Conference Programme

Updated 30 July 2014

Sunday 21 September

Optional tour to Hypogeum at Hal Saflieni (only a few places left)
17.00-19.00 Registration at the Venue

Monday 22 September

08.30 Registration
09.30 Official Opening by Hon. Minister Dr Bonnici
Welcome addresses by Dr Joseph Buttigieg, Chairman Heritage Malta, Professor Richard Muscat Pro-Rector, University of Malta, and Dr Michael Rappenglück, President, SEAC.
10.15 Coffee break
10.45 Practical information

  Cosmology and Cosmovision
Chairperson morning session:  Frank Ventura
11.00 Michael Rappenglück (invited), Adult Education Centre and Observatory Gilching, Germany:  
Fire from the heavens
11.30 Rosalyn Frank, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, the University of Iowa, USA:
On the origins and diffusion of the Sky Bears: A Status Report
11.50 Marianna Ridderstad, Doctoral candidate:
Tracing the solar goddess of the Baltic Finn
12.10 Gail Higginbottom and Roger Clay, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia, and the School of Chemistry and Physics, University of Adelaide, South Australia, Australia:
Connections: the relationships between Neolithic and Bronze Age Megalithic Astronomy in Britain
12.30 Barbara Rappenglück:
Cosmic containers - elements of ancient cosmovisions
12.50 Discussion
13.10 Lunch

  Chairperson afternoon session: Nicholas Campion
14.40 John McKim Malville (invited), Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences, University of Colorado, USA (emeritus):  Rituals of Circulation and Ascent: Cosmic Mountains, Axes Mundi and Solar-Lunar Calendars
15.10 Francisco Burillo and Pilar Burillo:
The Celestial sphere in antiquity
15.30 Flora Vafea, Ptolemaeus Arabus Latinus Project:
Sirius’ (al-‘Abūr) proper motion as recorded in the Arabic Star Mythology

15.50 Coffee Break
16.20 Juan Belmonte, IAC, La Laguna, Spain,  José Miguel Noguera Celdrán, University of Murcia (Spain),  A. César González-García, Incipit (CSIC), Santiago de Compostela (Spain), Andrea Rodríguez-Antón(invited), IAC, La Laguna, Spain:
The materialization of sacred space: astronomy and landscape in Cartha Nova

16.50 Göran Henriksson, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Uppsala University, Sweden:
The Nordic calendar and the Great Midwinter Sacrifice at Old Uppsala
17.10 Lucia Ayala, Independent researcher:
The fluid materiality of the sky
17.30 George Latura, Author and independent researcher 
Celestial Ladders & Heavenly Intersections across Continents/Millennia

17.50 Michael Rappenglück (Invited), Adult Education Centre and Observatory Gilching, Germany:
Cosmovisions put upon a disk: another view on the Nebra Disk
18.00 Arnold Lebeuf, Institute for the History of Religions, Jagielonian University, Poland:
The age of Moses
18.20 Discussion
18.40 End of Day 1
18.45 Cocktail reception at the conference venue
Nicholas Campion
Launch of Tore Lomsdalen’s  book
The Sky and Purpose in Prehistoric Malta: Sun, Moon Stars at the Temples of Mnajdra, (Sophia Centre Press).


Tuesday 23 September

  Maltese Archaeoastronomy
Chairperson morning session:  Nicholas Vella
09.00 Frank Ventura (invited), University of Malta:
Reading messages from the past: Assessing symbols in archaeoastronomy

09.30 Daniel Cilia, Independent researcher, Tore Lomsdalen, Independent scholar, Frank Ventura, University of Malta:  
Investigating the orientation of the entrance to the prehistoric Xaghra Circle in Gozo, Malta: exploration and motivation
09.50 Mario Vassallo, Independent researcher:
Directing Sunlight Towards Appropriate Spaces in Hagar Qim temple, Malta

10.10 Tore Lomsdalen, Independent scholar:
Were there solar-influenced oracular practices at the Prehistoric Temples of Malta?
10.30 Coffee Break
11.00 John Cox, Independent scholar:
The Sun and the Moon included and excluded from Temple Buildings of the Ggantija and Tarxien phases in Malta and Gozo.
11.20 Jane Burton, Independent researcher:
The Divine Feminine: The Mother, Sister & Daughter Symbolism of the Maltese Temples and Contemporary Goddess Worship.
11.40 Irene Friesen, Athabasca University, Canada:
Mnajdra: Cosmology of the Sky
12.00 Reuben Grima, University of Malta:
Between Scylla and Charybdis: challenges and prospects for an archaeology of Maltese Neolithic cosmology
12.20 Discussion
12.40 Information on Excursion
12.50 Lunch at Venue
14:15 Departure of excursion
15:00 Arrival Hagar Qim and Mnajdra
17:30 Depart for Clapham Junction: caves, cart ruts and ancient tombs
18:00 Arrival at Clapham Junction
19:00 Depart for Mdina: the ancient capital city of Malta
19:30 Arrival at Mdina.
21:30 Depart for Valletta/Sliema

Wednesday 24 September

  Equinox Sunrise Tour
05.15 Depart  Sliema for Mnajdra
05.30 Depart Valletta for Mnajdra
06.00 Arrival Hagar Qim
06.30 Mnajdra Equinox sunrise
08.30 Depart for Valletta


  Astronomical orientations
Chairperson morning session: Juan Antonio Belmonte
09.30 Lionel Sims (invited), Department of Anthropology, University of East London, England (Emeritus): 
What is a minor standstill of the moon?
10.00 Cesar Esteban, IAC in La Laguna (Spain) and J.A. Ocharan, Director of excavations at La Nariz site:
The winter sun, water and ancient cults at the sanctuary of La Nariz
10.20 Thomas Gough, Independent Scholar:
Celestial alignments in western Scotland in the Early Bronze Age: the nature of backsights, foresights and alignments.
10.40 Coffee Break
11.10 Fabio Silva (invited), University College London, England and the University of Trinity St David, Wales:
Megalithic Archaeoastronomy at mesoscopic scales
11.40 L. Lozito, Gruppo Archeologico Lucano, Matera, Italy, F. Maurici, Centre of Cataloguing of Cultural Heritage, Archaeological Superintendence, Palermo, Italy, Astronomy and Cultural Heritage Centre, Ferrara University, Italy, V. F. Polcaro, Italian National Institute of Astrophysics-Institute for Space Astronomy and Planetology, Rome, Italy, A. Scuderi, Gruppo Archeologico della Valle dello Jato, San Cipirello, Italy:
New findings at the Petre de la Mola   megaliths
12.00 David Fisher:
The stelae of Crystal River
12.20 Florin Stanescu, Doctoral School of History, “1 Decembrie 1918” University of Alba Iulia, Romania (emeritus):
The fundamental astronomical direction in the Dacians’ sanctuaries of Sarmizegetusa Regia, Romania
12.40 Discussion
13.00 Lunch
  Chairperson afternoon session: Fabio Silva
14.30 Alejandro Gangui, Instituto de Astronomía y Física del Espacio (CONICET-UBA), Buenos Aires, Argentina, A. César González-García, Instituto de Ciencias del Patrimonio, Incipit, CSIC, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, Mª Antonia Perera Betancort, Servicio de Patrimonio Histórico. Excmo. Cabildo Insular de Lanzarote, Canarias, Spain. and Juan Antonio Belmonte, Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain:
On the orientation of the historic churches of Lanzarote: when human necessity dominates over canonical prescriptions
14.50 Alberto Scuderi, National Deputy Director of the Italian Archaeological Groups, Francesco Vitale, Civil Protection Service, Department of Geology, Province of Turin (Italy), S. Tusa, Sicily Maritime Archaeology Superintendent, Vito Francesco Polcaro, INAF-IAPS, Rome, Italy and ACHE, Rossana Scuderi, Italian Archaeological Groups, F. Maurici, Centre of Cataloguing of Cultural Heritage, Sicily Archaeological Superintendence, Palermo, Italy:
The “Pulpit of the King”
15.10 Nyssanbay Bekbassar:
Astronomy and Astrology in the Golden Horde:   Numismatic Evidence
15.30 Claus Clausen, Independent scholar:
Twin Sun
15.50 Coffee Break
16.20 Liz Henty, University of Wales Trinity Saint David:
Tomnaverie Recumbent Stone Circle: Material Window to the Sacred Sky
16.40 Andrea Rodríguez-Antón, IAC in La Laguna (Spain), Juan Antonio Belmonte, IAC in La Laguna (Spain) and A. César González-García, Incipit (CSIC) in Santiago de Compostela (Spain):
Orientation of Roman Camps and Forts in Britannia
17.00 Fatima Braña and Ana Ulla, Universidade de Vigo, Galicia, Spain:
An ethnographic and archaeoastronomical study on the astronomical orientation of the Hórreos in Galicia
17.20 Georg Zotti and Günther Wuchterl, Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology, Vienna; Verein Kuffner Sternwarte, Vienna:
Raising Awareness on Nocturnal Light Pollution around Astronomical Cultural Heritage Sites
17.40 Tibisay Sankatsing Nava and Pedro Russo, Leiden University, Netherlands:
Education through Cultural Astronomy
18.00 Discussion
18.20 End of Day 3
19.00 Public lecture at Venue, Nick Campion: 
Magic, Myth and the Space Race


Thursday 25 September

  Equinox Sunrise Tour
05.15 Depart  Sliema for Mnajdra
05.30 Depart Valletta for Mnajdra
06.00 Arrival Hagar Qim
06.30 Mnajdra Equinox sunrise
08.30 Depart for Valletta


  Astronomy in Culture in Historical  Times
Chairperson morning session: Bernadette Brady
09.30 Nick Campion (invited), Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture, University of Wales Trinity St David: 
Morality, Materiality and Astronomy in the Medieval World
1000 Alexei Pace, President, Malta Astronomical Society:
Light pollution – problems and solutions in a small island state
10.20 Stefanakis Dimitrios and Helen Vassiliou, University of the Aegean, Greece:
Mapping of the Christian Churches in Medieval City of Rhodes Island. A new perspective of the orientation with the use of a Remote Sensing Unmanned Aerial System
10.40 Kornelia Boczkowska, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland:
“Materialization" in 20th century American and Russian Space and Astronomical Art
11.00 Coffee Break
11.30 Elio Antonello (invited), INAF-Brera Astronomical Observatory, Milan, and Silvana Fontana (invited), Hospital of Subiaco, Local Health Unit RM/G-Italy:
Cultural astronomy and human psyche
12.00 Samuel Gessner, Centre for History of Science and Technology, CIUHCT, University of Lisbon, Portugal: 
A wool comber's sky: a reappraisal of E. Eisinga's planetarium (1781)
12.20  Benito Vilas Estevez, University of Wales Trinity Saint David:
The Stones of Penas de Rodas: Can the Spell of Archaeoastronomy Create a Contemporary Sacred Site?
12.40 Discussion
13.00 Lunch
  Egypt and Mediterranean
Chairperson afternoon session: Lionel Sims
14.30 Bernadette Brady (invited), University of Wales Trinity Saint David:
Star phases and the New Kingdom Egyptian astronomical ceilings
15.00 Andrea Orlando,   IAS (Institute of Sicilian Archaeoastronomy):
Archaeoastronomy in Sicily: megaliths and rock sites
15.20 A. César González-García, Incipit (CSIC), Santiago de Compostela, Spain, Mauro P. Zedda, Scienza dei Beni Culturali, Università di Sassari, Italy, and Juan Antonio Belmonte, IAC in La Laguna (Spain) :
A comparative study of megalithic monuments in Sardinia and beyond.
15.40 Peter Blomberg, Uppsala University, Sweden (emeritus): 
On the relative chronology and the use of astronomy during the Bronze Age in the eastern Mediterranean
16.00 Coffee Break
  North and South America
16.30 Stanislaw Iwaniszewski (invited), The National School of Anthropology and History, Mexico (ENAH-INAH):
The Temple of the Inscriptions in the Spiritual Landscape at Palenque.
17.00 Jaroslav Klokocnik, Astronomical Institute of the Academy of Sciences, Ondrejov Observatory, J. Sonnek, Electrokoroze Hlucin; CTU in Prague, K. Hanzalova, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Department of Geomatics, Czech Republic, and K. Pavelka, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Department of Geomatics, Czech Republic:
Hypotheses about geoglyphs at Nasca, Peru, review and new discoveries.
17.20 Silvia Motta and Adriano Gaspani, I.N.A.F.  Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica , Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera, Milano, Italy:
An archaeoastronomical investigation of  Pre-Inca sites along the Rio Grande, in the Casma region, Perù
17.30 Steven R. Gullberg, University of Oklahoma:
Astronomy of the Ceque System of Cusco.
18.00 Andrew Munro, Swinburne University, Australia, and Kim Malville, University of Colorado, USA (emeritus): Houses of the Sun and the collapse of the Chacoan Culture
18.20 Discussion
18.40 End of Day 4
19.00 Public Lecture at Venue, Juan Antonio Belmonte: The last days of Nefertiti: astronomy, archaeology and genetics in ancient Egypt

Friday 26 September

  Eastern Europe and Asia
Chairperson morning session: Kim Malville
09.00 Audrius Beinorius, Centre of Oriental Studies at Vilnius University, Lithuania:
The lunar constellations (nakṣatras) and name giving tradition in ancient India.
09.20 Marius Zammit and Michael  Zammit, Department of Philosophy, University of Malta:
Sanskrit: The Wealth/Meaning (artha) of Jyotisha (Indian Astrology)
09.40 Badri Jijelava and Irakli Simonia,Ilia State University, Georgia:
The Megalithic Monument of Abuli
10.00 Vance Tiede, Astro-Archaeology Surveys, Guilford, CT, USA: 
Astro-analysis the Template Scale of the Tall Gnomon, Gaocheng, China
10.20 Leonid Marsadolov, Department of Archaeology, State Hermitage Museum, Russia:
Archaeoastronomical aspects of megalithic monuments in Siberia
10.40 Coffee Break
  Myths, Symbols and their Meaning
11.10 Euan MacKie (invited), Hunterian Museum, University of Glasgow, Scotland (Emeritus):
The nature of British Neolithic Society:  is a revolution approaching?
11.40 Lionel Sims, Department of Anthropology, University of East London, England (Emeritus), and Jarita Holbrook, University of the Western Cape:
Myth analysis for archaeoastronomers: contextualising structuralism
12.00 Darrelyn Gunzburg, University of Bristol, England and University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Wales:
An investigation into the celestial images of the Salone in Padua.
12.20 Frank Prendergast, Department of Spatial Information Sciences, Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland (Emeritus):
Irish passage tomb art—interdisciplinary perspectives on a most complex motif.
12.40 Discussion
13.00 Lunch
  Chairperson afternoon session:  Michael Rappenglück
14.30 Panel discussion:
Reviewing and evaluating the themes, topics, and issues raised during the conference
15.30 General assembly SEAC
18.30 Closing of the Conference
19.30 Conference dinner, Hotel Excelsior, Valletta.

Poster presentations


Ahmed Ibrahim: Ramesseum (Mortuary Temple of Ramses II) from QuickBird Images
National Authority For Remote Sensing and Space Sciences, Ministry Of Scientific Research, Cairo, Egypt.
Jaroslav Klokocnik et al.: Astronomical orientations in Ollantaytambo, Peru
Astronomical Institute of the Academy of Sciences, Ondrejov Observatory, Czech Republic.

Andrea Orlando:The Argimusco’s plateau and the horizon’s calendar
IAS (Institute of Sicilian Archaeoastronomy).

Reza Assasi: A bull-slayer and a leonthocephalic man
Independent researcher.

Dr Iharka Szücs-Csillik et al.: Archaeoastronomical methodology to study skeletons' orientations
Astronomical Institute of Romanian Academy in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

John Cox: Starfields looking South from Malta c.3000 B.C., Winter, Spring, Summer, Winter
Independent scholar

Göran Henriksson1 and Mary Blomberg2:  Minoan Astronomy       
1Department of Physics and Astronomy, Uppsala University, Sweden; 2Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Uppsala University, Sweden (emeritus)

Andrey Kuzmin: Pegasus and Andromeda: Theme Horse Sacrifice in the Heaven
S.I. Vavilov Institute of History of Science and Technology, Moscow, Russia

Raul Perez-Enriquez: Archaeoastronomy-based Metrology: Case of the Royal Cubit in Egypt
Department of Physics, UNISON

Raul Perez-Enriquez: Are Newgrange’s Engravings Evidence of Solar Observation?
Department of Physics, UNISON

Nyssanbay Bekbassar: Astronomical orientations of Aksu moustached kurgans, Central Kazakhstan
Department of Physics,  Kazakh State University, Kazakhstan

Rothwangl Sepp: High Noon at Wintersolstice on Georgiberg
Independent scholar

Morgan Saletta: Implications of the Arcaheoastronomy of the Arles/Fontvielle Hypogées:cosmology, architecture, illumination in the Lte prehistoric Europe.


Saturday 27 September

  Full day excursion to Gozo. Optional.