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A rather old Scottish calendar
Posted: 10 September 2013 05:52 PM   [ Ignore ]
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-23286928

‘World’s oldest calendar’ discovered in Scottish field

Archaeologists believe they have discovered the world’s oldest lunar “calendar” in an Aberdeenshire field.

Excavations of a field at Crathes Castle found a series of 12 pits which appear to mimic the phases of the moon and track lunar months.

A team led by the University of Birmingham suggests the ancient monument was created by hunter-gatherers about 10,000 years ago.

The pit alignment, at Warren Field, was first excavated in 2004.

The experts who analysed the pits said they may have contained a wooden post.

The Mesolithic “calendar” is thousands of years older than previous known formal time-measuring monuments created in Mesopotamia.

The analysis has been published in the journal, Internet Archaeology.

The pit alignment also aligns on the Midwinter sunrise to provided the hunter-gatherers with an annual “astronomic correction” in order to better follow the passage of time and changing seasons.

Vince Gaffney, Professor of Landscape Archaeology at Birmingham, led the analysis project.

He said: “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 universities of St Andrews, Leicester and Bradford were also involved.

Dr Richard Bates, of the University of St Andrews, said the discovery provided “exciting new evidence” of the early Mesolithic Scotland.

He added: “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 Field 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.”

Crathes Castle and its estate is in the care of the National Trust for Scotland (NTS).

From 2004 to 2006, trust staff and Murray Archaeological Services excavated the site.

NTS archaeologist 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.”

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Posted: 11 September 2013 01:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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The old civilizations were a lot smarter than we can imagine.  Technology has dumbed us down so much it’s hard to believe that civilization today could function at all if someone took away the smartphones and computers.

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Posted: 12 September 2013 04:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Humans have barely evolved in thousands of years, but knowledge has been handed down, so the current population are probably more informed than previous generations. Technical achievements now are far more incredible than ever in history, but it is all too easy to write of how incredible current achievements are. The fact I am responding to a post from somewhere else in the world is incredible, but now so common place, it is easily overlooked. Humans aren’t in any way dumbed down I think, but there are certainly a lot more of them around these days (people that is).

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Posted: 12 September 2013 12:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Mr R - 12 September 2013 04:29 AM

Humans have barely evolved in thousands of years, but knowledge has been handed down, so the current population are probably more informed than previous generations. Technical achievements now are far more incredible than ever in history, but it is all too easy to write of how incredible current achievements are. The fact I am responding to a post from somewhere else in the world is incredible, but now so common place, it is easily overlooked. Humans aren’t in any way dumbed down I think, but there are certainly a lot more of them around these days (people that is).

I think for the most part humans are dumbed down.  The few that are the innovators are the exception.  The rest of us tend to take such stuff for granted that when something goes wrong we have no idea how to fix it because we have no idea of what’s behind the system.  In ancient days everyone had to rely on themselves to do things.  Pretty much everyone understood how to make a spear, build a hut, etc.  If someone lost or broke their spear they would just make a new one.  Today if someones computer breaks they are lost.  If their car breaks they call a towtruck, and so on.  We can use the technology but that doesn’t make us smarter, it actually dumbs us down because we don’t know what to do when something goes wrong.

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Posted: 13 September 2013 02:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Do you have a bit of ‘Good old days’ syndrome? wink

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/turning-straw-gold/201308/good-old-days-syndrome

It is hard to say whether humans are more or less intelligent now than they were; your comparison of spear making in the hunter gatherer sense may be correct, it might not be unless there is some hard evidence that all members of a group could make spears etc. I think it is evident from the way business have evolved is that some people were better at tasks than others, hence the origination of black smiths, farriers, cobblers, seamstresses, bakers, butchers, farmers etc. All of these vocations would have come about because someone showing apptitude.

There are societies still in existence which live primative lives, such as isolated tribes in the rain forest. Do you think they are smarter than an average american? Do you think there is actually any difference? If a member of their tribe came to live in a modernised country, how long would it be before they shared your skill set and vice versa? I am sure that you both would adapt to your environment.

What does seem to crop up in society is the feeling that things were better in the past, when that clearly isn’t the case (unless, I guess you are in a country that is now destroyed through war, such as Syria or Afghanistan, when it probably was better in the past).

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Posted: 13 September 2013 10:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I think what we have to do here is come up with a definition as to what constitutes smarter or more intelligent.  If intelligence is defined by the amount of knowledge a person has then yes, people today would be considered much more intelligent because the average person knows a lot more than someone back in the stone age.  If it is measured by the ability to adapt and overcome adversity using ones inate abilities then the stone age people were probably smarter than the average person today.  People today know a lot more because the level of information accessible in todays culture is vastly larger than what was available to people in days past.  That in itself does not make us smarter or more intelligent.  The fact is that technology has made life easier for many people which in turn has caused us to take a lot of things for granted without questioning or understanding them.  One has to admit that there are a lot of pretty stupid people around who only blieve what they are fed.

I don’t really have a bit of the good old days syndrome, far from it   I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s and saw the world change a lot during that period.  There were some good things about those eras but I’m not saying that things were better back then or that I want to go back to those times.  I’m a pretty realistic person and look at the world thru rather cynical eyes.  I just happen to think that the advancements in technology don’t necessarily make us smarter or more intelligent, rather tht they dumb us down because the requirement to think for ourselves is rapidly diminishing.

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Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you’re a mile away and you have their shoes.

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When life hands you lemons make apple juice. Then laugh while life tries to figure out how you did it.

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Posted: 17 September 2013 02:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Mr R - 13 September 2013 02:51 AM

Do you have a bit of ‘Good old days’ syndrome? wink

What does seem to crop up in society is the feeling that things were better in the past, when that clearly isn’t the case (unless, I guess you are in a country that is now destroyed through war, such as Syria or Afghanistan, when it probably was better in the past).

When was Afghanistan a better place?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invasions_of_Afghanistan

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