The Archaeogeodesy Pages
James Q. Jacobs
Archaeogeodesy can be
defined as that area of study encompassing prehistoric and ancient
place determination, navigation (on land or water), point positioning,
measure and representation of the earth, geodynamic phenomena, and the
applied astronomy. Archaeogeodesy, by combining fundamental astronomy,
geodetic knowledge, applied mathematics, accurate positional data and
archaeology, presents a methodology for investigating the architecture,
placements, spatial properties, relationships and arrangements of
prehistoric sites and monuments. As a new area of inquiry,
archaeogeodesy presents unique avenues of assessing ancient
understandings of geography, of place, and of the earth and the cosmos
as evidenced by archaeological remains.
Archaeogeodesy is the field
of study I proposed in 1991 upon publishing Site-to-Site
Relationships of Monumental Prehistoric Sites of North America. In
1992, I wrote Archaeogeodesy, A Key to
Prehistory, discussing basic concepts and presenting study
findings to illustrate fundamental ideas. Rewrittten and enlarged, the
online version is now a series of four articles. Above is the first
Since 1992, GPS technology has become
readily available and affordable. Coordinates I once scaled from maps
are being refined to near-meter accuracy. The GPS system also utilizes
a global coordinate system, WGS84. Previous national systems utilized distinct
reference spheres and required corrections. Current technology has
facilitated moving beyond approximate coordinates and consequent
preliminary study results. Therefore, more findings are now
incorporated in these pages.
Excel Applications with Site Coordinates
the software and data I present, the degree of accuracy inherent in the
coordinates must be considered. Unless coordinates are GPS determined,
accuracy is approximate. Hopefully, distribution of these tools will
stimulate others to acquire GPS coordinates. I welcome contributions of
GPS data, and thank those who have added to the site data.
Archaeogeodetic Excel calculator: arc distances and bearings for three
sites, with mounds, pyramids, and sites worldwide.
Arc distances and bearings
for three sites, with some Neolithic
monuments of northeastern Europe.
Articles and References
The Geodesy Page presents definitions, figure of
the earth formulas,
and other useful information about geodesy.
The Chaco Meridian. Big
Horn Medicine Wheel, Mt. Wilson, Aztec Ruin, Chaco Canyon,
the Mimbres Valley, and Casas Grandes in Northern Mexico are all
on an approximate north-south line near the 108th meridian.
Epoch Calc temporal variation in
astronomy constants, obliquity of the ecliptic, eclipses....
Eclipses, Counting Orbits PowerPoint with AeGeo code.
Eclipses, Cosmic Clockwork of the Ancients | Eclipse Calc, an eclipse
Astronomy, Integers, Great Ratios, and Aristarchus
Stonehenge and Astronomy | Stonehenge and Pi
Preliminary Archaeogeodesy Study Results
for Three Major Neolithic Complexes
and the Ure-Swale Monuments
Assessing Evidence of Geospatial Intelligence in the Neolithic
The Ur and Harran
Latitudes, and Göbekli Tepe
Early Archaeogeodesy Studies
- 1991. Study Notes: Site-to-Site
Relationships of Monumental Prehistoric Sites of North America.
- 1992. Study Notes: Site-to-Site
Relationships of Prehistoric Monuments.
- 1992. Archaeogeodesy, a Key to
- 1993. Archaeogeodesy Study Notes.
- 1993. ArchaeoGeodesy, the
- 1996. Archaeogeography Studies.
- 1996. Monks Mound and Secular
- 1997. First publication of this
- 2000. The Possible Geodetic
Properties and Relationships of Neolithic Monuments of the British
Isles, Preliminary Results.
- "Longitude is an easier
problem to resolve on land than at sea, and may have been accomplished
with a lunar calendar and astronomic observations over an extended
period of time... ""It is very probable that the builders of Avebury
and the nearby large henges were conscious of their position on a round
- "... results suggest the
possibility that geodetic knowledge was sufficiently advaned to include
the ellipsoidal form of the earth, determination of longitude, and
precise positioning of monuments in relation to each other across great
distances and on opposite sides of the Irish Sea. Although the amount
of evidence so far revealed is not a resounding affirmation of this
view, enough evidence has been brought to light to conclude that the
possibility deserves further study."
- 2001. Possible Geodetic
Properties and Relationships of Some Monumental Earthworks in the
Middle Ohio Valley.
- " The
Newark Octagon and Marietta Square ratio of arc distance to longitude
difference, the azimuth of the Newark Octagon, and the bearings between
Newark Circle and the Octagon Circle infer precise understanding of the
mathematical ratio of latitude to longitude. "
conclude that the builders of the Middle Ohio earthworks understood
aspects of geodesy, including accurate astronomical knowledge,
knowledge of the scale and shape of the earth, knowledge of their
location on the earth, and how to place find and point position."
- 2002. Science in Prehispanic
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