Monday, 15 July 2013

The Beginning of Time?

British archaeologists discover what may be the world’s oldest calendar in a field in Scotland.
V. Gaffney et al. 2013 'Time and a Place: A luni-solar 'time-reckoner' from 8th millennium BC Scotland', Internet Archaeology 34.
Dr Richard Bates, Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, and a team of archaeologist from the Universities of Birmingham and Bradford believe to have found in Aberdeenshire what could be the world’s oldest ‘calendar’. The calendar was created by hunter-gatherer societies and dates back to around 8,000 BC. The Mesolithic monument is a lunisolar device that pre-dates the first formal time-measuring devices found in the Near East (dated at 5000yrs ago). The team have investigated the site and conducted computer models that recreate the lunar-solar conditions at the time the monument was first constructed. The curious pattern of pits, at Warren Field, Crathes, mimics the phases of the Moon but also aligns with Midwinter Sunrise, thus allowing a time-sync of the moon cycles with the solar year and seasons. The site is not only internationally important in itself but there is good indication of other similar sites in Scotland. Dr Bates further believes that discoveries such as these demonstrate Scotland’s vast untapped potential for the Mesolithic and is, of course, further evidence of Scottish inventiveness! [full article][press release]