Xultun’s Astronomical Tables 1

Our article has just published in the latest issue of Science (Vol. 336 no. 6082 pp. 714-717), co-authored by  William Saturno, David Stuart, Anthony Aveni and Franco Rossi.

Article Abstract

Maya astronomical tables are recognized in bark-paper books from the Late Postclassic period (1300 to 1521 C.E.), but Classic period (200 to 900 C.E.) precursors have not been found. In 2011, a small painted room was excavated at the extensive ancient Maya ruins of Xultun, Guatemala, dating to the early 9th century C.E. The walls and ceiling of the room are painted with several human figures. Two walls also display a large number of delicate black, red, and incised hieroglyphs. Many of these hieroglyphs are calendrical in nature and relate astronomical computations, including at least two tables concerning the movement of the Moon, and perhaps Mars and Venus. These apparently represent early astronomical tables and may shed light on the later books.

Full article can be accessed here

UPDATE: Mesoweb has posted a nice summary of the find and of our epigraphic work (click here). Thanks Marc and Joel.

Number table from the north wall of Structure 10K-2 at Xultun, Guatemala. (Preliminary drawing by D. Stuart)

One comment

  1. These are really exciting news! Now I wonder, do all the numbers shown in the picture above refer to LC dates? They all result to be 4 Ajaw 8 Kumk’u, is just great! Were they trying to find the repetition of the so-called “Creation Date”? Thanks!

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