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Thursday, June 8, 2017

What Are Astronomical Artifacts?

In a nutshell, Astronomical Artifacts are objects erected or constructed by ancient civilizations that were used in conjunction with the visible celestial bodies that orbited the planet outside the Earth's atmosphere. Such objects as the stone circles at Nabta Playa in Egypt, as well as the pyramids and the construction of Stonehenge, are all considered ancient Astronomical Artifacts. The civilizations that built these monuments often used these objects for both religious ceremonies and astronomical purposes. There are some theorists that claim the enormous statues on Easter Island also had astronomical symbolism. Theories and debates over how these objects were created and what they were intended to be used for range from the simple to the extreme. Some believe these monuments were erected by civilizations that were far superior intelligently for their time in history, while others believe they provide evidence of extraterrestrial visitation and interference with human history.

Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England - Image Credit: Joel Connors
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England - Image Credit: Joel Connors.

The pyramids of ancient Egypt were constructed in alignment with the pole star and the Great Temple was built in alignment with the rising of the midwinter sun. These monuments assisted the Egyptians with determining different natural occurrences, such as the annual flooding of the Nile river basin. They also assisted the temple astronomers with following the different phases, conjunctions, and rising of such celestial bodies as stars, planets, and their natural satellites, or moons.

Stonehenge is another Astronomical Artifact. This monument has a much-storied history dating all the way back to 8,000 B.C. There is significant evidence suggesting that at some of its earliest moments in history it was used as a burial facility. Archaeologists have uncovered several gravesites around the area where the stones are actually erected. They have also found evidence to suggest that several different generations of people used the area for different purposes. Religious rituals and ceremonies were also conducted at this historical site, and several theories exist as to how the stones were actually aligned and what they were intended for, most of which surround religious theories as well as astronomical symbolism in the formation of reading and charting stars and planets.

The Antikythera Mechanism was discovered in 1900 by sponge divers off the coast of the Greek Island Antikythera when they came across an ancient Roman-era shipwreck. This bronze device is about the size of a shoebox and baffled scientists and archaeologists for years. It wasn't until very recently that a British researcher, exploring the evidence and inscriptions on the mechanism, was able to identify and establish it as the oldest surviving astronomical computer. It has 30 wheels and dials that are covered in astronomical inscriptions and texts which have been used to decipher and translate ancient Greek languages that haven't been seen or used in over 2,000 years.

One of the oldest educated and intelligent civilizations in the history of humans is the Sumerians who were also steeped in the knowledge of Astronomy for their period in time. The Mul Apin tablet is an artifact that dates back to the time of the Sumerians. This device contained astronomical information, as well as significant dates for the rising and setting of specific constellations. It also included a record of omens that were predicted by the reading and mapping of celestial objects.

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Christian Nuesch Article Source: What Are Astronomical Artifacts?

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