An Overview of Archaeoastronomy

The summer of 2013 has been my summer of astronomy. I just finished my summer research program, Undergraduate Research in Computational Astrophysics, at North Carolina State University at which I simulated the way that matter interacts and moves around neutron stars producing x-ray flares. I am also in the preliminary stages of a neutrino research project in William & Mary’s Department of Physics. Upon my return from North Carolina, I began a series of readings on archaeoastronomy. Archaeoastronomy is a fusion of archaeology and astronomy in which the way past cultures viewed and interpreted the heavens is studied.

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Test Units and Artifacts

I have been in Gloucester, Virginia with the Fairfield Foundation for two weeks now. About a week and a half ago, I picked out four possible locations for my test unit off the map that records the location of all past test units. The midden or area where trash was dumped is partially covered by a corn field. The boundary of the corn field that surrounds the site changes slightly every year, so I had to choose four locations in order to insure that one would hopefully not be covered by corn. A week later I used a transit to figure out the locations of the possible test units. The second test unit I attempted to find was outside of the corn field, so it became the location of my test unit. It is now known as Test Unit 553 as it is the 553rd test unit that has been laid out at Fairfield. While I was laying it out, one of the site directors also had me lay out Test Units 554 and 555 which are also both located within the midden. I now have the option of expanding my analysis to include all three units. All of these test units are five feet square.

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