(1996). "Anomalous Textual Artifacts in Archeo-astronomy"

(1996). Anomalous Textual Artifacts in Archeo-astronomy

Presented at the World Association of Vedic Studies (WAVES) Conference: "Revisiting Indus-Sarasvati Age and Ancient India," held in Atlanta, in October, 1996.
Publication Info: 

Thompson, Richard. "'Anomalous Textual Artifacts in Archeo-astronomy,' Presented at the World Association of Vedic Studies (WAVES) Conference: 'Revisiting Indus-Sarasvati Age and Ancient India,' held in Atlanta, in October, 1996." Alachua, FL: Bhaktivedanta Institute, 1996.


From the conference program:

Anomalous Textual Artifacts in Archeo-Astronomy
Richard Thompson, Ph.D.
P.O. Box 1920,
Alachua, FL 32616

It is well understood that ancient artifacts can survive within written texts, as well as within the strata of the earth. Also, an old manuscript or diagram may be datable to a recent historical period, but it may contain material that is much older.

One type of textual artifact consists of knowledge that seems too advanced for the historical period of the text. In cases where comparable knowledge was acquired only in modern times through extensive scientific efforts, it can be argued that the knowledge may be a remnant from an earlier, advanced civilization that is lost to historical memory.

In this paper, I discuss two examples of anomalous textual artifacts. They are:

  1. Accurate values of the diameters of the planets, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, as found in the Indian astronomical text, Surya-Siddhanta. This information can be found in a manuscript dating to A.D. 1431, long before modern knowledge of planetary distances and diameters was acquired using telescopic observation.
  2. The geocentric ring system described in the cosmological section of the Bhagavata Purana correlates closely with the distance of the Sun from the Earth and with the geocentric distances of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. The traditional date of the Bhagvata Purana is about 3,000 B.C., and some scholars date it to the 10th century A.D. Either way, this is long before the development of modern astronomy.

The patterns of correlation found in (i) and (ii) can be shown to be statistically significant. I discuss these correlations in relation to the controversial claim that there existed an ancient civilization with advanced astronomical knowledge.

Additonal Notes:
Thompson is listed as a former member of the Board of Management for the World Association for Vedic Studies (WAVES).

For a complete list of conference abstracts, please click here.