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What is Archeoastronomy

archeoastronomia.jpgArcheoastronomy is a recent science which studies the astronomical orientation of ancient buildings where special luminous phenomena called hierophanies (i.e. sacred apparitions) occur on certain key dates.

Thanks to complex algorithms and software, the Archaeoastronomer is able to calculate the position of the Sun, Moon, stars and planets thousand years ago, establishing whether the luminous phenomena we see today could also occur in ancient times.

The astronomically oriented buildings were meant to verify the accuracy of the Calendar. The measurement of Time was born for agricultural needs, when prehistoric men became sedentary. This practical function became sacred and symbolic, given that already in prehistoric times there must have been magical-religious rituals to propitiate a good harvest and avert famines or natural disasters.

In ancient Rome, the sacred function of measuring Time and controlling the Calendar was entrusted to the Pontifex Maximus, the most important priestly office of the Republican era, which later passed to the Emperors and was later inherited by the Popes together with many other symbols of the Imperial power.

How we work
After identifying site (for example a Dolmen) or an ancient building in which luminous phenomena occur, we need to follow a precise path, with a series of steps to verify if it really was astronomically oriented and understand its symbolic meaning:

1 - Archaeo-astronomic calculations, to verify the position of the Sun at the time of the construction of the building, and confirm that the luminous phenomena also occurred in that period.

2 - Measurement of the building's orientation in degrees (azimuth) and direct observation on the spot of the luminous phenomena in given dates, to verify the accuracy of modern calculations.

3 - Archaeological study of the building, to ascertain that the structures that produce the light phenomena (windows, corridors, oculi, etc.) are ancient and have not been modified at a later time.

4 - Identification of a precise date in which luminous phenomena occur to compare it with the ancient calendar (the Roman Calendar in our case), and understand its symbolic and religious meaning.

5 - Study of the ancient sources that describe the building, to have other useful elements to understand its function and meaning.

Once those steps have been completed, we can move on to the last phase:
6 - Interpretation of the symbolic meaning of the luminous phenomena, using Archeo-astronomy as a new key for understanding.

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