October 3, 2022

CloudsBigData

Epicurean Science & Tech

This hieroglyph is the oldest known history of the Maya calendar

3 min read

Buried inside of the Las Pinturas pyramid in San Bartolo, Guatemala, countless numbers of painted plaster mural fragments provide a window into historic Maya civilization. Two of these fragments type the earliest recognized file of a Maya calendar, created concerning 300 and 200 B.C.

The fragments depict the day of “7 Deer” from the 260-day sacred calendar common throughout historic Mesoamerica and however utilised currently by indigenous communities in Guatemala and southern Mexico, archaeologist David Stuart and colleagues report April 13 in Science Developments. The calendar system’s longevity attests to the persistence of Maya mental lifestyle, states Stuart, of the University of Texas at Austin.

From 400 B.C. to 100 A.D., Mayas razed and rebuilt the pyramid seven periods, generating a series of discrete time capsules stacked on leading of just about every other, states review coauthor Heather Hurst, venture director of the San Bartolo-Xultun Regional Archaeological Task. By radiocarbon dating the two the materials in the layer the place the calendar fragments ended up observed and the content applied to bury that layer, researchers determined a narrow time window in which the 7 Deer day report would have been made.

In a calendar after typical throughout Mesoamerica, 13 figures and 20 symptoms are mixed and matched to depict 260 precise dates this kind of as “7 Deer” (illustrated). The numbers 13 and 20 are sacred in the region, and the 260 times could replicate the duration of human gestation.David StuartIn a calendar after common throughout Mesoamerica, 13 figures and 20 indicators are mixed and matched to signify 260 certain dates these kinds of as “7 Deer” (illustrated). The numbers 13 and 20 are sacred in the location, and the 260 times might replicate the duration of human gestation.David Stuart

Soon after two a long time of excavation, the web site proceeds to be an crucial source of historic Maya artifacts. The earliest identified Maya creating, also dated to amongst 300 and 200 B.C., was discovered in the exact same time capsule as the 7 Deer working day file (SN: 1/17/06).

The 260-working day calendar process “survived not only close to 1,800 years in the Maya environment ahead of the Spanish showed up, but it persisted even more lately, due to the fact conquests . . . in some of the most oppressed spots,” Stuart suggests. “I discover that an amazing matter.”

In simple fact, the intricacy of the depiction suggests that the calendar procedure had presently existed for generations by the time it was drawn, claims Stephen Houston, an archaeologist at Brown College in Providence, R.I., who was not concerned in the study. The figures are “very effectively practiced. This is not a stumbling little one move.”

Ten other fragments described in the study feature different styles of handwriting that suggest multiple scribes labored on the murals. This indicates that the Maya literary tradition was currently sturdy by this time, Houston states. “There’s a density of expertise here.”

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