How old is Freemasonry?
The history of modern Freemasonry is fairly understood, but once you get beyond the 1700's things get lost to the sands of time.
One of the beauties of Freemasonry is that it allows the member to stretch his mind to think about a variety of topics not typically explored in mainstream history. Some Masonic historians attempt to explain and look at the connections or possibilities in history that are often overlooked, especially to the recent past and into the not so recent historical world.
Freemasonry today has been fairly unchanged in the last 300 years, and is modeled in a system that was likely little changed for the 150 years prior to that. It is believed that the working aspects of Freemasonry, the form and function of the Lodge, comes from guilds of the Renaissance and middle ages, and over time attracted a wider audience of non-practicing "masons". This is the period that the present day fraternity shifted from an "operative" guild to a "speculative" one. These changes have evolved to shape the look and feel of modern Lodge operation today.