RASC, Mississauga Centre: From The Weird to the Inspired in the World of Archaeoastronomy (ONLINE)

Gary Crawford
Friday, October 30, 2020 - 8:00pm to 10:00pm

This presentation introduces the great divide between pseudoscience and science that exists in the world of archaeoastronomy, just as it does in other fields. Archaeology uses the material record excavated from sites such as Cahokia and Stonehenge, information from architecture, and well-informed cultural perspectives to learn the role played by the skies in particular cultures. We’ll pay particular attention to the indigenous Americas with examples from the “Old World” too. Unfortunately, these well-informed perspectives are being drowned in the cacophony of Internet echo-chambers populated by flat-Earthers, ancient aliens purveyors, those who believe in mysterious mystical ancient societies like Atlantis, and general conspiracy theories claiming that archeologists are hiding the truth. Are we?

Gary Crawford is an archaeologist and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He retired as of July 1st this year and is Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto Mississauga and a Research Associate at the Royal Ontario Museum. He specializes in archaeological botany (the relationship between plants and people in the past) and ancient human ecology, particularly trying to understand why and how people developed agriculture.  For the last 45 years he has been investigating the problem in northeastern North America, Japan, and China. He introduced the formal study of archaeological botany to Japan and China where the field has become prominent over the last twenty years.

He has published two textbooks, a monograph on Japanese archaeology, hosted a television series on archaeology for TVOntario, and has published widely in numerous science and archaeology journals. Prof. Crawford has served on the Board of Directors of the Ontario Heritage Foundation and dedicated over two decades serving the university community as the Chair of two departments (at different times), Associate Dean of Social Sciences at UTM, and in an Acting capacity in several other administrative positions.

His interest in astronomy goes back to his younger years when he was a member of the RASC in his teens and when he started the astronomy club at his high school in Kingston, Ontario. He has never lost interest in astronomy, the stars always being one constant no matter where his travels took him. He is looking forward to developing his interest in the hobby now that he is retired.

More on Gary Crawford

Who can attend: Everyone
Fee: Free
Registration: Not required
Organized by: RASC, Mississauga Centre
Link: Zoom