Deluge of Atlantis

Deluge of Atlantis
Deluge of Atlantis

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Scotland lunar-calendar find sparks Stone Age rethink

http://phys.org/news/2013-07-scotland-lunar-calendar-stone-age-rethink.html

Scotland lunar-calendar find sparks Stone Age rethink

Jul 27, 2013 by Nancy Owano

Archeologists have discovered a lunar calendar in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, that is nearly ten thousand years old. Their findings show that the calendar makers (1) thought about time and (2) figured out a means to follow it at a period in history that was still in the Stone Age. The discovery is considered both surprising and important because it now places a calendar nearly five thousand years before what was previously considered as the first formal calendar, created in Mesopotamia 5,000 years ago. But here, a discovery has been made of a calendar construct appearing to track the phases of the moon nearly 10,000 years ago.


Scientists are now calling this discovery in Scotland that seems to mimic the phases of the moon to track lunar months the world's oldest known calendar.
"What we are looking at here is a very important step in humanity's earliest formal construction of time, even the start of history itself," said Vincent Gaffney, professor of landscape archaeology at Birmingham University, who led the team who analyzed the pits and their functions.
Also referred to as the "Warren Field calendar," referring to the land area in Aberdeenshire where the calendar was found, the discovery consists of an array of 12 pits and arc. They appear to represent the phases of the moon, going from waxing and waning to central arc, corresponding to the lunar months of the year.
However, said Prof. Gaffney, because the lunar year does not correspond to the natural year, the sequence had to be calibrated annually, and the site seems to align along the midwinter solstice, indicating that each year it was calibrated, and kept good time.
The experts believe the site dates back to around 8000 BC. Gaffney and team in their paper on the subject observed that the site "also aligns on the south east horizon and a prominent topographic point associated with sunrise on the midwinter solstice. In doing so the monument anticipates problems associated with simple lunar calendars by providing an annual astronomic correction in order to maintain the link between the passage of time indicated by the Moon, the asynchronous solar year, and the associated seasons."
Although previously excavated back in 2005, geophysical survey teams from several universities have been working to map the sites again and to look for further features. The Warren Field site was first discovered as unusual crop marks spotted from the air by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS).
The pit-creators are identified as a Mesolithic group, referring to a group of cultures between Paleolithic and the Neolithic. The three "lithics" belong to the Stone Age, and the Mesolithic were a transition group who succeeded in adapting to a collecting and fishing as well as hunting economy The question remains, why did these hunter gatherers track the phases of the moon? For hunting purposes? To explore celestial bodies?
One theory comes from project member, Dr Christopher Gaffney, Archeological Science at the University of Bradford:
"For pre-historic hunter-gatherer communities, knowing what food resources were available at different times of the year was crucial to survival. These communities relied on hunting migrating animals and the consequences of missing these events were potential starvation. They needed to carefully note the seasons to be prepared for when that food resource passed through, so from this perspective, our interpretation of this site as a seasonal makes sense."


Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-07-scotland-lunar-calendar-stone-age-rethink.html#jCp

http://phys.org/news/2013-07-world-oldest-calendar.html#inlRlv

The beginning of time? World's oldest 'calendar' discovered

Jul 16, 2013

 British archaeology experts have discovered what they believe to be the world's oldest 'calendar', created by hunter-gatherer societies and dating back to around 8,000 BC.

The Mesolithic monument was originally excavated in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, by the National Trust for Scotland in 2004. Now analysis by a team led by the University of Birmingham, published today (July 15, 2013) in the journal Internet Archaeology, sheds remarkable new light on the luni-solar device, which pre-dates the first formal -measuring devices known to Man, found in the Near East, by nearly 5,000 years.
The capacity to measure time is among the most important of human achievements and the issue of when time was 'created' by humankind is critical in understanding how society has developed.
Until now the first formal calendars appear to have been created in Mesopotamia c, 5000 years ago. But during this project, the researchers discovered that a monument created by hunter gatherers in Aberdeenshire nearly 10,000 years ago appears to mimic the phases of the Moon in order to track lunar months over the course of a year.
The site, at Warren Field, Crathes, also aligns on the Midwinter Sunrise, providing an annual astronomic correction in order to maintain the link between the passage of time, indicated by the Moon, the asynchronous solar year and the associated seasons







Project leader Vince Gaffney, Professor of Landscape Archaeology at the University of Birmingham, comments: 'The evidence suggests that hunter gatherer societies in Scotland had both the need and sophistication to track time across the years, to correct for seasonal drift of the lunar year and that this occurred nearly 5,000 years before the first formal calendars known in the Near East.
'In doing so, this illustrates one important step towards the formal construction of time and therefore history itself.'
Dr Richard Bates, of the University of St Andrews, comments: St Andrews has an established reputation for remote sensing studies of early prehistoric sites in Scotland but the site at Warren Field is unique. It provides exciting new evidence for the earlier Mesolithic in Scotland demonstrating the sophistication of these early societies and revealing that 10,000 years ago constructed monuments that helped them track time. This is the earliest example of such a structure and there is no known comparable site in Britain or Europe for several thousands of years after the monument at warren Fields was constructed.
Project leader Vince Gaffney, Professor of Landscape Archaeology at the University of Birmingham, comments: 'The evidence suggests that hunter gatherer societies in Scotland had both the need and sophistication to track time across the years, to correct for seasonal drift of the lunar year and that this occurred nearly 5,000 years before the first formal calendars known in the Near East.
'In doing so, this illustrates one important step towards the formal construction of time and therefore history itself.'
Dr Richard Bates, of the University of St Andrews, comments: St Andrews has an established reputation for remote sensing studies of early prehistoric sites in Scotland but the site at Warren Field is unique. It provides exciting new evidence for the earlier Mesolithic in Scotland demonstrating the sophistication of these early societies and revealing that 10,000 years ago constructed monuments that helped them track time. This is the earliest example of such a structure and there is no known comparable site in Britain or Europe for several thousands of years after the monument at warren Fields was constructed.

The Warren Field site was first discovered as unusual crop marks spotted from the air by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS). Dave Cowley, Aerial Survey projects manager at RCAHMS, said: 'We have been taking photographs of the Scottish landscape for nearly 40 years, recording thousands of archaeological sites that would never have been detected from the ground. Warren Field stands out as something special, however. It is remarkable to think that our aerial survey may have helped to find the place where time itself was invented.

[video] http://phys.org/news/2013-07-world-oldest-calendar.html#inlRlv

Clive Ruggles, Emeritus Professor of Archaeoastronomy at the University of Leicester, who advised the team, points out that "the site did not mark particular moonrises as the changing patterns of moonrise are far too complex – the argument is that it represents a combination of several different cycles which can be used to track time symbolically and practically. There are certainly hunter-gatherer societies who use the phase cycles of the moon to help synchronise different seasonal activities but it is remarkable that this could have been monumentalised at such an early period.'
From 2004-6 the National Trust for Scotland excavated the Warren Field pit alignment, which lies on its Crathes Castle Estate, in collaboration with Murray Archaeological Services. The Trust's Archaeologist for Eastern Scotland, Dr Shannon Fraser, said: 'This is a remarkable monument, which is so far unique in Britain. Our excavations revealed a fascinating glimpse into the cultural lives of people some 10,000 years ago - and now this latest discovery further enriches our understanding of their relationship with time and the heavens'.
Dr Christopher Gaffney, of the University of Bradford, adds: 'For pre-historic hunter-gatherer communities, knowing what food resources were available at different times of the year was crucial to survival. These communities relied on hunting migrating animals and the consequences of missing these events were potential starvation. They needed to carefully note the seasons to be prepared for when that food resource passed through, so from this perspective, our interpretation of this site as a seasonal calendar makes sense.'

[Some comments on this: first, Marshack puts back the tracking of lunar phases and positions to well beore this time, 30000 years ago in Europe and probably much older in Africa. Secondly indications for comparable calendric corrections and large scale constructions are at least as old in the Sahara and on the Iberian peninsula, and these seem to be tied into the development of the Megalithic culture. Thirdly this situation in Scotland is somehow connected to contemporary events in Southern England and especially at Stonehenge. Fourthly, there is some very sound evidence that this hunter-gather calendar is tied into the development of animal zodiacs and the resulting seasonal-animal-hunters calendar seems tied into the development of a remarkably similar hunter's calendar/zodiac in North America.-DD]

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