The Dogon and Sirius: Un Systeme Soudanais de Sirius (1950). Claims that the Dogon, in Mali, West Africa, know stars invisible without a telescope. The Dogon and Sirius

The Dogon and Sirius

In 1950 was published a most enigmatic document, Un Systeme Soudanais de Sirius by Marcel Griaule and Germaine Dieterlen, which has given rise to a minor industry of speculation about how true the document is, and if it is true, how it is rationally possible. This document claims that the Dogon, a tribe in Mali, West Africa, have knowledge of stars invisible without a telescope; specifically two companions to Sirius called by astronomers Sirius B and Sirius C.

There are two main questions arising from this document:

1. How true is it in terms of ETHNOGRAPHY?
2. How true is it in terms of ASTRONOMY?

The answers to both of these simple questions both turn out to be far from simple, in fact, they are incredibly more complex than might be imagined. This complexity has in itself spawned a large number of incorrect conclusions and an enormous amount of misinformation on the part of both sceptics and enthusiasts. The central problem is arguments inappropriately mixing the very hard physical science of astrophysics and the more subtle human discipline of anthropology. Compounded with this is the "open" status of the problem in both disciplines which cannot be closed down and written off easily. Only now, with the amount of evidence now gathered, do I feel the parameters starting to close again. But this site makes no claims to provide the definitive answer to either question: Only tentative conclusions can still be drawn. For clarity of the argument, according to the original premise, I have separated these two strands of enquiry to run in parallel to each other to reach a common Conclusion. The site aims to gather as many of the relevant facts from as original and up-to-date sources as possible, lay out the implications and let readers decide for themselves. There is an amount of visual and documentary evidence taken from copyright sources; to copyright owners who have not been asked for permission, apologies, please get in touch. I am neither professional anthropologist nor astronomer and there are inevitable errors. To members of those professions, your opinions are most welcome, so that these errors can be corrected. Most of all, besides the Quest for Truth, I have tried to make the site fun. So follow the links to get to the heart of the "Sirius Mystery."

Testable Statements Sirius A Sirius B Sirius C Other Bodies Conclusions Start page Meet the Dogon! Marcel Griaule and the God of Water A Sudaneses System of Sirius The Pale Fox Ethnographical conclusions Guestnook Prizes


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