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Aveni Archives - The Wonders Expedition™ - @Archeoastronomy

May 29, 2020

Archaeoastronomy or Cultural Astronomy? Which Term Do You Use?

By Donny Claxton

It’s my second full day at the Society for American Archaeology meeting here in Memphis and wow, did I ever learn a lot today. Regrettably, I wasn’t able to attend a single session or paper reading.  The day was spent filming video interviews of Dr. Anthony Aveni, Dr. John Carlson, Dr. Susan Milbrath and a host of other scholars from around the country who specialize in Maya studies. It is because of their studies, each knows a fascinating amount of information about the Maya and any doomsday predictions for Dec. 21, 2012.

Dr. Anothony Aveni SAA meeting 2011

Today, there also were discussions with Dr. Aveni and Dr. Carlson about using the term “Cultural Astronomy” as opposed to “Archaeoastronomy.”

(I want to straighten one thing up here while I can.  We use the Twitter name @Archeoastronomy–without the A behind the H, in part because Twitter would only allow enough characters to spell it that way.  I also realized today that I’ve been spelling Archeology without the A behind the H, too, which apparently is accepted by the dictionary, but AP Style book says to include the A, so from hence forward on the site, so shall be the policy.)

The discussion with Dr. Aveni went along the lines that the term “Archaeoastronmy” has been tarnished by crack pots who have come along and jumped on the term and taken it in weird directions.  This is me saying this, not Dr. Aveni, but the people from the History Channel’s Ancient Aliens show come to mind.

Dr. Aveni did say that even though that even the likes of Eric Van Daniken haven’t been entirely bad for the field because even with his wild psuedo-scientific claims, he’s generated an interest in the field that has brought actual scholars into its arena of study.  His point was that there are many scholars in the world today who would never have studied  archaeoastronomy if they hadn’t seen the wild claims of Lord Pakal’s sarcophagus cover allegedly being a depiction of him sitting in a space capsule and then went in search for the actual facts surrounding it.

Dr. John Carlson

I had really been looking forward to getting to know Dr. Carlson.  He reminds me of my maternal grandfather and is one of the kindest and smartest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of having a deep, and informative conversation with.

Dr. Tony Aveni

In meeting Carlson and Aveni, today really became a fascinating and incredible day to me personally.  I bought Dr. Aveni’s 2012 book, The End of Time–The Maya Mystery of 2012 and got it autographed.

I had some great one-on-one conversations wtih Dr. Carlson and if I could spend the next several years in conversations learning from these two geniuses, I’d still be starving for more knowledge. As Dr. Aveni talked on camera today, he would rattle off a citation of someone’s work from a 1978 paper and the reference being on page X, and it saying ABC and then he’d go right on to another, almost like a Sunday morning preacher citing chapters in the Bible.  It was truly amazing and inspiring.

Dr. John Carlson

Dr. Mark Van Stone

We made a lot of progress today on the development of Dr. Mark Van Stone’s first interactive book for the iPad on the 2012 meme.

I really cannot wait for this iBook to hit the market because with the interviews we’ve conducted over the past 24 hours to include in this first-of-its kind book, there literally will be no other resource like it available as we draw closer to Dec. 21, 2012.

And as I now call it a day, I’m going to bed with some incredible new knowledge, perspectives and comfort in having made some wonderful new friends.

It’s a rare occasion to have the chance to sit down with an expert in a field of study.  Today I’ve had the chance to interview two men who created their own field of study–Archaeoastronomy.  When was the last time you did that?  I bet the chances are slim it ever happens again in my life.

Archaeoastronomy v. Cultural Astronomy

So, which term do you use?  Have the likes of Van Daniken, David Childress and Giorgio Tsoukalos  tainted the word Archaeastronomy too much for your own tastes?

 

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