|African Investigations into Space and Time*|
Palaeolithic Africans began a process of continuous star gazing as far back as 40,000 years ago. Sometime between 6,000 and 12,000 years ago star gazing was transformed into a systematic observational science in the Nilotic lands of Africa. The most important outcome of Nilotic stargazing was the invention of the calendar of which there were several types.
|The Fang of West-Central
Africa (Cameroon and Gabon) possess a 12-month calendar and have
identified several asterisms known to modern astronomy. The Mbochi of Congo
also have one of the more well-defined astronomies
of the region.
* An Extract from:
THE STAR OF DEEP BEGINNINGS: THE GENESIS OF AFRICAN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY,
Khenti, GA, 1998, pp.165-202
The Star of Deep Beginnings represents perhaps the most ambitious work yet by Charles Finch. The title, derived from a Dogon name for Sirius B, reflects the cosmic nature of African science. The prototechnology of the modern world is traceable to iron ore mining 43,000 years ago in Southern Africa and to the emergence of protomathematics from Africa's Great Lakes region over 25000 years ago. From these paleolithic beginnings science and technology underwent a steady development in Africa and the remotest origins of formal mathematics, astronomy, engineering, architecture , navigation and map-making can be found there. In the cosmo-conception of the Dogon of Mali, there are distinct elements of knowledge that seem to have anticipated some of the most advanced concepts of modern physics, argues Dr. Finch.
Charles Finch is currently Director of International Health at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. He has also been involved in the study of African traditional medicine and organized the first ever Senegalese ndepp healing ceremony here in the US in 1996.
Last updated January 18, 2000