I admit it: I'm getting tired of aliens. It's hard to come up with new things to say about them every day since ancient astronaut claims are always mind-numbingly monotonous. So, today I thought I'd take a break and do some alternative archaeology instead. Let's take a look at an oldie but a goodie: Graham Hancock's so-called "Draco Correlation."
In Hancock's beautifully produced 1998 book Heaven's Mirror, he reported the discovery of his then-25-year-old research assistant, John Grigsby, who suggested that just as Robert Bauval had "discovered" that the Giza pyramids "mirrored" the belt of Orion, so, too, did "at least fifteen of the main pyramid temples of Angkor" formed a "model of the sinuous coils of the northern constellation of Draco" as it appeared in 10,500 BCE (pp. 126-127, 132). Hancock provides the following diagram to demonstrate the correlation:
I remember that even at the time I first read Heaven's Mirror in 1998, I didn't think that diagram seemed particularly impressive. It looked like many of the stars of Draco were missing, and Angkor seemed to have temples where there were no stars.
In fact, a map of the site shows many more temples than there are stars, and a full map of the site makes the supposed correlation vanish entirely.
To accept any sort of correlation, we'd need some kind of criteria for distinguishing what Grigsby and Hancock meant by "the main pyramid temples"--why, for example, count Neak Pean but not nearby Krol Ko, both of which are Buddhist temples built in the reign of Jayavarman VII and both of which are roughly equal in grandeur? What makes one a "main" temple and the other not? Why is the entire line of easternmost temples left out entirely excepting only Banteay Samre? Or the entirety of the western line, excepting only Western Mebon? But such answers are not forthcoming.
All of this is a moot point, of course, since no one can demonstrate that the modern constellations or the zodiac were known much before the Greeks assembled them from modified Babylonian and Aegean-regional spare parts, and certainly not either (a) outside the Western world or (b) in 10,500 BCE.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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