of mysterious astronomy tool made by ancient Greeks"
CBC News (Canada)

"Beyond the Antikythera mechanism"
Nature Blogs (UK)

"Archimedes’ legendary sphere brought to life"
Nature News (UK)

"Discovery about the Antikythera Mechanism reveals surprising advances in early Greek science"
University of Puget Sound (USA)

"World's oldest computer is more ancient than first thought... "
The Daily Mail Online (UK)

"New international mission ready to explore Antikythera shipwreck"
eKathimerini (Greece)

"Return to Antikythera: Divers revisit wreck where ancient computer found"
The Guardian Science Blog (UK)

"In search of lost time"
Nature (UK)

"World’s First Computer Displayed Olympic Calendar"
Wired Gadget Lab (USA)

"Antikythera Mechanism - World's earliest existing analogue computer"
HotnHit News (India)

"In search of lost time"
Nature (UK)

"Imaging the Antikythera Computer"
Wired Gadget Lab (USA)

"Decoding an Ancient Computer: Greek Technology Tracked the Heavens"
Scientific American (USA)

"2,000 Year Old Computer Yields Her Secrets"
Wired Gadget Lab (USA)

"Watch a video explaining the Antikythera mechanism"
Nature (UK)

"Antikythera mechanism"
Wikipedia (USA)

"World's First Computer Rebuilt, Rebooted After 2,000 Years"
Wired Gadget Lab (USA)

"Antikythera: A 2,000-year-old Greek computer comes back to life"
The Guardian Science Blog (UK)

Google image search results for The Antikythera mechanism
Google (USA)


 

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