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Posted by / 02-Sep-2017 19:08

Astronomical dating

Among the artifacts that can most readily be dated by astronomical techniques are depictions of the positions of the celestial bodies at a particular time.

Since the motions of the celestial bodies are all at different periods, it takes many centuries for all the planets plus the Sun and the Moon, to reach the same positions in the signs of the Zodiac.

Since the success of this method depends on the reliability of the written sources and the precision of their accounts of astronomical phenomena, attempts to date literary texts which may describe astronomical events loosely or even as metaphors have led researchers to conclusions that appear precise, but rely on invalid assumptions and are consequently less widely accepted.

Thus the attempts to date Vedic texts describing the Pleiades as rising "due East" to about 2300 BCE, which is the time when the Pleiades rose "exactly" due East, is complicated by the fact that poetic descriptions need not be taken as reflecting precise astronomical observations, while precession is a very slow process which makes only small changes in the azimuth of a star rising in the East.

According to Kate Spence, “The ancient Egyptian Pyramids of Giza have never been accurately dated…

Modelling the precession of these stars yields a date to the start of construction of the Great Pyramid that is accurate to ±5yr, thereby providing an anchor for the Old Kingdom chronologies” Dynasty onwards to anchor their pyramids to true north, and (b) that because of this technique the alignments of their pyramids fell into ‘error’ due to the precessional shift of the stars (which only aligned in simultaneous transit with true north in 2467 BC).

Astronomical chronology, or astronomical dating, is a technical method of dating events or artifacts that are associated with astronomical phenomena.

I met Kate in Cambridge in November 2000 when she confessed to me that she was at first open-minded about and had in fact intended to include it in her Ph D.The astronomer, Norman Lockyer, applied this method to Stonehenge by measuring the orientation of the Stonehenge avenue and comparing it to the position of solstitial sunrise, which changes slowly due to the changing obliquity of the ecliptic. The wide variance of these dates from historically accepted ones led the architect and archaeologist, William Bell Dinsmoor, to mistrust dates established by the slowly changing obliquity of the ecliptic or by stellar alignments, which involve an arbitrary selection of a star that rises on the proper azimuth.Instead he proposed a method employing what was already known from historical records concerning the dates of construction of Greek temples, the festivals associated with specific temples, and the nature of the Greek Lunisolar calendar.I have absolutely no problems with regards the claims (a) and (b).With these Kate Spence has, indeed, introduced some interesting new ideas that merit careful examination and critical appraisal.

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