“The modern world has disengaged with the sky, partially due to its obfuscation by the aptly named skyscrapers and the light pollution stemming from the urban centres. This is one of the reasons why academia has sidelined archaeoastronomy, because the modern skyscape itself is neglected and misunderstood”. (Silva, F. 2015)
Ancient landscapes of the past become a canvas of expression for cosmological ideas where monuments and sacred sites reinforced and created notions of self and cultural ‘mythic identity’.
People superimposed their mythical understandings on the surrounding features in their environment, energizing their ritual landscapes, evident in Suffolk between 6,500 BC to 625 AD at least . Moreover, these ensoulled landscapes were often charged with profound psychological significance underpinned by high level technical surveying abilities.
Trying to understand and illuminate these arcane connections in the landscape may require us to adopt a different ontology, one that provides new tools in our search for meaning. An example of this is the horizon, the mediator between the landscape and the skyscape. It was the place where the sun disappeared to and rose from - the underworld, and was hugely important being seen as the abode of the gods above the ecliptic with the underworld below. This widespread celestial phenomena is encoded in the alignment of structures the world over.
The artefacts of death, burial and worship can combine with “skyscape archaeology” that encodes certain aspects of the heavens and celestial objects in material form, structured according to symbolic and cosmological principles, creating what have become known as ‘sacred geographies’.
Combined with historical enquiry Arcane Landscape embraces multi-disciplinary approaches. Drawing on the latest global research and findings we explore how these may impact on our understandings of the ritual landscapes in East Anglia, informing our connection with the ‘Genus Loci’, spirit of place.
“....the sky played a key role in the whole system of ancient people’s ideas of nature and society.
….. In ancient men’s notions of celestial bodies and laws of their transit(s), links of their cosmic and terrestrial rhythms, positive knowledge and mythology are inseparable. Not a single ancient culture can be understood without studying all of these notions.” (Raevsky, D.S.. 1998)
As above, so below.