Maybe you should ask Prof. Hijmans.
[BioLogos readers, if you have not yet established your Free access to Academia.edu, I highly recommend it. In fact, @Jonathan_Burke has an extensive list of complete articles there for your review as well!]
You are asking something well beyond my pay grade. And yet you expect me to produce the information. Any “plain reading” of Hijmans’ “The Sun Which Did not Rise in the East” (2003) clearly confirms that pagan culture, from days immemorial … or at least untrackable to my finite knowledge … equated the Winter Solstice, or more specifically, December 25, to Cosmic Symbolism.
To say that this is erroneous is equivalent to saying that all the the Osiris connections (to the “ending of the Winter Solstice”), all the Tammuz connections (to the “ending of the Winter Solstice”), are all imaginary or fictional - - and that at most all the Sol Invictus connections only become true and historically traceable after they “stole” the symbolism from Christianity.
Your approach to this discussion seems less than admirable. It wold be equivalent to a crusty old blogger on some Greek Mythology list insisting that someone else produce the original Greek texts that prove Homer really lived. It’s one thing to challenge the implicit views of the writings associated with Homer … but yet quite another to argue whether Homer ever really existed: “no photos, it never happened”.
A) Modern astronomers can confirm and sustain the 3 day pause between the day when the Sun’s sunrise is at its most southerly point on the horizon vs. the day when the Sun begins again to move approximately a full degree back in the northerly direction.
B) Ancient writers write fulsomely on pagan mythologies concerning a “mythical” three days in the underworld, endured by either gods, or humans and associated with forces of nature - - once again sending the Sun back to its annual reunions with the Spring Equinox, the Summer Solstice, and finally the Fall Equinox, before returning once again to the Winter Solstice).
C) Implicit in all this is that some ancient culture, somewhere, spoke of this 3 day (or even 6 day?) pause in the daily pattern of sunrises. I do not know which of the ancient cultures accomplished this, or which one accomplished it first. Nor do I need to know. Once one culture discovered it, it would be natural for other cultures to assimilate this celestial reality, without going through the effort of re-proving it.
D) If Hijmans implicitly concurs there was Pagan interest in December 25 (whether rightly referred to by the term Winter Solstice or not, and whether the Winter Solstice was best understood as a single day or the conclusion of a series of days), then you will have to take it up with him (or whatever academic proxy you would like to select).
Jonathan, as you know from the Hijmans article, he actually agrees more with you and your multiple positions (than with me and a few of my positions). So I would think you would be gratified that I found a “witness”, very much hostile to some of my other claims, to support my specific assertion that at least some of the ancient pagans knew of, and had an interest in, the Solar pause leading up to December 25.