As mentioned previously, archaeoastronomy is having a ‘moment’ and seems to be hugely popular. So this list includes a wider variety of resources than my primers list from last week including some non-academic and older books.
Note that I am an affiliate so if you purchase anything after clicking from the following links I may receive remuneration, but if at all possible I recommend you read these texts via your local academic library.
For a general audience
Celestial Geometry is a nice coffee table book with lots of pretty pictures. A good introduction for those who know nothing. Not a scholarly book, so if you want to actually do any archaeoastronomy yourself, you’ll need a more detailed and explanatory book.
For the practising archaeoastronomer
If you actually want to go do some archaeoastronomy yourself, you’ll need to find some archaeological sites to investigate. The Old Stones covers some significant British Isles sites as listed in The Megalithic Portal site.
Do not buy this book! While the Handbook of Archaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy is a required text on my archaeoastronomy course, I will not be buying myself a personal copy. Its RRP according to Amazon is an eye-watering £849.99, with the digital version no cheaper at £1,122.60. Get yourself to a library. The list of the authors of the chapters reads like a who’s who of my lecturers. Sadly, there is, to my knowledge, only one English-language university course on archaeoastronomy in the world – at UWTSD. And we all have access to the digital version via the university library. So I don’t see the price of this book coming down in a hurry.
After you’ve recovered from the shock of reading about the previous book you might like to investigate this one. Giulio Magli has a PhD in Mathematical Physics and teaches the only Italian-language university course on archaeoastronomy. Archaeoastronomy is in three parts: part one being concerned with the methodology of archaeoastronomy; part two covers some of the academic discussion around archaeoastronomy as a discipline; and part three describes locations around the world where archaeoastronomy has made some interesting discoveries.
For the armchair archaeoastronomer
If you just want to read about the work of archaeoastronomers you might want to check out the following:
- Journal of Skyscape Archaeology
- Journal of Astronomy in Culture
- SEAC – European Society for Astronomy in Culture
- ISAAC – International Society for Archaeoastronomy and Astronomy in Culture
- The Astronomical Tourist – an initiative from Swinburne University using Google Maps. As I type this the tool is not functioning, but you can read an academic paper about its usage as part of the History of Astronomy module at Swinburne Astronomy Online (SAO) here.