Dating Offa’s Dyke

Dating Offa's Dyke

Offa’s Dyke is a large linear earthwork that roughly follows the border between England and Wales.

The Dyke, which was up to 65 feet (20 m) wide (including its flanking ditch) and 8 feet (2.4 m) high, traversed low ground, hills and rivers.

Much of its route is followed by the Offa’s Dyke Path; a 176 mi (283 km) long-distance footpath that runs between Liverpool Bay in the north and the Severn Estuary in the south.

Offa's Dyke

The mainstream historical narrative suggests Offa’s Dyke was built by an Anglo-Saxon king somewhere between 757 and 796 AD.

The generally accepted theory about much of the earthwork attributes its construction to Offa, King of Mercia from 757 to 796.

Offa was King of Mercia, a kingdom of Anglo-Saxon England, from 757 until his death in July 796.

Offa was frequently in conflict with the various Welsh kingdoms.

There was a battle between the Mercians and the Welsh at Hereford in 760, and Offa is recorded as campaigning against the Welsh in 778, 784 and 796 in the tenth-century Annales Cambriae.

Offa's Dyke near Knill

The best known relic associated with Offa’s time is Offa’s Dyke, a great earthen barrier that runs approximately along the border between England and Wales.

It is mentioned by the monk Asser in his biography of Alfred the Great:

“a certain vigorous king called Offa … had a great dyke built between Wales and Mercia from sea to sea”.

The dyke has not been dated by archaeological methods, but most historians find no reason to doubt Asser’s attribution.

Early names for the dyke in both Welsh and English also support the attribution to Offa.

Despite Asser’s comment that the dyke ran “from sea to sea”, it is now thought that the original structure only covered about two-thirds of the length of the border: in the north it ends near Llanfynydd, less than five miles (8 km) from the coast, while in the south it stops at Rushock Hill, near Kington in Herefordshire, less than fifty miles (80 km) from the Bristol Channel.

The total length of this section is about sixty-four miles (103 km).

This mainstream dating is highly unlikely because King Offa is firmly rooted in the 700 phantom years that are lurking in the depths of the Academic Abyss between the 230s and 930s AD.

Therefore, some 700 years of the 1st millennium (230 to 930s) have neither strata nor tree samples for C14 or dendro-chronological dating.

Archaeological Strata Versus Baillie’s Tree-Rings: Proposal for an Experiment
Gunnar Heinsohn – 8 September 2014

Click to access gunnar-strata-vsbaillie08-09-2014.pdf


The main sources for King Offa appear to have been manufactured in the Machiavellian Monasteries after the Heinsohn Horizon in the 930s.

Asser (d. 908/909) was a Welsh monk from St David’s, Dyfed, who became Bishop of Sherborne in the 890s.

About 885 he was asked by Alfred the Great to leave St David’s and join the circle of learned men whom Alfred was recruiting for his court.

Annales Cambriae (Latin for The Annals of Wales) is the name given to a complex of Cambro-Latin chronicles compiled or derived from diverse sources at St David’s in Dyfed, Wales.

The earliest is a 12th-century presumed copy of mid-10th century original; later editions were compiled in the 13th century.

Despite the name, the Annales Cambriae record not only events in Wales, but also events in Ireland, Cornwall, England, Scotland and sometimes further afield, though the focus of the events recorded especially in the later two-thirds of the text is Wales.

Therefore, all the main sources supporting Anglo-Saxon England bear the hallmarks of manufacture by the Machiavellian Monasteries [at one time or another].

A more comprehensive rationale is that Beowulf was simply viewed as Protestant Propaganda that was clumsily cobbled together during the English Reformation.

Sadly, the other jewel in the Anglo-Saxon Academic Crown fairs no better.

This is because the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle was another part of the Protestant Propaganda campaign started during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

Given this background it is hardly surprising that radiocarbon dating is challenging the conventional mainstream dating of Offa’s Dyke where the “lower layers of construction are dated to as early as 430.”

Although the Dyke is conventionally dated to the Early Middle Ages of Anglo-Saxon England, research in recent decades – using techniques such as radioactive carbon dating – has challenged the conventional historiography and theories about the earthwork.

In 2014, excavations by the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust focused on nine samples of the Dyke near Chirk. Radio carbon dating of redeposited turf placed the construction between the years 541 and 651, and lower layers of construction are dated to as early as 430.

This evidence suggests that the Dyke may have been a long-term project by several Mercian kings.

A similar story applies to Wat’s Dyke [which runs “parallel to Offa’s Dyke, sometimes within a few yards but never more than three miles away”] where radiocarbon dating is “centered around 446 AD”.

Wat’s Dyke is a 40 mile (64 km) earthwork running through the northern Welsh Marches from Basingwerk Abbey on the River Dee estuary, passing to the east of Oswestry and on to Maesbury in Shropshire, England.

It runs generally parallel to Offa’s Dyke, sometimes within a few yards but never more than three miles away.

The dyke was previously thought to date to the early 8th century, constructed by Aethelbald king of Mercia who reigned from 716 to 757.

Aethelbald’s successor, Offa, built the dyke which carries his name sometime during his reign (757 to 796).

Excavations in the 1990s at Maes-y-Clawdd near Oswestry uncovered the remains of a small fire site together with eroded shards of Romano-British pottery and quantities of charcoal, which have been dated to between 411 and 561 AD (centered around 446 AD).

Wat’s Dyke, a 40 mile earthwork which runs parallel to Offa’s Dyke in the Welsh Marches, has been dated to the 5th century.

The dyke was assumed to be a near-contemporary predecessor of Offa’s Dyke, built by the 8th century Mercian king.

But excavations at Maes-y-Clawdd near Oswestry by Shropshire’s archaeological service have uncovered a small fire site, eroded shards of Romano-British pottery and quantities of charcoal, radiocarbon dated to between AD411-561.

British Archaeology – Editor: Simon Denison – Issue 49 – November 1999

If the Heinsohn Horizon [in the 930s] was a radiocarbon neutral event then simply subtracting 700 years from these dates [430 AD and 446 AD] suggests that these dykes were built somewhere around 262 BC in the conventional mainstream narrative.

Considering the radiocarbon dating at Wat’s Dyke included “eroded shards of Romano-British pottery” this suggests the mainstream [manufactured in the Machiavellian Monasteries] narrative is incorrect when it asserts the first Romans arrived in Britain around 55 BC.

In the course of his Gallic Wars, Julius Caesar invaded Britain twice: in 55 and 54 BC.

The first invasion, in late summer, may have been intended as a mere reconnaissance-in-force expedition, or as a full-scale invasion – but if it was an invasion, it was unsuccessful.

It gained the Romans little else besides a beachhead on the coast of Kent.

The second invasion achieved more: the Romans installed a king, Mandubracius, who was friendly to Rome, and they forced the submission of Mandubracius’s rival, Cassivellaunus.

No territory was conquered and held for Rome; instead, all Roman-occupied territory was restored to the allied Trinovantes, along with the promised tribute of the other tribes in what is now eastern England.

The Gallic Wars were a series of military campaigns waged by the Roman proconsul Julius Caesar against several Gallic tribes.

Rome’s war against the Gallic tribes lasted from 58 BC to 50 BC and culminated in the decisive Battle of Alesia in 52 BC, in which a complete Roman victory resulted in the expansion of the Roman Republic over the whole of Gaul (mainly present day France and Belgium).

Sixty winters ere that Christ was born, Caius Julius, emperor of the Romans, with eighty ships sought Britain.

There he was first beaten in a dreadful fight, and lost a great part of his army.

Then he let his army abide with the Scots, and went south into Gaul.

There he gathered six hundred ships, with which he went back into Britain.

When they first rushed together, Caesar’s tribune, whose name was Labienus, was slain.

Then took the Welsh sharp piles, and drove them with great clubs into the water, at a certain ford of the river called Thames.

When the Romans found that, they would not go over the ford.

Then fled the Britons to the fastnesses of the woods; and Caesar, having after much fighting gained many of the chief towns, went back into Gaul.

((B.C. 60. Before the incarnation of Christ sixty years, Gaius Julius the emperor, first of the Romans, sought the land of Britain; and he crushed the Britons in battle, and overcame them; and nevertheless he was unable to gain any empire there.))

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle – Everyman Press -1912

This would hardly be surprising given that the manuscript of “Julius Caesar’s firsthand account of the Gallic Wars” was “written as a third-person narrative” some “900 years later”.

The Commentaries of Caesar on the Gallic War “were known in Rome before the year 46 B.C.” but there is “no other external evidence about the date” of composition or publication.

Neither is there any evidence that the original text was accurately reproduced in the manuscript written some 900 years later.

Commentarii de Bello Gallico (English: Commentaries on the Gallic War), also simply Bellum Gallicum (English: Gallic War), is Julius Caesar’s firsthand account of the Gallic Wars, written as a third-person narrative.

In it Caesar describes the battles and intrigues that took place in the nine years he spent fighting local armies in Gaul that opposed Roman domination.

The Commentaries of Caesar on the Gallic War were known in Rome before the year 46 B.c.

The enthusiastic praise of Cicero, so often quoted, was written then, but it indicates that the books had already been in circulation.

The actual achievements of Caesar must have been known long before-indeed, almost as soon as they occurred through his personal letters to individual Romans and his official dispatches to the Senate.

There is no other external evidence about the date either of the composition or of the publication of the Commentaries.

The Date of Composition of Caesar’s Gallic War – Max Radin
Classical Philology – Vol. 13, No. 3 (Jul., 1918) – The University of Chicago Press

For Caesar’s Gallic War (composed between 58 and 50 BC) there are several extant MSS, but only nine or ten are good, and the oldest is some 900 years later than Caesar’s day.

Of the 142 books of the Roman History of Livy (59 BC-AD 17) only thirty five survive; these are known to us from not more than twenty MSS of any consequence, only one of which, and that containing fragments of Books iii-vi, is as old as the fourth century.

Of the fourteen books of the Histories of Tacitus (c. AD 100) only four and a half survive; of the sixteen books of his Annals, ten survive in full and two in part.

The text of these extant portions of has two great historical works depends entirely on two MSS, one of the ninth century and one of the eleventh.

The New Testament Documents: Are they Reliable? By F. F. Bruce, 1943

For centuries, the Gallic War has been the first real Latin text, written by a real Roman, for children who were trying to master the ancient language.

Caesar’s language is not very difficult indeed. Cicero says:

The Gallic War is splendid.

It is bare, straight and handsome, stripped of rhetorical ornament like an athlete of his clothes. …

There is nothing in a history more attractive than clean and lucid brevity.

[Cicero, Brutus 262.]

But the general was not just writing for Cicero and other senators, who recognized Caesar’s artful simplicity.

Caesar’s books were intended as an aid for future historians – that’s why they are officially called Commentaries, and not History of the Gallic War – but the author often leaves out information that historians would have found interesting.

In his continuation of the Gallic War, Hirtius mentions unsuccessful Roman actions and cruel executions of defeated enemies – information that Caesar, in the seven first books, had repressed.

There are no accounts of the looting of the Gallic sanctuaries, which are known to have taken place, nor is there any reference to the sale of POWs.

The latter can be explained: if a general sold people into slavery, the Senate received a share of the proceeds.

By writing that these people had been killed, Caesar could keep the money himself. – Articles on ancient history: Caesar’s Gallic War

First Latin Reader

New first Latin reader – John Henderson and Robert A. Little – 1906

If, on the other hand, the Heinsohn Horizon [in the 930s] was not a radiocarbon neutral event then the dykes may be many hundreds of years older than 262 BC in the conventional mainstream narrative.

This would explain why coins depicting King Offa [Rex] look very similar to the Kings of Rome that are conventionally dated to have reigned between 753 and 509 BC.

Formation 753 BC
Abolition 509 BC

The King of Rome (Latin: Rex Romae) was the chief magistrate of the Roman Kingdom.

According to legend, the first king of Rome was Romulus, who founded the city in 753 BC upon the Palatine Hill.

Seven legendary kings are said to have ruled Rome until 509 BC, when the last king was overthrown.

These kings ruled for an average of 35 years.

Since Rome’s records were destroyed in 390 BC when the city was sacked, it is impossible to know for certain how many kings actually ruled the city, or if any of the deeds attributed to the individual kings, by later writers, are accurate.

Kings of Rome

Offa was King of Mercia, a kingdom of Anglo-Saxon England, from 757 until his death in July 796.

Offa of Mercia

Rex is Latin for “king”, see Rex (king).

Specifically, it was the title of the kings of ancient Rome.

In this case Rome may just have been the mercenary headquarters of the Greek Empire.

However, whilst the academics are busy working on their Latin character set the “educated Roman citizens” are still busy conversing in Greek whilst the “first Popes” were apparently still writing in Greek during the 2nd or 3rd centuries AD.

Ancient Greece was a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity (c. 600 AD).

In much the same way the Church of Rome used Norman Vikings as a mercenary force after the Heinsohn Horizon.

Therefore, the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 was primarily a co-ordinated Viking Mercenary Invasion on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church and thus probably qualifies as the Second Roman Invasion of England.

In 1053, the first step was taken in the process which led to formal schism.

Patriarch of Constantinople Michael Cerularius ordered the closure of all Latin churches in Constantinople, in response to the Greek churches in southern Italy having been forced to either close or conform to Latin practices.

Either way, the more you scrape away the mainstream manure the more you realise:


Napoleon wrote, “History is a set of lies agreed upon.”

This truism is becoming more and more apparent to our modern sensibilities as many of us recognize that much of history has been purposely manufactured.

More easily understood is Churchill’s saying, “History is written by the victors.”

Combine the two sayings and we begin to understand that we are on a very slippery slope when it comes to interpreting both the recent and ancient past. – Andrew Fitts – 22 Jun 2015

Gallery | This entry was posted in British History, Heinsohn Horizon, History, Radiocarbon Dating. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Dating Offa’s Dyke

  1. Love the Napoleon quote! Too often true?

  2. craigm350 says:

    So much that makes you go hmm .

    In our lifetimes we see the same processes in action as what is witnessed and recorded is shaped and agreed into the Commentaries of the Caesar’s.

  3. andrewfitts says:

    Another angle to explore is the origins of the Offa and Wat dykes. Yes, there is lore about their creation by humans giving us a sense of ‘settled history,” but might these dykes have only been enhanced by people? The catastrophist in us asks whether there wasn’t a natural origin.

    As my friend, Frank Wallace asks, “Can any part of the dikes be shown to have been created from outflows of top crust which would indicate electric discharge creation as opposed to human dug basket deposits of top crust which would indicate man made banks? Archaeological cross sections of the embankments will tell the true story.”

    And further, “where is the evidence in the ground of encampments where the labourers dug out the ditch and carried the dug up contents in baskets where they dumped the contents to make the embankments? Where is the evidence of former cooking pits, latrines and garbage pits that must have been employed by the excavating men? Where is the evidence of many many baskets and digging implements used in Offa’s and Wat’s dyke constructions? Evidence in the ground should still exist in abundance. Yes, many artifacts have likely dissolved into the ground with the passage of many years. But overwhelming and abundant evidence should still be there in the ground. Does it exist?

  4. andrewfitts says:

    A friend responded:
    Why would there be another dyke (Wat’s) so close to Offa’s, if they are man-made? The labour involved in creating them was huge.

    Another friend came up with the thought:
    Maybe the ditches were tsunami-related. “Here was how far the great wave went inland.”

  5. timeslip says:

    The astronomical dating for the Dyke is between CE 947-986 (Hungarian Calendar)

  6. timeslip says:

    A mancus or Gold dinar of Offa; CE 978 = AD 774

  7. timeslip says:

    Abbasid Caliphate,

    From Harun al-Rashid up to the Times of Saladin

    Click to access harun.pdf

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