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Archaeoastronomy and the Maya by Gerardo Aldana y Villalobos, Edwin L. Barnhart

By Gerardo Aldana y Villalobos, Edwin L. Barnhart

Archaeoastronomy and the Maya illustrates archaeoastronomical ways to historical Mayan cultural construction. The ebook is contextualized via a historical past of archaeoastronomical investigations into Mayan websites, originating within the nineteenth century discovery of astronomical tables inside of hieroglyphic books. Early twentieth century archaeological excavations published inscriptions carved into stone that still preserved astronomical files, besides structure that was once equipped to mirror astronomical orientations. those fabrics supplied the root of a turning out to be professionalized archaeoastronomy, blossoming within the Nineteen Seventies and increasing into contemporary years. The chapters right here exemplify the advances made within the box through the early twenty first century in addition to the on-going range of techniques, featuring new views and discoveries in historical Mayan astronomy that outcome from fresh experiences of architectural alignments, codices, epigraphy, iconography, ethnography, and calendrics. greater than simply investigations of esoteric old sciences, stories of old Mayan astronomy have profoundly aided our knowing of Mayan worldviews. suggestions of time and house, meanings encoded in non secular paintings, intentions underlying architectural alignments, or even tools of political legitimization are all illuminated during the research of Mayan astronomy

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Underground chambers at Teotihuacan and “zenith tubes” at Xochicalco and Monte Alban mark not only the dates of local zenith passage but of the April 30 and August 13 zenith passages at the Chocolá latitude (Soruco Sáenz 1991; Morante 1993, 1996, 2001: 50, 2010; Broda 2000: 415, 2006: 190). While Broda pointed to the “noteworthy frequency” with which August 13/April 30 sunrise orientations, such as that at the eastern horizon of Preclassic Cuicuilco, occur throughout Mesoamerica, she did not recognize that these orientations, including that at Cuicuilco, reflect the zenith passage sunrise dates at the latitude of the 260-day zenith passage interval where the Preclassic sites of Chocolá, Izapa and Tak’alik Ab’aj are located.

They total 360 days, a calendar wheel equivalent to the Tun of the ancient Maya. (Girard 1995: 101) A most significant time of the solar cycle comprised the 80 days (4 winal) following “New Year” (February 8): the 40 days between “New Year” and “Equinox” (March 29) (“the first forty”), and the 40 days following Equinox (“the second forty”) (Girard 1995: 69–71, 95). 30 February 8, called “New Year” by the Ch’orti’, is the date of solar nadir passage. Forty days from February 8 is March 20, vernal equinox (not March 29), and 40 days from equinox is the day of zenith passage on April 29 (see Aveni 2001: 249 and Note 22).

Long 1925: 578)31 The “period from 0 Pop to the next 0 Uayeb” is, of course, not the “year” but the 360-day haab’, and the “bearer” that Landa and Long describe is not that of the “year” but of the haab’. The completions of many of the successive 360-day periods that commenced with 4 Ajaw 8 Kumk’u were recorded during the Classic period as what are today referred to as “period endings” on stone monuments throughout the Maya area. 32 While stelae served as “embodiments ... of time itself,” those that featured royal portraits also conveyed the message that the image embodied the person or figure portrayed (Stuart 1996: 151, 158).

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