Now here’s a UNESCO meeting we’d love to attend, not just because it’s in Gran Canaria which is a tentative WHS itself, but combines multiple axes of historical, religious, spatial, and universal geekery:
The meeting aims to establish and identify the links that exist between astronomical heritage, religious heritage and sacred sites. Sacred sites embrace areas of special spiritual significance to peoples and communities, and many of these sites also have clear connections with astronomy or the skyscape.
This thematic meeting will address the confluence and synergies to be found between two important UNESCO World Heritage Centre initiatives: the Astronomy and World Heritage Thematic Initiative and the Initiative on Heritage of Religious Interest…
The working sessions will focus on:
- Information exchange on existing sacred and astronomical sites (natural and cultural) and potential World Heritage properties;
- Identification of the potential of sacred sites and monuments connected with astronomical observations;
- Provide examples of cultural and daily life impacts of cosmological observation and beliefs on human communities;
- Recommendations for identifying, assessing and recognising the importance of this specific heritage…
The interesting thing is that the farther you go back in history the more the sacred and the astronomical blur, until the very earliest monumental buildings seem to have been built explicitly as observatories. There’s all sorts of interesting things you can propose from that —
— we’re not saying that it might be ALIENS, but it was ALIENS!!! —
— OK, no we really don’t think it was ALIENS!! —
— but we do notice curious similarities all across the globe, like that the Great Pyramids at Giza, the main pyramids at Teotihuacan, and the Xi’an pyramids in China all curiously reflect the arrangement and magnitude of the stars in Orion’s belt.
And you know how it is, you note how curious something like that is, so you start reading the alt-history sites like
Graham Hancock’s Daily Alternative News Desk
and then the somewhat more speculative
Ancient Origins: “Reconstructing the Story of Humanity’s Past”
and a couple hours following links down the rabbit hole and you’re in a fevered clickbait universe of spaceships in Antarctica, aliens, time travelers, or is it time traveling aliens? and Leylines that connect EVERYTHING!!!
Well, the International Expert Meeting etc. probably won’t be as exciting as all that. But we’ll be watching to see if it turns up some more interesting fodder for the occult/conspiracy/alien theorists; in the meantime, those links above are good places to dip your toes into!