a1 Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Circuito Mario de la Cueva, Zona Cultural, Del. Coyoacán, 04510 México, D.F., Mexico email: email@example.com
The purpose of this invited commentary is to present some general closing remarks on the global content of the ‘Oxford IX’ International Symposium on Archaeoastronomy, taking into account how we evaluate the course archaeoastronomy has taken over the past few years. It is significant that the interdisciplinary field of archaeoastronomy has already, by common consent, changed its name into ‘astronomy in culture’ (or ‘cultural astronomy’). This happened several years ago, although it is still the case that the cultural aspect (cosmovision, or vision of the world) is not always taken sufficiently into account. The keynote presentations by Ruggles, Iwaniszewski and McCluskey addressed fundamental issues of method and theoretical concepts that should guide archaeoastronomical studies. The rest of the sessions as well as the posters were dedicated to case studies from different cultural regions of the world. This commentary synthesizes several common themes that were addressed in the many interesting papers from all over the world that were presented in the meeting. Finally I take up the proposition of Gary Urton that future efforts should be concentrated on the study of the production and maintenance of systems of knowledge in complex state societies as well as in more egalitarian rural communities. In my opinion it is an urgent task to begin discourse about the history of pre-Columbian civilizations in the Americas, a discipline of which the history of science and astronomy forms a fundamental part. The ‘Oxford’ International Conferences are a key forum for exchange and encounter regarding comparative studies with other ancient civilizations as well as indigenous traditions from all over the world.
(Online publication July 26 2011)