The Human Era: Rethinking Our History
Welcome to the 121st Century: An Introduction to the Holocene Calendar, or “What’s up with the date in your site’s footer?!”
I love the idea of the Holocene Calendar and how it brings into perspective the true scope of human history and progress. It makes ancient humans seem more real and more connected to the present and is a great tool for reframing the way we think about history.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. First off, what even IS the Holocene Calendar?
The Holocene calendar, also known as the Holocene Era or Human Era (HE), is a year numbering system that adds exactly 10,000 years to the currently dominant (AD/BC or CE/BCE) numbering scheme, placing its first year near the beginning of the Holocene geological epoch and the Neolithic Revolution, when humans transitioned from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to agriculture and fixed settlements.
Karen, a researcher and history buff from decamillenium.org (a site dedicated to translating historical articles into HE-compliant documents) has created a fantastic website outlining the value of the calendar, and ways you can implement it in your works.
We have a real problem with the Christian year numbering system. Forget about the fact that the origin of this system was calculated mistakenly, or the fact that the event from which we count years (birth of Jesus Christ) may not have significance for non-Christians. The main issue with the dating system that we use today is that for the largest part of written human history we count years backwards.
Reconsidering our history as a single continuous timeline removes a layer of distance and ephemerality that divides us from the people, cultures, and societies that came before us and paved the way for our modern world.
What do you think of the Holocene Calendar?
How does it feel to be living in the 121st century?