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L’Astronomie au Temps de la Préhistoire

 

Plus nous fouillons dans l'archéologie préhistorique, plus nous trouvons des artefacts et des peintures rupestres éventuellement liés aux observations astronomiques. De plus en plus de préhistoriens professionnels sont ouverts à cette idée.

L'exemple classique est la grotte de Lascaux en France. Certains murs peints pourraient être une représentation symbolique d'un ciel étoilé.

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Parmi les nombreuses peintures de Lascaux, nous retrouvons ce taureau dessiné avec des points noirs qui correspond à la carte des étoiles de la constellation du Taureau: le groupe des Pléiades (Pl); le groupe des Hyades (Hya) formant son triangle typique avec l’étoile Aldebaran (Ald); les 3 étoiles de la ceinture d’Orion. Est-ce juste une extraordinaire coïncidence ? Si c’était intentionnel, cela signifie que la constellation du Taureau avait déjà été conçue au Paléolithique supérieur

Here is a series of 3 mini-documentaries on archaeoastronomy. We were asked by several archaeologists and astronomers to do a few documentaries to introduce astronomy to a large public not neglecting the requirements for an academic level.

The voice over is French. English subtitles were added.

Introduction to archaeoastronomy

 ↑ Activate the English subtitles

On the sun's trail - archaeoastronomy - episode 2

Çatal Höyük - Archaeoastronomy episode 3

Çatal Höyük, in Turkey, is the oldest city in the world. It marks the dawn of agriculture in the Neolithic time. Surprisingly, the houses are adorned with illustrations that seem to be astronomical symbols according to the Archeodoxa team. I was suspecting that these mansions would have been sun clocks. Indeed, their windows had precise orientations and were located only at the top of the walls. In addition, its dwellers were entering by the roof using a ladder.

As you will see below, my suspicions are confirmed. I'm happy that others have thought about it too. This shows that trends are changing and that archaeologists are increasingly accepting the idea that astronomy was extremely important in the beliefs of our distant ancestors.

As a reminder, the aim of this website is more than just exposing our research but also to initiate people to archeoastronomy. A geologist by trade, I was called to collaborate with archaeologists during my 15 years in Turkey. My surprise was to realize that many archaeologists and historians were not sufficiently trained or open mind to appreciate archeoastronomy. And that's where came my idea of doing 3D animations to explain in all simplicity the fundamental principles of an astronomy specific to our ancestors.

Çatal Höyük - timelapse of a Sun clock house - Credits : Eva Bosch

Çatal Höyük - Houses were Sun clock!!

Eva Bosch is a Catalan artist involved in prehistoric art. While in Turkey, Eva worked along archaeologists (see www.catalhoyuk.com). She took the opportunity to film in 'time-lapse' this incredible video of the Sun’s movement on an  experimental house of Çatal Höyük.

Visit a Çatal Höyük house in 3D

The following 3D animation, by Grant Cox, gives a realistic glimpse of a Neolithic house of Catal Höyük;

Çatalhöyük: A Study of Light and Darkness—A Photoessay by Eva Bosch

This photo essay outlines the experimental work undertaken in summer 2007 in Çatalhöyük in Anatolia, Turkey, while the author was the artist in residence. The work done in this Neolithic settlement led to the discovery of a sun clock, i.e. a beam of light present in each dwelling entering from the roof and drifting like a sun dial to different areas of the house. The parallelogram of light produced by the beam created a pattern of light and shadow, showing the archaeological importance of shadows and their power to reveal aspects of people’s lives in the settlement. Based on the study of the shadows observed and filmed in Çatalhöyük indoors and outdoors, this chapter examines the functions and purposes of selected shadows that show how approaching archaeology from an artist’s viewpoint can enhance interpretation, understanding, and the production.

Light in Archeology.jpg

Parmi les nombreuses peintures de Lascaux, nous retrouvons ce taureau dessiné avec des points noirs qui correspond à la carte des étoiles de la constellation du Taureau: le groupe des Pléiades (Pl); le groupe des Hyades (Hya) formant son triangle typique avec l’étoile Aldebaran (Ald); les 3 étoiles de la ceinture d’Orion. Est-ce juste une extraordinaire coïncidence ? Si c’était intentionnel, cela signifie que la constellation du Taureau avait déjà été conçue au Paléolithique supérieur

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