"Holocene era" redirects here. For the geological epoch, see Holocene
The Human Era (HE), also known as the Holocene Era or Holocene calendar, is a year numbering system that adds exactly 10,000 years to the currently world-dominant Anno Domini (AD) or Common Era (CE) system, placing its first year near the beginning of the Holocene epoch and the Neolithic revolution. Human Era proponents claim that it makes for easier geological, archaeological, dendrochronological and historical dating, as well as that it bases its epoch on an event more universally relevant than the birth of Jesus. The current year of 2013 AD can be transformed into a Holocene year by adding the digit "1" before it, making it 12013 HE. The Human Era was first proposed by scientist Cesare Emiliani in 1993 (11993 HE).
Cesare Emiliani's proposal for a calendar reform sought to solve a number of alleged problems with the current Anno Domini era, which number the years of the commonly accepted world calendar. These issues include:
- The Anno Domini era is based on an erroneous estimation of the birth year of Jesus Christ. The era places Jesus' birth year in 1 BC, but modern scholars have determined that he was born in or before 4 BC. Emiliani argues that replacing it with the approximate beginning of the Holocene era makes sense.
- Emiliani opined that the birth of Jesus Christ is a less universally relevant epoch event than the approximate beginning of the Holocene era.
- The years BC are counted down when moving from past to future, making calculation of timespans difficult.
- The Anno Domini era has no year zero, with 1 BC followed immediately by AD 1, complicating the calculation of timespans further.
Instead, HE places its epoch to 10,000 BC. This is a rough approximation of the start of the current geologic epoch, the Holocene (the name means entirely recent). The motivation for this is that human civilization (e.g., the first settlements, agriculture, etc.) is believed to have arisen entirely within this time. All key dates in human history can then be listed using a simple increasing date scale with smaller dates always occurring before larger dates.
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 validity check is that the last single digits of BC and HE equivalent pairs must add up to 1 or 11.