Oxford X: Astronomy, Indigeneous Knowledge
and Interpretation

Cape Town, 14 - 18 July 2014


… to the Oxford X Symposium on Archeaoastronomy: Astronomy, Indigenous Knowledge, and Interpretation.

Oxford X will take place from July 14 – 18, 2014, with registration and an evening reception on Sunday July 13th, 2014. The conference will be held at the historical South African Astronomical Observatory in Cape Town, South Africa. Registrations are possible until June 25, 2014.

What Are the “Oxford” International Symposia on Archaeoastronomy?

The “Oxford” conferences bring together researchers from around the world and from a variety of academic disciplines, working in all areas of archaeoastronomy and cultural astronomy. The original Oxford conference (“Oxford I”) took place in 1981 and they have been held at roughly three-to-four-year intervals ever since, with ISAAC (the International Society for Archaeoastronomy and Astronomy in Culture) taking over responsibility for the conferences following Oxford VII. Oxford VIII was held in Klaipėda, Lithuania, in 2007, and Oxford IX took place in Lima, Peru, in January 2011.

Astronomy, Indigenous Knowledge, and Interpretation

The Oxford X theme is “Astronomy, Indigenous Knowledge, and Interpretation.”  There has been an ongoing tension in archaeoastronomy over interpretations of alignments and sky knowledge that are consistent with existing knowledge of the culture under examination. Added to this is the possibility that when working with living cultures more than one interpretation may exist. Indigenous Knowledge Studies (IKS) which works from within cultures is working to incorporate sky knowledge.  The conference will bring together these communities and others to examine the linkages, theories, and intepretations of the human relationship to the sky.

The Astronomy Renaissance in South Africa

The South African government has made enormous investments in “Big Science” astronomy, to capitalize on natural geographical advantages as well as a strong tradition of astronomy including SAAO which has operated for nearly 200 years. New world-class telescope facilities are being built in South Africa, including the Square Kilometer Array  and the recently completed Southern African Large Telescope .  Cape Town is one of the fastest growing centres of astronomy in the world.

The historical and cultural importance of astronomy in Africa and South Africa has been explored within two previous conferences: The African Astronomical History Symposium in 2005 and The re-emergence of astronomy in Africa – a transdisciplinary interface of knowledge systems conference in 2012.

With a strong tradition of and recent growth in both astronomical science and indigenous knowledge studies, South Africa is the ideal location for Oxford X.