Timelines, when well-researched, provide ordered knowledge in a condensed format, a quick historical snapshot and aide-memoire for a particular topic. Timelines can be subjected to endless modification in scale of resolution, their degree of utility depending on the purpose for which they were compiled whether long and detailed or short and simple. I have included information at a resolution that I have found helpful for the construction of this web site.
At the time of writing (2017) the number of timelines available on the internet is rapidly increasing but few are satisfactory for the serious student. The timelines presented here I’d like to consider as a ‘work in progress‘ and I’d welcome any assistance in making them more complete and useful. No doubt there are far more user-friendly ways of presenting this kind of information on the web.
The Chronometric Revolution
There has, since WWII, developed a little-acknowledged Chronometric Revolution addressing the dating of events that have occurred over long-term history. This applies most obviously to the geological and biological evolution time scales.
As late as the 19th century the Bible was regarded as a reliable historical document – the age of the Earth estimated by theologians at just a few thousand years. ‘ . . . at the end of the nineteenth century it was still impossible to assign reliable absolute dates to any events before the appearance of the first written records’ but ‘There now exist no serious intellectual or scientific or philosophical barriers to a broad unification of historical scholarship’ Darwin was uncertain of the time-scale over which the community of life had evolved. In biology the dating of major evolutionary events, human migrations etc., is increasing daily through the use of genetic markers.
Improved dating techniques have brought science and mainstream academic history much closer as disciplines. The accumulation of Big Data and increasing interest in interdisciplinary studies will no doubt improve connections in the web of interdisciplinary knowledge that is linked by dates.
Chronozoom – time at all scales from the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago to the present
Available free at http://eps.berkeley.edu/~saekow/chronozoom/
Courtesy Wikipedia Commons
Orangeboxes2 – Accessed 21 April 2017
First published on the internet – 1 March 2019
Four phases of human history. Image courtesy Rob Cross, January 2019