In Guatemala, found an ancient astronomical calendar of the Maya

May 10, 2012 19:57

© Photo: William Saturno, David Stuart / National Geographic

American archaeologists discovered in the northern part of Guatemala's Mayan scribe house, the walls of which were painted by far the most ancient astronomical tables describing the solar and lunar year, and long-term cycles of the motion of Venus and Mars, according to a paper published in the journal Science.

"These murals to date are the earliest Mayan astronomical tables that were ever discovered by archaeologists.

This is not exactly a calendar as such, but the table specified intervals lunar months, and incorporate a series of complex mathematical calculations related to astronomy. Prior to this, these calculations have been known only by the Dresden Codex — Maya manuscript, dated 14-15 centuries "- said RIA Novosti Dmitry Belyaev — Deputy Director of the Mesoamerican center named Knorozov Russian State Humanitarian University.

Mysteries of lost civilization

A group of archaeologists led by William Saturno (William Saturno) Boston University (USA) from 2001 to excavate in the northern part of Guatemala — in the province of Peten.

In this area is Shultun — one of the largest "dead cities" Maya, open about a century ago, one of the Guatemalan laborers. In 1920, the famous American archaeologist Sylvanus Morley (Sylvanus Morley) coined the name of settlement, studied its ruins and made a map of the city.

He estimates Shultun was quite a large city, within which lived tens of thousands of people. Most of the settlement has not been explored by professional archaeologists, but the unspoilt Shultuna often subjected to "raids" looters and treasure hunters.

In 2010, one of the disciples of Saturno Chamberlain Maxwell (Maxwell Chamberlain) found the house clerk, studying trenches and pits that have reserved the robbers in search of profit. In one such trench looters and then Saturno and his colleagues came across a sign in a partially destroyed house, built in the early 9th century AD.

Mayan astronomical art

Archaeologists have discovered the three surviving walls of the house are some interesting frescoes. On the north wall was a portrait of the monarch, who ruled this part of the state at the time.

The same wall was an astronomical calendar, in which the scribe predicted the eclipses and the "meeting" of the Moon, Mars and Venus in the next 1.7 thousand years. These calculations have continued on the east wall, where he charted the solar calendar and special religious calendar, which lasts 260 days a year.

© Tyrone Tumer / National Geographic

Scribe hut, the walls of which archaeologists have found an ancient astronomical calendar of the Maya Empire
"It is not clear why the Maya recorded the calculations on the wall. Perhaps this building could serve as a school for astronomers. Students themselves wrote in the paper, and writing on the wall were the "visual aid." Such a hypothesis is already there, though, there it was a school of scribes, located in a completely different city. It is quite possible that there was such a school for teaching astronomy "- continued Belyaev.

The mentality

As the scientists, the last days in any of the Mayan calendar should not be seen as a time of "the end of the world." In the early 2000s, the last day of one of the Mayan Calendar — December 23, 2012 — was considered one of the most probable dates of the "end of the world."

"The ancient Mayans predicted that the world will continue to exist unchanged even 7000 years. We are always looking for the end of time, while the Maya wanted to "receive" a guarantee that nothing will change. They had a completely different mentality, "- said Saturno.
As suggested by the Russian scientist, this calendar and related calculations are interesting in themselves, and have no relation to the alleged end of the world.

"These tables are nothing to do with 2012 are not, in and of such date does not occur. It is quite significant that at the time the date was not important, if she did not pay attention. The main thing is that this discovery shows that the tradition of calculating calendars present much earlier than previously thought. Now you have to think about when these tables started to make "- concludes Belyaev.

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