The Dodwell Dead End

The Aleppo Test provides some painfully penetrating perspectives.

The Aleppo Test
The Aleppo Test is a basic reality check for chronologies that evaluates disturbances and disruptions around the Hecker, Heinsohn, and Arabian horizons.

The Aleppo Test produces a scepticism and cynicism score.

For example:

The Regime Change chronology for Aleppo [Syria] displays some Semblance of Sanity because the three horizons are clearly identifiable.

The Regime history for Aleppo very clearly highlights three horizons where the narrative has been “restored” after a catastrophic break.


This assessment may evolve when more information is processed.

The Karnak Curve
The Aleppo Test is now used to evaluate George Dodwell’s Karnak Curve.

In this work, which has taken many years to complete, it is shown that the Ancient and Mediaeval Observations of the Obliquity of the Ecliptic (which is a measure of the Inclination of the Earth’s Axis away from the perpendicular to its orbit), differ from the regular curve, corresponding to Newcomb’s internationally accepted Formula, by an amount increasingly greater the farther we go back into antiquity.

Further, these differences reach a unique maximum in the year 2345 B.C.

The Obliquity of The Ecliptic – George F Dodwell – 1963

Initial Assessment
The good news is that George Dodwell’s Karnak Curve displays some Semblance of Sanity because the horizons are identifiable in the data table.


The bad news is that, like the Karnak Curve, it goes downhill from here.

Hecker Horizon 1300-1400 CE
Working backwards in time it’s evident European astronomy grinds to a halt in 1460 AD and George Dodwell then uses data from Samarkand for 1437 AD.


Between 1424 and 1429, the great astronomer Ulugh Beg built the Samarkand Observatory. The sextant was 11 metres long and once rose to the top of the surrounding three-storey structure, although it was kept underground to protect it from earthquakes. Calibrated along its length, it was the world’s largest 90-degree quadrant at the time.

Lacking telescopes to work with, he increased his accuracy by increasing the length of his sextant; the so-called Fakhri sextant had a radius of about 36 meters (118 feet) and the optical separability of 180″ (seconds of arc).

In 1437, Ulugh Beg determined the length of the sidereal year as 365.2570370…d = 365d 6h 10m 8s (an error of +58 seconds).

In his measurements over the course of many years he used a 50 m high gnomon.

Ulugh Beg also determined the Earth’s axial tilt as 23° 30′ 17″ in the sexagesimal system of degrees, minutes and seconds of arc, which in decimal notation converts to 23.5047 degrees.

However, it’s debatable whether Dodwell used valid values.

It’s also debatable whether the alignment of 841 in the Islamic calendar with 1437 [and/or 1436] in the Christian calendar is valid because the whole alignment process is shrouded in mystery.

“In our catalogue we have given the position of the stars for the beginning of the year 841 of the Hegira (1437), so that at any time we may be able to find the place of any stars on the supposition that they advance one degree in 70 solar years.”

Determination of the Places of the Fixed Stars in Longitude and Latitude
Star Catalogue – Ulugh Beg
Ulughbek and his Observatory in Samarkand
Heather Hobden – 1999

A more radical interpretation of the Nile Level data based upon an Arabian Horizon alignment suggests there is a 160 year mismatch between the Christian and Islamic calendars.


The suspicion that the calendar alignments are out of kilter is underlined by the mainstream assertion that the Ulugh Beg Observatory was levelled by “religious fanatics in 1449”.

The Ulugh Beg Observatory is an observatory in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

Built in the 1420s by the Timurid astronomer Ulugh Beg, it is considered by scholars to have been one of the finest observatories in the Islamic world. Islamic astronomers who worked at the observatory include Al-Kashi, Ali Qushji, and Ulugh Beg himself.

The observatory was destroyed by religious fanatics in 1449.

It was rediscovered in 1908 by an Uzbek-Russian archaeologist from Samarkand named V. L. Vyatkin, who discovered an endowment document that stated the observatory’s exact location.

The levelling by “religious fanatics in 1449” might well be a Gradualist euphemism for a natural disaster in [say] 1349 during the Hecker Horizion.

The Black Death is thought to have originated in the dry plains of Central Asia, where it travelled along the Silk Road, reaching Crimea by 1343.


This point is underlined by the shared Solar Parallax value for 1363 and 1437.

Data Source:

ʿAbu al-Ḥasan Alāʾ al‐Dīn ʿAlī ibn Ibrāhīm al-Ansari known as Ibn al-Shatir or Ibn ash-Shatir (1304–1375) was a Syrian Arab astronomer, mathematician and engineer. He worked as muwaqqit (religious timekeeper) in the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus and constructed a sundial for its minaret in 1371/72.

Either way:

The questionable 1437 data drops the chronology down to Half-Baked Bull.

Arabian Horizon 637 CE
If George Dodwell stumbled at the Hecker Horizon then it’s safe to say he’s floundering in the depths of the Academic Abyss at the Arabian Horizon.


Firstly, after a gap of 200 years, George Dodwell switches to Chinese data.


Unfortunately, the alignment and provenance of the Chinese chronology is questionable.

The Annals of China may contain 1,152 years of duplicate data.


… the stubborn problem of why identical-looking bronze horses from the two dynasties are dated over 700 years apart.

Papermaking’s Mysterious 700 Years of Secrecy – Gunnar Heinsohn – Feb 2017

Click to access dl.php

Secondly, George Dodwell is clearly attempting to fill the [familiar but] unexplained 690 year void between Ptolemy in 139 AD and Al Mamun in 829 AD in his chronology.



Abu al-Abbas Abdallah ibn Harun al-Rashid (786-833), better known by his regnal name al-Ma’mun, was an Islamic Golden Age ruler and the seventh Abbasid caliph, who reigned from 813 until his death in 833. … Well educated and with a considerable interest in scholarship, al-Ma’mun promoted the Translation Movement, the flowering of learning and the sciences in Baghdad, and the publishing of the book now known as “Algebra”.

The first Arab Observatory at Bagdad, combined with a magnificent Library, and called the “House of Wisdom,” was erected about 820 A.D. by the Seventh Caliph of Bagdad, Al Mamun, son of Haroun al Raschid. In addition to his celebrated measurement of a degree of latitude on the Earth’s surface, to determine the size of the Earth, Al Mamun also took much trouble to determine the Obliquity of the Ecliptic.

Some authorities give his results as 23° 33’, but the Arabs generally adopted 23° 35’ as the most reliable value.

Ibn Junis reports the following passage from Ebn-Hatem-Alnairizi (some time after the death of al Mamun in 833 A.D.):

The Obliquity of the Ecliptic of the astronomers of Al Mamun is that which still exists in our time. It was observed by them with great exactness, and although they have not equally succeeded in their observations because of the knowledge which they lacked, nevertheless these observations have been very well made because of the size and excellence of the instruments, and the little difficulty of the operation, and the help which they had. This obliquity is 23° 35’.

Al Fargani (Alfraganus) about 850 A.D., in his textbook Elements of Astronomy and Chronology, which was very highly thought of in Mediaeval Europe, also gives the value 23° 35’ for the obliquity determined by Al Mamun.

The Obliquity, he says, was found by Ptolemy to be 23° 51’, “but according to the measurement ordered to be made by Al Mamun of Pious Memory, which was carried out by a number of experts, it is 23° 35’.”

This value is adopted and quoted throughout the book of Aflraganus.

In the development of Arab Astronomy, we may note that the first stage was the collection of astronomical literature from all available sources: Greek, Hindu, Egyptian, Persian, etc., and their translation into Arabic.

Observations of The Obliquity of The Ecliptic made by The Mediaeval Arabs and Persians – The Obliquity of The Ecliptic – George F Dodwell – 1963

The House of Wisdom and its contents were destroyed in the Siege of Baghdad in 1258, leaving very little in the way of archaeological evidence for the House of Wisdom, such that most knowledge about it is derived from the works of contemporary scholars of the era such as Al-Tabari and Ibn al-Nadim.

Overall, the questionable alignment and provenance of the Chinese chronology causes the rating of George Dodwell’s chronology to drop another level to Fully-Baked Bull.

Heinsohn Horizon 912 CE
The worst is saved for last with Dodwell’s Karnak Curve.

When he fell into the Academic Abyss at the Heinsohn Horizon Dodwell had to consciously choose between fidelity and fudge.

Dodwell chose to adjust and average 26 obliquity observations [between 829 AD and 1019 AD] into a single data point for 916 AD.


In addition to the foregoing results, the following table gives values of Obliquity recorded by other Arab and Persian astronomers up to 1019 A.D.; and I have shown the results obtained by correcting for parallax, refraction, and the Sun’s semi-diameter, where it is so required, in column 7, on the assumption that the Ptolemaic parallax was used, and in column 8, on the assumption that no parallax was used by the Arab observer.

[Setterfield note: Dodwell refers to a table here, and evidently that was his original purpose, but what he ended up doing was the graph as shown at the end of this chapter. Under the graph we have noted how he marked which measurements contained the correction and which did not.]

Observations of The Obliquity of The Ecliptic made by The Mediaeval Arabs and Persians – The Obliquity of The Ecliptic – George F Dodwell – 1963

Boiling down 190 years to a single number qualifies as Deranged Dating.

Other authors have used Sparse Data to create their desired result.

Drilling down into Dodwell’s supporting information reveals a dilemma.

On the one hand:

If the “raw” data represents observations from several locations then it’s arguable these 190 years represent a period of remarkable stability that’s associated with horizontal data artefacts.

On the other hand:

If the “raw” data [mainly] represents observations from a single location then it’s arguable these 190 years represent a period of remarkable rocking and rolling.

Either way:

The observational data clearly falsifies the smooth Karnak Curve.

I have rejected observations obviously affected with serious error, such as those ascribed to Al Kwarizmi, 23° 51’ (2) (in addition to his former result 23° 35’), Ibn al Alam 23° 40’, and Rustam 23° 51’, (2) also the earliest attempts of the Arab astronomers between 776 A.D. and 786 A.D. 23° 31’.

Observations of The Obliquity of The Ecliptic made by The Mediaeval Arabs and Persians – The Obliquity of The Ecliptic – George F Dodwell – 1963

Note 1:
The graphed date range implicitly acknowledges the Western European narrative hits the buffers at the Hecker Horizon between 1300 and 1400 CE.

Note 2:
The observations overlap with the start of the Sol Invictus configuration.

The close orbital proximity [20 Lunar distances] of Sol Invictus locked the Earth’s axial-tilt so that the South Pole [Antarctica] was permanently pointing towards the Sol Invictus “Sun”.


Episodes of “violent erosion” interspersed with periods of “comparative quiescence” provides the key to understanding the oscillations that are so very visible in the Greenland ice cores during the turbulent 500 years beginning around 900 CE at the Heinsohn Horizon and ending with the Hecker Horizon at 1400 CE.


Note 3:
If [as previously mentioned] there is a 160 year mismatch between the Christian and Islamic calendars then these obliquity observations shift from 829-1019 to 669-859 [or thereabouts] where they’re wedged between the Arabian and Heinsohn horizons.

In other words:

The Karnak Curve is Delusional Dating.

Newcomb’s Formula for the Obliquity of the Ecliptic
Simon Newcomb was a malevolent mathematical magician who enjoyed blinding with bullshit and bluster [just like Isaac Newton and modern Settled Scientists].

Simon Newcomb (1835-1909) was a Canadian–American astronomer, applied mathematician and autodidactic polymath, who was Professor of Mathematics in the U.S. Navy and at Johns Hopkins.

ln addition to the master criminal Adam Worth, there has been much speculation among astronomers and Sherlock Holmes enthusiasts that Doyle based his fictional character Moriarty on the Canadian-American astronomer Simon Newcomb.

Newcomb was revered as a multitalented genius, with a special mastery of mathematics, and he had become internationally famous in the years before Doyle began writing his stories. More to the point, Newcomb had earned a reputation for spite and malice, apparently seeking to destroy the careers and reputations of rival scientists.

He’s probably best remembered for his Obliquity of the Ecliptic formula.


However, the curve of Newcomb’s Formula [green line – below] is falsified by the observational data between 829 AD and 1019 AD.

In other words:

Newcomb’s Formula is a mathematical manifestation of Delusional Dating.

Milankovitch Cycles
Similarly, the observational data falsifies another mathematical manifestation of Delusional Dating known as the Milankovitch Cycles that rely upon a totally imaginary [aka unobserved] Obliquity Curve with a smooth 41,000 year cycle.

Milankovitch cycles describe the collective effects of changes in the Earth’s movements on its climate over thousands of years. The term is named for Serbian geophysicist and astronomer Milutin Milanković. In the 1920s, he hypothesized that variations in eccentricity, axial tilt, and precession of the Earth’s orbit resulted in cyclical variation in the solar radiation reaching the Earth, and that this orbital forcing strongly influenced climatic patterns on Earth.

In more rational times Milankovitch Cycles were “no longer recognized” by “most of the scientific community”.

Milutin Milanković (1879-1958) was a Serbian mathematician, astronomer, climatologist, geophysicist, civil engineer, doctor of technology, university professor and popularizer of science.

After Milanković’s death, most of the scientific community came to dispute his “astronomical theory” and no longer recognized the results of his research.

In the age of magical mathematics and models the Milankovitch Cycles are profitably programmed to predict Global Cooling and/or Global Warming.

But ten years after his death and fifty years from the first publication, Milanković’s theory was again taken under consideration.

His “book” was translated into English under the title “Canon of Insolation of the Ice-Age Problem” in 1969 by the Israel Program for Scientific Translations, and was published by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the National Science Foundation in Washington, D.C..

J. Murray Mitchell showed as early as 1963 a multidecadal cooling since about 1940.

At a conference on climate change held in Boulder, Colorado in 1965, evidence supporting Milankovitch cycles triggered speculation on how the calculated small changes in sunlight might somehow trigger ice ages.

In 1966, Cesare Emiliani predicted that “a new glaciation will begin within a few thousand years.”

TIME Magazine Cover: The Cooling of America – Feb. 22, 1971

TIME Magazine Cover: The Big Freeze – Dec. 3, 1973


But, as always, feel free to bend over and believe [with other consenting adults] in the beneficence of magical mathematics and models that are programmed for profit.

Gallery | This entry was posted in Arabian Horizon, Astrophysics, Catastrophism, Deranged Dating, Earth, Glaciology, Greenland, Hecker Horizon, Heinsohn Horizon, History, Old Japanese Cedar Tree, Parallax, Solar System, Uniformitarianism. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Dodwell Dead End

  1. In defense of Dodwell

    G Dodwell deserves a decent defense here.

    The devil is always in the detail, so it is important to pick through details with a fine tooth-comb. However there are many details where the real McCoy of the underworld might hide his lair.

    What Dodwell did with the ancient measurements of obliquity in 1936 was later done by Dr A Wittmann in 1979, but without resorting to any measurements other than those recorded; ie beginning with the oldest, the Chinese, from around 1100bce. Wittmann did note an unexplained discrepancy. I myself then also made the same exercise for my own reasons, and using the data from the Wittmann paper, not Dodwell’s, and compared to the formulae of Le Verrier, Newcomb, Wittmann, Astronomical Almanac, and Lascar. A trend line through the data scatter (and to a more clear scale) shows the ancient measurements’ discrepancy more as an exponential decay to an overshoot from abrupt change than to something else (I had the hind-sight of first finding the evidence of dynamic step-change). But it is clear as exponential in the millennium bce and ce range, but not in the last thousand years. The discrepancy here is too small compared to the spread in readings (noise!). The small spread in the last thousand years may be more due to other factors such as Nutation/Chandler wobble. Other factors may also be there. The periodic warmth and cold on a 975yr cycle (Eddy) may have had its effect on earth dynamics. The Eddy possibly being the wave pattern on Dodwell’s later curve. That is one aspect.

    Aspect No-2. Was Dodwell correct in what he perceived; is there evidence? The answer is yes. Megalithic calendars have recorded the earth’s tilt in their dimension. They show changes. One change occurred between 2900bce and 2200bce and appears as a modification to a tilt change in a still functional calendar – Mnajdra South. Dodwell provided a first date. See this link : In the link, the trace of C/N shows distinct peaks which were found to correspond to tilt changes, including the Dodwell date which is clear in two traces. There is other evidence that corroborates; evidence from multiple proxies.

    Aspect No-3. Re Newcomb, apart from other issues (political), the work that followed from Stockwell earlier, was always based only on the ‘secular’ changes. That science assumed that that’s all there was, is evidently a mistake and a costly one, because it held back science more than 100 years. Scientists extrapolated the formulae back in time for millennia. That the Milankovitch cycles would then “triggered speculation on how the calculated small changes in sunlight might somehow trigger ice ages” is no surprise since Milankovitch based his theory on the assumption that secular changes is all there was. That abrupt step changes occurred, as per Dodwell, was never contemplated.

    Aspect No-4. Ptolemy. Ptolemy is still held in high regard. But I had personally reason to warily look into his credentials, with what appeared as fiddling with the zodiac and the altering of ancient star names. Nor is the Almagest to be taken as bible truth. See this link: Also why did he propose a geocentric solar/planetary system when it was known to be heliocentric for long aeons? The simple maths behind the megalithic calendar makes it evident as heliocentric.

  2. Pingback: Three Flavours of 700 Year Old Fudge | MalagaBay

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