Previous abstract Next abstract

Session 27 - Astronomies and Cultures (HAD).
Oral session, Monday, January 15
Salon del Rey Central, Hilton

[27.01] Discovery of Prehistoric Skies

A. A. Gurshtein (Inst. for History of Sci. and Tech., Russian Academy of Sci. and Mesa State Coll.)

It was Charles Francois Dupui, of France, who two centuries ago in his twelve-volume "Origine de tous les cults" (1795) worked out a proposition that all the different religious customs, stories, and dogmas will be found upon examination to have a cradle as one or another aspect of the natural, mainly, astronomical phenomena. It is absolutely correct but he and his spirited followers failed to develop a basic scientific quantitative argument focused on astronomy - chronological distribution of events.

It is the first time that a combination of the up-to-date knowledge in archaic symbology and the professional astronomical data for precession and other regular astronomical events constitutes conditions for an absolutely new approach. An astronomical reconstruction of the evolution of the Zodiacal constellations was made, based on the Indo-european and Sumero-Akkadian religio-cultural data, including artifacts such as cult statuettes, cuneiform tablets, cylinder seals and boundary stones. It was argued that the development of 12 houses of the Zodiac in 3 groups of 4 over some six millennia was dictated by the changes made by precession in the positions of the vernal and autumnal equinoxes and the summer and winter solstices.

The first quartet of the Zodiacal constellations (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces) was recognized by the first agriculturists from the Fertile Crescent to learn the four most important Sun positions and to predict the ongoing seasons; it was done as far back as 5,600 B.C. (with a formal error of this determination about +/- 150 years). The second one (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius) was introduced in 2,700 +/- 250 years B.C. by Egyptians with their own animal symbolism that was the etymological root for the term the Zodiac (a circle of animals). This event was followed with the acquaintance of the new calendar and erection of the great pyramids as an eternal sanctuary for their mental triumph.

In the first half of 14 century B.C. the Egyptian pharaoh Ekhnaton (Amenhotep 1V) attempted to inaugurate a new four constellation set to fixate the Sun track. The attempt was in vain but it seems the knowledge to go via Moses and the tribes left Egypt for Canaan. According our precessional dating the final design of the Zodiac with 12 houses appeared at 1,200 +/- 400 years B.C. In opposite to the figure 7 which was from the Paleolithic, the first great opus where figure 12 appeared as a sacred one was the Holy Bible.

Many other details of the concept proposed are discussed.

Program listing for Monday