Ethnoastronomy Awakened in Mae Taeng District – Stampeding at Global Arena.

15 – 19 May 2017

Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai, Thailand

“An Introduction to Field Techniques in Ethnoastronomy” Workshop 2017 was held throughout a week between 15 – 19 June 2017 by the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (Public Organization) with the enthusiasm and interest towards this particular field of astronomy from the world-renowned research astronomers.

 

        With over 20 selected participants from Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, The Philippines and Thailand – overwhelmed by new information, techniques and knowledge provided by many of NARIT’s homegrown professional lecturers – and many of whom have travelled a considerably long distance to attend over the course of this workshop. Participants were exposed to different interesting aspects of ethnoastronomy in Southeast Asia, India and Australia, as well as the fieldwork techniques in anthropology and ethnoastronomy. Lecturers and participants also travelled to Mae Taeng District just north of Chiang Mai, to experience first-hand of the Traditional Northern Thai Perception of the Night Sky from 10 elder informants representing chiefs of the villages among local communities in the area as a fieldwork project.

 

 

        Participants were also given an opportunity to travel to Doi Inthanon National Park where the 2.4-metre Thai National Telescope located atop of the highest mountain in Thailand towards the end of the workshop.

 

 

        During the Opening Ceremony, Prof. Boonrucksar Soonthornthum – NARIT Executive Director addressed that “[…] In the present days, science remains as critical as it was centuries ago. Although new innovations emerge daily across the globe, anthropology and ethnology are still the very foundation of mankind, they are what describes us as who we are today. Astronomy in the aspect of natural sciences has left historical trails of the importance towards humanity and the crucial roles it has been playing a part in our history for centuries is indeed astonishing.”

 

 

        Considering the International Astronomical Union has recognized ethnoastronomy as a specialist area of History of Astronomy, NARIT is proud to have had a privilege to organize this workshop in order to stress that particular importance through the aspect of ethnoastronomy today. 

 

 

        Having mentioned all of these exciting programs that took place earlier, by the end of the workshop, participating students reflected outstanding outcomes of familiarization with different ethnoastronomical research projects that have been carried out in India, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand. They are also aware of the range of data that can be used in ethnoastronomical research, special challenges associated with conducting ethnoastronomical fieldwork and have gained personal fieldwork experience by having participated in such brief ethnoastronomical fieldwork project. Ultimately, they possess the confidence and knowledge to conduct their own ethnoastronomical research projects in their future academic endeavor.