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Temples, Stars, and Ritual Landscapes:: The Potential for Archaeoastronomy in Ancient Greece

EFROSYNI BOUTSIKAS and CLIVE RUGGLES
American Journal of Archaeology
Vol. 115, No. 1 (January 2011), pp. 55-68
DOI: 10.3764/aja.115.1.0055
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3764/aja.115.1.0055
Page Count: 14
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Abstract

Abstract The study of astronomical knowledge and observations in ancient cultures has enabled and enriched archaeological interpretations in contexts as diverse as pre-Columbian America, later prehistoric Europe, Egypt, Babylonia, and the Far East. The application of archaeoastronomy to the study of ancient Greek religion has been less successful and has been hampered by poor practice. Through a case study that investigates the astronomy in Alcman’s Partheneion and its possible relationship with the Artemis Orthia rites carried out at her sanctuary in Sparta, we aim to show that a robust and methodologically sound archaeoastronomical approach can contribute to a better understanding of the role of astronomy in Greek religious practice and perceptions of the cosmos.

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