A. César Gonzalez-Garcia

A. César Gonzalez-Garcia
Spanish National Research Council | CSIC · Institute of Heritage Sciences

Dr
Cultural Astronomy; Archaeoastronomy; Statistics; Megalithism; Classics

About

137
Publications
28,282
Reads
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1,166
Citations
Additional affiliations
January 2012 - September 2021
Spanish National Research Council
Position
  • Researcher
March 2010 - December 2012
Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias
Position
  • Ramon y Cajal Fellow
March 2010 - December 2011
Universidad de La Laguna
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Education
September 1993 - August 1995
October 1990 - June 1993
Universidad de Valladolid
Field of study
  • Physics

Publications

Publications (137)
Article
Full-text available
The Romanesque churches dotted along the Way of Saint James are magnificent examples of cultural heritage, and their analysis from the perspective of cultural astronomy may, in an unobtrusive manner, provide information of hitherto unexplored facets of these treasures. This study aims to examine the pilgrimage road as a communication channel and to...
Preprint
This paper investigates the extended landscapes surrounding dolmens in the area of Costa da Morte (Coast of Death), Galicia. Having previously uncovered that the megalithic monuments in this coherent area of the south-eastern side of the Atlantic Façade are visually situated in relation to complex topographical variables, we now reveal our investig...
Book
Cultural Astronomy is the endeavour to understand the role of the sky in past and present societies, and how these societies incorporated the sky into their culture. This broad ranging discipline is closely related to archaeology when investigating material remains of the past. Cultural Astronomy also explores the role of the heavens from the persp...
Article
En este trabajo se examina, desde la perspectiva de la Astronomía Cultural, si las iglesias románicas del Camino de Santiago siguen un patrón de orientación común a todas ellas. Para ello, se ha obtenido la orientación de 191 templos en los antiguos reinos de León y Castilla, y se ha realizado un estudio comparativo. Ambos reinos comparten orientac...
Preprint
Full-text available
America's first urban centres were allegedly located at the Supe Valley sites in Peru. After investigating the location and the orientation of the main built structures, we show that it is not only the presence of the River Supe that determines their orientation but also astronomical relationships within the orientation of the buildings dictate the...
Article
The pilgrimage along the Way of Saint James constituted the principal mechanism for the introduction of new currents of thought into the Iberian Peninsula, such as Romanesque architecture. Taking this into account, we examined whether the standard tradition on the orientation of Christian churches was followed. We measured the orientation of 108 ch...
Preprint
Full-text available
This paper investigates the dolmen landscapes of Neolithic communities found within Costa da Morte (Coast of Death), Galicia. Its goal is to uncover whether or not the megalithic monuments of a particular and coherent area of the south-eastern side of the Atlantic Façade are situated in relation to complex locational variables. In particular, in th...
Chapter
Megalithic monuments in northern Iberia appear in the local late Neolithic as a complex process of crystallization on the landscape of the new social dynamics that appear in this period. Landscape Archaeology and Archaeoastronomy help us understand their connection with mountain passes, fords, or possible prehistoric routes and the coherence of the...
Article
Full-text available
America's first urban centers may have been located in the Supe Valley, Peru. After investigating the location and the orientation of the main built structures, we show that it is not only the presence of the Supe River that determines their orientation but also that astronomical relationships within the orientation of the buildings dictate their s...
Article
Full-text available
En el presente artículo se aborda la tan debatida cuestión de las orientaciones de ciudades romanas combinando dos procedimientos: un análisis estadístico de las orientaciones de una muestra significativa de ciudades romanas en la península ibérica, y los resultados de una investigación basada en la experimentación y reconstrucción de instrumental...
Article
When we talk about Astronomy, we normally do not take into account that we are using a cultural specific way of understanding the sky. Astronomers, either professional, amateur or just lovers of the sky nowadays tend to approach the sky from the point of view of modern science. There, we approach the sky as something that needs to be explored, unde...
Article
Full-text available
The making of an imperial agricultural landscape in the Valley of Belén - Thibault Saintenoy, Antonio César González-García, Marta Crespo Fernandez
Article
In earlier works, we had shown the actual possibility that the Nabataeans had used the Equinox, or an astronomical event equivalent to this, as an important milestone to control the calendar, stablish festivals and perform pilgrimages to important sacred sites. In this paper we present evidence that this was indeed the case. In a research carried o...
Article
Full-text available
If astronomy can be understood as the contemplation of the sky for any given purpose, we must realize that possibly all societies throughout time and in all regions have watched the sky. The why, who, how and when of such investigation is the pursuit of cultural astronomy. When the research is done with the archaeological remains of a given society...
Chapter
Urbanism in most areas of Western Europe occurred at the time of the Roman Empire when several hundred new towns were founded, notably under Augustus. Those towns were planned to incorporate astronomical phenomena as images of propaganda of their rulers, or to connect the city to the gods. The visual effect of the Sun rising in line with the orient...
Chapter
Several works have tried either to demonstrate or reject the notion that the orientation of the main axis of a Roman city was deliberate since its choice might add an extra sacred dimension to the entire urban space [González-García et al. (Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry 14(3):107–119, 2014; Magli (Oxford Journal of Archaeology 21(6):63...
Chapter
One of the most fascinating and enigmatic pieces of evidence of Nabataean ingenuity is the so-called Zodiac of Khirbet et-Tannur (Jordan), found in a temple built at the mountain summit close to Djebel Tannur in the first half of the second century CE, possibly when the ancient Nabataean Kingdom was already under Roman rule. However, Nabataean trad...
Article
Full-text available
Research on the Neolithic monuments and dwellings of Atlantic Europe has shown that plays of light and colour were tools for the social and symbolic construction of the world. The integration of the architectures into the surrounding landscape and the incorporation of the surrounding landscape into the architectures were an essential part of this l...
Poster
Full-text available
Mount Xiabre, a topographical reference between the mouth of the Ulla River and the Galician Meridian Rift, is located in the center of a wider landscape marked by other topographical references and in the intermediate point between spotfinds of two of the most significant Bronze Age gold deposits in Northwestern Iberia: the so called "helmet" of L...
Article
The work presented in this article is part of a wide-ranging and ambitious project, started few years ago, to study the role of astronomy in Roman urban layout. In particular, the main aim is to check whether Roman cities present astronomical patterns in their orientations. The project emerged from ideas on how to properly orientate the main street...
Article
Full-text available
In this work we try to identify if there exist specific patterns in the orientation of Roman towns and military settlements across the Roman Empire, and whether this can be explained by astronomy, as suggested in a number of ancient texts and latter discussed by contemporary scholars. In order to check if cosmology was present in the urban planning...
Article
During the last years, the EMCHAHE project has been exploring the architectural remains of early medieval churches in Galicia (NW Spain). Basing on this background, this paper has two main objectives. First, to present and discuss the results of the luminescence and radiocarbon dating of mortars from four early medieval churches: Santa María de Mix...
Article
Full-text available
In a previous work based on different oral traditions collected at the beginning of the XX Century we verified that inside the cathedral of Saint James different illumination effects take place over the figure of Saint James located at the main altar, in particular at important dates related with Christianity and the own Saint. However, despite the...
Article
This paper presents a series of 25 previously unpublished radiocarbon dates from the oppidum of San Cibrán de Las, one of the most important and thoroughly excavated Iron Age sites in the NW Iberian Peninsula. These ¹⁴C dates are discussed on the basis of a Bayesian analysis. The results reveal a much longer occupation history of the site than prev...
Article
Full-text available
Resumen: Se analizan elementos arqueográficos del castro de Baroña (Porto do Son, A Coruña), susceptibles de interpretarse como un “santuario rupestre”. Esta interpretación se impone al considerar alineaciones solares significativas relacionadas con diferentes sectores de ese “santuario”. Además, una de esas alineaciones relaciona el castro con los...
Article
Full-text available
A key factor in planning and orienting towns in the Roman world, and in particular in Augustan towns, was cosmology. The application of cosmological criteria in these towns, associated with specific political and religious principles of the principate of Augustus, has been already identified in Italia, Gallia, and Hispania. In this article we exami...
Article
Digital tools are increasingly used in cultural astronomy, so that it is now more important than ever to assess their precision and reliability, and to identify what uncertainties they may introduce. The present work aims to address these issues by comparing a dataset of orientations of Roman cities in the Iberian Peninsula measured in situ with me...
Article
Full-text available
Despite their elusiveness, the people referred to as “Celts” by ancient chroniclers left behind certain archaeological remains that may be interepreted from the perspective of archaeoastronomy in an attempt to discover a calendrical “root” for them. In recent years, a number of studies on Late Iron Age sites, Roman or romanised locations and Christ...
Article
Full-text available
Petra, the ancient Nabataean capital, has been one of our main research objectives since the first field campaign on site in 1996. 1 In December 2015 a new visit to the city was made to coincide with the winter solstice. Historical, ethnographic, epigraphic and archaeological records are compared in order to gain an insight on the Nabataean calenda...
Article
Full-text available
We present the results of our analysis of two singular Neolithic monuments and two prominent megalithic groups in Galicia. The two singular monuments are the dolmen of Dombate (Baio, Coruña county), perhaps the largest megalithic chamber in Galicia (or at least the most investigated and well-known) that houses an elaborate decorative program with e...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, we report on three areas of the Iberian Peninsula that were occupied at least during the Iron Age and the early stages of Romanisation, where observations of astronomical phenomena in the landscape, rock carvings, and Latin inscriptions point to a particular method of time reckoning. All of these sites have previously been connected...
Article
Full-text available
We present the analysis of the measured orientations of 30 churches of the island of Lanzarote, in the Canarian archipelago, built prior to 1810, as well as a few buildings of later times, which represent a nearly complete sample of all the island's Christian sanctuaries. Our study indicates that a definite orientation pattern was followed on the i...
Poster
Full-text available
25 dataciones del yacimiento de San Cibrán de Las son presentadas en su contexto.
Article
For several decades it has been known that stellar bars in disc galaxies can be triggered by interactions, or by internal processes such as dynamical instabilities. In this work, we explore the differences between these two mechanisms using numerical simulations. We perform two groups of simulations based on isolated galaxies, one group in which a...
Book
Full-text available
Los trabajos reunidos en este volumen, corresponden a las clases que dieron los autores durante la Primera Escuela Interamericana de Astronomía Cultural. La misma tuvo lugar en Noviembre de 2012 en la Facultad de Ciencias Astronómicas y Geofísicas de la Universidad Nacional de la Plata (Argentina).
Article
Full-text available
Whether the formation of bars is triggered by interactions or by internal processes has been discussed for many decades. In this work, we study differences between both mechanisms by means of numerical simulations. We relate our analysis to fly-by interactions in different mass groups or clusters according to the velocity of the encounters. We find...
Article
Full-text available
The orientation of Christian churches is a well-known distinctive feature of their architecture. There is a general tendency to align their apses in the solar range, favoring orientations close to the east (astronomical equinox), although the alignments in the opposite direction, namely, with the apse towards the west, are not unusual. The case of...
Article
Full-text available
A lunar standstill, also named a lunistice in resonance of the solar ‘solstice’ (the Sun standing still), is the moment of the lunar month when the Moon is seen farthest north or south with respect to other positions of that particular swinging motion from a given position on Earth.
Article
Full-text available
Resumen: La orientación de las iglesias cristianas es un elemento distintivo de su arquitectura que repite patrones desde época paleocristiana. Se ha medido la orientación de un total de 30 iglesias antiguas de la isla de Lanzarote edificadas con anterioridad a 1810, así como algunos ejemplos más de época posterior. La muestra indica que se siguió...
Article
The roman colony of Lugdunum was oriented towards August the 1st since its foundation 43 BC, 31 years before the inauguration of the altar of the Three Gauls, whose feast was celebrated the same day. The present article follows the footsteps of C. Iulius Vercondaridubnus, the first priest of the cult of Lugdunum to see if the historical context of...
Article
Full-text available
An essential difference between the western and eastern provinces of the Roman Empire is the fact that sophisticated urban cultures had developed in Asia Minor and the Levant centuries before the Romans arrived. Underlying the Hellenized, and later Roman, veneer was a myriad of older local traditions and languages, which had an immense impact upon...
Article
There is a long-lastingdebate, startedin the nineteenthcentury by d‟Arbois de Jubainville and Jullian, among others, regardingthe pan-Celtic nature of the mid-season (or rather,startof season) feasts known from the Mediaeval Ireland(set on1stNovember, February, May and August). D‟Arbois indicated that one of thesefeastscoincided with the festival c...
Article
Full-text available
There is a long-lasting debate, started in the nineteenth century by d"Arbois de Jubainville and Jullian, among others, regarding the pan-Celtic nature of the mid-season (or rather, start of season) feasts known from the Mediaeval Ireland (set on 1 st November, February, May and August). D"Arbois indicated that one of these feasts coincided with th...
Article
In this short report we examine the ideal status of the seven-stone antas (a type of very ancient megalithic monument in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula) as an excellent candidate for a serial nomination within the Astronomy and World Heritage Initiative. This case will be compared with an extraordinary set of dolmens at the other side of th...
Article
Se muestran los resultados de la labor de medida de las orientaciones de los ábsides y cabeceras de 25 iglesias prerrománicas analizadas hasta el momento en Galicia. Si bien el trabajo es aun preliminar ya se pueden extraer un número de interesantes resultados y conclusiones. Las iglesias de nuestra muestra presentan características comunes a las d...
Article
Full-text available
The orientation of Christian churches is a distinctive feature of its architecture, repeating patterns from early Christian times that show a general tendency to orientate their apses in the solar range, with a predilection for orientations near the astronomical equinox. We measured the orientation of a total of 167 churches built prior to A.D. 108...
Article
Full-text available
Archaeological investigations in Cartagena –the ancient Punic Qart Hadašt, Roman Carthago Nova– have manifested the existence of ritual, urban and topographical elements that could be analyzed from the perspective of Cultural Astronomy. Therefore, in October 2013, an interdisciplinary team of astronomers and archaeologists conducted a field campaig...
Article
Some cities were built with the idea of establishing cosmic order. The sky used to be a very important component of the landscape that has been lost completely in our modern, overcrowded, and excessively illuminated, cities. However, this was not the case in the past. Astronomy actually played a most relevant role in urban planning, particularly in...
Chapter
The towns founded by the Romans over the course of some eight centuries of history were always inspired by rigid principles of spatial organization, followed by the Roman military camps as well. The symbolism embodied in such rules was tightly and undubitably connected with the power of Rome. According to a variety of ancient sources, city planning...
Chapter
Lunar alignments are difficult to establish given the apparent lack of written accounts clearly pointing toward lunar alignments for individual temples. While some individual cases are reviewed and highlighted, the weight of the proof must fall on statistical sampling. Some definitions for the lunar alignments are provided in order to clarify the t...
Chapter
The World Heritage Site of the hierothesion of Antiochos I, King of Commagene, at Mount Nemrud (Turkey) certainly constitutes one of the most fascinating historical enigmas in human culture. The monument includes the famous lion “horoscope” which has often been used in various attempts to interpret and date the ruins with controversial results. Acc...
Chapter
Carahunge is a megalithic monument in southern Armenia that has often been acclaimed as the oldest observatory. The monument, composed of dozens of standing stones, has some perforated stones. The direction of the holes has been measured and their orientation is related to the sun, moon, and stars, obtaining a date for the construction of such devi...
Chapter
Pre-Romanesque churches in the Iberian Peninsula include a number of constructions from the fourth-fifth to the eleventh century when the first Romanesque churches appeared in the north of Spain. This period of time coincided with the Muslim invasion of the Peninsula. An important number of churches and mosques were built with prescriptions for the...
Chapter
The Thracians built structures such as dolmens and false cupola tombs possibly related to their cults and funerary rites. The orientations of the Thracian dolmens fulfill two conditions: First, they point toward mountaintops, where there are often rock sanctuaries; second, the prevailing orientation of the dolmens is toward southwest. In that direc...
Chapter
The possible astronomical or topographical orientations of the Hittite monuments of the Bronze Age has remained unexplored until recently. This would provide an important insight into how temporality was imprinted by this culture in sacred spaces and in the landscape. The authors’ analysis of a statistically significant sample of Hittite temples −...
Chapter
The Nabataeans built several monuments in Petra and elsewhere displaying decoration with a certain preference for astronomical motifs. A statistical analysis of the orientation of their sacred monuments demonstrates that astronomical orientations were often part of an elaborate plan and possibly reflect traces of the astral nature of Nabataean reli...
Article
We present the results of the on-going effort to measure the orientation of a comprehensive number of churches in Galicia. We have measured the orientation of the apse of 25 churches so far. Although the results are still preliminary we can obtain a number of interesting conclusions. The churches in our sample present a similar trend to those of th...
Article
Full-text available
On the basis of a recently updated data base of Sardinian Megalithic monuments, we perform two independent statistical analyses on several groups of these structures and confirm the existence of differences between the southern and northern halves of Sardinia, indicating that there seem to be different traditions of orientation in these two parts o...
Article
Full-text available
We have analysed collisionless N-body simulations of intermediate and minor dry mergers on to S0s to test whether these mergers can generate S0 galaxies with intermediate kinematics between Fast and Slow Rotators. We find that minor mergers induce a lower decrease of the global rotational support than encounters of lower mass ratios, giving rise to...
Article
The idea of temporality and how this concept is introduced in the ritual domain could be investigated in past cultures through measurements of the orientation of cultic buildings, provided that such orientations are linked with particular astronomical events. Hellenic societies, among those of the Mediterranean Iron Age, had a need to regulate time...
Article
Full-text available
The longstanding debate about the interpretation of the Concilium Galliarum, celebrated at Lugdunum on Augusts 1st has been traditionally divided among those in favor of a 'Celtic' tradition and those advocating for a 'Roman' praxis. We advocate, following the works by Audin, that the study of the urban layout may shed light into this controversy....
Article
Despite the fact that ancient writings indicate a clear necessity to orient Roman towns according to the path of the sun (Hyginus Gromatius, Constitutio, 1), Le Gall (1975) in an early work made clear that there was no clear preferred orientation pattern. However, Le Gall's analysis was done by taking into consideration a sparse number of Roman tow...
Article
In some of the Iron Age hillforts of the northwest Iberian Peninsula ("Gallaecia", in antiquity), public buildings used as saunas have been found. So far some twenty examples are known, in different states of conservation. These are distributed between two separated regional clusters, northern and southern. The southern cases display a single pedra...
Article
This article presents the results of an archaeoastronomical study on the orientation of the prehistoric funerary mounds of the Ikh Bogd Uul Mountain, in the easternmost Mongolian Altai mountain range. After introducing the results of the measurements taken in the field, we hypothesise that the localisation pattern of mounds could be connected to an...
Article
Orientation studies have recently received considerable attention in the archaeological domain as a source of information that may shed light on a number of anthropological issues such as beliefs systems or landscape and territory apprehension by past cultures. This is especially important in those cultural contexts, such as the 'megalithic' phenom...
Article
Full-text available
The debate over the interpretation of the festival of Concilium Galliarum (1 August) in Lugdunum sets supporters of the Celtizing position instated by Arbois de Jubainville against that of the Romanists established by Jullian. The authors con