Researchers from the University of Birmingham (UK) may have discovered the oldest calendar in human history. This is exciting news for archaeologists, historians and those with an interest in the human past. We are going to lay out the key points of this exciting bit of archaeology news.
How Old is the Oldest Calendar?
Before now, the oldest known calendars appearing in archaeology news were from Mesopotamia. These were about 5,000 years old (c. 3000 BC). This supported ideas that civilisation and astrology originated in the Near East.
This new historical discovery is almost twice as old as previous examples. The archaeological remains date from around 10,000 years ago (c. 8000 BC). Birmingham researchers suggest the remains may be a kind of lunar calendar. If so, it would indicate that hunter-gatherer societies practised astrology earlier than previously thought.
Where was the Oldest Calendar Found?
The discovery was made in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The site itself is Warren Field, Crathes. The location of this ancient calendar raises further questions. The Near East was home to great ancient civilisations such as the Hittites an Assyrians. The region is also credited with being important in the spread of agriculture.
But Scotland can hardly boast a similarly epic past. This discovery might indicate that there were early civilisations and complex societies present in prehistoric Scotland. Or it may suggest that such early calendars were widespread throughout the world.
Implications of the Oldest Calendar’s Discovery
The implications of this discovery are mostly social. Scientific feats such as this would require a large amount of social interaction. Ideas would have to be exchanged and labour coordinated. So this 10,000 year old calendar suggests that hunter-gatherers functioned as a complex society.
Who Discovered the Oldest Calendar?
The project was led by Vince Gaffney of the University of Birmingham. He comments that this might have marked the invention of both time and history.