World's Oldest Calendar Discovered in Scotland
Predates previous 'oldest' by 5K years
By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 15, 2013 9:10 AM CDT
Updated Jul 20, 2013 9:00 AM CDT
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(Newser) – The oldest calendar known to exist was created some 5,000 years ago in Mesopotamia—but it's looking positively youthful in the face of a new find in northern Scotland. A dig at Warren Field in Aberdeenshire in 2004 is just now giving up its secrets, with archaeologists revealing that a series of 12 pits found there may in fact be the world's oldest calendar. They believe the Stone Age-era pits each acted as a stand-in for a calendar month, with the 12 collectively representing a year. Additionally, the pits may have collectively represented a single lunar month, and their varied depths in the 165-foot arc-shaped row indicate that time period was split into what the Independent calls three "weeks"—waxing, full, and waning.

The Australian calls out two notable aspects of the pits: For one, Scotland's prehistoric hunter-gatherer tribes have long been considered "civilization's late starters"; the find somewhat unravels that belief. Second, their calendar took into account "lunar drift"; because lunar months don't precisely align with the passage of a year, most early calendars tracked only the former. But these pits would have been able to reveal the arrival of the midwinter solstice and, with it, the year's end, a further indication of the people's sophistication. A neat side note from the BBC: The Warren Field site was identified as one worth investigating via odd crop marks seen from above by the country's Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments.

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Showing 3 of 25 comments
right2dave
Jul 20, 2013 11:47 PM CDT
Sounds like they are guessing.
1492
Jul 20, 2013 5:27 PM CDT
I have to give it to the Archaeologists who have come up with the oldest calendar. Wonder if they can identify Thanksgiving and Christmas or anyone's birthday. I prefer to place my faith on the 5,000 year old blue eyed man who was found still with the arrow head that killed him. He would be the only one to confirm this newly found calendar. His name is Otzi. Mind you, he is frozen. When Cloning becomes viable, and his family agrees to it, he will be cloned and we have to wait until then, for him to give us the answer to this 5,000 year old calendar. 1492
dungbeetle
Jul 20, 2013 3:41 PM CDT
Illustrated with nudes or Vargas girls? Just askin' . . .