The world’s oldest calendar has been discovered, and British archaeology experts believe it could provide insight into when humans first created the concept of time.
The calendar dates back to 8,000 BC and was excavated in Aberdeenshire, Scotland by the National Trust for Scotland in 2004.
Years later, a team at the University of Birmingham has declared the Mesolithic calendar to be the oldest in the world.
Before the discovery of the oldest calendar, previous versions dated to the Mesopotamia period, which goes back 5,000 years. The previous calendar is pictured above.
The newly discovered calendar, which dates back approximately 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 groups findings have been published in the journal Internet Archaeology.
According to researchers, the calendar even includes a midwinter sunrise alignment that provides for an annual astronomic correction in order to maintain a proper timeline.
Project leader Vince Gaffney, Professor of Landscape Archaeology at the University of Birmingham, say of the finding:
“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.’
The artifact was discovered at the Warren Field site which the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) first spotted 40 years ago after observing strange crop marks during aerial photography.
The world’s oldest calendar was just one of many artifacts that were excavated from the Warren Field pit alignment from 2004 through 2006.