Saturday, November 22, 2008

Looking at the stars

For more than 700 years the Dogon people of Mali have had an exceptional astronomical knowledge using only the naked eye. They studied the star Sirius (which is 8.6 light years away) and its invisible companion star Sirius B (it was discovered in 1862 by an American who used the largest telescope of that time) which has a 50 year elliptical orbit and further they told that Sirius B rotates on its own axis. They even have astronomical drawings of it which match the modern western ones even though the Dogon people did not have telescopes and all these fancy facilities the Europeans use.
Professor Ivan van Sertimer, author of Black Women in Antiquity and They Came before Columbus among others, wrote an article of the name The Lost Sciences of Africa in which he argues that the Dogon had a vast modern knowledge of the solar system, and indeed the Dogon knew of the surface of the moon and the characteristics of Sirius B, beyond the awareness of western astronomers.
Even though Professor Ivan van Sertimer and Hunter Adams, African Observers of the Universe - the Sirius Question, find the Dogon's observations intriguing, Robert Temple, a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Great Britain, thinks that the Dogon possibly could have had the information passed to them by extraterrestrials! An extremely eurocentric view backed up by an astronomer by the name of Carl Sagan who thinks the Dogon got enlightenment from European explorers; exactly as other Europeans suggested that the pyramids and the Great Zimbabwe were built with help from extraterrestrials. Once again Africans will point the Europeans wrong as they have evidence on their side. Maybe the Dogon are the descendants of the ancient Egyptians, and they passed on their knowledge through generations as they've migrated to Mali. Anyhow, they have their place in African history.

4 comments:

Yoli said...

Thank you for sharing this, I love coming here.

Maithri said...

Beautiful!

I love reading your insights my sister...

I laughed at the whole extraterrestrials passing on knowledge thing ;) You're so right about it being not just eurocentric but inherently prejudiced also.

Great to see sister Yoli here too...

Much love, M

Ebony Intuition said...

great article on the dogon tribe of mali

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