Dodwell’s surprising study of the obliquity of the ecliptic

Posted: December 24, 2014 by oldbrew in Analysis, Celestial Mechanics, Measurement, Uncertainty

Earth's Axial Tilt, or Obliquity [Credit: Wikipedia]

Earth’s Axial Tilt, or Obliquity [Credit: Wikipedia]

This Atlantipedia report (reproduced below) from 2010 concerns research by English-born George Dodwell, who held the post of Government Astronomer for South Australia for 43 years (1909 – 1952) until his retirement. He came across a study by a Professor Drayson who cited ancient astronomical observations and put forward a revision to standard Earth precession theory which Dodwell found ‘untenable’, but he became interested in the data.

Dodwell: ‘it seemed to me worthwhile to trace out more clearly just how much, and why, the ancient and mediaeval observations of the obliquity of the ecliptic, on which Professor Drayson based his conclusions, differed from Newcomb’s internationally accepted formula for the secular, or age-long, variation of the obliquity. These observations went back to values given by Strabo, Proclus, Ptolemy, and Pappus in the early centuries of the Christian era. They indicated a consistent and increasing divergence in past ages from the values calculated by means of Newcomb’s formula.’ [bold added]

George F. Dodwell (1879-1963) was a leading Australian astronomer, who made an extensive study of ancient gnomons and discovered that they deviated from the expected. A gnomon is the part of a sundial that casts the shadow. He concluded that there was consistent evidence that the tilt of the earth’s rotational axis was altered around 2345 BC. This view supported those that have claimed that the poles shifted within the memory of man, possibly as a result of a close encounter or impact with an extra-terrestrial body such as a comet. Some have gone further and attribute the destruction of Atlantis to this clash. Dodwell’s complete work on the subject can now be read online(a) .

Dodwell, a devout Christian, concluded that it was this sudden shift of the earth’s axis that led to the Flood of Noah. Rene Noorbergen (1928-1995) mentions in his Secrets of the Lost Races[612.20] that Dodwell wrote to Professor Arthur J. Brandenberger of Ohio State University, outlining his theory in the following manner; “I have been making during the last 26 years an extensive investigation of what we know in astronomy as the secular variation of the obliquity of the ecliptic. From a study of the available ancient observations of the position of the sun at the solstices during the last three thousand years, I find a curve which, after allowing for all known changes, shows a typical exponential curve of recovery of the Earth’s axis after a sudden change from a former nearly vertical position to an inclination of 26½ degrees, from which it was returned to an equilibrium at the present inclination of 23½ degrees during the interval of the succeeding 3,194 years to A.D. 1850. The date of the change in the Earth’s axis, 2345 B.C., is none other than that of the flood recorded in the Bible, and the resulting conclusion is that the Biblical account of the flood as a universal one, together with its story of Noah’s Ark, is historically true’.

Dodwell referred to a paper of F.S.Richards on the orientation of the Temple of Ammon at Karnak(b), which indicated an anomalous obliquity of the ecliptic of 25°9’55”. This led to considerable debate(c) regarding the age of the temple. William Fix drew attention[871.264] to the widespread reuse of very ancient sacred sites by successive cultures, which might explain the incompatibility between the apparent age of the most recent temple and the greater antiquity suggested by the obliquity of the ecliptic. Alternatively, it might also indicate an encounter with an extraterrestrial body that affected the Earth’s axis and caused widespread destruction, including, according to some theories, the destruction of Atlantis!

In 2011 Mike Baillie, the renowned dendrochronologist, had a PowerPoint presentation(d) at the Quantavolution Conference in Athens, which offered tree-ring evidence that clearly demonstrated an ‘event’ in 2345BC.

More recently, Andrew Bourmistroff, a Russian researcher, has determined that the orientation of the Great Pyramid at Giza is off by 9.85 degrees west of true north(e). The significance, if any, of all these details has yet to be fully determined. [bold added]

The UK Daily Telegraph reported in 2001: ‘Scientists have found the first evidence that a devastating meteor impact in the Middle East might have triggered the mysterious collapse of civilisations more than 4,000 years ago.’

‘[Dr Benny Peiser] said that craters recently found in Argentina date from around the same period – suggesting that the Earth may have been hit by a shower of large meteors at about the same time.’ [bold added]
The Dodwell hypothesis raises interesting questions at least.






  1. oldbrew says:

    In chapter 2 of Dodwell’s manuscript there’s a fairly detailed discussion of the errors of the ancient observations. Also contains illustrations of different measuring devices used.

  2. Paul Vaughan says:

    “They indicated a consistent and increasing divergence in past ages from the values calculated by means of Newcomb’s formula.”

    Unacceptable. Conventional models and “thinking” (giving the benefit of the doubt here despite whatever reliable mainstream shallowness) cannot possibly be wrong… (/sarc)

    Jail time for those who would dare to question conventional models & “thinking”. (/sarc)

  3. omnologos says:

    You’re better off separating the phenomenon from its cause, ie data from speculation. Nothing astral can change the inclination of a planet without ruining a lot more than an inclination.

  4. tallbloke says:

    The momentum required of an impacting object(s) hitting Earth at an optimal angle and location to cause such a reorientation of its axis is considerable.

    In general I prefer non-cataclysmic explanations. It is of interest that the Salvador model suffers a diminishment of coherence with the 10Be record going back earlier than around 2350BC. Could it be that a regime change in the interplanetary magnetic field around 2350BC caused the axis shift?

  5. Geoff Sharp says:

    My article some time ago addressed some of the questions raised.

    The Birkle crator discovered by the Holocene Impact Group seems to be related, but there is a 360 year dendrochronology error picked up through astronomical alignments that pulls it all into place.

    I have a paper in preparation.

  6. Chaeremon says:

    The orientation (alignment) of ancient edifice with astronomical observations has its fascination, here is a query for a recent series of research papers.

    Table 1 in the 5th report has an interesting overview: latitude and longitude (Φ and λ), azimuth (a) from inside looking out, and the angular height of the horizon (h) in that direction, and the corresponding declination (δ).

  7. Terry Miller says:

    Do these observations take into account that the sundials and the Great Pyramid are fixed to the ground, which itself is moving, albeit slowly, (uplift, rotation, translation) from tectonic activity of the continents?

  8. oldbrew says:

    TB says: ‘The momentum required of an impacting object(s) hitting Earth at an optimal angle and location to cause such a reorientation of its axis is considerable.’

    Could some kind of large-scale water release be involved? Biblical flood etc.

  9. Richard111 says:

    Interesting. And then there was that collapse of the ice sheet in America that is also blamed for sea level rise flooding the Mediterranean.

  10. Gerry Pease says:

    There is also this memorable part of Simon Newcomb’s legacy:

  11. oldbrew says:

    Was Simon Newcomb the basis of a Sherlock Holmes character?

    ‘Genius and philosopher, with a “brain of the first order,” Professor James Moriarty was the most dangerous criminal Sherlock Holmes ever grappled with. Over the years, several real-life masterminds have been suggested as the inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “spider in the center of the web.” If there really was a single person that was used (loosely) as the basis for the character, the front-runner is acclaimed American astronomer and mathematician, Professor Simon Newcomb.’

    It turns out that Drayson (see intro to this post) was a personal friend of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

  12. oldbrew says:

    This investigation comes to a similar conclusion to that of Dodwell.

    ‘The earth’s axial tilt – presenting evidence for it being much larger 4000 years ago’

    How the ancients could measure axial tilt:

  13. vukcevic says:

    Happy Christmas to all !

  14. Bloke down the pub says:

    a curve which, after allowing for all known changes, shows a typical exponential curve of recovery of the Earth’s axis after a sudden change from a former nearly vertical position to an inclination of 26½ degrees, from which it was returned to an equilibrium at the present inclination of 23½ degrees

    If the axis was vertical then there would be no seasons? I’m sure that a period without tree rings would show up in the dendro records. Does anyone know if it is there?

  15. Gerry Pease says:

    A good review of Dodwell’s work by Barry and Helen Setterfield can be found here:

    At the end of Setterfields’ manuscript of Dodwell’s Chapter 1 is Setterfields’s note: Dodwell has assumed here that the original axis tilt of the earth, before 2345 B.C., was nearly upright. For that reason, he supposed a very strong impact was necessary to jolt the earth from that position to its current 23.5 degree tilt. This is why a number of astronomers have rejected Dodwell’s work in this area. However, if the axis tilt was greater than its current axis tilt before 2345 B.C., then an impact of much less force would have been required to restore the earth to a slightly more upright position. The evidence for this greater axis tilt may be seen in the evidence of the ice age which covered most of Europe prior to 2345 B.C.

    Work by Dr. Benny Pieser of the Cambridge Conference Group and Dr. Moe Mandelkehr have shown that in period around 2345 B.C. climate, geological and archaeological changes occurred in which some important civilizations were destroyed — it appears the first Intermediate Period in Egypt occurred at this time. See the Conclusion for a list of references.

    At the end of Chapter two of Dodwell’s book, Dodwell concludes:

    An acute-angled gnomon would give too small a value for the obliquity. The striking thing, however, about the ancient observations, (with the exception of a few made by the early Arabs), is that they give a larger value for the obliquity than the theoretical one, and the difference increases greatly as we go back to the most ancient observations. The test of their accuracy lies not only in the foregoing practical investigation, but also in the remarkably accurate values of latitude which the ancient observations give.

    Summing up the evidence, therefore, it may be said that when the question of the errors, to which the ancient observations of the obliquity of the ecliptic were liable, is submitted to a practical experimental test, by using instruments and methods corresponding to those of ancient times, the results confirm the accuracy of the observations within one or two minutes of arc, and show that, in a long series of such observations by a careful observer, no great errors occur.

    This is of great importance, in view of the far-reaching conclusions derived from the ancient observations, and demonstrates that these conclusions are on a sound basis of observational fact.

    Conclusion [Barry and Helen Setterfield]

    George Dodwell died before this manuscript was finished. Thus, the last chapter on Tiahuanaco is brief, the material taken from his original material. However what he did do is summarized well in his Preface and Introduction.

    In the years he took to research the measurements of the obliquity of the eclipitic, or tilt of the earth’s axis, going back in time as far as possible, he found undeniable evidence that something happened to the tilt of the earth’s axis in 2345 B.C. The measurements actually taken differed from Newcomb’s curve of the mathematically figured obliquity (based on current earth movement) to a greater and greater degree the further back he looked. Thinking this might be due to early astronomical error, he checked each of these measurements for necessary corrections regarding parallax the semi-diameter of the sun and then against one another. The latitude at which the observations were made is inherent in the data. The latitude can be checked. When this check is performed, it turns out the latitude of the observations was completely accurate. He was impressed with their accuracy. The differences from Newcomb’s Curve were real.

    He studied some of the ancient temple/observatories. Their orientation towards summer and winter solstices were also ‘off’ by the amount the ancient observations showed. His conclusion, and the conclusion we find we also must draw, is that there was a sudden change in the tilt of the axis of the earth in or about 2345 B.C.

    Interestingly, this appears to correlate exactly with a number of disruptions of cultures in the world: it appears to have initiated the First Intermediate Period in Egypt, for instance. This is logical, since any impact event causing a change in the earth’s axis tilt would necessarily trigger earthquakes of a very large magnitude as well as volcanic eruptions and other local catastrophes. These events have been researched and documented, as referenced below.

    References regarding earth and cultural disruptions at about this time:

    from Moe M. Mandelkehr

    “An Integrated Model for an Earthwide Event at 2300 B.C. part I: The Archaeological Evidence,” SIS Review, Vol.V, 1983, pp 77-95

    “An Integrated Model for an Earthwide Event at 2300 B.C. part II: The Climatological Evidence,” Chronology and Catastrophism Review Vol. IX, 1987, pp 34-44

    “An Integrated Model for an Earthwide Even at 2300 B.C. part III: The Geological Evidence,” Chronology and Catastrophism Review Vol. X, 1987, pp 11-22

    “TheCausal Source for the Climatic Changes at 2300 B.C.” C&C Review 1999:1, pp 3-10

    “The Causal Source for the Geological Transients at 2300 B.C.” C&C Review, 1991:1, pp 11-16


    David Arthur Douglas, The Development and Demise of the Early Bronze Age IV

    Collapse of Early Bronze Age Civilisations: Has the Smoking Gun been Found?

    Catch a Falling Comet

    Sharad Master, Umm al Binni lake, a possible Holocene impact structure in the marshes of southern Iraq: Geological evidence for its age, and implications for Bronze-age Mesopotamia.

    Timo Niroma, Evidence for Major Impact Events in the late Third Millennium BC

    and The Third Millennium BC (3100-2100 BC)

    Proceedings of the Second SIS Cambridge Conference

    B.J. Peiser, Taurid Demons, Climate Change & the Collapse of Mankind’s First Urban Civilizations

  16. oldbrew says:

    The link I posted earlier today (5:19 PM) is headed:

    ‘The earth’s axial tilt – presenting evidence for it being much larger 4000 years ago’

  17. ferd berple says:

    Worlds in Collision is a book written by Immanuel Velikovsky and first published April 3, 1950. The book postulated that around the 15th century BCE, Venus was ejected from Jupiter as a comet or comet-like object, and passed near Earth (an actual collision is not mentioned). The object changed Earth’s orbit and axis, causing innumerable catastrophes that were mentioned in early mythologies and religions around the world. Many of the book’s claims are completely rejected by the established scientific community as they are not supported by any available evidence.

  18. oldbrew says:

    Re the Holocene Impact Group mentioned by Geoff Sharp: ‘Meteor ‘misfits’ find proof in sea’

    ‘Abbott estimates that the Burckle crater is 4,500 to 5,000 years old’

    That would be little more than the 2345 BC date that Dodwell estimated.

  19. Carol says:

    SIS (see did have an article on Dodwell by Paul Dunbavin who wrote two books on changes in the axis of rotation. He favoured a date around 3000BC and wrote to the family of Dodwell to ask permission to use his article on the subject for his own article. For various reasons he withdrew the article before it was printed but I still have a copy. The whereabouts of Paul Dunbavin are unknown to me at present as his email address is defunct. Basically, he reviewed all the data Dodwell used, including the temple of Karnak, and it seemed that Dodwell had made a series of assumptions that made his overall scheme a bit shaky. He was, after all, writing a long time a go, and new data turns up all the time. It was a fairly comprehensive look at Dodwell’s data, from a historical point of view, and it was found wanting. Dunbavin went on to claim the data did not contradict a 3000BC date for what he saw as a very small change in the axis of rotation. A far bigger change in the axis of rotation he dated to around 6200BC – which is the point that the North Sea basin was drowned and Sunda land was reduced to the islands of Indonesia. This, he explained, as a realignment of the geoid, the waters of the oceans finding a new equilibrium. I don’t see why we need a drastic adjustment to the tilt, a small one should be first assessed before jumping towards a big event.

  20. oldbrew says:

    Carol says: ‘A far bigger change in the axis of rotation he dated to around 6200 BC – which is the point that the North Sea basin was drowned and Sunda land was reduced to the islands of Indonesia.’

    Melting of massive ice dams may date to 6200 BC:

    ‘It has now been estimated by scientists that around 6200 BC the ancient glacial Lakes Agassiz and Ojibway discharged into the Atlantic Ocean. These lakes were more than twice the size of the Caspian Sea and on their own are estimated to have raised sea levels by up to 4 feet. The freshwater flow is calculated at between 25 and 50 times the flow of the Amazon River and recent studies suggest that this sudden inflow of fresh water brought the Gulf Streamto a halt for more than a hundred years. Nick Thom has suggested that an even more dramatic consequence of the discharge from Lake Agassiz was the tilting of the Earth’s axis leading to the biblical Deluge and recorded around the world in hundreds of flood myths.’

    Lake Agassiz melt/flood events occurred a number of times over millennia.

  21. Geoff Sharp says:

    oldbrew says:
    December 24, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    ‘Abbott estimates that the Burckle crater is 4,500 to 5,000 years old’

    That would be little more than the 2345 BC date that Dodwell estimated.

    The Holocene Impact Group are using dendrochronology or overlapping tree rings to date the Burckle crater. I have identified a 360 year anomaly in the tree ring record around 2800BC by using astronomical records to calibrate the Holocene solar proxy record, which would put the event very close to 2345BC (assuming Dodwell is not using the dendrochronology record for dating purposes).

    There is another french group studying a large impact at around 2500BC, their dating method is not via the tree ring method. The two groups are probably studying the same impact. I have had numerous contact with the Holocene Impact Group, they are very interested in my findings.

  22. dp says:

    I’m not much of a fan of mysterious earth-shaking events for which there is no evidence and am more inclined to accept an error in dating such that the blame could lay, for example, with the Storrega slides which are well documented. They also represented rather large scale relocations of seafloor in a very short time frame. It is a fascinating to think such a shift can have happened and was recorded in sun dials.

  23. oldbrew says:

    Dodwell calculated seven ‘semi-oscillation’ periods of 599 years, working backwards from 1850, arriving at ~2345 BC.

  24. Graeme No.3 says:

    I notice the coincidence with the end of the Ness of Brodgar in Orkney which is dated around 2300B, after about 1,000 years occupation. Archeologists found sign of a grand final feast with much slaughter of cattle, as if the inhabitants knew they weren’t not coming back. Also noting that there is strong evidence of interest in astronomy by them.
    An approaching comet/asteroid would be speculation.

  25. oldbrew says:

    How much confidence is merited in official forecasts of axial tilt? Apparently the 1976 Lieske standard that was supposed to improve on Newcomb’s calculations, was itself found to be going off target (‘significant systematic differences’) as early as 2002.

    The new method is itself only valid until 2050, or so they claim.

  26. oldbrew says:

    From Wikipedia:

    Marie-Agnès Courty is a French geologist of the CNRS who works at the European Centre for Prehistoric Research, in Tautavel (Pyrénées-Orientales).

    She has theorised that the impact of an object (asteroid or comet) of around 1 km in diameter hit the Earth, in the Southern Hemisphere close to the Kerguelen Islands around 4000 years ago (around 2350 BC). This cataclysm led to a great deal of incandescent material, which could explain myths such as the Apocalypse and Sodom and Gomorrah. She arrived at this conclusion after discovering pockets of earth dating from this era that had been heated to more than 1500°C in a number of areas, notably in Syria and France. A series of chevrons point toward a spot in the middle of the Indian Ocean where newly discovered Burckle crater,[1] 18 miles in diameter, lies 12,500 feet below the surface.

    2350 BC fits Dodwell’s calculations very closely – see graphic above.
    This research is cited by Timo Niroma in ‘The Third Millennium BC (3100-2100 BC)’:

    ‘Chiefio’ discusses some of the issues here, including work by Niroma and Courty:

  27. I doubt this happened. If something could shift the earth axis that sudden it would have had much more far reaching effects then what historical data shows.

    Terrestrial impacts and climate change are not convincing in the least.

  28. a curve which, after allowing for all known changes, shows a typical exponential curve of recovery of the Earth’s axis after a sudden change from a former nearly vertical position to an inclination of 26½ degrees, from which it was returned to an equilibrium at the present inclination of 23½ degrees

    If the axis was vertical then there would be no seasons? I’m sure that a period without tree rings would show up in the dendro records. Does anyone know if it is there?

    I concur and this path for explanations for changes in the earth’s climate is the wrong path. RIDICULU

  29. oldbrew says:

    SDP: not many trees still alive from 2350 BC.

    But looking at the graphic above – Dodwell’s ‘final curve’ – it starts at 26′ 30″ in 2350 BC.
    (oldbrew says: December 25, 2014 at 8:38 am)

  30. old brew it does not make any sense. My opinion.

  31. oldbrew says:

    That’s fine, but your opinion seems to be linked to something that was not claimed to be true?

  32. Carol says:

    Why does Salvatore assume the tilt was upright at any point in the recent past? Where did he get that idea from. Not only that, although Marie Anes Courty is thinking in terms of asteroid or comet she is not necessarily thinking in terms of a single object. How about a meteor storm?

  33. oldbrew says:

    Carol: the meteor shower angle was covered in the post – see Dr Peiser’s comments and the Daily Telegraph link.

  34. Seems very interesting, have copied the manuscript for further reading. The Karnak temple is definitely more recent than the Pyramids which have been dated. A reference I just looked at says it dates from 2055 BC So Dodwell’s calculations might be out but I need to read more. There is no doubt that the Egyptians used sun worship and knew about the solstice and the movement of earth and position of stars.

  35. oldbrew says:

    Carol says: ‘Why does Salvatore assume the tilt was upright at any point in the recent past? Where did he get that idea from.’

    Probably here (from Dodwell’s notes in the blog post) : ‘I find a curve which, after allowing for all known changes, shows a typical exponential curve of recovery of the Earth’s axis after a sudden change from a former nearly vertical position to an inclination of 26½ degrees, from which it was returned to an equilibrium at the present inclination of 23½ degrees during the interval of the succeeding 3,194 years to A.D. 1850.’
    [‘3,194’ should read ‘4,194’]

    It appears to be a misinterpretation of what Dodwell meant by ‘vertical’, e.g. see this diagram with its vertical line:

  36. oldbrew says:

    @ cementafriend: for Dodwell’s analysis of Karnak, see here:

    Dodwell concludes:
    ‘The remarkable curve which unites the observations of the famous astronomers of early times with those of the present connects accurately with the value found, at the date of the foundation of the Karnak Solar Temple, 2045 B.C., by the measurement of the orientation of its axis, and the resulting position of the Sun at the summer solstice, when at its setting it shone straight down the axis and illuminated the centre of the sanctuary at that time.

    We could hardly have a more convincing proof that the curve is correct.’

  37. dscott says:

    Actually, there may be another explanation other than a meteor impact. The level of the oceans were some 450 ft lower at the end of last ice age (beginning of Holocene) some 11,700 years ago. The Lake Agassiz burst was around 8,200 years ago. With all that water weight locked up in ice, i.e. miles deep glaciers on the Northern Hemispheric continents, is it possible that the obliquity was changed relatively quickly in geologic terms by melt of those glaciers by the beginning of the Holocene Period? Think of a top heavy gyroscope. The weight distribution of the earth’s surface was clearly different then than now.

    We currently tend to think in terms that earth’s obliquity at 22.1 degrees would be in the depths of an ice age, where the time period leading up that point would be a cooling planet with growing ice caps and glaciers. What if ice accumulation and melting potentiates Newcomb’s obliquity curve causing a speed up or slow down of the change in obliquity?

  38. oldbrew says:

    Unless there are any recorded measurements of obliquity before 2350 BC the mystery, if there is one, may never be solved.

  39. oldmanK says:

    Just came across this blog.

    The following is based on years of research, presently heading into print.

    G Dodwell was correct, but very likely not for the reasons he thought. There is other proof, and of other obliquity changes prior to the 23xx bce, from other sources, all measurable from ancient buildings. There appears to have been periods of periodic obliquity changes.

    The likely process that fitted the evidence is this: Paper “has climate changed the earth’s tilt?” by D Rubincam. But not in thousands of years, only in a few centuries. 31xx/29xx, and 23xx are just two markers.

  40. oldmanK says:

    On the off-chance that there is still interest in this thread, there is something to look into if someone may be interested enough to take it up. I have been roaming this site since I found it and I note there is a lot of interest in ‘climate change’, so the required brainpower, and the data, is available.

    It is something I already looked into but my means and my data on this so far is limited and considered unreliable.

    The question is this. If Dodwell was correct and the earth obliquity increased when he said it did, the following may be evident. Solar insolation at the polar caps would increase, and between the tropics decrease (the idea came from Prof L Thompson Quelccaya discovery of suddenly frozen plants). Then this may be evident from comparable proxies (the deuterium isotope) in the ice cores.

    My source was Wiki-Dragon’s flight “Holocene temp variations”. Selected the Vostok, Gisp2 and Kilimanjaro temp traces. Problem 1: at the Younger Dryas all curves should correlate chronologically, especially the polar, a known factor (see Gisp2 site). The gisp2 trailed behind by 1100 years????? So i moved it.

    At 23xx bce the polar traces coincide nicely in a peak, and the equatorial in a trough. At 3xxx bce the opposite takes place, the Piora oscillation.

    Any comments? This may all be considered trivial, but if correct, than most of what is said about climate change, for or against, needs reviewing.

  41. oldbrew says:

    oldmanK: ‘Solar insolation at the polar caps would increase’

    But the polar caps would have moved if the obliquity changed?

  42. oldmanK says:

    Not according to D P Rubincam’s paper. They wax and wane with the changes but retain position.

  43. oldmanK says:

    dscott above seems to have -independently-guessed as much.

  44. oldbrew says:

    Dodwell’s ‘semi-oscillation’ periods of 599 years are interesting. This is Figure 4 in link (a) [see post].

  45. oldmanK says:

    Yes and no.

    I did work it out also, based on data from a paper by A Wittmann “The obliquity of the ecliptic”, assuming a step change without any oscillation when settling out. The main aim was to reproduce the divergence from calculations from the various formulae.

    But I seek other evidence not connected to Dodwell. The holocene temp variations is one.

    Another, the first I stumbled on, is from man-made structures, all calendars, but that’s a long story.

    Today when Ponponius Mela says “four times the stars changed their course” or Plato “now this has the form of a myth but really signifies a declination of the bodies of the heavens—” I see them differently.

  46. Chaeremon says:

    @oldmanK says (March 31, 2015 at 5:51 pm): Another, the first I stumbled on, is from man-made structures […] Today when Ponponius Mela says […] or Plato […] I see them differently.

    We can discuss this in email. Ask admin (contact form) to forward a message from you to me. I’m sure I’m interested in your story.

  47. oldmanK says:

    Oldbrew, thks. There are others also. However unless one makes correlations that can be dated, one remains in a wilderness.

    For example 31xx bce or thereabouts is full of events (Remember the hype on 2012 date. did the Maya count after all count or keep time from such event? there are a number of correlations). Similarly for 2200-2400 bce.

    Chaeremon: OK, I see if it works.

  48. oldmanK says:

    Chaeremon, I tried twice to send message but it seems it did not work. You may try from your end if you don’t mind.

    oldbrew, I return to your comment re the “semi oscillation” periods. Of all the material that I found on this matter none that I know of tried to comment or analyse it. I have a sort of passing aquaintance with the shape of that curve. It is like the response of an underdamped system to a step forcing. However the various points can also be made to fit a curve for slight underdamping, with a little overshoot but no oscillation on settling out.

    However in all cases the settling is to a new position. After all, all formulae proposed since Newcombe use as a constant an empirical value of obliquity. I think this can vary without effecting the rest of the mathematical model. The effect of a transient.

    Today it is relatively easy to set up an Excel table showing curves according to the Lieske and Wittmann formulae, as well as fitting an exponential to those ancient measurements and readings. Dodwell’s argument will become obvious.

    See here for Wittmann data ….

    If Admin would allow posting this link, find here the background to my first post.

    Agriculture is severely handicapped without a reliable solar calendar, especially with changing weather patterns. Experimenting with an early model proved the technique accurate more that was necessary. But there were anomalies.

  49. oldbrew says:

    oldmanK: IIRC one of Dodwell’s arguments was that the Newcomb formula performed badly trying to ‘hindcast’ the actual known historical obliquities – in his opinion at least.

  50. oldmanK says:

    If I’m not mistaken that was the basis of his work. Wittmann (one reliable source) in the link above mentions such a “significant discrepancy” (last page). The link below tries to debunk Dodwell but finally in the conclusion also admits to “not squaring up with conventional”.

    To be clear, my interest in Dodwell’s work was to find corroboration for what I found in totally different situation. Evolution of design over two millennia left me little doubt, but I wanted corroboration from at least another two independent sources.

    Someone out there may find fault in those sources. Good, that is why I am posting.

  51. Chaeremon says:

    oldmanK (April 2, 2015 at 6:04 pm) says “Chaeremon, I tried twice to send message but it seems it did not work.”

    @oldbrew: ? did we break a rule ? oldmanK used the blog’s contact form as we wrote above, to get a message to my email.

    oldmanK (April 2, 2015 at 6:04 pm) says “You may try from your end if you don’t mind.” I think that’d be wrong direction (me requesting your email from admin, no no, smells like spamming).

    @oldmanK: Try this, directly: attach to my nick, it should work by now.

    [reply] Sorry, can’t see any message

  52. oldbrew says:

    Newcomb v Yukteswar: see para. 10 ‘One Hundred Year Test’ in pdf (link below).

    ‘Thus we have two different predictions for the rate of change between 1900 and 2000.
    Yukteswar = .000349″p/y
    Newcomb = .000222″p/y
    The actual rate of change for the precession observable (or change in angular velocity of the solar system along its binary orbit path in the dynamic SS model) was .000346″p/y (derived by subtracting the year 1900 precession rate from the 2000 precession rate, according to the Astronomical Almanac).’

    Click to access Earth%20Orientation-Springer.pdf

    This is not necessarily proof of anything – except that lunisolar theory is less than convincing as it stands – but ranks as interesting at least.
    For a blog discussion including the author of the pdf, see here:

  53. oldmanK says:

    oldbrew, your two links, have too many words and too many numbers for my ken, but I ask a question. What is it all worth if Dodwell was right? Dodwell pointed to a transient that is inherent to earth and may have little or nothing to do with the secular behaviour of the solar system.

    An article I revisited, in SIS( )pointed to this blog. It had something interesting. Here quoting M Baillie on tree ring dating. I invite readers to read it (it is short) along with an earlier post of mine on the reading of ice records.

    Coincidence, or the devil at work?

  54. oldbrew says:

    Tim Cullen has waded into this topic (Dodwell comes in halfway through):

  55. Roger Clague says:

    There is good evidence from Dodwell and others that the Earth tilt was more than 1degree greater 4-5000 years ago. The reduced to 23.5 now.
    The simplest explanation is that it was 23.5. Then changed suddenly (by impact?) to 25 and now is back to 23.5.
    Why is 23.5 the equilibrium angle? It is not an accident. It must be caused by the structure of the planet itself.
    I have found that ALL large solar system bodies have tilt of
    1. 0 or 180, (spherical)
    2. 90 or 23-28 (tetrahedral)
    The 23-28 angle is to get the center of gravity lower equilibrium position , 19.5. + Effect of other solar bodies. 0 is not stable for a tetrahedron. 90 is stable

    A sphere is formed by a hot body
    A tetrahedron is formed by a party cooled body. This is because it has the greater surface/volume than sphere. So allows core to cool faster.

    Tetrahedral Earth
    1. Oceans in the 4 faces
    2. Continents at corners and along edges
    3. Northern Hemisphere E-W continuous around Arctic Sea
    4. Southern Hemisphere N-S land in 3 continents pointing to Antarctic continent.

  56. oldbrew says:

    An impact that melted a lot of ice could perhaps change the balance of the Earth by relocating a lot of the resulting water elsewhere, at the same time reducing the mass/weight at the zone of impact? Dodwell refers to flooding.

  57. oldmanK says:

    Quote “There is good evidence from Dodwell and others that the Earth tilt was more than 1degree greater 4-5000 years ago.”

    That is not exactly what Dodwell said. He said the Earth tilt changed from a much lower value to somewhat more than it is today. Pls also see an earlier post of mine.

    Ancient megalithic calendars built after 3000 bce have recorded the ‘before and after’ of that change in their construction and subsequent modification. Tilt was between 14 to 15 deg before and more than 24 after a transient increase of short (non secular) duration. Dodwell put the date for the change at 2345bce. None is known from the megalithic structure. Since the earlier post the same 2345 date turned up from dendrochronology.

    “”Unfortunately”” reverse-engineering the structures -over a long period of design evolution, and their mathematical precision- leaves little room for error from what is an ugly fact.

  58. oldmanK says:

    oldbrew, no impact is necessary. The process described here fits quite “”nicely””:

    One and a half such cycles seem to be recorded. Flooding is one consequence, the other- seismic disturbance, which is definitely evident.

  59. oldbrew says:

    oldmanK: your earlier link (April 2, 2015 at 7:25 pm) does indeed ‘try to debunk Dodwell’:

    ‘Dodwell’s hypothesis is highly dependent upon early measurements of the obliquity of the ecliptic that are not supported by Egyptologists.’

    What were the builders of Karnak doing?

    Re ‘Has climate changed the Earth’s tilt?’ that’s the reverse of the usual question. Worth a thought though.

  60. oldmanK says:

    Leave out the measurements from stone-henge and karnak. You still get a curve that departs from the standard Newcomb formula, and best fit is a decaying exponential (30-60 min fiddling with excel will prove it beyond doubt).

    What surprises me is how did Dodwell come up with a figure of 2345bce which is precisely the date to the year from dendrochronology of several decades later.

    Fishy?? or missing the trees for being colour-blind to green.

    The Newcomb formula is a steady-state secular response. dodwell’s is a transient response to a step change to a new state.

  61. oldbrew says:

    There’s an inconsistency in saying Newcomb’s figures are better than those Dodwell’s research found, when we know Newcomb’s figures are not that accurate over the long term either, having already been revised twice (comment: December 26, 2014 at 5:54 pm).

    They now say they’re not sure beyond 2050, so how can they be sure the ancients were wrong? Seems like mere assertion.

  62. oldmanK says:

    There is no inconsistency, they are two different things–that are quite compatible. Newcomb’s formula models the change in obliquity (whether it is applicable for tens of years or centuries or millennia is not so important), while Dodwell’s tries to explain why there exist discrepancies between the formula derived numbers, and the numbers from the actual measurements made in the historical past.

    Dodwell explained it by saying that in the questioned measurements the earth exhibits a transient motion over and above its secular motion. Importantly Dodwell said the transient change was quite sudden (meaning short duration not in decades of years)

    The question therefore is how to prove or disprove Dodwell. My original input was that there is evidence that he was quite right.

  63. oldbrew says:

    Dodwell’s date looks to have credibility.

    ‘In 2011 Mike Baillie, the renowned dendrochronologist, had a PowerPoint presentation(d) at the Quantavolution Conference in Athens, which offered tree-ring evidence that clearly demonstrated an ‘event’ in 2345BC.’

  64. oldbrew says:

    Theoretically there could have been a Dansgaard-Oeschger type of event around 2350 BC.
    These appear to be linked to triple conjunctions of Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune, and are thought to occur every 1470 years. There was a close J-S-N conjunction in 590 AD, and 590 AD – (2 x 1470y) = 2350 BC.

    ‘In the Northern Hemisphere, they take the form of rapid warming episodes, typically in a matter of decades, each followed by gradual cooling over a longer period’

    J-S-N conjunction:

  65. oldmanK says:

    From the Athens presentation material it was surprising to see that dendrochronology is very precise-to the year-. However it does not indicate the cause. Still extremely important as a chronological marker.

    Dodwell’s premise was an obliquity change, from low to high. Not just a warming. That warming may be the result of a major climate change. Planetary conjunctions may be a trigger to another process (but still needs to be proven).

    Dodwell’s hypothesis is supported by other findings, megalithic structures. However these also indicate that no further obliquity oscillations took place after 2345, the reason I attribute (for lack of other info) to overall cooling as is evidenced in the “Wiki temp variations for Holocene”.

    Mike Baillie’s work also points to another major disturbance at 3195bce, which is also corroborated by the megalithic structures, this time also datable. Both events were cataclysmic, of very short duration, and both have historical support. What suddenly froze plants discovered by Lonnie Thompson on the Cuelccaya did not take decades, but much less.

    I find there is considerable evidence when one takes a wider view of things, and placed correctly they all add up.

  66. oldbrew says:

    SIS looks at recent internet commentary on Dodwell.

    Tim Cullen’s latest Dodwell post:

  67. oldmanK says:

    oldbrew, both links seem to lack understanding of what Dodwell was saying in his hypothesis. Newcomb’s formula and what it is intended to show was not questioned. Dodwell just said there is more to the matter than that.

    See this link which considers the same problem. See summary at the beginning.

    Wittmann here discusses the same facts. Note that he makes no use of Karnak or Stone henge derived data. Still finds the same anomalous discrepancies. He also proposes a different formula to that of Lieske and Newcomb. All of the various formulas are in agreement (different models of basically the same thing) but all have the same disagreement with the ancient measurements.

  68. Roger Clague says:

    oldmanK says:
    May 5, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    Dodwell just said there is more to the matter than that.

    What did Dodwell say

    A thorough analysis and support here

    Dowell thought the tilt started at a low tilt, 5 degrees. . He was thinking of the Garden of Eden, with a more gently varying seasons. Then a change to 27degrees. Not likely.

    I think at the time of the 3degree ( 2345 BC?) change, the tilt was the expected Newcomb tilt of 24degree.
    The a more likely smaller change to 27. Finally a slow decay curve back to the Newcomb curve.

  69. oldbrew says:

    Maybe when the angle of tilt exceeds a certain value something suddenly happens i.e. the proverbial ‘tipping point’.

  70. oldmanK says:

    @ Roger Clague

    I have seen the site in the link some years ago (the last posting in it is mine). Overall it was going nowhere.

    Dodwell suspected that above the normal secular changes the earth obliquity exhibited a transient change. A change from a lower value. What that value was and for what reason or cause he had no idea.

    My reason for posting on this thread is that that value is measurable from ancient structures (I found that before the Dodwell manuscript appeared on-line–and was quite shocked to be honest). That value is about 14-15deg (derived from solstice to solstice sunrise movement on horizon of 36deg at latitude 35.8deg north—-so you also know from what).

    No garden of Eden, possibly weather changes would be wilder, with colder polar and hotter equatorial regions. That also leads to another test. Ice cores ought to show contra changes between polar and equatorial ice fields\glaciers in an obliquity change. That is also evident, but not so reliable, since I found the sources are not so comparable chronologically. (Intentionally obfuscated data??? or just unreliable). Recent geology also points to that. So does prehistory, the old myths.

    The ~3deg obliquity movement of the Newcomb formula is the normal secular movement, but that does not rule out changes of the mean at which that movement occurs. ie there can be a transient jump with slight overshoot to a new level followed by an exponential decay.

    In fact that is what I see that is evident. A slightly under-damped jump (to 25-26??) and a slow decay to a new stable position.

    And it happened more than once.

    ps. I would like to see the manuscript in the original format if anyone has it. It is at the Mortlock library in Victoria down under, but i read someone also has had access to an original.

  71. Roger Clague says:

    oldmanK says:
    May 5, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    The ~3deg obliquity movement of the Newcomb formula is the normal secular movement, but that does not rule out changes of the mean at which that movement occurs. ie there can be a transient jump with slight overshoot to a new level followed by an exponential decay.

    Tilt varies 22-22.5 over 5million years. At it is at present, 22.4, that half way and not changing much.
    Why is the mean tilt of Earth 22.3? Mars, Saturn and Neptune all in range 23 -28.
    I suggest it is caused by the tetrahedral shape of the Earth. Look at arrangement of oceans and continents.
    Other planets are either near 0 or 180, stable for a sphere
    Hot> spherical>0 or 180
    Cooling>tetrahedral> 23-28.

  72. oldbrew says:

    ‘For the past 5 million years, Earth’s obliquity has varied between 22° 02′ 33″ and 24° 30′ 16″, with a mean period of 41,040 years. This cycle is a combination of precession and the largest term in the motion of the ecliptic. For the next 1 million years, the cycle will carry the obliquity between 22° 13′ 44″ and 24° 20’ 50″ ‘ (Wikipedia)

  73. oldmanK says:

    Quote Roger Clague “Tilt varies 22-22.5 over 5million years.”

    No, that is only a backward extrapolation of the Newcomb formula. There is no proof that it was so. If anything the proof is to the contrary. And for the first time that proof is coming from a man-made object that could be reverse-engineered. Not one, a good number, with I dare say, inescapable conclusion. (I correct myself: for the second time, since the first time were the ancient measurements of obliquity which tell their own story, which is that the extrapolated formula does not follow reality).

    ‘Abrupt climate change’ is showing that none of the many ideas and suggestions that have been put forward about the earth and its behavior have provided an explanation for it. And that is the summary of many of the papers written that touch on the subject.

    There is another aspect to be realised here. What Dodwell was putting forward was something that for humanity was\is not easy to stomach. Velikovsky did say once that “humanity is in denial of what it experienced in the past”. So many suggestions tend to take the form of “things will always be so for ever”. It is the more acceptable and liked conclusion. BUT.

  74. oldmanK says:

    Some evidence proving that Dodwell had the right hunch about obliquity and that his analysis was correct.

    If site allows (cannot post pic by itself), in the link below is a pic showing a nest of calendars, Mnajdra, built consecutively over a span of 2K years (possibly more). Latest still correctly aligned to sunrise equinox. All built to equinox-to-solstice sunrise angle 18deg., but the last built has alteration to extend to 29deg. (today’s obliquity, at latitude 35.8deg).

    Very accurate solar year calendars, showing also design evolution over the centuries. Same principle employed but different method of application (shown in other pics), very evident when considered together with several other similar structures. The mathematically derived shape and dimensions are evident of intentional design and of purpose.

    Evidence of past cataclysms exist from historical texts (Plato, Herodotus, Mela, Maqrizi), from dendrochronological evidence giving accurate dates, and these megalithic structures where the original purpose of which is quite evident.

  75. Chaeremon says:

    @oldmanK (August 14, 2015 at 5:18 am):

    Impressive pictures, yet incomplete analysis? Observe the sun-rise/set against moon-rise/set at the horizon, it translates declination for you, and that is +/- 5° the ~9-10° difference you want to attribute to catastrophic change in obliquity. Example (at 30° long+lat, any non-polar regions will do, time-frame here taken for around ~3600bce):

    Note that the curve is ratcheting on the Metonic (19 yrs) cycle and on the Saros (18 yrs+days) cycle, and to find the science behind the ratchet was IHMO quite a multi-generational enterprise in archaic times.

  76. oldmanK says:

    Hi Chaeremon,

    There are two important issues with these structures (long story) but briefly:

    a)they were primarily agrarian year calendars,evident also from cultural connections. In agriculture solar position/day length is the determining factor (azimuth at sunrise). Moon movement not important (ask Hesiod, he knows) and anyway not always visible inside since opening was limited to 18deg. except in last phase.

    b)Impressive pictures! perhaps because Photoshop is a very versatile tool even for an old dog. It allows to show up clearly what the structures were intended to show, a simple solar calendar design yet efficient and reliable, and easy to read; with none of the complications (Hipparchian). But then the same sudden change of axial orientation evident at all sites spells calamities (note: corroborated).

    c)The one single site where the viewing angle changes from 18deg (as per previous unit, and others elsewhere) to 29deg I cannot relate to anything functional involving the moon. The simplicity of the function points to only one source – obliquity. No date to that change but the 2345 bce predicted by Dodwell is then near to several known civilisation collapse noted these last years (Maltese, Orkney, Swiss..).

    d)Quote ” was IHMO quite a multi-generational enterprise in archaic times”. Undoubtedly so. But remember these structures pre-date those generations by minimum 3000 years. Yet it can predict, in advance from observation, solstice day accurately (today several internet sites visited say you cannot).

  77. Chaeremon says:

    @oldmanK (August 14, 2015 at 7:31 pm) said “Yet it can predict, in advance from observation, solstice day accurately.”

    I don’t know the internet sites you mentioned in passing but, three years from now: what time will the sun rise? And eight years from now, what time will the sun rise? And eleven, and nineteen years? If only the sun is observed, by how many quarters of the day does your prediction fail?

    For your remark on function, can you read this function:

  78. oldmanK says:


    In answer to your question: the purpose of that calendar is agrarian. Meaning the important prediction is the number of days to the next solstice. Very important when it comes to knowing the time of the sowing of corn (grain, wheat and barley). Again ask Hesiod, he was very clear on that; failure=famine. As to accuracy, from 40-30 days before, an important time for the peasant, accuracy is better than a quarter day. (Tentatively simulated by blowing up to full scale in photoshop, then easy to see that it is possible).

    To the peasant, even today, sunrise time three years from now is of no importance. But that question raises other questions that are related to Dodwell.

    a)An obliquity change brings climate change (abrupt?) causing changes in land productivity. There is evidence of falling grain production about that time from cuneiform texts. See also Related? Then when will the mounting evidence stops being coincidence?

    b)There is evidence of previous obliquity changes (ratcheting) in the calendars during the ‘Holocene maximum’, possibly explained by climate friction theory. If I interpret correctly, that theory predicts change in earth inertia axes ratio from changing ice loading at polar caps. That will vary the day length\spin and days in a year. Is there evidence of that? I suspect yes too (the early design suffered from the fraction of day in year length by delaying sunrise year to year, which was compensated. it shows change ). In which case also, ‘multigeneration calculations’ will be in error.

    As to the attached, ah very nice. I am trying to device one for the first few seconds of the sunrise, from inside the small box model. Seeing is believing. I watched it several times. Not only stunning in spite of its being small and somewhat crude, but takes me back several thousand years in time.

  79. Chaeremon says:

    @oldmanK (August 15, 2015 at 8:45 am) said “Meaning the important prediction is the number of days to the next solstice. Very important when it comes to knowing the time of the sowing of corn.”

    Not it is not. Two thirds of my family (in Lower Saxony and in Pomeranian Voivodeship) either sowed or milled or baked, and most of the farmers around us brought their Sunday roast on Saturday afternoon, for the time when there’s always residual heat in the baker’s oven for the impending non-workday.

    When is time for sowing? It’s not dictated by “translations” and hallucionations of know-it-all scholars (who never picked up anything from the dirt in the acres) and also not dictated by their un-authenticatable inventions of archaic famines in the fairytales they sell as “history”.

    Did you really not know when is sowing time, c’mon (hint, hint; wink, wink: almanac is a good start for rigorous research …).

    As for “I am trying to device one for the first few seconds of the sunrise, from inside the small box model.” good idea, trust what everybody else can see as well.

    As to “‘multigeneration calculations’ will be in error” right you are! Sincere welcome! And, how can this only be compensated? please you suggest …

  80. oldmanK says:


    Have to disagree with you on Hesiod. For the Med latitude where the calendars are the poet was quite precise. To check myself I confirmed with the peasant, familiars, old hands in the field. Optimum sowing time (but site specific) is late Nov early Dec, about 20 days before the winter solstice. The solstice celebrated the sprouting of the new corn, the awakened nature, the awakened child, not the sun. But that was way before Hesiod (remember the two ladies and child). For star lore check Hesiod with this

    As for the almanac I choose traditional experience rather than partly superstition. The modern trends have no place here. Your folks, like mine, had a calendar (and almanac) which we take for granted. Take both out of the formula when going back 6000 years, you are then in Hesiod’s –what, sandals?.

    The matter of compensation for the extra 1\4 day of the year length. Equinox (the point of axial orientation)in the old horse-shoe design falls back a quarter of daily movement each year. Shifting the pin-hole or oculus sideways compensated. The fourth move is back to original and adds a day (in effect that is the leap year). The old design has holes at the focal point, possibly for that but not sure. Those holes disappeared in the alterations and in the later new design. But not all have same no of holes, possibly indicating a changed year length.

  81. Chaeremon says:

    @oldmanK (August 15, 2015 at 7:59 pm), it is impossible to disagree on sowing time, your description is quite accurate but you miss the causative point: sowing begins soon after the fruit are so dry (etc) that they fall down on soil (generalized here a bit to keep it simple & brief), and that time-frame is indeed ~until ~solstice. Therefore the farmer takes precaution by reaping the (naturally) immature fruit long in advance (depending on their facilities for processing, storing and realizing them in the future). So yes: on solstice we agree (no wonder ;-).

    As to the accuracy: you cannot bring evidence that No Architects and No Engineers made the buildings so thoughtful that they troubled you so enormously after (how many?) dozens of centuries, for you to reconstruct a realistic authenticatable function.

    Therefore I disagree that the expected time of day played no role to your ‘pagan’ architects and engineers. By your interpretation they could never be bothered that obliquity went out of phase, and so you already contradict yourself, in terms. I’m not interested in discussing such contradictions, that would full-stop my interest right now.

    Still by your interpretation, your ‘pagan’ architects and engineers who, by academic priggishness never received education due to academically invented ‘pagan’ stupidness, these uncouth dirty pigs compared Nothing to Nothing and concluded Nothing, except that a new building was due. Geee. But this silliness and arrogance is exclusively reserved for mentally lazy and educationally subnormal (pre-pre-pre any form of normal) academics who nurse their mental disorders on the taxpayer’s dime, like the climate-astrologers do nowadays.

    The reality of your ‘pagan’ architects and engineers, for whom is was easy to trouble your research so queasily (? ok this word?) had, due to the independence by the replicable gains from agriculture (always in combination with animal husbandry) soo much time that they eg. asked: what time has this interesting looking star in the ecliptic. And now, what is your answer?

    B.t.w. the 1/4 day ‘leap’ was not the question (it is inaccurate anyways, just simulate for 33 years as the Heath brothers Robin and Richard did here on tallbloke, then see for yourself), instead I asked: for how many quarters of a day is your prediction wrong if, as you insist, you only observe The Sun. Just ask if this seems confusing, or tell the answer.

    As to “Take both [almanac/calendar] out of the formula when going back 6000 years”, and where are we then? Do you really see a shred of difference between storing information and storing information? If so, tell the difference or else accept reality.

    Ah, b.t.w. not to be forgotten: do you know the two messengers of a forthcoming famine, can you tell who they are and what their message is and why?

  82. oldmanK says:

    I will try to answer your last post (somewhat cryptic), but also keeping Dodwell in the picture.
    Allow me first to quote Frederick Leroy Sargent about the cereals. “He (man) has repaid their bounty by his care. As they have fed him, he has enriched the soil in which they grew; as they have helped him to travel, he has carried them to fresh fields in distant lands; as they have served him in war, he has fought against their enemies; as through their wealth man has multiplied, and great nations have peopled the earth, he has established these plants in ever increasing numbers throughout the world. Wild grasses and savages have thus through mutual help developed into cultivated cereals and civilized men.”

    Cereals made civilisations. The story of their development is the pre-history of man. From the earliest attempt at selective breeding, the folklore, myths and cult that developed from it; the early zodiac as a calendar, which IS based on the cereal life-cycle; –and on. To discover the identity of those two ladies took all that (if it is allowed my pointing so).

    So it is agreed, they would ask “what time has this interesting star, (or star group) in the ecliptic”. But they would have also noted their sudden declination (Plato) or that they changed their course four times (Herodotus, Mela). Certainly it was not precession; 4 x 26000 years is too long a time even for generations of Egyptians to notice. Incidentally four times the design of the megalithic calendar had to change due to what could only be a change of obliquity.

    “Take the calendar out of the formula” meant do not project present day calendar into prehistory. There was the early zodiac, but that is a poor calendar.

    The next bit was complicated and yes confusing at first (and maybe still). I looked up the Heath article; now I appreciate better your great interest in Luni-solar numbers. But let me start from the beginning here. The ‘leap’ matter I referred to is a possible indication of a changing day length, giving a different number of days in an earth orbit, between 5000bce and 2345bce. If that is so, and there are other indications, then the many numbers in the Heath article, especially to four decimal places, could be in error.

    Something curious I found, Heath said ‘use of degrees obscured data’. Why use degrees anyway, and 360 to the circle? Go back to the latest calendar design, where you find the exact date from the quadrant. A quadrant covers a season, which can be anything from under 88days to over 93. If you needed a scale to compare to as an aid, what number is best? A quadrant is best divided by its own radius, thirds and thirds-of-thirds. In the Heath correspondence an “Ishtar–” made an interesting observation about Babylonian wisdom. Oldest cuneiform texts are 2nd millennium, but refer to 4th millennium according to the Sumerologist T Jacobsen (1976). He then said “ (but) in the archaeology of Mesopotamia the fourth millennium is conspicuous by its absence”. It still is.

    I do not know the messengers of the forthcoming famine. Something else worries me. The academics who poke the glaciers of the polar caps, and the equatorial ice, provided some numbers that are worrying when compared, but I mentioned that above, so no more of it.

  83. Chaeremon says:

    @oldmanK (August 17, 2015 at 3:20 pm) Hey, thanks, good food for thought. But we still have differences in our thinking (we should, we are individuals).

    Eg. counting the number of days (by only observing The Sun) does not give you the year length nor the day(s) of solstice, instead an interval is needed to which comparison can to be made (and this is where systematic education had to begin even in archaic times), the interval is man made for being able to compare, do you understand this? Look on your wrist watch: it is out of sync with noon on at least 363 days of the year. Agreement has to be found and made among people to be able to talk about the same thing and mean the same thing (even Confucius told you so). We know this is the agreement about The Sun Observed in its Shadow, a place of shadow which does not depend on height and size of trees and bushes (nor woodlands on hills at the horizon), apparently these archaic shadow markers spread together with skills for cereal farming (and always animal husbandry) over Europe, Doggerland, parts of Asia and parts of Africa (ten and more thousands of years ago),

    But even with such fixed marker (they carry a message, b.t.w.), it is still a long way to find the days of solstice and attribute them to something “for creation of man made knowledge”: solstice days can happen in the morning, or about noon, or in the evening and during the night, and we know they can come in pairs at the horizon. So, by just pointing to edifice nowadays and saying: look, it measures solstice, is, as you write very appropriately, to project present day calendar (and a wrist watch) back into prehistory.

    The only thing we can agree from the present stage of discussion is that, by successive and rigorous comparison of daily shadow lines, it was found that solstice has happened some days ago (and eg. Christmas days are celebrated after the solstice has already passed). But the pattern of solstice is not the same every year, do you understand this?: there is nothing with which to compare and no pattern “man made knowlege” which can be expect And Taught for the next year — unless you compare against stars (that’s my hypothesis) and let the moon extend the time-frame of successive years (that’s my hypothesis), like emulating the two hands on your wrist watch. B.t.w. precession of equinox, that’s about ~1° per ~74½ years (can be concluded empirically after 2-3 such intervals) and is as clear a signal to the naked eyes observer as the days of solstice you want to find.

    So this leaves your case, still, without solstice (pattern) markers after which your ‘pagan’ architects and engineers could have designed the building’s view points, for comparison and education in years to come (and without present day calendar and wrist watch or astro simulator), lest to speak about your hypothesis: the recognition of changes to obliquity.

  84. oldbrew says:

    Vasagard, Danish island of Bornholm: 5,500 year old site

    ‘The study site – Vasagard – puzzles archaeologists to this day. It was probably the site of a sun worship temple, surrounded by palisades. This is evidenced by the entrance to the complex, located in the direction of the sunrise during the solstice or equinox.’,406023,polish-archaeologists-on-bornholm.html

    Alignment data could be interesting.

  85. oldbrew says:

    May be of interest: 2300 BC

    ‘At … this is a pre-publication review of a paper co-authored by Douglas Keenan. The title is, ‘The Three Century climatic upheaval at c2000BC, and regressed radiocarbon disparities’ … which may set the cat among the pigeons (over C14 dates) and shine a light on an interesting episode in history.’

  86. oldmanK says:

    It seems a detailed explanation is required, a shortcoming from my side. But first a preliminary explanation. The structure works as a ‘camera obscura’ (pin-hole camera). It gives very clear images with good resolution, tested on a scale model. For further comparison see the Legacy project in photography, Irving California. The camera obscura there was an aircraft hangar, pinhole 6mm diameter.

    The site I choose as example here is Ggantija because it was the better and simpler one to reverse-engineer (I could not accept the old tales involving priests and virgins and those vertical flat surfaces, in acts that—well—defied gravity). A picture of it has been modified by adding a scale with divisions to explain visually how reading a date/time of year can be made. It is uploaded at this link:

    There remains no evidence of any scale on the flat surfaces from 5000 years ago, for a count of passing days, but a practical one would have been a scale with 90 divisions (for season lengths~88-93 days). With such a design, days each side of equinox are easily counted, practically up to near solstice. For count of days close to equinox the old horse-shoe was retained from the earlier method.

    For a year calendar, forcasting is a primary aim. For a rough forecast of coming solstice day, say from 30 days before (an agrarian requirement), just read the divisions remaining to horizontal corresponding to 90deg (equinox at zero deg, at 90deg is solstice precise). For precise determination measure day-length, say 25 to 20 days before to find actual day-length, then extrapolate up the curve to solstice. The day that straddles (begins before and ends after) the 90deg horizontal is the solstice day, when it occurs. The ratio {part day below :: part above} is where and when it occurs. The datum is sunrise at calendar site longitude (not Greenwich, that came later). I hope it is clear enough.

    The azimuth change from equinox to solstice sunrise on horizon is 18deg. Agrees with Dodwell.

  87. oldmanK says:

    @ Oldbrew

    Re the date of interest: 2300, there are others.

    One is here:

    From the Ness of Brodgar, Orkney, Quote “Equally puzzling was the fate of the complex. Around 2,300BC, roughly a thousand years after construction began there, the place was abruptly abandoned.” It was destroyed.

    Earlier Skara Brae ended about 3100

    Both are dates pointed out by dendrochronology, with parallel events of destructions from other places.

  88. oldbrew says:

    Guardian: ‘ (Card believes the weather on Orkney may have been warmer and clearer 4,000 to 5,000 years ago.) ‘

    And then something dramatic happened?

  89. oldmanK says:

    Quote from oldbrew’s SIS link: ” Keenan is not the only person to notice the plateau as Mike Baillie, the Belfast dendrochronologist, locates a low growth tree ring event at 2345BC. The suspicion therefore is that the 2500 date is based on uncertain science and possibly a desire not to connect the dots.”

    If anyone has the time to watch this video “Chronologies of collapse” at you will find it enlightening (suggest download to flash disk and watch on a larger screen, with reversing facility. Better than any TV saga). Examples of the events from dates 3195 and 2300 are evident throughout. The event of the 2500 date is featured and explained.

    What is also evident is a reluctance to leave the “zone of comfort” in research (understandably due to funding), no maverick thinking where the conventional failed, no venturing into the bad-lands of the despised ‘lunatic fringe’. But put Dodwell’s findings into the equation and things will look shockingly different. Then look for evidence of that; you find there is. The signs leading to Dodwell’s obliquity change and its aftermath. The terminal end of civilisations may be cataclysmic and sudden or it may drag on for some decades, from resulting climate change.

  90. tchannon says:

    I suggest looking at length in the Obs. of Paris archive and works on the solar system orbits.

    This suggests a mechanism and “abrupt tilting during which an angular
    speed exceeding 5°/Ma (0.5m/yr)” a rate woefully too slow for the matter under discussion.
    It does mention a proxy I had in mind, geomagnetic.

    Evidence for a 20 tilting of the Earth’s rotation axis 110 millions years ago
    Michel Pr´ evot, Estelle Mattern, Pierre Camps, Marc Daigni` eres

    The following is about the _magnetic_ dipole, do not confuse with axial tilt
    Figure 3 shows recent, ky, change. Doesn’t look abnormal.

    Click to access OA2006.pdf

    This covers the period to 24ky, nothing odd.…59..191X

    What I think is a comprehensive thesis on Antarctica dust, nothing convincing. (10MB PDF)

    Any alternate theories which explain the claimed change in sun angle?

  91. oldbrew says:

    ‘possibly a desire not to connect the dots’

    There’s something fundamentally rotten about ‘organised’ science, probably always has been.
    Lack of openness to new thinking, even when shown evidence, should it threaten to undermine any long-held ideas.

  92. oldmanK says:

    To be fair there were those who have enquired into anomalous subjects, from both a common historical and scientific perspective, such as the paper below:

    Click to access 21825.pdf

    or others :

    Bruce and Piccardi have a series of such papers. So do Woelfli and Baltensperger. It seems the ancients knew something which knowledge has today been lost completely.

    There is a problem of not knowing where to start and which way to go. There is no ‘smoking gun’ evidence.

    Or there was not. The subject I raised, the megalithic calendar, points to it directly. Obliquity.

  93. oldmanK says:

    Surfing around I could not resist this:

    Linear A Syllabary, Numbers, Measures, Proofs and Resources
    Stuart L. Harris, October 2011

    and this is what there was:

    “Linear A days of the week
    Prose Edda recounts that a catastrophe changed Earth’s orbit and inclination, which led to new
    directions for north and south, and new positions of stars and moon. The SUN did not know where she had her home, the moon did not know what might he had, stars did not know where their stations were. Sibyl’s Vision
    After the clouds cleared, Freya and her cadre devised a new calendar with 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week 4 weeks in a moon, and 13 moons in a year, giving a year of 364 days.”

    If linear A is Finnish as claimed, than the source may be contemporary or older than Greek.

  94. tallbloke says:

    Nice. Got a link for that?

  95. oldmanK says:

    It is a pdf that can be downloaded from here

    However i tried to go to the original texts for that piece but cannot say that the extract quoted is clear.

  96. oldbrew says:

    Doug Hoffmann’s ‘summary of the sequence of events for the last 130,000 years’ ends with this:
    – 8,000-4,500 y.a. – climates somewhat warmer and moister than today’s
    – Since 4,500 y.a. – climates fairly similar to the present (except; about 2600 y.a. – relatively wet/cold event of unknown duration in many areas)

    DH says: ‘This is painting past climate in broad strokes—nature did not make such an orderly progression from one interglacial to the next.’

    ‘Since 4500 y.a.’ would go back to somewhere near or a bit beyond 2345 BC (= 4360 y.a.)
    As he uses 500 year time ‘slices’ it looks plausible that c 2345 BC could be at, or close to, the changeover time.

    His data came from:

  97. oldmanK says:

    ” painting past climate in broad strokes” makes for a fuzzy picture.

    For example take a look at this :

    Averaging the profiles simply obfuscates important information. At about 2345 bce polar temperatures rise, but equatorial fall. That happens in an obliquity change, an increase. Concurrently many civilisations disappeared (important? Ha. All alive today will be dead in 130 years time. depends on the point of view).

    Doug Hoffman’s “Bottom line: all this climate catastrophe hype is simply hot air. ” ought to be seen in a proper perspective. The megalithic calendars indicate events worse than Sendai, when a ‘flood swept over’ to quote the sumerians. Some survived to build new and better calendars. They had retained their ability to survive with\at the standard they had. Would that be the case today? Then what is the scope of all the research?

    Its 10 years after Katrina. The news yesterday were full of that. There are many broken lives still.

  98. tchannon says:

    The incorrect news deals with Katrina, an irrelevance. The proper news deals with the gross failure by those employed to manage the New Orleans infrastructure, Katrina was the messenger.

    Hurricanes happen all along that coast, always have. Bad government exists, always has.

    One of those is controllable.

  99. oldmanK says:

    @tchannon, do not get me wrong. Katrina was a small thing in comparison.

    Sendai was bigger, but it only shifted the earth’s axis 4-10 inches. What changed the earth obliquity by what can be measured from ancient megalithic calendar design was far more destructive. ~2300 bce appears to be littered with examples. We ignore it at our own peril.

    Dodwell noted at 2345bce a major change that did not repeat again. The temperature profile in the link above does indicate a cooling after that event. Climate studies have indicated that severe weather changes occur at certain thresholds, which may occur at the temperature levels as at Holocene maximum. For the last 5K years that level has been lower, but in the last couple of decades that began to change. Cause for concern???? Can Obama’s concern of about a 1degree make a difference? Does it reach the level of ‘Holocene max”?

    The writing is on the wall, though not for the illiterate. So far Plato I think has not been understood. Herodotus was called a liar. That was not being smart for the ‘us moderns’.

  100. A shift from 23.5 to 26.5 Is not a lot of change in angular momentum for a spinning sphere with decreasing radial density! Perhaps that was when we got all the water! Why did it slowly shift back?

  101. oldmanK says:

    An angular change equinox-to-solstice sunrise on horizon of ~18deg at latitude 35.8 (about 16 separate instances, the last 18deg then modified to 29deg) gives an obliquity of about ~14.5deg roughly. That is one of the “now knowns”.(it is also why I’m making a fuss).

    From about 4500bce it shifted back and forth (18>23>18 >29). Could not believe it. Then I came across this:

    An explanation, somewhat stretched and, importantly, a process. According to that the next stage in the cycle would be lower obliquity when the ice-caps melt.

    Why shift back? A jump from 14.5 to ~24 incurs (might) some overshoot, depending on damping. Dodwell give detail on response of the ‘system’ from that overshoot but had no knowledge of the initial state, or what forced it.

    This is hypothetical on my part, and I hope I’m proven wrong.

  102. oldbrew says:

    Study: History of the earth’s obliquity (1993)

    ‘The evolution of the obliquity of the ecliptic (ε), the Earth’s axial tilt of 23.5°, may have greatly influenced the Earth’s dynamical, climatic and biotic development. For ε > 54°, climatic zonation and zonal surface winds would be reversed, low to equatorial latitudes would be glaciated in preference to high latitudes, and the global seasonal cycle would be greatly amplified.’

    ‘Palaeotidal data accord with a large obliquity in Late Proterozoic time. Indeed, Proterozoic palaeoclimates in general appear non-uniformitarian with respect to climatic zonation, consistent with ε > 54°.’

  103. oldbrew says:

    BBC report: Shifting sands have revealed a significant complex of Bronze Age buildings in Orkney.

    Archaeologists made the discovery at Tresness in Sanday while on a walk in poor weather on Monday. [7th Dec.]

    The remains of 14 houses and stone tools, including knives, have been described as “one of the biggest complexes of Bronze Age settlement in the Scottish isles”.

    The finds on the beach could be more than 4,000 years old.

    Archaeologists believe the houses were buried by sand dunes in the second millennium BC – but have recently been exposed by the actions of weather and the sea. [bold added]

  104. oldmanK says:

    From oldbrew ” in the second millennium BC” . A more precise date is needed.

    3195 bce is an important marker. Dodwell’s 2345 bce is equally so. The ‘Ness of Brodgar” disappeared suddenly in 2300 bce (+- the C14 spread), which puts it in dodwell’s domain.

    Both sites were buried in sand (suddenly for the brodgar), or equally likely ocean silt (memories of Sendai?).

  105. oldmanK says:

    For what its worth:

    My post of 15 Aug (Comment 105615) re varying length of day, it looks like it found support in ‘Munk’s Enigma’ (see suggestion 16 date Dec15 by PV)

    here at