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Note from the Setterfields
George Dodwell was the government astronomer for South Australia. When he died in 1963, the Astronomical Society of South Australia requested Barry Setterfield to prepare Dodwell’s notes for publication. This Barry did. However he was unable to find a publisher in Australia for Dodwell’s works.
A friend of his offered to take the material and have it published under the auspices of a university in the United States. That was in the late 1980’s. We were told of a number of different difficulties through the years which were delaying publication, but publication still has not happened. Recently we were sent some files of what this person had prepared and discovered he had made a number of typing errors and, at two points at least, had inserted his own sentences which were not in the original text and not marked them as separate from the original text. This is not acceptable.
In the meantime, Dodwell’s sons were getting a bit impatient as well, and at their request and with their permission the material on the obliquity of the ecliptic (the tilt of the earth's axis) is now presented here in its entirety for the first time.
Since we have the original manuscripts ourselves, every word has been checked and every punctuation mark, for accuracy. We have occasionally changed some paragraphing and punctuation to improve readability (Dodwell was very fond of commas), and have inserted some formal tables in place of the informal tables in the original manuscript. The figures have been scanned off the originals and sized as large as possible to permit reading of even the small type. The only major problem we encountered was a missing diagram of the Temple at Tiahuanaco (chapter 10) to which Dodwell refers in the last chapter.
All emphases are in the original.
So here, finally, is Dodwell’s work. We wish to extend a deep and sincere thanks to David Bowdoin for his hours of work in helping us get the old photographs and charts and diagrams from Dodwell prepared and ready to put here in the manuscript. We are also very grateful to John and Peter Dodwell for their help in locating the photographs on the photograph page, helping with the captions, and their encouragement throughout this process. We have added a number of other pictures in addition to Dodwell's originals which we think help the reader understand what is being written about.
Barry and Helen Setterfield,
February 23, 2010
George Frederick Dodwell was born in Leighton Buzzard, England, on February 13th, 1879. After a move to Australia, Dodwell attained his degree at Adelaide University and became a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. He was appointed to the staff of the Adelaide Observatory on March 1, 1899, as a Junior Computor (the person who was responsible for the mathematical calculations) under Sir Charles Todd who had himself been trained under Sir George Airy at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. He succeeded Sir Charles, being appointed Government Astronomer for South Australia in June 1909. Dodwell held this position until his retirement on October 31, 1952.
During his time at the Adelaide Observatory there were many achievements to his credit, about which he was typically humble. In 1900, shortly after the invention of wireless telegraphy, the Observatory became the site of the first wireless installation in Australia for distant signaling. The occasion arose to fix the boundary between South Australia and Western Australia, which was defined as the 129th Meridian East of Greenwich. It was George Dodwell himself who proposed that this be determined by wireless signals heard by Greenwich as well as the field stations at Deakin and Argyle Downs simultaneously. The radio time signals were transmitted from Bordeaux and Lyon and Annapolis. This international project linked the Greenwich, Paris and Washington Observatories as well as those in Australia from April to July 1921. It was the first time that the world had been measured from one side to the other by wireless telegraphy in conjunction with astronomical observation. This was a world “First” for both Adelaide and George Dodwell.
Other work which brought the Adelaide Observatory world recognition under George Dodwell’s leadership included a magnetic survey of South Australia. This led on to his study of latitude variations which was held in conjunction with La Plata Observatory in Argentina, the International Latitude Congress and the International Astronomical Association. In September of 1922 he led a combined party with Sir Kerr Grant of Adelaide University to observe and photograph the total solar eclipse from Cordillo Downs, Australia, to test Einstein’s theory of the effect of gravitation on light. Also in that year he was appointed by the Commonwealth of Australia to be its representative at the International Astronomical conference in Rome.
The study of latitude variations led George Dodwell to investigate the Obliquity of the Ecliptic (the tilt of the earth’s axis). This work commenced in 1934, a year after his uncle, Sir Frank Dyson, K.B.E., F.R.S., had retired as Astronomer Royal in England. An ancient manuscript by a Medieval Belgian astronomer Godefroid Wendelin, containing observations of the Obliquity, was published in 1933 and was obtained by Dodwell. The entire data set revealed a progressive and one-sided abnormality compared with Newcomb’s Formula. In 1935, Dodwell sent a preliminary paper to the Royal Astronomical Society. The referees suggested a further study of observational errors. This was undertaken experimentally at Adelaide University during June 1936 with nine experimenters making 172 observations on a vertical gnomon. An initial Report covering the period from December 1934 to December 1936 was made to the South Australian Parliament on February 20, 1937. On that occasion, Dodwell announced that an account was being prepared for publication. He wanted this research to be published as a Report of the Adelaide Observatory. However, the Observatory was closed in 1952 at his retirement. His research on the topic continued, but the Report was only completed just prior to his death on August 10, 1963.
In the year 1934 I had a great desire to do some particular work which might be of value in astronomy, and also be of general interest. … [Later], when looking through the library of the Adelaide Observatory, my attention was aroused by a book called “Draysonia,” written by the British Admiral Sir Algernon F. R. DeHorsey. It referred to an astronomical theory advanced by Major General Professor Alfred Wilks Drayson, who had been for 15 years a Professor at the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich, and also for two years an astronomer at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. Admiral DeHorsey formerly had been one of his students at Woolwich, and had a great appreciation of his work..
The book gave an explanation of what Professor Drayson believed to be a movement of the earth, supplementary to the movements already known, and performed round what he called a “second pole of precession.” * He claimed that this movement accounted for the earth’s past geological climates and the ice ages.
I was aware that Professor Drayson’s theory was regarded as a paradox, contrary to sound astronomical doctrine, by high astronomical authorities; and I wished to find out where it was in error. It soon became clear that the paradox lay in the fact that for this proposed physical and cyclical movement of the earth, which he believed to be still in progress, there was apparently no known or possible physical cause.
INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY
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. When the differences, or "residuals" as they are usually called, are studied, they are found to trace out an exact logarithmic curve, viz., a curve of "logarithmic sines," which has a secondary periodic oscillation, or "harmonic sine curve," with diminishing amplitude, superimposed on it.
The interpretation of this combined curve is that it is one of recovery after a disturbance of the earth's axis, which occurred in the year 2345 B.C.
A general statement concerning the movement of the Earth's Axis is given in Chapter 1. At the end of this chapter is a list of the determinations of the Obliquity of the Ecliptic, from which the curve has been derived; in addition tabular data are given for Newcomb's Formula, and for the New Curve of Obliquity; also a table of reductions from the edge of the shadow to center of the sun, A.D., 1900 back to B.C., 2000, for use in calculating of gnomon observations.
In Chapter 2 an account is given of the errors to which the ancient observations were liable, and of the corrections applied in order to obtain the true value at each date of observation.
Chapters 3 to 7 give an account of the observations of the Obliquity of the Ecliptic made by the Ancient Chinese (3); Ancient Hindus (4); Ancient Greeks (5); the Mediaeval Arabs and Persians (6); and finally the European observations, both mediaeval and modern (7). Chapters 8 to 10 give an account of those famous monuments of antiquity, oriented to the sun at the Solstices, at Karnak and other places in Egypt, Stonehenge in England, and Tiahuanaco in Peru.
To the Incans the time of the solstices was of the utmost importance, for the Peruvian summer solstice was not only their New Year of “Birth of the Sun,” but was also the birthday of the Inca regardless of the actual day of his birth, for, being considered a “son of the sun” his birthday anniversary was coincident with that of the sun itself. The observance of the Incan New Year, or Birth of the Sun, was the most important and holy ceremonial of the Incan religion, and is graphically described by an Inca prince named Checo.
After describing the great procession of the Inca with his attendants from the palace to the place where the summer solstitial sunrise was observed, he says,
As the sun rose above the mountains of Sallac and Piquicho, where is the castle of Sacsayhuman, it was watched by fifty thousand and more as it moved toward the temple. At the sight of its rays, cries and hurrahs of joy arose. At the solemn moment the Inca rose from his litter, and facing the sun, raised his first finger to the height of his mouth. At once a great silence came, and the Inca pronounced the words: “Capak-intiill-ariymin,” and the multitude in chorus replied: “Punchao-pacariurcum,” which was the chant of the great arrival of the sun of the morning on the day of Capak-raymi when the sun-lord reached nearest to the land and thus told the people of the coming of the new year. Ending the chant, the escort and holy men sang victoriously with the people in chorus, passing the chant from place to place until it resounded from the mountains in its echoes. At the close of the chant, from various parts of the city where they had been already allotted, maidens famed as singers, accompanied by other virgins, sang together five chants to the sun, the moon, the stars, the rainbow and the Inca, the last verses of each song being given by one thousand five hundred acolytes arranged for this solemn day about the temple of Kori-Cancha. The chants ended, the Inca drank with the chief holy man a great drink of the chicha from a sacred golden cup called a Pacha formed to represent the sun and other figures, and from which the chicha ran through a path or gutter to a spout whereof the Inca and the chief holy man of the temple sipped. Then all went within the temple and the Inca made obeisance (or Mucha) to the gods and to his ancestors, until the rays of the lord of the day struck upon his gold image, whereupon the sacred fire was lighted by the Inca who held in his hand a mirror and reflected the rays upon charred cotton.
Then from this fire the Virgins of the Sun struck other fires and kindled the sacred fires throughout the temple, and with great shouts the people hurried to light their fires, for since the coming of the night before no light or fire had been left burning in the land. Great rejoicings were made through the day, and in place of water chicha ran from the fountains, and at the plazas and on the streets were great jars of chicha from which all who desired might drink their fill, for this day was the birthday of the Inca and the birth of the sun, the great Inti, and the New year of the people of the land.
Dr. Müller shows in his work that the dimensions of the Temple of Tiahuanaco were chosen in such a way that from a point near the centre of the Western wall the stone pillar at the South-East corner marked the position of the summer solstitial sunrise in ancient times, due allowance being made for refraction and altitude of the horizon at the sunrise point; similarly, from the same point of observation, the outermost stone pillar at the North-East corner of the Temple marked the point of sunrise at the Winter solstice.
Dr. Müller suggests, also, that several pillars, projecting outwards on the Western side of the Temple, were used for observations of the moon from a great stone block near the centre of the Temple, which has, however, been split in halves, and is displaced from its original position. However this may be, there can be no doubt that observations were made in this Temple of the sun at the solstices and equinoxes.
The Temple is 422 ½ feet from East to West and 388 feet from North to South. Practically all the transportable material has been removed, first by the Spanish conquerors of Peru from the time of Pizarro for church building, and later “by modern vandals, especially the builders of the Guiqui-La Paz Railway, who it is stated have taken away within the past ten years (1919-1929) more than 500 train loads of stone for building its bridges and warehouses.” Thus all that now remains of the original building is a kind of Peruvian Stonehenge of great upright monoliths together with a beautifully carved monolithic stone door of the sun near the North-Western corner and a great stone stairway on the Eastern side.
General conclusions, based on these archaeological studies, make it highly probable that the building of the great Solar Temple of Tiahuanaco in the Tiahuanaco I period took place at some time during the first millennium before the Christian Era.
C.R. Enock, in The Secret of the Pacific (1912, p. 169) says “The temples and fortresses of Cuzco date only from the eleventh century, or later, of the Christian era, when the Inca dynasty came into being; those of Tiahuanaco are of unknown age, and doubtless were built by the Aymaras at the time of their greatest culture before their overthrow, or even predecessors of those people. Some writers, indeed, have maintained that they were contemporaneous with Babylon or Assyria.” This would probably put the date somewhere between 800 B.C. and 600 B.C. In view of the formidable array of archaeological documents and evidence presented by Dr. Means, it seems wholly impossible to put the building of the Solar Temple of Tiahuanaco so far back as 4000 B.C.
Thus, although the astronomical and archaeological results for Tiahuanaco are not so precise as in the case of Karnak or Stonehenge, there is, nevertheless, a strong indication that the date of construction is in agreement with the new Curve of Obliquity rather than with Newcomb’s Curve. Attention is drawn to this ancient Solar Temple, not only because it probably gives support to the New Curve of Obliquity, but also because it is an interesting case for further investigation, from the point of view of both astronomy and archaeology.
; the Earth does roll around like a top and its orbit gyrates like a spring. These factors combine to create "ice ages." The author does not seem to be talking about giant invisible planets or rains of fireballs, at least in the first chapter.
originally posted by: DJW001
Thank you for bringing this work to my attention. I do not have time to read it at the moment, but it does not appear to be the work of a complete crank
The foregoing evidence, derived from the astronomy and the archaeology of Stonehenge, confirms the belief first, that the reconstruction of this great British monument of antiquity was affected in Celtic times, when the Celtic religion, or Druidism, had reached a high degree of supremacy in Britain, and probably about the year 350 B.C.;
secondly, that the Sarsen Circle and other important features, especially the long straight entrance Avenue, were intentionally oriented by the builders of Stonehenge with the greatest care and precision towards the point of mid-summer sunrise over the summit of Sidbury Hill;
third, that these conditions, and this date, cannot be harmonized with the position of the sun as given by Newcomb’s Formula for the Obliquity of the Ecliptic in those ancient times. On this account, it has become the common opinion amongst archaeologists that astronomical orientation cannot be relied upon to throw any light on the true date of construction of Stonehenge.
On the contrary, however, the New Curve of the Obliquity gives the necessary factor of correction to Newcomb’s Formula, enabling the true position of the sun in ancient times to be ascertained, and it thus gives an astronomical date for Stonehenge very close to that which is indicated by history and by modern archaeology. Therefore, just as in the case of the Solar Temple at Karnak, the conclusion is obtained that the great British monument of Stonehenge confirms, in an unique and remarkable way, the accuracy of the New Curve of the Obliquity of the Ecliptic, which includes not only the normal curve of the age-long movement of the earth’s axis expressed by Newcomb’s Formula, but also the curve of recovery of the axis after its displacement in the year 2345 B.C., as indicated by the examination of the ancient, mediaeval, and later astronomical observations discussed in the earlier chapters of this book.
originally posted by: Harte
I find Dodwell's conclusions unlikely but possible.
However, I'm certain that no impact event caused any axial tilt. If it such a change in the tilt happens, it no doubt happens naturally.
You can calculate the effects of an impact of any size at this cool webpage provided by Perdue University. link
Any impact large enough to change the Earth's axial tilt would have done far more than what we see concerning the collapse (actually, one of several collapses) in the Bronze Age. It would melt most of the Earth's surface.
"In 1988 the observation was made that narrowest-ring events in Irish sub-fossil oak chronologies appeared to line up with large acidities in the Greenland ice records from Camp Century and Dye3. Three of the events, at tree-ring ages 2345 BC, 1628 BC and 1159 BC turned out to be of particular interest as they contributed to debates on the Hekla 4 eruption in Iceland, Santorini [Thera] in the Aegean, and, possibly, Hekla 3..."
I think there are good grounds to combine the 1628 BC event with Santorini/Thera, but Hekla 4 looks like a later event, ca. 2300 BC, and vice versa the 2350 BC event doesn't look like a volcanic event. Also the connection between Hekla 3 and the 1159 BC event is questionable, because of its larger context from Mycenean to Shang dynasty China.
Baillie has later come to the conclusion that only 1628 BC is volcano-based, but 2345BC and 1159BC are not.
Further investigations allow to re-examine the nature, age, causes and effects of the third millennium catastrophe identified from our earlier findings. Test on various late Gird millennium BC archaeological deposit and contemporaneous provides evidence for the regional occurrence in northern Syria of a layer with an uncommon petrographic assemblage, dated at ca. 2350 BC (transition between late Early Dynastic and Early Akkad). It consists of fine send-sized, well sorted spherules of various composition (silica, silicates and fibro-radiated calcite), millimetric fragments of a black, vesicular, amorphous material made of silicates with Mg-Ca carbonate and phosphate inclusions, ovoid micro-aggregates made of densely packed crystals (calcite, gypsum or feldspars) and exogenous angular fragments of a coarse crystallised igneous rock. All these particles are only present in this specific layer and are finely mixed with mud-brick debris or with a burnt surface horizon in the contemporaneous soils. In occupation sequences, the layer displays an uncommon dense packing of sand-sized, very porous aggregates that suggests disintegration of the mud-brick construction by an air blast. In the virgin soil, the burnt horizon contains black soot and graphite, and appears to have been instantaneously fossilised by a rapid and uncommon colluvial wash. Occurrence in a previously recorded thick tephra deposit of particles identical to some of the mysterious layer and resemblance of its original pseudo-sand fabric with t he exploded one of the mysterious layer confirms that the later is contemporaneous with the tephra deposit It has been however impossible to find typical tephra shards in sites located at a few km around the one with the tephra deposit The restricted occurrence of the later suggests that the massive tephra accumulation can no longer be considered as a typical fallout derived from the dispersion of material from a terrestrial volcanic explosion. Analytical investigations in various directions have been unable, so far, to refute or confirm that a cosmic event would have been the cause for production of both the widely distributed mysterious particles and the localised thick tephra. Origin of this mysterious phenomena still remains unsolved.
The excellent stratigraphical correlation between sites that are distant of a few hundred km clearly shows that the instantaneous dust fallout, previously considered as the initiative mechanism to the ca. 2200 yr BC abrupt climate change, occurred more than one hundred years earlier. The loose soil fabric, originally correlated with effects of strong winds and rapid establishment of aridity, can now be re-interpreted and possibly assigned to a violent blow-up. The theory of the Akkad empire collapse has, however, lost its basis. Soil specialists, geochemists and archaeologists should join their effort to solve this problem, and debate the exact nature of the socio cultural echo to this extraordinary event Our study illustrates the exceptional potential of archaeological sites to offer well preserved sedimentary archives of instantaneous phenomena that have shacked past terrestrial environments. It also demonstrates the importance of a high temporal resolution for debating causality of natural catastrophe on societal phenomena. Soil-sedimentary markers are in a way less subjective than historical sources for providing such a precision, although their interpretation might also be controversial, particularly when facing lack of analogues from the past or the present.