Time Tracking Origins
“Time, often understood as the fourth dimension, appears to be a continuous and linear event occurring within the realm in which we exist. Our memories and intellect give us the perspective to acknowledge that all objects we perceive have past, present and future existences. We may observe a rock and a flower over time and realize that some things are more susceptible to change in relation to time… especially those that we deem living.
Humans’ understanding of geometry and physics is closely tied to observing the heavens. Celestial bodies are predominantly spherical due to the strong effect of gravity. Thus celestial bodies orbit each other and are also tied to each other’s gravitational forces – often, they also spin and have poles. On earth, the closer to the equator the more even are the celestial markings of the day, the closer to the pole the more pronounced are the celestial markings of the year – what we call seasons.
Many ancient civilizations studied and recorded the motion of the celestial bodies (the sun, planets, moons and stars) to better understand and measure time.
• 5000 years ago: Sumerians in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley (Iraq) devised a calendar that divided the year into twelve months of thirty days and divided the day into twelve periods of 2 hours.
• 4000+ years ago: Stonehenge was built in England. Although it is not clear how the monument was erected, it was clearly devised as a marker of seasonal events such as solstices and equinoxes.
• 4000+ years ago: Egyptians tracking the star Sirius realized that it aligns with the sun every 365 days and thus created a 365 day calendar.
• 4000+ years ago: Mayans established a 365 day calendar using the sun, moon and orbit of the planet Venus. These ancient calendars were carved into great Aztec calendar stones.
• Modern civilization has adopted a 365 day calendar with an extra day added every fourth year which we refer to as leap year.
We may not be able to control time but we can better ourselves and our environment by understanding it. Farming, fishing, hunting and recreational industries are all heavily influenced by the seasons. No natural factor more heavily influences our day to day lives than the rising and setting of the sun… we even adjust our time zones throughout the year to better utilize daylight as well as conserve energy and natural resources.”
Stopwatch and Timer Essentials