Archaeoastronomy for Archaeologists

(Spring semester) This course intends to introduce Archaeoastronomy to archaeologists. After a short history of Archaeoastronomy, its major topics will be presented, including archaeoastronomical artifacts, arts and inscriptions, calendars and their development, cosmology and astronomy in the myths, geography and navigation. Afterwards, students will get a short, but in depth, lecture in probabilities and statistics, focused and taylored to their practical needs on the excavation sites. Then, they will get an extended introduction into practical positional astronomy, focused on the daily work of archaeologists and taylored so that it remains inside, or very close, to the limits of archaeologists' knowledge framework. The last, and large, part of the course will be spent teaching and practicing (lab and field) the use of the astronomical alignment techniques. This part will begin with the use of  a compass, its use, capabilities and limitations. Students will use their own measurements as well as the ones of their colleagues, they will combine them will the elements of statistics tought in earlier lectures to evaluate the correctness and the accuracy of the results achieved. They will be then tought how to reach high quality scientific results by avoiding scientific over-interpretations and personal biased pre-judgements. Then, the same learning procedure will be repeated for the remote sensing techniques and at the end students will get an introduction to the most accurate alignment method, the astrogeodetic one.


Dimitris Sinachopoulos
Course Code: 
ASTR 101