Dogon structure in Mali.
The Dogon are an ethnic group living in the central plateau region of the country of Mali, in the West of the Continent of Africa, south of the Niger bend, near the city of Bandiagara, in the Mopti region. The Dogon are best known for their religious traditions, sculptures, and architecture. They speak various Dogon languages classed under the Niger-Congo language family.
Researchers investigating the Dogon have found that they seem to possess advanced astronomical knowledge, such as traditional astronomical knowledge about Sirius that would normally be considered impossible without the use of telescopes. According to Marcel Griaule’s books Conversations with Ogotemmêli and The Pale Fox they knew about the fifty-year orbital period of Sirius and its companion prior to western astronomers. The Dogon appeared to know of the rings of Saturn, and the moons of Jupiter. These people’s advanced knowledge has mystified Western researchers for decades, leading to much debate.
Key researchers, Griaule and Dieterlen were puzzled by this Sudanese star system, and prefaced their analysis with the following remark:-
The problem of knowing how, with no instruments at their disposal, men could know the movements and certain characteristics of virtually invisible stars has not been settled, nor even posed.