Earliest Known Mayan Calendar Goes Beyond 201216 May, 2012 at 09:12 | Posted in Culture, Science | Leave a comment
Tags: archaeology, Culture, Science
Ninth-century hieroglyphs painted by a Mayan scribe in Guatemala are records of lunar and perhaps planetary cycles, forming the oldest known Mayan calendar.
The city of Xultún was discovered almost a century ago in the remote rainforest of the Petén region and covers 12 square miles. It was once home to many thousands of people, and monuments were constructed from the first centuries B.C. Only 56 structures have been counted and mapped among thousands more.
Led by William Saturno from Boston University, a team of archeologists has now excavated the calendar keeper’s room, which seems to be part of a house. This is the first time that Mayan paintings have been discovered on the walls of a house.
Despite damage by looters, numerous red and black glyphs, and various human figures are visible on the three intact walls. Calculations on the east wall refer to the lunar cycle, whereas the more obscure calculations on the north wall could be linked with Mars, Mercury, or Venus.
According to the researchers, Mayan calendars aimed to harmonize sacred rituals with celestial events.
“For the first time we get to see what may be actual records kept by a scribe, whose job was to be official record keeper of a Maya community,” said Saturno in a press release.
“It’s like an episode of TV’s ‘Big Bang Theory,’ a geek math problem and they’re painting it on the wall,” he added. “They seem to be using it like a blackboard.”
However, there is no indication that our world will end in 2012; rather, it will just enter another cycle.