The Holocene Calendar

      This site demonstrates a calendar, proposed by the late Cesare Emiliani , which sets year zero to coincide with the geologic Holocene Epoch.  The Holocene, sometimes called the human era, began with the end of the last ice age about 12,000 years ago.

    Our familiar Gregorian calendar, proclaimed by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582, understandably holds great significance for Christians.  But it is a real nuisance for historians, archaeologists or anyone else whom must work with dates across the BC/AD boundary.  Further, civilizations did not develop "backward" for 10,000 years then suddenly start developing "forward"  2,000 years ago.  Civilization  has evolved as a continuum of change for at least the past 12,000 years.

    Purists will point out that the Holocene really didn't begin 12,000 years ago.  On a world-wide scale it was more like 10,000 years ago, and some would say that we're still enjoying the Pleistocene.  In any case, 12,000 years before present is used as our zero point because it provides a time frame that's early enough to include significant events while allowing simple, straight-forward date conversions.  

    AD dates are converted to HE (Holocene Epoch) dates by adding 10,000 years.  BC dates are converted by subtracting the BC date from 10,001.  The extra year is necessary when converting BC dates because Gregory left year zero out of his calendar.  Here are two examples:
                                                          1066 AD    =   10,000   +  1066    =    11066 HE
                                                              44 BC    =   10,001   -       44   =      9957 HE

    A number of calendar reforms have been proposed.  One leading candidate, the World Calendar, may be accessed via Rick McCarty's excellent Calendar Reform site.  Whereas most calendar reforms propose modifications to days, months, weeks and quarters within the solar year, the Holocene Calendar addresses the initial reference year.  As such, it readily accommodates most of the calendar reform proposals.
    A future version of this site may display from left to right, but for now please start at the bottom and scroll upward. 

Holocene Date 
Event Gregorian Date   
BC or AD
 12001  HE  First year of coming millennium  2001 AD
 12000  HE Final year of current millennium  2000 AD
 11953  HE Watson & Crick announce DNA structure  
 11860  HE Birth of Gustov Mahler  
 11859  HE Darwin publishes Origin of Species  
 11804  HE Alexander Hamilton killed in duel by Aaron Burr
 11649  HE England's Charles I  beheaded  
 11627  HE Last known aurochs, ancestor of modern cattle, killed by poachers  
 11620  HE William Bradford coerces Mayflower Compact  
 11582  HE Gregory XIII proclaims current calendar   
 11492  HE Taino indians discover Columbus standing on their beach  
 11456  HE Gutenberg press heralds birth of advertising  
 11215  HE  John I of England signs Magna Carta  
 11066  HE William I at Hastings establishes Norman  rule in England  
 11000  HE Norse explorers reach North America  1000 AD
 10622  HE Mohammed journeys to Medina  -- Islamic year 1  
 10476 HE "Fall" of the Western Roman Empire
 10455  HE  Vandals sack Rome   
 10410  HE Visigoths sack Rome  
 10380  HE Theodosius demands adherence to Nicene Creed  
 10330  HE Formal split of East and West Roman Empire  
 10250  HE Rise of Mayan civilization (ultimately peaks about 10900)  
 10079  HE Eruption of Vesuvius destroys Pompeii, Herculeneum 
 10070  HE Roman destruction of Jerusalem  
 10001  HE  Synchronization with Gregorian date        1 AD
  9993   HE Probable birth of Jesus of Nazareth         8 BC
  9967   HE Julius Caesar assassinated
  9955   HE Sosigenes establishes Julian calendar  
  9669   HE Alexander the Great conquers Palestine   
  9645   HE Birth of Alexander of Macedonia  
  9614   HE Founding of Plato's academy  
  9600   HE Approximate lifetime of Guatama Buddha  
  9450   HE Birth of Confucius  
  9248   HE Founding of Rome  
 1000 BC
  8850   HE Olmec civilization in Mesoamerica  
  8450   HE Height of Minoan civilization  
  8420   HE Suggested Egyptian destruction of Jerico  
  8400   HE China -- Shang Dynasty  
  8372   HE Aegean -- Thera volcanic eruption  
  8251   HE Hammurabi establishes Babylonian Empire  
  8000   HE Greece -- Minoan palatial culture   
China -- Xia, first state   
Southeast Asia -- metal working   
Pecos River -- rock art
 2000 BC
  7650   HE Sumer conquered by Sargon I  
  7500   HE Mesopotamia -- Akkadian Empire, nation state  
  7000   HE Sumer -- established civilization   
Mediterranean -- small established towns
 3000 BC
  6900   HE Egypt -- unification & First Dynasty under Menes   
Egyptian colony in southern Israel
  6700   HE Austrian Alps -- death and mummification of the "iceman"  
  6600   HE Mesopotamia -- proto-writing   
Egypt -- cultural development
  6500   HE Mesopotamia -- Uruk and Jemdet Nasr  
  6400   HE Americas -- definite cultivation of maize  
  6000   H.E. Seas rise to present-day levels -- late date for start of Holocene Epoch  
Extinction of Pigmy Mammoths   
India -- agriculture   
Americas -- millet   
Europe -- copper, farming
 4000 BC
  5997   HE Ussher's estimate for the date God created the universe -- 4004 BC
  5500   HE Zimbabwe -- Nachikufan industry  
  5400   HE North America -- Mazama eruption  
  5288   HE Beginning of Scalinger's Julian Period, the 7,980-year cycle by which astronomers reckon dates  
  5000   HE Sumer -- Ubiad I culture
China -- Laquer ware, rice
  5000 BC
  4000   HE North America -- Bitterroot culture in Idaho  
Europe -- Maglemose cultures (mesolithic)  
Korea -- Chulmun hunter-gatherers
  6000 BC
  2400   HE Mureybet, Syria -- domesticated einkorn  
  3000   HE Indus Valley -- First Mehrgarh Period, includes wheat, barley, sheep & goats, along with hunted gazelle 
  2000   HE North America -- Folsom points  
South America -- domestication of squash
  8000 BC
  1000   HE North America -- clovis points  
Abu Hureyra -- established farming 
  9000 BC
    800   HE Brazil -- Amazon cave containing  human artifacts   
    500   HE Japan -- earliest Jomon pottery  .
       0    HE Allerod glacial interstitial begins -- earliest acceptable Holocene beginning  
Natufian proto-agricultural groups probably in existence by this date
Afghanistan--Hindu Kush, possible domestication of sheep and goats
 10000 BC
Holocene Date
Gregorian Date 
    Back to top                                                                    Hurl comments or corrections at:  Michael Fuehrer
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