Michael Hoskin, Emeritus Fellow of St Edmund's, has been instrumental in conferring World Heritage Site status to Antequera in southern Spain. Michael has conducted fieldwork on dolmens, a type of megalithic tomb with a large flat stone laid on upright ones, throughout Europe and in the Mediterranean especially. His research on the dolmens at Antequera has set them into context and allowed the UNESCO to award the prestigious World Heritage status. Some time ago the dolmen authorities recognised Michael’s work by naming the Centro Solar, a part of the visitors’ centre after him. Now the city authorities have also given his name to the 'mirador' or viewing gallery they are building at the Arco de los Gigantes, a sixteenth-century arch above the town which is a tourist attraction.
Dr Michael Hoskin showed that the largest dolmen in Europe, Cueva de la Menga, is aligned to the summer solstice, with the rising sun on 21 June shining directly into its entrance.
Dr Hoskin’s work on archaeoastronomy regarding the orientation of the various megalithic monuments that make up the site of the Dolmens of Antequera and determine its exceptional value formed a key part of the file that was sent to UNESCO for inclusion of the Dolmens in the World Heritage list.
Before retirement Michael Hoskin was Head of the Department of History and Philosophy of Science in the University of Cambridge. He was the founder, and for 45 years the editor, of Journal for the History of Astronomy, one of the most prestigious publications in the world of Astronomy. Dr Hoskin is also an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Antequera. For a few minutes in 1965 he was the only Fellow of St Edmund's.