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Lecture, Thursday 27.02.2014 Trent University


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"Giant ancient stone monuments that are linked to astronomy can not only be found in the UK but across many parts of mainland Europe. But are they really astronomical observatories and how can they tell us more about the oldest science: Astronomy?

The event will start at 8 pm with Dr F Silva (University College London) presenting his talk titled Red Star and Snowy Mountain: how astronomy can help us understand the past. In this talk he will look at prehistoric megalithic structures in Northwest Iberia that were purposefully aligned with Aldebaran and discuss what this can tell us about the celestial beliefs and practices of Neolithic Iberians. This talk will be followed by a brief introduction on what is visible in this month's sky.

Booking is required for this event."



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  • 2 weeks later...

Fascinating lecture on astroarcheology.

Speaker talked about the alignments at stonehenge with the rising and setting sun in mid winter and mid summer.

Then he talked about ancient stone structures in his home country of portugul; sorry i can't remember the names of the structures.

He talked about how other researchers had attempted to look at the all of these across the country and try and find what they all align with. His work looked at looking for similarities of alignment with just local groups of these. Using maths and mapping software he managed to work out relatively narrow windows to identify a patch of horizon a local group looked at. Then using artefact data, types of arrow heads, used dating data to work out roughly when they were built (4000-3000 BC (ish)), then ran back sky mapping software and real star movements to figure out what possible targets would be appearing at this point on the horizon. For one site it looks like Aldebaran; at another Alnath, another the Pleides.

Then he linked in old folktales, and some of these linked with his theory; a story of a Shepard walking to a mountain range on the horizon to follow a star and then named his dog after the star; estrella apparently means star and is the name of one of portuguls oldest breed of dog...

So, a fascinating talk.


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