All posts tagged: lunar year

The Moon Made Us Human

The Moon Made Us Human

Beside Scotland’s Crathes Castle, beyond the ornately sculpted hedgerows and formal gardens, is a simple grass field edged with willow and alder trees. Beneath this pasture, known as Warren Field, are 12 sunken pits carved 10 millennia ago by Stone Age hunter-gatherers. For decades, their purpose was unknown. But to Vincent Gaffney, a professor at the University of Bradford, in northern England, the pits formed something distinctly cosmic: a clear curve from right to left, bent to the horizon—a pit for each of the 12 moons in the lunar year. As each moon arrived, Gaffney hypothesized in 2013, perhaps the people of Warren Field lit a fire in the corresponding pit or placed a marker in front of it, denoting which month they were in. The dugouts were a permanent way to mark each moon—and, he suspected, to account for the difference between lunar and solar years. Armed with sophisticated landscape maps and three-dimensional computer renderings, Gaffney and his colleagues traced the motions of the sun back to 10,000 years ago and discovered that anyone …