We are currently seeking submissions for future volumes of Culture and Cosmos.
Archaeoastronomy and Cultural Astronomy as Scientific Disciplines: Falsifiability and Photo Documentation
J. McKim Malville and John L. Ninnemann
Archaeoastronomy is a discipline born at the intersection of cultural anthropology and the science of astronomy. As such, practitioners apply a variety of approaches. It is agreed, however, that casual naked-eye observation is not enough to convincingly assert the significance of prehistoric structures, alignments, and symbols. Although they can be equally creative, science differs from literary fiction in its strong preference for hypotheses that are testable and falsifiable by reproducible evidence. Digital photography is one of several tools in the field that bridges the gap between observation, essential documentation, and a search for meaning. A digital file yields both an archival image and unalterable EXIF time/date metadata. We present examples of the utility of digital photography in our studies of archaeoastronomy in the southwestern United States featuring Chimney Rock Pueblo, Yucca House Pueblo, Yellow Jacket Pueblo, Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde National Park, and Fajada Butte in Chaco Canyon.