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The Moon As A Timepiece
     "OK, Joe.  We'll meet again on the 10th of the 4th month.  Thanks for stopping by.  
I'm sure we can work out all the details then."

"Great.  I'll see you the beginning of the 3rd watch on the tenth in the fourth.  So long"

     This is a conversation that could have taken place 3,000 years ago (but not in "english" of course).  

     Without the disadvantaqges of modern timekeeping, how could any meetings in the future be planned?  Simple, the moon and sun keeps perfect time! What held true thousands of years ago still holds true today.  

     Some say that the moon is no longer a valid timepiece in modern times, and that it has slowed down considerably in the last 6 thousand years so that its timekeeping accuracy won't "work"...   Yes, according to my caluculations, using data from NASA and NOAA, the moon has slowed down over the last 6000 years about 0.001 seconds.  'Nuf said.

     What follows is a discussion on how to tell time and day and month of year as it was before the invention of the "modern" calendars and timepieces.  Personally, I like it much better.  To me, it's fun and somehow conforting to experience  a thousands year old method of timekeeping, in particular, time keeping before 300 A.D.

A Word About Carbon Dating
     For those that believe the earth was created about 7,000 years ago, go to my tract  "Dinosaurs."  It talks about my views on the carbon dating system.  Whether you are "for" or "against" carbon dating, both views are part of your religion.  Both require "faith" on your part to "believe" the missing pieces of each stance.  
     The 7,000-yearists have to have faith in translations of their manuals, and the Billion-yearists have to have faith in their translation of the carbon dating manuals.  The "Dinosaurs" tract may help put it in perspective a bit.  
     Carbon dating is just a yardstick that measures relative past time, is all.  I personally don't agree with conclusions of carbon dating, but I agree to its use to figure relative time, i.e., relative to its own scale of projected past time elapsed. For example, I can take a piece of string in my stretched out hands and cut it to that length.  I can use that length of string to measure things.  Let's call the length of that string "one DB."  With that string I can measure my garage as being 8 1/2 DBs by 5 DBs.
     Same way with carbon dating.  It has many problems with its accuracy because volcanoes, forest fires and other cataclysmic events put gunk in the atmosphere obscure that accuracy.  Comments?
     But anyway, throughout this site I will use carbon dating times only as a relative standard for measurement, not an accurate one.

Long Ago Time Keeping
     "Ice-age hunters in Europe over 20,000 years ago (sorry 7,000-yearists - ddb) scratched lines and gouged holes in sticks and bones, possibly counting the days between phases of the moon. Five thousand years ago, Sumerians in the Tigris-Euphrates valley in today's Iraq had a calendar that divided the year into 30 day months, divided the day into 12 periods (each corresponding to 2 of our hours), and divided these periods into 30 parts (each like 4 of our minutes). We have no written records of Stonehenge, built over 4000 years ago in England, but its alignments show its purposes apparently included the determination of seasonal or celestial events, such as lunar eclipses, solstices and so on.

     The earliest Egyptian calendar was based on the moon's cycles, but later the Egyptians realized that the "Dog Star" in Canis Major, which we call Sirius, rose next to the sun every 365 days, about when the annual inundation of the Nile began. Based on this knowledge, they devised a 365 day calendar that seems to have begun around 3100 BCE (Before the Common Era), which thus seems to be one of the earliest years recorded in history.

     Before 2000 BCE, the Babylonians (in today's Iraq) used a year of 12 alternating 29 day and 30 day lunar months, giving a 354 day year. In contrast, the Mayans of Central America relied not only on the Sun and Moon, but also the planet Venus, to establish 260 day and 365 day calendars. This culture and its related predecessors spread across Central America between 2600 BCE and 1500 CE, reaching their apex between 250 and 900 CE. They left celestial-cycle records indicating their belief that the creation of the world occurred in 3114 BCE. Their calendars later became portions of the great Aztec calendar stones. Our present civilization has adopted a 365 day solar calendar with a leap year occurring every fourth year (except century years not evenly divisible by 400)."
- from physics.nist.gov/GenInt/Time/ancient.html

     Since I'm not into the "lightning-hitting-a-soupy-rock-that-made-it-want-to-swim-then- got-bored-as-a-fish-that-crawled-out-of-water-because-it-was-hungry-so-it-crawled-onto-
land-and-grew-legs-and- a-long-neck-to-eat-leaves-from-the-tops-of-trees" religion, or the "God-is-so-mad-at-me-he-is-going-to-kill-me" religion, or the "God-made-me-hate-you" religion, or the, well, keep reading.  At any rate I guess you might consider me to be in the minority. Duh.
The First Day of the First Month

What does it look like?  It looks like this:The New Moon

This photo of the new moon is just about the newest that can be seen after the sun has dipped below the horizon in the best of conditions.  

The moon, on the beginning of the 1st day of the month, is always within 15 degrees of the horizon at sunset.













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