For years, students have been puzzled by the that means of the 819-day depend of the Mayan calendar in historic glyphic texts. By analyzing the depend over a 45-year interval, researchers have found that it truly corresponds to the cycles of “all main planets.” It is an unimaginable instance of the Mayan civilization’s superior astronomical data, and a testomony to the ability of human curiosity and investigation.
The brand new analysis, revealed within the journal Ancient Mesoamerica has seemingly managed to reply questions which have confounded archaeologists and astronomers for many years. These findings provide a novel perspective on the intricate arithmetic that underpin the advanced Mayan calendar system. This analysis takes a broader view than any earlier scientific investigation and offers new insights into the delicate astronomical data possessed by the Maya.
Shut-up of glyphs on a Mayan calendar. ( zimmytws / Adobe Inventory)
Unveiling the Secrets and techniques of an Historic Synodic Monitoring System
The 2 research authors, John H. Linden and Victoria R. Bricker, from Tulane College, defined that archaeoastronomical researchers had all the time struggled explaining the that means behind the 819-day depend within the Mayan calendar, that was solely described in glyphic texts. It was all the time suspected that it was associated to planetary cycles, however authors famous that “its four-part, color-directional scheme is simply too brief to suit properly with the synodic durations of seen planets.”
It’s identified that Mayan astronomers precisely calculated the synodic durations of seen planets, which refers back to the time taken for a planet to return to the identical place within the sky as seen from Earth. These historic sky watchers used this data to create calendars and to foretell celestial occasions, equivalent to photo voltaic and lunar eclipses. Venus’s synodic durations have been of explicit curiosity to Mayan astronomers, however they tracked the motions of ‘all’ of the opposite seen planets, together with Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and Mercury.
The traditional Maya used their astronomical data to create Mayan calendars and to foretell celestial occasions equivalent to photo voltaic and lunar eclipses. ( James Thew / Adobe Inventory)
Timeworn Patterns Emerge Inside Mayan Calendar
Lead creator, John Linden, discovered that when the Mayan calendar size is elevated to twenty durations of 819-days, “a sample emerges.” The calendar reveals the synodic durations of “all of the seen planets” at station factors within the bigger 819-day calendar. In conclusion, the researcher concluded that the Maya took a “45-year view of planetary alignment,” and that they fastidiously encoded this into their calendar system.
Researchers have lengthy held that this 819-day Mayan calendar was derived from the synodic durations of the seen planets. Nevertheless, as a result of every planet seems to comply with a unique monitor by means of the sky, matching up a number of planets into an 819-day span didn’t make any sense to early students. The brand new research exhibits, nevertheless, that the calendar is just not solely to be learn over 819 days, but additionally over “16,380 days (about 45 years), a complete of 20 instances the 819-day depend.
The pair of researchers started their research by analyzing the cycles of the planet Mercury, which has a synodic interval of 117 days. This implies Mercury completes precisely seven cycles inside the 819-day depend (819 / 117 = 7). Moreover, Mars has a 780-day synodic interval, due to this fact, 21 cycles of Mars equates to exactly 16,380. And, 20 cycles of the 819-day depend additionally totals 16,380.
Having checked out all the seen planets the researchers famous that seven durations of Venus match 5 819-day counts, 13 durations of Saturn sync with six 819-day counts, and 39 durations of Jupiter equate to 19 819-day counts.
Digging Across the Coronary heart of Mayan Cosmology
The 2 authors wrote that moderately than limiting their focus to anyone planet, the Mayan astronomers who created the 819-day depend “envisioned it as a bigger calendar system,” a device that would predict “all of the seen planet’s synodic durations.” Then, when the quantity 819 is extrapolated out 20 instances, “you may match each key planet into the combination.”
Having gained a wealthy understanding of how this misplaced Mayan calendar functioned, the pair of scientists discovered “commensuration factors” with the planetary cycles in each the Tzolk’in and Calendar Spherical. Consisting of 20 durations of 13 days, the Mayan Tzolk’in was a 260-day calendar primarily based on the corn rising cycle, which was used for divination and ritual functions. The Haab’ was a 365-day photo voltaic calendar. The dates of the Tzolk’in and the Haab’ are mixed within the Calendar Spherical, and solely repeated each 52 years.
The Tzolk’in and Calendar Spherical, and the newly found 819-day Mayan calendar, have been all central in Maya cosmology, they usually have been used to dictate the important thing dates for all agricultural, non secular and social actions.
Prime picture: Mayan calendar. Supply: Vaclav Zilvar / Adobe Inventory
By Ashley Cowie