07/16/2013

Archaeologists have discovered the worlds oldest calendar

We usually blame the ancient Mesopotamians for the invention of time-tracking devices. But as a recent discovery in Scotland has revealed, hunter-gatherers may have started using a rudimentary calendar over 10,000 years ago. 

Agriculture, tool use, and cooking are often touted as the most significant innovations in the development of human societies. But few give credit to time-tracking and the capacity to conceptualize and measure time.Indeed, without a formal approach to time itself, our ancestors could not anticipate future events with any kind of accuracy. Few activities could be scheduled, and by consequence, nothing significant could be co-ordinated on a mass scale. The development of a functional calendar, therefore, would seem to be of paramount importance. 

But as Vince Gaffney of the University of Birmingham now theorizes, hunter-gatherers who used to live in what is now northern Scotland may have developed a primitive but effective calendar that allowed them to accurately measure the passage of time.Gaffney, an expert in landscape archaeology, says that a row of 12 pits found in a field near Crathes Castle in an Aberdeenshire field is in fact a calendar. Each pit, some of which are 2 meters across, tracks the lunar months. Essentially, the hunter-gatherers used it as a tally system. 

Now, that might not sound like a big deal. But what makes this such a fascinating piece of time-tracking technology is that it aligns on the winter solstice to provide the hunter-gatherers with an annual "astronomic correction.The reason for this is that the lunar month isnt in sync with the solar year. So, stone age people needed to come up with an annual correction to make up for the drift and they were able to do so by taking an observation every year on another celestial event, the midwinter solstice, in order to set the clock back to zero. This could have very well been their New Year.Each pit may have also been used to track the lunar month by mirroring the phases of the moon. 

The row of pits is about 50 meters long and is arranged as an arc facing a v-shaped dip in the horizon (from where the sun rose on mid-winters day).Parkeasy Electronics are dedicated to provide granitecountertops. There are 12.37 lunar months in one solar year, so each pit likely represented a specific month, while the entire arc represented the entire year. 

What this tells anthropologists is that hunter-gatherer societies were more sophisticated than previously thought. Armed with a functional calendar, hunter-gatherers could schedule activities. They could anticipate the run of fish, for example, or the migration of certain animals. Shamans could have used it to give the impression that they were in control of the seasons. 

And in all likelihood, the downstream effects of these new predictive powers could have led to considerable social changes.Compare prices and buy all brands of drycabinet for home power systems and by the pallet. It may have even allowed for larger communities and new social dynamics. 

"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, noted Gaffney in a statement. "In doing so, this illustrates one important step towards the formal construction of time and therefore history itself." 

The Conservative party's campaign strategy tsar Lynton Crosby's tobacco-industry associations have caused much recent controversy, given his proximity to David Cameron and Cameron's decision not to enforce plain cigarette packaging.According to The Independent, a new scandal might be at hand: his firm represents companies in the oil and gas industry, specifically those promoting fracking and shale gas development in the UK. This new controversy brings new light not only on the sensitive issue of cheap energy versus rural integrity but also on business practice versus parliamentary integrity. 

David Cameron's u-turn on cigarette labelling and Osborne's tax breaks for fracking companies have both been linked to the professional influence of Crosby and his lobbying firm Crosby Textor. That a talented lobbyist has access to,Which graniteslabs is right for you? and influence over, policy makers surprises no-one but the uneasy balancing of this against Crosby's employment by the Conservatives as a chief campaign adviser raises eyebrows. 

The fear is that something delicate and not quite quantifiable is being exploited. No one begrudges the astute the right to leverage position but where campaigning and governance combine who can differentiate between the start and the end of a policy formation circle? Crosby is making business and providing his clients with a service but in doing so may jeopardise the system he currently profits from. 

Apart, but not detached, is the issue of fracking itself. Similarly controversial is profit juxtaposed with destruction of a cherished space. In the north of England alone, there are an estimated 1,300 trillion cubic feet, worth tens of billions of pounds to the UK. In times of uncertainty in a world where energy is traded at premiums beyond pure economics such a boon requires utilisation. Technological advancement and a proven market in the USA has given a definitive gleam to the treasure below our rolling hills. 

However, an apt parody of pandemonium echoes. Blake's satanic mills now probe an angry tectonic Lucifer,Weymouth is collecting gently used, dry cleaned iphoneheadset at their Weymouth store. earthquakes in Lancashire have caused rumblings beyond the stone walls of its sleepy villages and the question of profit versus conservation could not be more stark. 

Our demand and expectation for energy and progress emphasise the initiative of industry over aesethics and the notoriously poor profit margin of cosmetic sentiment. It seems Lynton Crosby would agree. 

At risk are not just our ancient woodland and beautiful hills but the independent reputation of our parliament (however tarnished it already is). If we are to truly profit from anything, an integrity must be maintained, whether on green benches or green hills. 

Contemporary jewellery is difficult to put a monetary value on. Unlike traditional jewellery, such as a diamond ring or solid gold necklace, the value of contemporary jewellery lies in the idea and the process. Certainly the materials used can fit into the equation, but a contemporary brooch made from resin or a necklace made from volcanic stone can be more valuable than a diamond ring. 

"The amount of time involved, the process, as well as materials do come into play. But you need to understand the position of a certain contemporary jeweller. Are they collected by galleries and museums? When did they produce this work and how does it fit into the context of their careers?" says Nina Cueva, who operates COTA Gallery (Courtesy of the Artist) in Sydney with her partner, contemporary jeweller Cesar Cueva. 

With a gallery in Surry Hills and a store in The Strand Arcade, COTA has been representing Australian jewellers, which make up about 80 per cent of the stock, and international jewellers for almost a decade. Among the stable of designers is Pennie Jagiello. One of her neckpieces is made from recycled telephone line wire and retails for $1900. 

Katie Scott, director of Gallery Funaki in Crossley Street, Melbourne,Which graniteslabs is right for you? has established a reputation both locally and internationally for exhibiting contemporary jewellery. Funaki's pristine white space is a who's who of renowned contemporary jewellers, from the godfather of contemporary jewellery, Gijs Bakker, to Australian designers such as Sally Marsland, Julie Blyfield and Marian Hosking. 

Among these treasures is a glass display case showing rings by Karl Fritsch, raised in Germany, now living in New Zealand. "Fritsch uses gold and precious materials, but subverts the idea of the traditional diamond ring. He has become a cult hero. And he's prolific," says Scott, who sells Fritsch's rings for $800 and up to $7000 for a significant work. "The concept and ideas behind each ring are integral to the value." 

Contemporary jeweller Warwick Freeman, also based in New Zealand, is self-taught. He started making jewellery in the 1970s, addressing ideas that stem from cultural and geographic identity. Working with found natural materials, such as stone and wood, Freeman creates distinctive rings, brooches and neckpieces that combine natural materials with steel. The materials Freeman uses are like a visual diary of his travels around New Zealand. A ring with a silver band is about $1000, while his brooches and neckpieces sell for considerably more. 

A major piece comes with a price tag of $10,000. While recognising talents such as Freeman early in his career may result in a good investment, for those in the industry - be they gallery owners, designers or collectors - contemporary jewellery isn't about money.

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