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Cosmology, Early Observatories

Archaeoastronomy is the study of prescientific peo ples' relation to the sky as part of their natural environment. As a formal investigation, the field of archaeoastronomy is relatively young, having begun only in the 1960s. It is often known as cultural astronomy to indicate the multidisciplinary breadth of the field and its emphasis on cultural practices and issues rather than on the "correctness" of ancient observations. Archaeoastronomers are concerned to know what observations were made by an ancient society, who made them, and how those observations were integrated into the society's political life, agricultural or hunting-gathering practices, and civic and religious customs. Thus, the tools of modern archaeoastronomers are as likely to be those of art history, sociology, or linguistics as those of the quantitative sciences, such as computer-processing algorithms, large databases, and statistical inference.

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