Visiting Stonehenge and Purchasing Spirituality

Drunk man standing on a stone at Stonehenge acting like an arse.
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I’ve remembered it’s com­ing up to that day again. I went to Stonehenge for the sol­stice once. I’m glad I went, but I doubt I’ll go again. There were a couple of big disappointments.

One was the lack of a vis­ible English Heritage pres­ence. There were an estim­ated 20,000 people there who wanted some con­nec­tion to the past. I would have thought that was a good tar­get audi­ence for EH. At the very least there’s money to be made with the Solstice 2012 t-shirts to be sold. The offi­cial sol­stice blankets for those who for­got to bring one, sol­stice kagouls and umbrel­las for when it rains and so on. It’s also an excel­lent time to attempt guilt-tripping people into join­ing EH to sup­port access to ancient sites. They might have trouble with this last one as they’re not known for sup­port­ing access to Stonehenge on the sol­stice, but it’d be worth a try. The impres­sion I got (rightly or wrongly) was that EH had aban­doned the site for the night.

Drunk man standing on a stone at Stonehenge acting like an arse.

A rev­el­ler wel­comes the arrival of lager and, pos­sibly, the Sun.

The other was the sheer mess around the site. Everyone got a bag as they went in for their rub­bish. It doesn’t have to look like this. After all the fight­ing over access in the 1980s and 90s, is this a place people come are they here to cel­eb­rate or to conquer?

On the plus side I got a les­son in the dif­fer­ence between mod­ern Pagans and New Agers. The Pagans ten­ded to look dig­ni­fied and patient. Quite a few had their cere­mo­nial robes on, but not all. The easi­est ones to spot were those who’d let their beards down for the night.

In con­trast the New Agers were laden with mys­tical kit, and were often very purple. They’d looked agit­ated and annoyed. Every time someone elbowed in the ribs, she’d be wear­ing a pointy hat as if to com­pensate for the clothes she was wear­ing would ideally be on someone taller. There’d also be a purple scarf and purple jumper hid­den beneath at least half a dozen medal­lions. I should have heard them com­ing with the vari­ous eso­teric bangles and brace­lets they were wear­ing.
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Is ‘religion’ one of the hard historical archaeological problems?

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Michael E. Smith lays down an inter­est­ing chal­lenge at Publishing Archaeology: What are the hard prob­lems in Archaeology? What ques­tions haven’t archae­olo­gists answered and aren’t likely to answer any time soon? A couple of ideas come to mind. I’ll start with the easier prob­lem to express.

Is an ancient his­tory or archae­ology of reli­gion a sens­ible project?

I’ve got an interest in ancient sci­ence, but one of the things most people research­ing ancient sci­ence would agree that sci­ence in the ancient world didn’t really exist. There’s some­thing that’s a more sys­tem­atic inquiry about nature, but some­thing like nat­ural philo­sophy would be a bet­ter descrip­tion for the clas­sical world. I’m not sure that the same term would work for other soci­et­ies because philo­sophy car­ries a lot of bag­gage too. So when aca­dem­ics talk about ancient sci­ence, there’s this under­cur­rent that we’re not talk­ing about sci­ence. Ancient sci­ence is not the same as mod­ern science.

I’ve got an interest in ancient reli­gion too. I’m not so inter­ested in the con­tent as such, more reli­gion in a socio-political con­text. That’s some­thing you can say that makes sense to mod­ern people. If you said the same thing in the ancient world they’d think you were mad. It’d be a bit like say­ing you’re inter­ested in fish, but only the ones that live in water. In the ancient world it was accep­ted that reli­gion was entwined with civic life. There’s a second prob­lem that what we call reli­gion has developed from its ancient roots.
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Alcman and the Cosmos of Sparta by Gloria Ferrari

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AlcmanI wasn’t aware of this book till I saw a review appear on the BMCR feed. If you’re tack­ling any­thing to do with ancient Greece and Rome then it’s a good idea to keep an eye on BMCR as there’s a con­stant stream of reviews high­light­ing inter­est­ing books. I’m very glad I saw this as it’s spe­cific­ally use­ful to me because of a paper I’m pol­ish­ing for sub­mis­sion. However it’s gen­er­ic­ally use­ful too because it’s a good book on the inter­ac­tion of astro­nomy, cos­mo­logy and reli­gion in archaic Greece.

The sub­ject of the book is the Parthenia (Partheneion) by Alcman (Alkman) a poet writ­ing in the 7th cen­tury BC. It describes part of a cere­mony to devote some­thing to a god­dess, pos­sibly Artemis though Bowra (1934:35) dis­agrees. He argues that ὀρθρίαι means at day-break rather than being a ref­er­ence to Artemis Orthia. This is pretty much the prob­lem with the Parthenia. It’s frag­ment­ary and even the frag­ments we do have are ambiguous.

There’s some astro­nom­ical ele­ment to the poem, but exactly what in the poem is astro­nom­ical and what is being offered is also debated. Everyone’s argu­ments about what the poem means stands or breaks on a sec­tion which Ferrari calls ‘the most tor­men­ted pas­sage in this sec­tion of the song’. Thanks to Google Books, I can add the two rel­ev­ant pages below under Pleiades, Hyades and Sirius so you can see what the prob­lem is.

The key pas­sage in near English is some­thing like:

For as we carry ὀρθρίαι φαρος
The Πεληάδες rise and struggle against us
Like the star Sirius
through the ambro­sial night.

Depending on how you trans­late the Greek words you get a dif­fer­ent outcome.

If you think φαρος is a robe or veil then you’re in good com­pany. This is known from other rituals. Usually that means that people then trans­late ὀρθρίαι to describe Artemis Orthia, a vir­gin god­dess with an interest in chil­dren and child­birth. That makes Πεληάδες the Pleiades. Many people then make this a spring fest­ival — and that for me is where this trans­la­tion breaks down.

The Pleiades are not like Sirius. They’re stag­ger­ingly unlike Sirius. Sirius is the bright­est star in the sky and the Pleiades are an open cluster of faint stars that are like a smudge of light to the naked eye. If your eyesight’s good you can make out indi­vidual stars. That would sug­gest that’s it’s not the appear­ance that mat­ters but the tim­ing of their appear­ance. In that light, the spring fest­ival makes sense. In this period the Pleiades first appeared in the morn­ing sky in May. The prob­lem is the ref­er­ence to Sirius. Sirius was set­ting in the even­ing sky at this time. It didn’t rise till July. This is why I can­not see how the poem describes a spring fest­ival. The pres­ence of Sirius seems to rule that out.

The altern­at­ive taken by a smal­ler group of people is that a φαρος is a plough. This would be Ferrari’s inter­pret­a­tion and Martin West’s too who gen­er­ally has a big brain when it comes to lyric poetry. If a plough is being brought then this becomes an autumn fest­ival. There were many har­vests through­out the year, but the agri­cul­tural year restar­ted each autumn after the last har­vest with the plough­ing of the fields. This is astro­nom­ic­ally bet­ter because Sirius would have been vis­ible in the morn­ing sky which very neatly ties to ὀρθρίαι mean­ing day-break. That’s essen­tial because Greek reli­gious ritual often happened in the morn­ing or just before sun­rise. This doesn’t give me so much of a head­ache, as it’s phys­ic­ally pos­sible, but I still struggle with the Pleiades being like Sirius. That’s why I’ve ten­ded to like a third option that Ferrari mentions.

Πεληάδες doesn’t just mean faint open cluster of stars. It also means doves. If were ser­i­ous about want­ing to solve this puzzle then I’d be look­ing at dove migra­tion and his­tor­ical and archae­olo­gical evid­ence for hunt­ing. Birds tend to migrate in autumn, that works with φαρος as a plough. Songbirds also tend to fly at night. Travelling through the sky like Sirius through the night would be a bad simile, but less so than the Pleiades as stars option to my ears. This would tie in with the kind of astro­nomy Hesiod prac­ticed. He didn’t just look at stars, but also at eco­lo­gical signs, like the migra­tions of birds and the beha­viour of other animals.

Don’t go invest­ing too much in my belief though. This is an opin­ion formed from a fairly small amount of read­ing. One of the things that makes this book so use­ful is that it draws on an extens­ive amount of evid­ence. You don’t have to agree with Ferrari’s des­tin­a­tion to see that the trip is worth­while. She also pulls in evid­ence from archae­ology and art as well as drama, espe­cially Euripides. I think it’s spec­u­lat­ive work, but it’s cer­tainly not base­less speculation.

However, I’m not fully con­vinced by the explan­a­tion. Nearly all the sup­port­ing evid­ence post-dates Alcman’s work by a long way. Euripides was writ­ing in the fifth cen­tury BC. I think that’s import­ant because I think some­thing hap­pens to astro­nomy in this period. The fifth cen­tury is when Meton pins down his luni-solar cycle. It’s also a time when there’s a stronger sense of Hellenic iden­tity, partly as a reac­tion to the threat from Persia. I think the book is extremely help­ful for explor­ing what people in the fifth cen­tury thought about the con­nec­tion between the heav­ens and reli­gion. I want to believe that we can take this evid­ence and apply it back to sev­enth cen­tury Sparta. It would make my life so much easier, but I don’t think there’s the cer­tainty in the evid­ence to fix the Parthenia to the autumn. My opin­ion might change in the future. I found the text a bit, ha ha, lac­onic. It means I’ll have to read it a few times to get a bet­ter idea of some of the more subtle argu­ments. It’s not a badly writ­ten book and def­in­itely not delib­er­ately obtuse, but it is concise.

All in all though it’s very thought-provoking. It puts some flesh on to mod­els that try and con­nect reli­gion and astro­nomy. It means that ritual isn’t just about the mater­ial, but also about how it’s used. It would be inter­est­ing to see if any­one else had evid­ence approach­ing the same prob­lem from the oppos­ite dir­ec­tion. A sur­vey of temples to see if there’s some sort of archae­olo­gical cor­rel­ate with the astro­nom­ical beha­viour might be useful.

Bowra, C.M. 1934. ‘The Occasion of Alcman’s PartheneionThe Classical Quarterly 28(1): 35–44 []

Religious Accommodation is a Political Issue

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Mooney and Kirshenbaum wordled

Mooney and Kirshenbaum wordled

I’ve been sat on this post for a couple of weeks. One reason for not put­ting it up is I’ve been busy and this post might annoy a few people. Kicking off a dis­cus­sion and then ignor­ing it is impol­ite, so it has had to wait. Another reason is that it’s another post on whether (and how) aca­dem­ics should accom­mod­ate reli­gious beliefs. There’s been a lot of posts on this else­where because of Mooney and Kirshenbaum’s invective-sodden pub­li­city howl for their book Unscientific America. Mooney and Kirshenbaum believe that people should show respect for reli­gious beliefs, and any athe­ist who dis­agrees is engaged in acts of viol­ence. There’s a rich vein of irony to be found in the head­line of their recent LA Times piece. You may won­der if they’re on a cru­sade for respect for a spe­cific reli­gious tra­di­tion rather than all of them. There’s many people who’ve writ­ten many posts about flaws in Mooney and Kirshenbaum’s reas­on­ing. Many of them are good, but I’m not inter­ested in simply adding a ‘me too’. At best it’s bor­ing. At worst its cow­ardly mob-following — and boring.

Still it’s pos­sible there could be some­thing to debate. By nature I prefer to work with people than against them. I’d like to say it’s because I’m such a nice per­son but I’m prob­ably con­fus­ing lazi­ness with nice­ness. Life is easier if you don’t have to work against people. If accom­mod­a­tion of reli­gious beliefs works then that’s so much less work to do. So what would an acco­mod­a­tion­ist stance look like?

An answer can be found in a book chapter by Kyle S. Van Houtan and Stuart L. Pimm: “The Various Christian Ethics of Species Conservation”. It’s a dis­cus­sion of an attempt to use theo­logy to under­stand some of the more reality-proof Christian groups in an attempt to change policy on con­ser­va­tion. If you’re expect­ing a laugh-a-minute decon­struc­tion of the paper then you’re in for a dis­ap­point­ment. It opens with a quote from William Placher which argues mor­al­ity has very little to do with reli­gion. Whether or not you agree with them Van Houtan and Pimm are clearly on speak­ing terms with reality,

The prob­lem addressed by Van Houtan and Pimm is the res­ist­ance to envir­on­mental cam­paigns by fun­da­ment­al­ists. Fundamentalists identify one of the evils of sci­ence in gen­eral is the lack of a moral imper­at­ive. Whether or not you’d describe Christian fun­da­ment­al­ists as moral is irrel­ev­ant here. Their per­cep­tion of sci­ence is that it is, at best, a moral vacuum. This con­trasts with eco­lo­gists who see their work as hav­ing a strong moral base. The first dif­fi­culty iden­ti­fied by Van Houtan and Pimm is lan­guage. If you’re in a nar­row mind­set where only Christianity is moral then iden­ti­fi­ably unchris­tian lan­guage is clearly used to describe immoral activ­ity. It’s a small step from Evolution, which is obvi­ously the work of the Devil, to Ecology. This puts Ecology firmly on the side of the apes. If you believe in angels this is a dealbreaker.

…[E]thics in non­theo­lo­gical lan­guage will be worse than unat­tract­ive to Christians—such eth­ics will be inco­her­ent. Theological lan­guage is what gives Christian eth­ics intel­li­gib­il­ity. As a res­ult, cas­u­ally using “nature” or “biod­iversity” in place of “cre­ation” is incred­ibly sig­ni­fic­ant when con­sid­er­ing Christian envir­on­mental ethics.

Van Houtan and Pimm p119

This is clearly dead centre in Mooney and Kirshenbaum ter­rit­ory. We have a sci­en­tific­ally illit­er­ate audi­ence. We have a crisis for which there is clear sci­entific evid­ence; Van Houtan and Pimm would like to save up to a third of the planet’s spe­cies from extinc­tion in the next cen­tury. We also have lan­guage iden­ti­fied as a major factor in pre­vent­ing action. It would seem that sci­ence com­mu­nic­a­tion is urgently needed, but to whom? After a brief sur­vey which shows that the planet’s eco­sys­tem def­in­itely is in danger. Van Houtan and Pimm move on to tack­ling the Christians. They are clear that Christians are plural.

This is one of my bug­bears. It’s cer­tainly easy to rail against stu­pid Christians, but stu­pid­ity is not a require­ment for many Christian sects. The idea that Christians are mor­ons is not just a case of lazy fram­ing by non-Christians. It’s a polit­ical gam­bit by fun­da­ment­al­ists too. If I’m head evan­gel­ist for the Church of Christian Lunacy then I won’t cam­paign against the teach­ing of sci­ence because it’s Lunatic policy. I’ll say that the cam­paign against sci­ence is a Christian mat­ter. This is a subtle attempt to pull Catholics and Protestants into the fight on my side because there’s the implic­a­tion that if you don’t accept this Lunatic idea, you’re not really a Christian. It works because, as Van Houtan and Pimm make clear, there isn’t really lead­er­ship from the Churches on eco­logy. There are many dif­fer­ent pos­i­tions. To make things easier Van Houtan and Pimm neatly con­struct a four-fold typo­logy of eco­lo­gical positions.

  • Earthkeepers. These are the people who see stew­ard­ship of the planet as an imper­at­ive, based on their read­ing of the bible.
  • Skeptics. These people see no con­ser­va­tion crisis. This would include the Southern Baptist Church and Focus on Family. These are the people who see Ecology as junk science.
  • Prioritisers. These people do not value eco­lo­gical mat­ters as much as other con­cerns. For instance con­ser­va­tion is a good thing accord­ing to the Assemblies of God, but you don’t want to really push it too much, else you’ll end up with New Age Earth worshipping.
  • The Indifferent. The people who take no position.
Van Houtan and Pimm p129-131

This recog­ni­tion of the diversity of Christian pos­i­tions mat­ters if you’re look­ing for a pos­it­ive action:

Experience teaches that, when par­ti­cipants in two dif­fer­ent fields of know­ledge meet, they will have sym­met­rical views. For example, when eco­nom­ists meet eco­lo­gists, the former have a detailed draw­ing of the eco­nomy and a single, simple box for “eco­logy,” whereas eco­lo­gists have a detailed draw­ing of envir­on­mental pro­cesses and a single, simple box for “the eco­nomy.” This seems the case for reli­gion and the envir­on­ment. Those con­cerned with the prac­tical issues of pro­tect­ing the envir­on­ment are likely to see the mul­ti­fa­ceted prob­lems of their trade, but view reli­gion, eth­ics, and the church as single and mono­lithic. The reverse is also common.

Van Houtan and Pimm p131

This is a use­ful insight. Again I think it could sup­port the Mooney-Kirshenbaum pro­pos­i­tion that pub­lic Atheism harms Scientific com­mu­nic­a­tion because, if people like Richard Dawkins are the most prom­in­ent sci­ent­ists, the obvi­ous label on the Science box is ‘god­less’. We there­fore have a start­ing pos­i­tion for rebuild­ing sci­ence com­mu­nic­a­tion. What do Van Houtan and Pimm give use as tools for work­ing on that? I’ll dis­cuss this in full below.

Now I’ve dis­cussed that, the next obvi­ous ques­tion is why do Van Houtan and Pimm say so little about sci­ence com­mu­nic­a­tion given they’re talk­ing about eco­logy? The reason is that they’re aware of the audi­ence they’re talk­ing to. The issue, even for those who’d style them­selves as sci­entific scep­tics, is not sci­ence. It’s reli­gion and polit­ics. They really go to town on this dis­cuss­ing the links between right-wing polit­ical groups and the nut­tier Christian fac­tions. They cri­ti­cise the Cornwall Declaration and its reli­ance on tech­no­lo­gical fixes to vari­ous inconveniences:

Overexploitation is not a con­cern because the abil­ity to extract nat­ural resources increases with tech­no­lo­gical advances. One assumes that even biod­iversity loss can be mit­ig­ated through bio­tech­no­logy. If spe­cies drift close to extinc­tion, surely their pop­u­la­tions can be bolstered through Jurassic Park–like efforts… Are we to believe these argu­ments? More import­ant, is there a bib­lical cause to do so?

Van Houtan and Pimm p134 (My emphasis)

This makes sense within the frame where Van Houtan and Pimm are work­ing. As far as I’m con­cerned the defin­it­ive state­ment bib­lical state­ment on eco­logy is purely of his­tor­ical interest. The idea that I should care about it as a guide to mod­ern liv­ing makes my men­tal gears crunch. If I were a Christian like Pimm and – pre­sum­ably – Van Houtan, I would see things dif­fer­ently, as they make clear in their conclusion.

Certainly, there are paths of envir­on­mental eth­ics that are sec­u­lar, some of which are cer­tainly unfaith­ful to both the Hebrew and Christian por­tions of the Bible. For those of faith though the primary con­cern is not nature itself nor human­ity, but obed­i­ence to the scrip­tures. The remain­ing chal­lenge then, requires theo­lo­gians to teach the scrip­tures, eco­lo­gists to meas­ure the state of the envir­on­ment, and both to work in con­cert… We do not call for a bap­tiz­ing of sec­u­lar agendas—either lib­eral or conservative—but rather obed­i­ence to God’s word.

Van Houtan and Pimm p136-7

I think, as far as it tackles the prob­lem iden­ti­fied by Van Houtan and Pimm, their paper makes com­plete sense. This is about gal­van­ising mil­it­ant Christians and you don’t do that with sci­ence. It’s an approach brings eth­ical prob­lems of its own and a polit­ical cost. For example, Van Houtan and Pimm show the import­ance of the bib­lical char­ac­ter of the mes­sage in its deliv­ery — but who deliv­ers it? Could a young black woman deliver this mes­sage to a white pat­ri­archal church in Florida? That’s a par­tic­u­larly poin­ted ques­tion, but accom­mod­at­ing the prin­ciples of vari­ous churches means that you state argu­ments from per­sonal rev­el­a­tion or pre­ju­dice should replace argu­ments backed with evid­ence in pub­lic debate. Science is about evid­ence so while this approach might work polit­ic­ally by get­ting a res­ult, in the longer term it is anti­thet­ical to sci­ence com­mu­nic­a­tion. Mooney and Kirshenbaum’s policy of accom­mod­a­tion sinks.

Probably.

It’s hard to be cer­tain because this example isn’t men­tioned in their book. This is a bit odd.

Stuart Pimm cer­tainly is men­tioned in Unscientific America. He’s thanked for his com­ments on the book. It’s pecu­liar that he didn’t think to men­tion that he’d been involved in the kind of reach­ing out to science-resistant people that Mooney and Kirshenbaum were after. It’s par­tic­u­larly odd because Pimm is a Professor of Ecology at Duke University. Sheril Kirshenbaum, I’m told, is a Marine Biologist at Duke University. I’m not sure what her mar­ine bio­lo­gical work there is, because the only men­tion of her research I found was a ref­er­ence to her Science of Kissing but it’s likely she would have come into con­tact with quite reg­u­larly Pimm as she’s lis­ted as being part of Pimm’s work­ing group.

One of the recur­ring cri­ti­cisms of Unscientific America is that it’s shal­low and super­fi­cial. I think the above is a case in point. I have some dif­fi­culties with Van Houtan and Pimm’s paper, I don’t think it tackles the polit­ical envir­on­ment of Christianity par­tic­u­larly well. As they men­tion, dis­cuss­ing the fund­ing of the far-right Christian groups, there are bit social and polit­ical factors behind this. I think there’s inter­play between reli­gious belief and polit­ical fund­ing. The impres­sion I get from Van Houtan and Pimm is closer to a Patron/Client rela­tion­ship. That’s not an entirely fair cri­ti­cism though. For a start it’s the old chest­nut “They didn’t write an entirely dif­fer­ent paper that I wanted them to write.” It’s also not the end of the con­ver­sa­tion. I think their ideas could be use­fully picked up and developed or applied to other con­texts. It lays out a pos­it­ive argu­ment which you can dis­cuss. Bruising their Religion, the com­par­able chapter in Unscientific America, in con­trast says much more about their per­sonal blog-warring than it does about reli­gion and sci­ence in the USA. Mooney and Kirshenbaum may, or may not, agree with Van Houtan and Pimm’s ana­lysis but it’s clearly a missed oppor­tun­ity that they didn’t think to men­tion it.

It’s also worth return­ing to the box. Not all Christians are stu­pid. Van Houtan and Pimm are very clear about that and talk about tak­ing their mes­sage to spe­cific Christian groups. They do not, as far as I read the chapter, argue that all the pub­lic should be treated like they’re in the remedial class. In the mean­time since I star­ted writ­ing this Mooney and Kirshenbaum have pub­lished an art­icle in the LA Times. Having pre­vi­ously cri­ti­cised Dawkins for being an athe­ist in the pub­lic sphere, they now cri­ti­cise him for being a sci­ent­ist in the pub­lic sphere. I know Christians who hate what Dawkins says, or at least what other people say Dawkins says. Nonetheless they have a keen interest in sci­ence and are per­fectly cap­able of cop­ing with Evolution and sci­ence in gen­eral without any pat­ron­ising allow­ances. Van Houtan and Pimm’s model has the soph­ist­ic­a­tion to leave room for them. I much prefer fol­low­ing a policy that states reli­gious people are not inher­ently more stu­pid than atheists.

A tomb is a machine for remembering

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marsala

Some blog posts are a long time in the writ­ing, but this sets a new record for me. Around May 2000 I was try­ing to think of a way of rip­ping off Le Corbusier’s quote A house is a machine for liv­ing in with regard to tombs.

It’s not a pos­i­tion I’d strongly defend. Tombs do other things as well. They mark ter­rit­ory to new­comers who may not know the local land. They’re a way of appro­pri­at­ing resources and pos­i­tion for the indi­vidual, if they plan their funeral while they’re alive.

If you want to be poetic, they also could be time machines. Once you have a set­tle­ment with a concept of deep roots, then it becomes pos­sible to think about pro­ject­ing your influ­ence bey­ond your own life­time. You can touch the future from a dis­tance, but if that works, it only works in the memor­ies of the liv­ing. It’s might seem a fanci­ful idea, but it’s spelled out in the earli­est sur­viv­ing history.

This is the dis­play of the inquiry of Herodotus of Halicarnassus, so that things done by man not be for­got­ten in time, and that great and mar­velous deeds, some dis­played by the Hellenes, some by the bar­bar­i­ans, not lose their glory…

One of my super­visors has already writ­ten some­thing along sim­ilar lines about reach­ing out bey­ond the human life­time. The archae­olo­gical record is messy and often not in fine enough res­ol­u­tion to dis­tin­guish between one gen­er­a­tion and the next. Finding those dif­fer­ences is going to be harder when you start think­ing about how people tried to blur those bound­ar­ies.

It’s an idea I’d like to return to, but for now I’m just mak­ing this as a note to myself.

Starlight Expressed

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This very briefly intro­duces the stat­ist­ical method I used to ana­lyse the Greek temples of Sicily for astro­nom­ical align­ments. It’ll be the basis for a paper On the Orientations of Greek Temples in Sicily. The whole thesis will be made avail­able later via Open Access some way or another. I would say via the British Library’s EThOS sys­tem, but I’ve had no luck with that.

Astronomy and the Oracle of Delphi

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This is (what I hope is) the final ver­sion of the Delphi present­a­tion. It briefly cov­ers the ground that formed the basis for Knowing when to con­sult the oracle at Delphi. There’s more unpub­lished mater­ial, but rather than try­ing to pro­duce Delphi II, I’m going to make it part of the forth­com­ing Calendrical Calibration paper.