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Joined: 6 May 2008
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03 Oct 2023, 7:09 pm

There is a small effort within the historian community to advance the use of a "Human Era" calendar system.  It requires no change other than to assume that human civilization began ~12,023 years ago, starting with "Year Zero".

To convert BC/BCE dates to HE dates, subtract the BC/BCE date from 10,001.

To convert AD/CE dates to HE dates, add the AD/CE date to 10,000.

A few significant dates:

~10,001 BC/BCE (Year Zero, HE): BEGINNING OF THE HOLOCENE ERA (Or Historical Era, Human Era, et cetera). Year Zero of the Holocene Calendar. Modern human history begins. (CEH, GHMC,1979, p.24) (LSA, Spg/97, p.6)

~9,001 BC/BCE (~1,000 HE): Earliest evidence of a walled city, later called Jericho.

~8,001 BC/BCE (~2,000 HE): Wine was produced in the region known as Colchis (later Georgia) as early as this time. (Econ, 11/15/08, p.100)

~7,001 BC/BCE (~3,000 HE): Approximate founding of the actual City of Jericho.

~6,001 BC/BCE (~4,000 HE): Bronze age settlements were established and later found in Moldova. (SFC, 1/28/97, p.A5)

~5,001 to ~3,501 BC/BCE (~5,000 to ~6,500 HE): The pre-Dynastic period of Egypt. (R4,1998)


The list goes on, of course.  This dating method simplifies the sequencing of pre-Messianic history, makes it easier to memorize important dates, and eliminates the religion-based BC/AD suffixes.  Today's date would be listed only as 12023-10-04 with the 'HE' being assumed (Philippine time is 12 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time), likely for official documents only.

Our current system works, however, so changing to the HE format would be both expensive and not necessary.

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Joined: 26 Aug 2010
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04 Oct 2023, 3:27 am

Human "history" did not begin until 3000 BC. And even then it was only in a few tiny and separate parts of the world (Egypt, Sumer, the Indus Valley) because that was when writing was invented. No writing means no written records meaning no actual recorded "history".

Western Europe was "prehistoric" until just before Christ when Ceasar conquered Gaul, and the American West was prehistoric until the Spanish Conquistadors arrived in the 1600s.

But putting that aside...yes thats a new scheme thats been proposed. Placing the "year zero" back to around the time of the end of the last Ice Age...about twelve thousand years ago...or about 10,000 years before Christ. That way you wouldnt have that very confusion displayed in the above sentence when talking about archeology (having to 'code switch' back in forth between X number "years ago" and "x number of years before Christ"). My archeology textbooks when I was in college had to specify dates BP or BC (before present, or before Christ).

The end of the last Ice Age was when humans began to slowly transform (both themselves and thier lifestyle, and to modify the world around them)...settle down into permanent settlements. Began domesticating plants and animals and gradually inventing agriculture, and so forth. began the seven thousand year process of transitioning from hunter gathers to civilization. So it IS a logical starting point.

Makes sense as a scientific dating system. Kind of like the Kelvin Temperature scale. Kelvin places zero degrees at absolute zero (hundreds of degrees below zero in either Farhenheit or in centigrade). No weatherman, in even metric countries gives the forecast in Kelvin. Regular folks and TV weatherpeople only talk in the popular scales of either Farhenheit or Celsius. Both of the later two scales are geared to measuring human comfort. But Kelvin is what astronomers and physicists use because its geared to the bigger temperature extremes of non human nature.

Likewise I dont envision folks ever using this new timescale in everyday parlance. But it would be useful to paleontologist and archeologist wihin their disciplines.


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Joined: 15 Sep 2008
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04 Oct 2023, 4:39 pm

I wish they'd stop messing with things. I don't mind BC and AD, and still use the terms, even though I'm a dyed-in-the-wool atheist who thinks that Jesus was just a radical preacher who came to a sad end. Admittedly it's silly and vaguely unfair to base dates on Christian legends, but I'd resent the learning curve if I had to change all those numbers I'd picked up over the year. I feel much the same way about political correctness, a lot of it is too cumbersome for my patience.