Astronomy and Heritage in Cornwall

Welcome 

Hi you have made it here, welcome to my site! I hope you find what you came looking for, if not feel free to contact me.

I’m Carolyn Kennett and I work in the field of astronomy and archaeoastronomy, with most of my practice being in the far south west of the UK. I’m lucky because Cornwall has a great astronomical history and a wealth of ancient sites right on my doorstep, there is certainly enough to keep me busy!

At the top you will see some tabs, these will link to information about books I have had a hand in, the tours I give and lots of free resources which have been made along the way. If you are interested in what I have been up to there is a page listing papers I have written and links to video/interviews etc etc. 

Finally there is a blog, I occasionally get the time to update with thoughts, musings and other things going on in my world. Please follow if you want to be kept in the know.

Enjoy and keep looking up 🙂 

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As part of the Tin Coast Events Programme. Commissioned by the Tin Coast Partnership and Cornwall 365.

I am offering 2 archaeoastronomy workshops and 2 walks. These will run in April  and May 2021 and are free to join (places are very limited and booking essential) More details about these can be found on the Cornwall 365 website https://cornwall365.com/ and on my blog page – link https://archaeoastronomycornwall.com/2020/10/06/archaeoastronomy-workshops-and-walks/ 

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Cornwall has a rich astronomical heritage. Megalithic sites with links to astronomy are found throughout Cornwall, but primarily on; Bodmin Moor, West Penwith, the Lizard and also the nearby Isles of Scilly. Many of the sites within the area are linked to the solar and lunar cycles. Some have links to the stellar cycle.

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Just as we do today, though, without the technology, the people of the Neolithic and Bronze age would try to make sense of the motions in the sky. The stone monuments in our landscape leave us clues as to how they did this. Many, we know, have been aligned to indicate positions of objects in the sky. The most common being stones that are aligned with the solar cycle, such as the Heel Stone at Stonehenge marking a solstice point. Other stones are linked to the lunar cycle and some are suggested to have links with other celestial objects such as planets and stars. Archaeoastronomy attempts to understand the secrets that have been locked into the stones by studying the position and design of the monuments and linking them to the sky and landscape around them.

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Much more can be found out about the archaeoastronomy of Cornwall in my book Celestial Stone Circles of West Cornwall. Otherwise, come and join me for a tour of the sites, you can book by contacting me through this website.

Watching the Sun

A recent talk that I gave along with Cheryl Straffon about the sun and ancient sites in Cornwall can be viewed here. A booklet which was produced to go with this project in Conjunction with Mayes Creative and Meyn Mamvro is available for order from here: Meyn Mamvro

The Hurlers stone circle complex

I have undertaken work at the Hurlers with local astronomers and archaeologists, we were lucky enough to make a film of some of this work. Here is a link to a video made at the Hurlers stone circle site. This is a significant prehistoric landscape which has had a number of archaeological digs including Mapping the Sun and Reading the Hurlers. This video explores both the archaeology and the astronomical links at the site.


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Astronomy History

Famous astronomers such as John Couch Adams and Malachy Hitchins were born in Cornwall. Other astronomers conducted important astronomical work in Cornwall, such as John Bradley at the Lizard Lighthouse in 1769.

There is lots more information about these historic astronomers and their discoveries on The Society for the History of Astronomy’s survey page for Cornwall click the link below to visit their page.

Cornwall Astronomy Survey Page

Here is the wonderful Cornish Astronomy Hero’s Booklet inspired by The Society for the History of Astronomy’s Cornwall Astronomy Survey pages it was drawn by manga artist Keith Sparrow for the Mayes Creative Dark Skies Bright Stars Project and was produced as a Heritage Lottery and Feast funded project.

Cornish Astronomy Hero’s Booklet

2017 Eclipse of the Sun Jackson Hole, Wyoming, USA