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Astro-Archaeology & Archaeoastronomy
News Archive 2020

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The Antikythera Mechanism
a 2,000-year-old astronomical computer


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New Astro-Archaeology & Archaeoastronomy Discoveries made in 2020 appeared below as we encountered them, though there were very few reports after the COVID-19 virus struck...

New Astro-Archaeology & Archaeoastronomy Discoveries made in 2021 will appear below as we find them, but we will leave the last 2 years' stories up as we don't expect much in 2021...

"Nabta Playa: The world's first astronomical site was built in Africa and is older than Stonehenge"

June 20 2020, Astronomy Magazine, USA

"This 7,000-year-old stone circle tracked the summer solstice and the arrival of the annual monsoon season. It's also the oldest known astronomical site on Earth.

An image of the Nabta Playa stone circle
an image of the Nabta Playa stone circle with its astronomical alignments, which is also a clickable link directly to the Astronomy Magazine article
Copyright WikiMedia Commons

For thousands of years, ancient societies all around the world erected massive stone circles, aligning them with the Sun and stars to mark the seasons.

These early calendars foretold the coming of spring, summer, fall, and winter, helping civilizations track when to plant and harvest crops. They also served as ceremonial sites, both for celebration and sacrifice.

These megaliths - large, prehistoric monuments made of stone - may seem mysterious in our modern era, when many people lack a connection with, or even view of, the stars.

Some even hold them up as supernatural, or divined by aliens. But many ancient societies kept time by tracking which constellations rose at sunset, like reading a giant, celestial clock. And others pinpointed the Sun's location in the sky on the summer and winter solstice, the longest and shortest days of the year, or the spring and fall equinox.

Europe alone holds some 35,000 megaliths, including many astronomically-aligned stone circles, as well as tombs (or cromlechs) and other standing stones.

These structures were mostly built between 6,500 and 4,500 years ago, largely along the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts.

But even these primitive sites are at least centuries younger than the world's oldest known stone circle: Nabta Playa."

[Read The Full Story]

[An excvellent aricle from Astronomy Magazine. But why wait until 2020 to reveal these details of this most ancient of astronomically-aligned sites?

The answer seems to be that it was built by African paople many millennia before such sophisticated astronomical instruments were built by Europeans. These were highly-educated Black African scientists of a by-gone epoch whose existence didn't fit with the racists euro-centric interpretations of prehistory that has been spoon-fed to us all in schools, colleges and universities.

In fact such sphisticated societies were deliberately wiped out by european explorers seeking gold and other resources to plunder - including human beings to be sold as slaves in the americas. To credit these 'backward, ignorant sub-humans', as they were portrayed, with such sophisticated knowledge and abilities went very much against the european slave traders interests.

So it's hardly surprising that many of these slave-traders not only poured their ill-gotten gains into founding and building universities throughout europe, but also set the narrow parameters of so-called 'education' in the ways that ancienr African achievements were portrayed and literally cansored out of the true history of human achievements in ancient times.

It's well worth a visit to read the full story, though beware of some of the interpretations offered as to why they built such sites as Nabta Play. All they had to do was simply to ask the African peoples they encountered. Instead they enslaved as many as they could catch. - Ed]

"800-year-old spiral rock carvings marked the solstices for Native Americans"

February 12 2020, Live Science, USA

"The Pueblo people created rock carvings in the Mesa Verde region of the Southwest United States about 800 years ago to mark the position of the sun on the longest and shortest days of the year, archaeologists now say.

Panels of ancient rock art, called petroglyphs, on canyon walls in the region show complex interactions of sunlight and shadows.

These interactions can be seen in the days around the winter and summer solstices, when the sun reaches its southernmost and northernmost points, respectively, and, to a lesser extent, around the equinoxes - the 'equal nights' - in spring and fall, the researchers said.

The carvings show scenes depicting the traditions of contemporary Hopi people - descendants of the ancestral Puebloans who lived in parts of the Southwest until the 13th century.

The traditions describe important rituals at seasonal points in the yearly solar calendar tied to farming activities, such as planting and harvesting.

The rock carvings 'probably marked the specific seasons', archaeologist Radek Palonka of Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland, told Live Science. 'It was not only to observe the phenomena.'"

[Read The Full Story]

[An excvellent aricle from Live Science showing that the native peoples of southwest America were not only competant skywatchers, but more than able to accurately record their observations in artistic fashion on these rocks.

While this site and its astro-archaeological features has been known to us for many years, it seems this Polish archaeological study has settled the issue for academics, who for the past 100+ years have tried to deny that ancient peoples had the abilities, knowledge of astronomy and the skills to construct such records.

It's well worth a visit to read the full story and see the many excellent images of the site - Ed]


an image of a meteor flashing through the sky


Astro-Archaeology & Archaeoastronomy Discoveries that were
made in 2019 are listed below ...

"Ancient Middle Eastern astrologers recorded the oldest-known evidence of aurorae"

October 18 2019, Astronomy Magazine, USA

"Astronomers have watched sunspots come and go on the sun's surface for at least 400 years.

But to learn about the history of the sun's activity before the time of telescopes, they have to turn to historical references to phenomena linked to solar activity, like the northern lights.

Now, a team of scientists have discovered what may be the oldest written records of aurorae to date.

These three Assyrian and Babylonian cuneiform tablets from about 680 to 650 B.C. seem to refer to aurorae lighting up the skies.

Chemical analysis of tree rings also show that there was likely a spike in solar activity around that time.

This extends the known time span of aurora records to about 2,700 years, as the team reported earlier this month in The Astrophysical Journal Letters."

[Read The Full Story]

[Well done Astronomy Magazine for bringing this important discovery about the competance of ancient astronomers to a much wider audience worldwide!

It seems, yet again, that the more theses ancient cunieform records are studied the more it can be seen that in ancient times skywatchers were far more capable of observing and accurately recording events in those ancient skies than has previously been acknowledged.

It's well worth a visit to read the full story and see the diagrams of the cunieform tablets - Ed]

"Prehistoric art on TS megaliths depict constellations: Study"

July 01 2019, The New Indian Express, India

"The entire Deccan Plateau that consists of a major part of Telangana including Hyderabad is dotted by numerous megalithic sites, etched with prehistoric art.

However, till the long time, the significance of these etchings were not known to the people, but a recent research published in the TRC School of Telangana Studies has found that the prehistoric art that is found on one of these historic structure in Mudumal and at Gachbiowli depict constellations such as Ursa Major, Gemini, Orion, and others.

The research titled, Stars and Stones: The Interpretation of Megalithic Cup-Marks from South India, by K P Rao talks about the knowledge of astronomy in the megalithic community.

While talking about the cup marks at Mudumal, Rao noted that these cup marks depicted a formation, which closely resembled to a constellation called Ursa Major."

[Read The Full Story]

[Another interesting archaeological discovery in India reported by New Indian Express. The megalithic culture in India has much in common with that in other areas around the world - an understanding of astronomy only recently acknowledged. It's well worth a visit to read the full story - Ed]

"Chile petroglyphs point to 1700-year-old star-gazing site"

February 28 2019, Cosmos, Australia

"The astronomers at the European Southern Observatory might not have been the first to stand on the spot and look upwards.

The complex astronomical measurements that underpinned many aspects of the Inca civilisation may have an ancient forerunner of 10 centuries earlier and 2000 kilometres distant, a prominent archeoastronomer suggests.

Steven Gullberg, of the University of Oklahoma, US, and chair of the International Astronomical Union Working Group for Archaeoastronomy and Astronomy in Culture, is the latest scientist to comment on the origin and purpose of some mysterious stones and engravings, known as petroglyphs, at a site known as La Silla, in Chile.

The complex designs etched in rock, together with a set of standing stones, were first studied in depth by researchers in 2012.

It was suggested that the artefacts were set up to mark the positions of two very brilliant stars, Canopus and Hadar, and were the work of the El Molle, a pre-Columbian culture that occupied the region for five centuries from about 300 CE."

[Read The Full Story]

[Nice One Cosmos! This is a very interesting story about the astronomical achievements of ancient peoples in South America, who seems to have been very knowledgeable about the cosmos, and who accurately measured and recorded in stone the heliacal risings of two stars that were of significance to that culture.

Well worth a visit to read the full story and see the image of one of the carved stones - Ed]

"Origin Of 4 Kashmir Lakes"

January 25 2019, Kashmir Observer, India

"Archaeoastronomy is the study of how people in the past have understood the phenomena in the sky, how they used these phenomena and what role the sky played in their cultures.

In Kashmir such examples abound at various archaeological sites, geographically distributed from north to south.

In 2020 if you look at the sky and observe two moons or what is called on scientific parlance as Supernova you will certainly like to share the picture or video with friends on social media.

Likewise this phenomenon has puzzled people from the time immemorial and they have been recording it in different forms.

Similarly the earth has witnessed various meteorite showers through the course of history. Scientists say this is what happened back in 3600BC.

Petroglyph discovered in Burzhom is believed to be that oldest sky chart drawn which was made on a stone slab.

The rock art depicts the two bright objects in the sky with shapes of humans and animals.

In Bomai, Sopore such rock engravings represent the meteorite shower which experts believe has occurred some 40000 to 6000 years back."

[Read The Full Story]

[An excellent story from the Kashmir Observer! That meteoritic impacts can create lakes is well known from other areas around the world, and this is a great example of this in India.

The interpretation of the symbols carved into stone petroglyphs is insightful, and other archaeologists should take note - ancient peoples were very capable observers of temporary celestial phenomena such as meteorite showers, and more than capable of recording those observations in stone.

It really is well worth avisit to the site to read the full story - Ed]

"Nazca Revelation: How ancient Incas used astronomical knowledge in major breakthrough"

January 17 2019, Daily Express Online, UK

"Astronomical knowledge was used by the Incas to identify solstices, seasonal changes, and the best time for sowing and harvesting, resulting in the ancient civilisation becoming the largest empire in the western hemisphere.

The Inca civilisation in Peru placed great importance on astronomy.

They were the only culture in the world to define constellations of both light and darkness.

The Incas not only identified constellations and individual stars, but they also assigned each a purpose.

They believed that everything in and around our world was connected.

It has long been known that astronomy played a central role in the culture, religion, and daily lives of the Inca, who used astronomical events to govern ceremonial occasions and for planning agricultural activities.

Cusco for example lies on a radial plan, mimicking the sky and pointing to specific astronomical events on the horizon."

[Read The Full Story]

[Well Done Daily Express Online for this excellent article! Written succinctly by Matthew Kirkham, a journalist who seems to know what he's talking about regarding advanced knowledge of astronomincal reality in ancient societies, it is a most welcome addition to the body of knowledge about such matters that has developed over the past few decades.

Sadly, the 'Great European Reconnaissance' of the world starting 500 or so years ago, seems now to have deliberately set about trashing all the ancient societies they encountered in their global pillaging rampage, with a main focus on destroying all evidence of their advanced knowledge of the natural world - a world which did not end at the horizon, but which continued on out into the cosmos and was the perspective of all ancient societies.

This article is an excellent place to start in any new understanding that our own interpretation of ancient celestial events needs to be as much urgently reviewed as does the standard archaeological paradigm of the abilities of ancient peoples to accurately record them.

We highly recommend a visit to read the full story, but the page also has several links to 'ancient aliens' conspiracy nonsense, theories that are themselves designed to belittle the amazing astronomical knowledge and achievements of ancient peoples in order to perpetuate the racist Euro-centric narrative that has dominated since the global rampage itself. So be aware.... - 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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