Home Events Skyscape Archaeology Keynote Lecture series – Part 2

Skyscape Archaeology Keynote Lecture series – Part 2

Rocky formation under starry skies. Photo by Thomas Shellberg on Unsplash
Rocky formation under starry skies. Photo by Thomas Shellberg on Unsplash

In the second part of this series, the Journal of Skyscape Archaeology and the Sophia Centre present two Zoom lectures:

Juan Belmonte: From Giza to Petra: land- and skyscapes of the ancient Middle East

The built environment is one the main cultural aspects of an ancient culture. Often, sacred and profane buildings reflected the worldview of the people erecting them. However, construction typology, style and technique are not enough to explain the close relationships between mind, soul and architecture. Two additional variables are to be taken into account: land- and skyscapes. Some of the most outstanding built environments cannot be understood without the landscape embracing them and the skyscape above them. Cultures born in the ancient Middle East are perfect reflections of these premises. After a brief visit to the pre-ceramic sanctuaries of Göbekli Tepe, we will concentrate on some of the wonders of human ingenuity. The behemoths erected by the Fourth Dynasty in Egypt will serve as a perfect first course for our purposes. Our menu will be complemented by such impressive Anatolian sites as Hattusha or Nemrud Dag. The rose city of Petra will be the icing on the dessert cake. A snapshot of a twenty year fieldwork story will show how these sacred sites cannot be understood without looking around, and especially without raising our heads to the firmament above.

Katya Stroud: A Neolithic World View Lost in Translation: Understanding the Megalithic Temples of Malta

The popular interpretation of Maltese Neolithic Temples is primarily based on ideas formulated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Social trends and perspectives on religion at the time determined academic and popular understanding of these sites and their cosmological aspects. These outdated misconceptions that, in their majority, are not supported by the archaeological record, remain commonplace despite the rise of more dynamic interpretations. In discussing these issues I shall be looking at a number of key artefacts retrieved from these Neolithic sites, looking at their popular interpretation and discussing alternatives based on related archaeological evidence.

Information and booking: Sophia Centre