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The Never-Ending Evolution of Time

The Never-Ending Evolution of Time (Video)

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The concept of time, while deeply ingrained in human society, is a construct that has evolved over millennia. Early humans initially marked the passing of time by observing natural phenomena, such as the phases of the moon and the movement of the sun. Monuments like Wurdi Youang in Australia and megalithic temples like Mnajdra in Malta and Newgrange in Ireland suggest that ancient civilizations were keenly attuned to the solstices, using them to track the changing seasons. 

Across different cultures, various methods of timekeeping emerged. The Celts measured days from sunrise to sunset, while Native Americans used lunar calendars. China pioneered water clocks and employed a combination of the sun and moon for time measurement. The Sumerians and Babylonians introduced the lunisolar calendar, dividing the year into months based on the moon and adjusting for the solar year. 

The Roman calendar, with its twelve months and seven-day week, laid the groundwork for the modern Gregorian calendar. However, it wasn't until the 16th century that minutes and seconds were formalized, stemming from Greek astronomical advancements. 

Standardizing time became crucial with the rise of rail travel. Sir Sandford Fleming's proposal for twenty-four time zones, ratified at the International Prime Meridian Conference in 1884, revolutionized global timekeeping. 

Today, variations of Fleming's time zones are used worldwide, although some countries deviate, like China with its single time zone. Despite these standardized systems, the concept of time remains a complex and multifaceted aspect of human civilization, continuously evolving as societies advance. 

Top image: A glowing ancient cosmic clock with the zodiac signs on its face stands in an otherworldly landscape, surrounded by ethereal figures and celestial bodies, creating a sense of wonder and mystery. Source: Photo And Art Panda/Adobe Stock 

Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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