Holocene calendar

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The Holocene calendar, or Human era (HE), is a year numbering system that adds 10,000 years to the present Anno Domini (AD) or Common Era (CE) system. It puts the first year near the beginning of the Holocene epoch and the Neolithic revolution. People who like the HE system say that it makes for easier geological, archaeological, dendrochronological and historical dating.

The current year of 2019 can be made into a Holocene year by adding the number "1" before it, making it 12,019 HE. The HE idea was first thought of by the scientist Cesare Emiliani in 1993 (11,993 HE).[1][2][3]

Reasons for wanting a new calendar include:

  • In the Anno Domini system the birth of Jesus represents the year 1. People now think Jesus was born four years later.
  • The years BC are counted down when moving from past to future, making calculation of lengths of time difficult.
  • The Anno Domini system has no year zero, with 1 BC followed by AD 1. It is important to not forget this when calculating lengths of time.

Instead, HE starts at 10,000 BC. This is a rough approximation of the start of the current geologic epoch, the Holocene or Recent period. settlements, first cities and agriculture probably started in this period. All important dates in human history can then be listed using a simple increasing date scale with smaller dates always before larger dates.

Conversion[change | change source]

Conversion to the Human Era from Julian or Gregorian AD years can be achieved by adding 10,000. BC years are converted by subtracting the BC year from 10,001.

A useful check is that the last single number of BC and HE equivalent pairs must add up to 1 or 11.

Gregorian years ISO 8601 Human Era
Holocene Epoch
30001 BC −30000 20000 BHE
10001 BC −10000 0 HE
10000 BC −9999 1 HE
9001 BC −9000 1000 HE
1000 BC −0999 9001 HE
100 BC −0099 9901 HE
2 BC −0001 9999 HE
1 BC +0000 10000 HE
1 AD +0001 10001 HE
2 AD +0002 10002 HE
2019 AD +2019 12019 HE
10000 AD +10000 20000 HE

Related pages[change | change source]

  • Common Era
  • Julian date (JD) – the interval of time in days and fractions of a day since January 1, 4713 BCE, Greenwich noon.

References[change | change source]

  1. Cesare Emiliani, "Calendar Reform", Nature 366 (1993) 716.
  2. The Holocene Calendar at Meerkat Meade.
  3. Harry Weseman. "Human Era Calendar".