The astronomical knowledge of the Dogon tribe of Mali dating back to 3200 BC

June 28, 2018 at 08:23 am | History

Sarah Ackwerh

Sarah Ackwerh | Contributor

June 28, 2018 at 08:23 am | History

Dogon astronomy

Believed to be progenies of ancient Egypt, the Dogon people who live in the central plateau region of Mali, are among the few African tribes who have managed to preserve their culture over the years. 

They are renowned for their knowledge about the Sirius system which dates back to 3200 BC, long before scientists discovered it in 1862. 

According to them, the Sirius A, which is the brightest star in Earth’s night sky, had a much dimmer companion: Sirius B, which has a fifty-year elliptical orbit around the bright Sirius A and is extremely dense.  

From oral tradition, the Dogon confirmed their affiliation with extraterrestrial bodies which visited earth some years ago. According to them, ugly amphibious beings in the form of mermaids and mermen from the Sirius system known as Nommos, visited earth. The Nommos lived on a planet that rotated around other stars in the Sirius system.

  

The Dogon recount that the Nommos, after descending on earth in an ark-like structure, gave them information about the Sirius system and the earth’s Solar system: that Jupiter has four major moons, Saturn has rings and that all planets orbit around the sun.  

The Dogon commemorate the Sirius A’s fifty-year elliptical orbit around Sirius B with the Sigui Celebration, held every sixty years. It is unclear why the Dogon celebrate the rotational year of the Sirius B every sixty years and not fifty. 

However, since the last Sigui celebration was in 1967, the next celebration is expected to happen in 2027. They believe that the celebration of the Sirius B’s rotation comes to renew the earth. 

Currently, it is believed that there are about four hundred thousand to eight hundred thousand Dogons living in Mali. 

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