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XXV Congreso da European Association of Archaeologists (Berna, 4 - 7 setembro)

No XXV Congreso da European Association of Archaeologists. Beyond paradigms celebrado en Berna (Suiza) entre os pasados días 4 e 7 de setembro, que nesta ocasión integrou as sesións do XXVII congreso da Société Européenne d’Astronomie dans la Culture (SEAC), Marco V. García Quintela e David Espinosa Espinosa presentaron parte dos seus traballos en torno a astronomía na cultura das cidades e templos da Galia romana en dúas comunicacións.

Estes traballos son a culminación de traballos empezados en 2011 nos que tamén participaron Andréa Rodríguez Antón, astrofísica e doutora polo Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Juan Antonio Belmonte Avilés, astrofísico do Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias e un dos líderes mundiáis no campo da “arqueoastronomía”, e A. César González-García, tamén astrofísico adscrito o Instituto de Ciencias do Patrimonio do CSIC, e actual presidente da SEAC. Estes traballos están en proceso de elaboración para futuras publicacións.

Achegamos os resumos das dúas contribucións e un momento da exposición de Marco.

The Problem of the Orientation of Galo-Roman Sanctuaries

[Marco V. García Quintela, David Espinosa Espinosa, A. César González-García]


There are nearly 900 Galo-Roman sanctuaries known from different types of sources (either excavated ones –a handful can be visited while most where covered and are no longer visible; some were discovered from aerial photography, or by different types of prospection and geo-physical methodologies). Besides, there is an important number of Gallic sanctuaries, most of them originally built in non-lasting materials and bearably undetectable on site today. These paucity of data presents a problem for Archaoastronomical studies.

On the one hand, for those where there is some kind of topographic information, or in some regional studies, the bibliography insists in highlighting an eastward orientation of most structures. However, and at the same time, there are also twists in orientation and skewness between the cellae and the perimeter enclosure of the Sanctuaries. It is worth indicating that there are no systematic studies on these questions.

On the other hand, contemporary literary sources indicate that druids had, among others, the function to observe celestial phenomena and keeping in shape a luni-solar calendar to, for instance, coordinate their annual meetings (Caesar …).

In this communication, we present this problem and how we have tried to tackle the challenge in a practical way. We present the orientation of 79 temples (20 located in 6 oppida, 34 in 14 Galo-Roman towns, 21 peri-urban to 11 towns and 4 outside towns). The results highlight the interest of this kind of approach to apprehend the relation with the pre-Roman Gallic religion and its materialization under the Empire when complex time-space relations are set.

Study on the Orientation of 60 Gallo-Roman Towns

[David Espinosa Espinosa, Marco V. García Quintela, Andrea Rodríguez Antón, Juan A. Belmonte, A. César González-García]


From 2011 to 2018 the members of the team have been investigating the orientation of 60 Gallo-Roman towns with 65 urban layouts in total. We have considered the decumani, basilicae and forums of the different sites to establish the general orientation of the Roman grid. Also, we have privileged towns founded at the time of Augustus, although we have also included others founded before and after this period.

Previous works during the last decade have studied the orientation of samples of Roman towns in Italy (Magli 2008), Hispania (González-García et al. 2014; Rodríguez-Antón et al. 2018), North-Africa (Rodríguez-Antón et al. 2017) and Iliria (Belmonte et al. 2019). Also, there are dedicated studies on the implications of particular orientations for some towns (examples can be Lyon, García Quintela et al 2014; Aosta, Bertarione & Magli 2014; Cartagena, González-García et al. 2016; Trier, Espinosa-Espinosa et al. 2016; and Koln, Espinosa-Espinosa & González-García 2017) or for specific groups of Roman towns (like towns founded at the time of Augustus, González-García et al. 2019). These studies indicate the existence of different, but consistent, orientation patterns that can be understood at the light of Roman culture and its interaction with previous cultures for the different locations.

What makes our sample for Gaul different is the spatial and temporal concentration of the sample at the time of Augustus, when the conquest is still recent and the existence of possible footprints of previous ideas, either in confluence or in conflict with the astral Augustan ideology, could still be detected.

Our analysis highlights a clear dichotomy with two different orientation patterns north and south of the Roman way that connected Lyon with Saintes through Clermont-Ferrand. To the south, the orientation is mostly cardinal, perhaps connected with the birthday of Augustus, while to the north, the orientations are closely connected to the Celtic start of season festivals. In this way, we may confirm the existence of those feasts as part of the Celtic cultural milieu before Roman conquest and not as a medieval Irish characteristic.

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