Archaeoastronomy is the study of how folk in the past understood the phenomenon happening in the sky, how they used the phenomenon and what role the sky played in the culture of these folks. Archaeoastronomy can be said to be closely associated the historic astronomy. Also it is related with the historical records of heavenly events which can on occasion be used to answer astronomic Problems. A variety of methods are employed in Archaeoastronomy to expose the evidences of the practices of the past. These include archaeology, anthropology, statistics, astronomy and probability. These strategies are various and the information used is from different sources this makes it a problem for the archaeoastronomers to integrate all of these Problems into one clear argument.
Archaeoastronomy fills all the complimentary positions in both landscape and cognitive archaeology. Material evidences can exhibit and help us to appreciate how a wider and broader landscape can be integrated into sentiments that exist about the cycle of nature. One such example is the link between the Mayan astronomy and its complex relationship with the agriculture. Archaeoastronomy is a subject which is topical and pertinent to all cultures and all time periods.
Elizabeth Chesley Baity in the year 1973 used the term ‘Archaeoastronomy’ for the 1st time. There are several arguments as to who was the 1st archaeoastronomer. Clive Ruggles believes that Heinrich Nissen who worked in the middle nineteenth century was the first archaeoastronomer. According to Rolf Sinclair, Norman Lockyer was the father of Archaeoastronomy.
Since long, Archaeoastronomy has been believed to be an interdisciplinary subject that utilises both written and unwritten evidence to observe the astronomies which existed in other cultures. There’s no conclusive technique to be followed in Archaeoastronomy. Different archaeoastronomers have a tendency to follow different techniques. The technique followed depends on the on the location of the kind of info that can be found to the researchers. Broadly the research methods can be split into 2 categories : green Archaeoastronomy and brown Archaeoastronomy. Green Archaeoastronomy got its name from the colour of the book ‘Archaeoastronomy’ in the Old World. Its basis is primarily stats and the method is most applicable for ancient sites. In such ancient sites the social evidence is sort of rare as compared to the historic period.
Brown Archaeoastronomy is nearer to the history of astronomy. It draws the ethnographic facts to enrich the knowledge of early astronomies and the relationship they hold with calendars and ritual.
Archaeoastronomy has a diverse range of sources which give information about the astronomical practices. A few common source of material are alignments, artifacts, art and inscriptions, ethnographies, and so on. Now there are 3 educational organizations offering courses for scholars of Archaeoastronomy. They are ISAAC- world society for Archaeoastronomy and Astronomy in culture (founded in 1995), SEAC- La Societe Europeenne pour I’Astronomie dans la Culture (set up in 1992) and SIAC- La Socieded Interamericana de Astronomia en la Cultura (founded in 2003). Book for the History of Astronomy is a journal which publishes many archaeoastronomical papers. In the last twenty-seven volumes it also revealed a once a year supplement of Archaeoastronomy.