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Science
THE MATERIAL WORLD
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Thursday 16:30-17:00
Quentin Cooper reports on developments across the sciences. Each week scientists describe their work, conveying the excitement they feel for their research projects.
material.world@bbc.co.uk
LISTEN AGAINListen 30 min
Listen to 1 May
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QUENTIN COOPER
Quentin Cooper
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Thursday 1 May 2003
Stonehenge at sunrise on Summer Solstice

Archaeoastronomy

Archaeoastronomy is the study of the astronomical practices, celestial lore, mythologies, religions and world-views of all ancient cultures. By examining the relationship between the landscape, the monuments and astronomy, we can complement existing archaeological knowledge and hopefully gain insight into how prehistoric communities might have perceived their place in the cosmos. Stonehenge is one of the most famous sites that lends itself to archaeoastronomy and is also steeped in folklore.

Quentin speaks to the world's first Professor of Archaeoastronomy, Clive Ruggles who is based in the archaeology and ancient history department at Leicester University and to Dr Frank Prendergast who is an archaeoastronomer in the department of Geomatics at the Dublin Institute of Technology.

Plant Folklore and Science

Herbal remedies and planting rituals have been used for years, with a basis in folklore, but many of these ideas actually turn out to have science behind them. Artemisia annua for malaria is a good example and interesting in that you have to use the right Artemisia annua from China and not just any source. Using nettles for arthritis is another one and Echinacea for immune stimulation. Many clinical studies have been done and it turns out, that with something like Echinacea only some brands work – this means that not every company gets the active ingredients right.
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