It has been a mystery since the 1940’s. American scientists propose a way to decipher it. How does the Mayan calendar really work?
Anthropologists John Linden and Victoria Bricker of Tulane University have been working on it. They studied one of the periods of the Mayan calendar that remains unexplained. It is the one of 819 days.
They indicate that the Mayan calendar does not represent the 819-day period, but the 45-year cycle. This is how long it takes for a celestial object to return to approximately the same point in the sky. This is called the synodic period.
The Mayans marked on their calendar a four-part color scheme. Too short to correspond well with the synodic periods of the visible planets, according to the publication. They increased the length of the calendar to 20 periods of 819 days, resulting in a new scheme. The synodic periods of all visible planets now match the reference points of the large 819-day calendar.
The Mayan calendar constitutes a system of smaller calendars. The 819-day calendar leaves more questions for researchers. However, some enigmas were solved after all. In 1980, for example, one of the main errors in the study of the Mayan calendar was clarified. The four colors represented there are no longer associated with the sides of the world.
The Maya had extremely accurate measurements of the synodic periods of the visible planets. This included Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. “There is a compelling link to the 260-day calendar known as the Tzolk’in. Twenty periods of 819 days add up to a total of 16,380 days. If we multiply the Tzolk’in 63 times, we get 16,380 days. This is the smallest multiple that 260 and 819 have in common. They agree perfectly with the 20-cycle count of 819 days established by Linden and Bricker,” the text adds.
It is still possible to introduce changes in the method, which may be subject to criticism and doubts. However, one thing remains undeniable. The workings of the Mayan calendar go far beyond basic astronomy. And science does not yet fully understand its significance. But it is getting closer.