Archaeoastronomical Concepts in Popular Culture

  • Edwin C. Krupp
Reference work entry


Broad public embrace of archaic astronomy probably began in the eighteenth century with awareness of the summer solstice sunrise’s affiliation with Stonehenge. Since that time, Stonehenge has retained an astronomical mystique that attracts crowds mobilized by the monument’s supposed cosmic purpose. They are committed to witness prehistoric heritage operating in real time and with enduring function. More recently, mass media have intermittently thrown a spotlight on new archaeoastronomical discoveries. While the details, ambiguities, and nuances of disciplined study of astronomy in antiquity do not usually infiltrate popular culture, some astronomical alignments, celestial events, sky-tempered symbols, and astral narratives have become well known and referenced in popular culture. Places and relics that command public interest with astronomical connotations are transformed into cultural icons and capture visitors on a quest for the authenticity the past is believed to possess. Monuments and ideas that successfully forge a romantic bond with the past and inspire an imagined sense of sharing the experience, perspective, and wisdom of antiquity persist in the cultural landscape.


Popular Culture Summer Solstice Winter Solstice Magazine Advertisement Television Documentary 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Griffith ObservatoryLos AngelesUSA

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