Estimating the reliability of digital data acquisition in Cultural Astronomy: the case of Roman North Africa

2017. English

Juan Antonio Belmonte (author)
Due to the increasing use of digital tools in Cultural Astronomy, it becomes necessary to ask ourselves how precise they are, which uncertainties they introduce, and whether we can rely on their results. The aim of the present work is trying to answer all these questions by comparing a dataset of orientations of Roman cities in the Iberian Peninsula measured in situ, with measurements of the same structures obtained through different digital tools. By this, it is possible to estimate the errors introduced by using these techniques and to establish precision limits to the data in future work. The results of this preliminary study have been implemented in an archaeoastronomical research project in North Africa. Although, fortunately, several sites had been measured in previous fieldwork campaigns by members of this group (Estéban et al 2001), the climate of strong political agitation made us desist from carrying out further on-site measurements in Algeria and remaining sites in Libya or Tunisia. In these cases, Google Earth and HeyWhatsThat (Kosowsky 2012) have been key tools that have allowed us to complete this survey, as well as to extract a preliminary outline of the orientation trends in Roman Africa.
Journal or series
Journal of Skyscape Archaology
Volume 3 (2)
Pages 191-206