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Heritage Sites of Astronomy and Archaeoastronomy

This book is available for free!


The printed version of this book is now out of print. However, the e-book version (see below) can be downloaded for free from the UNESCO–IAU Portal to the Heritage of Astronomy.


About the book

Heritage Sites of Astronomy and Archaeoastronomy in the context of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention

Principal authors/editors: Clive Ruggles and Michel Cotte
with contributions by 41 other authors

This Thematic Study is a joint venture between ICOMOS, the advisory body to UNESCO on cultural sites, and the International Astronomical Union. It presents an overall vision on astronomical heritage, attempts to identify what constitutes “outstanding universal significance to humankind” in relation to astronomy, and identifies broad issues that could arise in the assessment of cultural properties relating to astronomy. This is the first Thematic Study in any field of science heritage. It is elaborated using examples of properties from around the world, including some already on the World Heritage List or national Tentative Lists.

The subject matter ranges from early prehistory to modern astrophysics and space heritage, and also prominently includes dark sky issues and modern observatory sites. 

An e-book version of the Thematic Study was published in June 2010 in time to be presented to the 2010 meeting of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee, where it was duly approved. It has been circulated officially by the WHC to all of UNESCO's National Commissions.

This limited full-colour paperback edition was completed in 2011 thanks to financial sponsorship by the International Astronomical Union..


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About us

Ocarina Books publishes and distributes books relating to archaeoastronomy and ethnoastronomy. Our printed books can be ordered on-line, either from Oxbow Books / Casemate Academic or (within the United Kingdom) directly from this site. Exceptionally, Nā Inoa Hōkū is distributed outside Europe by the University of Hawai‘i Press.

We are starting to reprint out-of-print titles as low-cost e-books (PDF files) which can be purchased and downloaded immediately.