Skyscape Archaeology Keynote Lecture series – Part 4
In the fourth part of this series, the Journal of Skyscape Archaeology and the Sophia Centre present two Zoom lectures:
Georg Zotti: Stellarium for Cultural Astronomy Research
Over the past years, the open-source computer planetarium program “Stellarium” has gained functionalities which makes it very capable as a research and demonstration tool for cultural astronomy. Its sky simulation aims to be natural and also most computations are accurate enough for celestial simulations that may go back several millennia into the past. One easy way to enhance the immersive look and feel of observing from an interesting location is to display a horizon panorama, called “landscape” in Stellarium’s terms. In this lecture we are going to explore several methods as to how such a landscape panorama can be created. If a static panorama is not enough, Stellarium can also work with 3D models. These combine a piece of local topography onto which a reconstruction or representation of the actual monument is placed, so we can then walk around and explore the site and experience celestial views and also light and shadow interaction. A model of a modern site with its architecture governed by key elements which are also frequently discussed in cultural astronomy is included in the download. We are going to explore this model and if time permits, I hope to also give you some outlines of model creation.
Stanislaw Iwaniszewski: Relational fields in archaeoastronomy: the Mt. Tlaloc temple in Central Mexico
It has long been suggested that the ritual Aztec precinct located atop Mt. Tlaloc, in Central Mexico, was designed and constructed to have deliberate relationships with the surrounding natural landscape features. In particular, it has been argued that the temple was carefully located to ensure views of the rising and setting sun on calendrically important dates. Since ethnohistorical sources indicate that the Mexicans (Aztecs) created and maintained contacts with their skyscape features by rituals, these notions allow us to treat the precinct as a place where “a relational field” was once formed. The talk aims to show how Aztec ritual activity atop Mt. Tlaloc articulated the nature of the relationships between the human community and living skyscape.
Information and booking: Sophia Centre