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10 November 2016

Echoes of Archaeoastronomy: 4/4 Deeper and Deeper Into the Astronomical Rabbit Hole. A Year of Research on Archaeoastronomy and the Connection of Astronomy to Ancient Civilizations.




This article is about my experiences on my 1 year research on the anthropology of astronomy.
Part of my Echoes of Archaeoastronomy Series, a series of 4 articles on aspects of Archaeoastronomy, this article tells about the emotions you go through when exploring the past, especially when looking to the sky. I started to wonder if all the civilizations before us had the knowledge of astronomy. I wanted to know when was the first time that humans comprehended astronomy. It all started with a visit to a village in the Moroccan Sahara desert, named Ait Ouazik.


So look...
My hobby in astronomy started officially in 2010 with the purchase of a telescope. I started to observe the night sky every chance I got. This hobby of mine turned rapidly into an obsession to understand the motion of the night sky. I was hooked.

Later...
I incorporated my hobby of astronomy in my travels and did series of articles dedicated to astronomy and the places I was travelling to. It ranged from visits to astronomy observatories, meeting local astronomy clubs and photographing the night sky in the part of the world i was visiting.

in 2014 and 2016...
I travelled to Morocco and visited an exceptional astronomy orientated hotel in the middle of the Moroccan Sahara, Hotel Sahara Sky. During the night we were busy observing the night sky at the hotel, but in the daytime we were without any plans. So the owner of the hotel suggested us to take a trip to a prehistoric rock art site not to far from the hotel. So we did. twice. This place made me realize that ancient people too had the knowledge of astronomy. But since when and how was the knowledge kept? This was the moment I began to realize how much I was intrigued by the notion that everything was connected to astronomy. I really began a journey far far into the past and into the unknown.

Back home...
I opened my computer and on the Internet researched all I could on the subject of Archaeoastronomy. I read about astronomy in ancient civilizations, in mythology, in ancient architecture, in rituals and customs practised by ancient ancestors. Prehistoric relics and places on the planet indicating what so ever a connection to astronomy. In writings in books or listening to radio shows on the subject.

At some point...
I was so confused, that I had to take a step back to process it all. The amount of articles, books and videos to look at was overwhelming. At one point nothing made sense anymore, it was all gibberish. I tried to get it out of my system by explaining my research to my friends, but the expressions on their faces of "Clueless and dumbfounded " just made me feel worse.

During the year...
I really got frustrated and could not deal with it anymore. I wanted nothing to do with "ancient" stuff, everything seemed so distant, my research seemed to go nowhere. I was thinking: "Who cares about this stuff anyway?". For a while I let it cool off and on a sunny day I was back on track. In fact, a little time off was the best medicine. I was refreshed and found new books, articles and papers on the subject and could finally finish my research on the anthropology of astronomy.

By the way...
The understanding of gaining the knowledge of astronomy is hidden in the pages of all kinds of books and articles on the Internet. Piece by piece One has to collect the writings and make sense of it all. The understanding of astronomy does not come easily. It takes many years to see the full cycles of certain astronomical events and even more years to understand them. Time is the key to all the understanding we have accumulated up to today.

In fact...
My research brought me all over the world in literature and in physical places. I am convinced that all or at least the majority of ancient civilizations on Earth were aware of these astronomical cycles and had a great knowledge of them. When was the beginning? No one knows. One thing is for sure, astronomy has played a major role in our past and the echoes felt by it, still resonate today.

Sadly...
I did not find when exactly astronomy began, but i am happy to tell you, that this was all worth it. Astronomy is important to me and I start to realize that it was important to ancient people as well. Astronomy is the basis of everything and the ancient civilizations thought so too.
This research opened my eyes to the fact that astronomy is all around us, daily. Easy to recognize in a familiar surrounding, the cycles starts to be noticed on a daily basis and be part of normal life.

Stefan Lamoureux, President of Astronomy Club Toutatis, Kustavi, Finland.
These articles and pictures are all part of the public outreach in Astronomy from
Astronomy Club Toutatis, Kustavi, Finland.

So in conclusion...
The History of the world, the Archaeoastronomy behind it, the knowledge of astronomy and the connection to prehistoric civilizations are all steps in the formation of Astronomy as we know it today. The knowledge of Astronomy has been in the past, it is now in the present and it will be in the future to come. My research on Astronomy through ancient Civilizations has surely told me that, but it was really well hidden and it was no small feat to unravel all this.