Visualising Skyscapes : Material Forms of Cultural Engagement with the Heavens book cover
1st Edition

Visualising Skyscapes
Material Forms of Cultural Engagement with the Heavens

Edited By

Liz Henty


Daniel Brown

ISBN 9780367784478
Published March 31, 2021 by Routledge
268 Pages

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Book Description

Above the land and its horizon lies the celestial sphere, that great dome of the sky which governs light and darkness, critical to life itself, yet its influence is often neglected in the archaeological narrative. Visualising Skyscapes captures a growing interest in the emerging field of skyscape archaeology.

This powerful and innovative book returns the sky to its rightful place as a central consideration in archaeological thought and can be regarded as a handbook for further research. Bookended by a foreword by archaeologist Gabriel Cooney and an afterword by astronomer Andrew Newsam, its contents have a wide-reaching relevance for the fields of archaeology, anthropology, ethnography, archaeoastronomy, astronomy, heritage and cultural studies. The volume balances six chapters on theory and methodology which elaborate on the history and practice of the field with six other chapters focused on case studies from around the world.

Visualising Skyscapes captures the growing interest in the multidisciplinary study of skyscapes and will be of interest to academics, students and the general public, as well as having international appeal. It is topical, timely and relevant to current debates and will hopefully stimulate further interest in this exciting and relatively new area of investigation. The contributions showcase the work of distinguished academics in the field and the chapters are all enhanced by numerous photographs and images.

Table of Contents

Foreword: Facing the Sky

Professor Gabriel Cooney


Daniel Brown and Liz Henty

Part I. Skyscapes: Theory and Methodology

1. Skyscape Archaeology: the place of the sky in the academy

Liz Henty

2. Visualising Skyscapes: GIS-based 3D modelling and astronomical simulation

Georg Zotti

3. On measurement, uncertainty and maximum likelihood in skyscape archaeology

Fabio Silva

4. The Dark Sky Character of Archaeological Landscapes: Cultural Meaning and Conservation Strategies

Frank Prendergast

5. The phenomenology of star phases and their role in considering skyscapes

Bernadette Brady

6. Toads turning time: verifying visualisations of the Sanctuary (Avebury, Wiltshire) by inter-disciplinary method.

Lionel Sims

Part II. Skyscapes: Case Studies

7. Linsmeau Early Bronze Age structure showing a possible astronomical intent

Frédéric Heller, Frédéric Broes and Georg Zotti

8. Time pursued by a Bear: Ursa Major and stellar time-telling in the Paduan Salone

Darrelyn Gunzburg

9. Visualisation of the sky in traditional cultures of Eurasia and its ancient representations

Emília Pásztor

10. The Square Kilometre Array Art Exhibition

Jarita Holbrook

11. A Brief Account of Three Millennia of Chinese Preoccupation with the Skyscape

David W. Pankenier

12. The Science of Seeing Skyscapes – A photographic documentary of watching

Deborah Harty, Daniel Brown, Amanda Reyes Asturias, Kieran Simcox, Phillip Johnson


Andrew Newsam

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Liz Henty MA is examining the relationship between the histories of archaeology and archaeoastronomy for her doctoral thesis at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. Her many publications include a contribution to Skyscapes (Silva and Campion, Oxford: Oxbow, 2015). In 2015 she co-founded and is co-editor of the Journal of Skyscape Archaeology.

Daniel Brown has a doctorate in astrophysics and is an Associate Professor in Astronomy and Science Communication at Nottingham Trent University. His work combines heritage, light pollution and archaeoastronomy. He organises skyscapes sessions at National Astronomy Meetings and edited the 2014 session proceedings for the Journal of Physics: Conference Series (Vol. 685, 2016).


"Visualising Skyscapes provides a stimulating and rich collection of papers that will appeal to a wide range of scholars. The volume encapsulates the interdisciplinary nature of the skyscapes approach and shows the value in bringing together disparate case studies and examples from across the globe under the umbrella of cultural astronomy." - Susan Greaney, Journal of Skyscape Archaeology