Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Lunar Calendar May Be “World’s Oldest”

Monday, July 15, 2013

(University of Birmingham)ABERDEENSHIRE, SCOTLAND—A pit alignment discovered in a field at Crathes Castle is said to be the world’s oldest lunar calendar. Dug some 10,000 years ago by hunter-gatherers, the 12 pits may have each contained a wooden post. The pits also aligned with the midwinter sunrise in order to provide an “astronomic correction” for the calendar. “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,” said Vince Gaffney of the University of Birmingham.