Journal of Skyscape Archaeology, Vol 3, No 1 (2017)

Evidence of Churches Aligned to the Sun on the Patron Saint’s Day in Southern Spain after the Twelfth Century

José M Abril

Abstract


This work studies the alignment of churches in southern Spain after the twelfth century. It merges the statistical analysis from a wide survey with the case study of Bujalance. In this area, the alignment of the parish churches of Our Lady of the Assumption and St Francis of Assisi (both from the early sixteenth century) accurately fit to the sunrise and sunset on their respective feast days. A systematic survey included all the parish churches with the two dedications above (N = 168 and 72, respectively), covering an area which roughly fits to the Muslim domain in the mid-twelfth century The measurement of their alignments allows an estimation of the continuous distribution of normalised frequency for each dedication. They show a major peak around the azimuths linked to the sunrise (Assumption) or sunset (St Francis) in their respective patronal festivals, as demonstrated by a detailed study of these churches.

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DOI: 10.1558/jsa.31508

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