a Key to Prehistory
Archaeogeodesy can be defined as that area of study encompassing
prehistoric and ancient place determination, navigation
(on land or water), point positioning, measure and representation of
the earth, geodynamic phenomena, and the applied astronomy. Archaeogeodesy,
by combining fundamental astronomy, geodetic knowledge, applied mathematics,
accurate positional data and archaeology, presents a methodology for
investigating the architecture, placements, spatial properties, relationships
and arrangements of prehistoric sites and monuments. As a new area of
inquiry, archaeogeodesy presents unique avenues of assessing ancient
understandings of geography, of place, and of the earth and the cosmos
as evidenced by archaeological remains.
Mound, Ohio, 84.280888W 39.607611N GPS
We generally regard temporally, spatially and culturally diverse
ancient monuments as unrelated. The many pyramids of Egypt, whether
stepped, bent, or true, have interrelationships, however understudied.
What of the other pyramids and similar mounds dispersed the world over?
Few would argue no relationship between neighboring earthworks in North
America, for example, yet their similarities to Neolithic mounds and
circular embankments of the British
Isles go relatively unnoticed. Visitors to Stonehenge and other stone
circles who notice surrounding earthworks are unlikely to postulate
connections, spatial or functional, to similar earthen monuments in distant
Ohio because of an intervening ocean.
Given monument similarities and the
great number of monuments around the world, questions arise. "Did
a broadly-defined mound-pyramid-monument complex originate and diffuse
from a single cultural source or arise in several cultural traditions?" "Which
monuments are shared traditions?" "When did the earliest monument forms
arise, why and where?" With modern cartography, geodetic science, and
mathematics, in other words, with archaeogeodesy, questions regarding
ancient geographic knowledge can be addressed.
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