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Politecnico di Milano


Politecnico di Milano via Coursera


Archaeoastronomy is the “science of stars and stones”. It is an interdisciplinary science in between architecture, archaeology, and astronomy. It studies the relationships between the ancient monuments and the sky, in order to gain a better understanding of the ideas of the architects of the past and of their religious and symbolic world. The course provides the first complete, easy introduction to this fascinating discipline.
During the course, many spectacular ancient sites of archaeology – such as Stonehenge in England, Giza and Karnak in Egypt, Chichen Itzá in the Yucatan, Macchu Picchu in Peru and the Pantheon in Rome – will be visited and the fascinating events occurring there in special days of the year (such as solstices, equinoxes, or the day of the foundation of Rome) will be shown and explained. The course also provides the necessary background on Astronomy with the naked eye and a general introduction to the role of Astronomy in religion and in the management of power among ancient cultures.

Taught by

Giulio Magli


4.7 rating, based on 6 Class Central reviews

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  • Sylvia Amar completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be very easy.

    It's a short (7 hours), but very interesting course about the relationships between the astronomy and the ancients monuments around all the word. We can learn about hierophanies, mayas, ancients egyptians, celts and roman monuments.
  • Nicole Fares completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    Fun interdisciplinary look at the combination of archeology and astronomy and the much overlooked interconnectedness of the two. Fantastic correlations to our earliest historical landmarks and their relationship to the stars. Fun and interesting from an inspiring instructor who makes the topic sound even more real.
  • Kristina Šekrst completed this course and found the course difficulty to be easy.

    This is a nice and short course, giving you an overview of what the ancient people thought about the skies, and what kind of connections they had. You'll learn about hierophany, ways of building so that it is a certain manifestation of sacred, for example, sun rays will penetrate the building once a year only and lighten up something. There will be talk about Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, Mayas, Inkas etc., and historical events will be described. It is not a thorough course, but it gives a nice motivation for further research. I'd like to see possible sequels with specific topics, such as Egyptian archaeoastronomy, Mayan archaeoastronomy etc. - I'm sure I'd learn a lot.
  • Melissa R

    Melissa R completed this course, spending 1 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    This was a very good introductory course with great photos on the videos. The first week might be a little technical, but it's very important to pay attention, and find other resources if needed, in order to be able to answer all the quizzes. The following weeks were really fun as they covered many archaeological sites all over the world.

    This course is also available in the university's MOOC portal (POK POLIMI), but the one in Coursera has an additional week about various celestial bodies other than the sun. I really enjoyed this course.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    It's amazing and increase my knowledge day by day... These online classes are very useful for us .. thanks to these owner able person who teaches us. I hope I will able to complete the course.
  • John Quincy completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    I feel this is one of the best courses I've taken in the MOOC format. My sincere thanks to those responsible for organizing and presenting this course. I did enjoy taking it.

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