The relationship between mankind and the sky is as old as mankind itself!
Humans started to recognize and interpret the objects and events in the sky as soon as they had fulfilled their basic needs. The sky, our common and universal heritage, forms an integral part of all human cultures around the world.
The basic concept of "Ancient-Skies - Human Cultures and Their Skies" is that all human beings live on one single planet and share the same sky. Knowing this, we created an infrastructure to preserve this global heritage.
The aim is to collect, verify and publish available information about various human cultures, their astronomical knowledge and its representation in the sky within a single, web-accessible knowledgebase.
The methode is to rely on primary sources and verify them scientifically, so that the published information is valueable to the general public and scientists all over the world.
The project was initiated by our global coordinators Doris Vickers and Ruediger Schultz.
We started off in the year 2006, designing the knowledgebase, impementing the technical and astronomical infrastructure, and collecting information about the astronomical knowledge of some human cultures (which, by means of our personal interests, where the babylonian culture and the maori of new zealand).
As the project slowly picked up speed, the need to redesign the web frontend consumed most of the available ressources during 2007 and 2008.
With the beginning of 2009 - the International Year of Astronomy - we jumped at the chance to establish a global network of specialists and to collaborate with other projects worldwide. We established a vital link to UNESCO's thematic initiative Astronomy and World Heritage and became official part of the IYA2009 Global cornerstone project Astronomy and World Heritage. This lead to various networking activities and international recognition of the project:
we represented Ancient-Skies at the international conference
"Astronomy and its instruments before and after Galileo", Venice (Italy), September 2009
Doris presented the project at the international conference SEAC-2010
"Astronomy and Power", Munich (Germany), September 2010
Rüdiger presented the project at the IAU Symposium 278
"Archaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy: Building Bridges between Cultures", Lima (Peru), January 2011
- IAU Symposium 278: Archaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy: Building Bridges between Cultures - Proceedings, Paper
- IAU Symposium 278: Archaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy: Building Bridges between Cultures - Poster presented
If you have information regarding human cultures and their astronomical knowledge, please contact us. For general issues about the project, or if you like to join us, please also contact our global coordinators.
The technical infrastructure for this project is generously provided by Schultz IT Solutions, Vienna, Austria