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Saturno et al. Science , ; DOI: If you wish to distribute this article to others, you can order high-quality copies for your colleagues, clients, or customers by clicking here. Downloaded from www.

The following resources related to this article are available online at www. Copyright by the American Association for the Advancement of Science; all rights reserved. Bard, F. Rostek, J. Turon, S. Supported in part by publication The data are accessible online at Tschumi, F.

Joos, M. Gehlen, C. Heinze, Clim. This work is a contribution Zech, Y. Huang, M. Zech, R. Tarozo, W. Past 7, Zeng, Clim. Past 3, Hodell, C. Charles, F. Sierro, Earth Planet. S1 to S7 Lemieux-Dudon et al. Stenni et al. Switzerland, and the UK. The main logistical support at They later abandoned their excavation, Ancient Maya Astronomical Tables and the exposed painting began to weather.

Aveni,3 Franco Rossi4 its vaulted ceiling, were once covered by mural paintings. The fourth south wall consisted main- Maya astronomical tables are recognized in bark-paper books from the Late Postclassic period ly of a doorway, with the remainder destroyed by to C. In , the looters. The state of preservation of the murals a small painted room was excavated at the extensive ancient Maya ruins of Xultun, Guatemala, varies considerably, owing to the damaging ef- dating to the early 9th century C.

The walls and ceiling of the room are painted with several fects of water, roots, and insects. The east wall, human figures. Two walls also display a large number of delicate black, red, and incised hieroglyphs. The paintings on the east wall include a large These apparently represent early astronomical tables and may shed light on the later books.

The most recent of line near the two possibly three seated figures T astronomical proficiency, believed by many to be on par with that of the cultures of the ancient Middle East. Most of what we these phases saw the room filled with rubble and earth, and the final phase built over it, effectively preserving its interior paintings.

Thin coats of plaster were reapplied over existing texts to pro- vide a clean slate for others. Still other texts are know about Maya astronomical methodology, cavation broke through this final-phase veneer and incised into the plaster surface.

Here we report on a source several cen- turies earlier, a wall painting accompanied by a numerical table and a series of long numbers that appear to have functioned like those found in astronomical tables in the codices.

Though systematic archaeological investiga- tions began only in 1 , the Maya ruins of Xultun, Guatemala, were first reported in 2. In March , Maxwell Chamberlain identified the pres- ence of a heavily eroded mural painting on the west wall of a small masonry-vaulted structure exposed by looting 5.

The structure Fig. E-mail: north and east walls, as well as the locations of numerical arrays discussed in the text. A Lunar table. The remains of many bar-and-dot numbers increasing quantities of days with the last two Additional similarity between the Xultun arranged in vertical columns can be seen along columns equal to Only a hand- days, respectively.

S2 , the previous column is eroded, but enough remains fig. Ring Numbers typically serve to es- but faint remains of other bar-and-dot numbers can to indicate that it must be a number between 7 tablish the temporal starting points for various be seen, suggesting a lengthy array of columns and 9 The columns tity is between and The relationship between this Ring Num- contain no more than three numerals, and they The span between the final two columns is a ber and the other Xultun texts is at present unclear.

Subtracting either A second array consisting of four columns the Dresden Codex, an ancient Maya hieroglyphic or from the penultimate number , painted in red is found on the eastern portion of manuscript composed centuries later 6, 7. In this light, it is reasonable to uppermost hieroglyph, followed in a vertical line profiles. Enough detail is visible on two of these suggest that the Xultun number array represents a by a series of five numbers, as follows: Downloaded from www. Elsewhere, running sequence of consecutive multiples of A B C D similar hieroglyphs are used to record Moon ages or with only the last three totals well pre- 1 Kawak Kaban?

The numbers and are important 8 2 17 12 Lunar Series identified by Teeple 8. Lunar in ancient Maya astronomy. The eclipse tables on 6 7 0 5 months, as Teeple showed, are grouped into sets pages 51 to 58 of the Dresden Codex are based on 1 9 1 3 of six, forming the or day Maya lunar these same intervals. The pres- basic unit, along with an interspersed correction 0 0 0 0 ence of these lunar deity heads suggests that the span of days, or five lunations, to represent number columns also have a lunar meaning.

The day record atop 12 12 13 Moreover, the layout of the looks to be Kawak or Kaban, and the final? However, unlike the Dresden tables, The columns of five numbers appear at first scripts, we take these numbers to represent records the Xultun array does not seem corrected to glance to be Long Count dates, yet they are not— of elapsed days using periods of the Long Count correlate with precise eclipse phenomena.

It would at least not in the conventional sense. By their calendar. The upper number would therefore rep- seem rather to be a simpler tally spanning a period nature, standard Long Count dates reckon elapsed Fig. Portion of lunar table, Structure 10K-2, Xultun, Guatemala. Saturno, drawing by D. Stuart] www.

These spans are usually between and years. The Xultun columns, by contrast, appear different, expressing a wide range of accumu- lated time, some smaller and others considerably larger.

The intervals might be commensurate with other canonic astronomical periods and signifi- cant computational numbers found in the much later codices, where they were contrived to per- Downloaded from www.

The so-called Long Round LR number 16 , 9. The number is also an approximation to the synodic period of Mercury Numerical array. Stuart] Although the Xultun intervals and the afore- mentioned submultiples can be generated solely Table 1.

Saturno, M. Codex, A Maya Hieroglyphic Book. That the Xultun 2. Satterthwaite, Concepts and Structures of Maya numbers are divisible by integral and half-integral of Washington, Washington, DC, , vols.

Bricker, V. Bricker, in Astronomy in the Maya Codices vol. American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, , portions of multiplication tables that accompany 4. Von Euw, I. Graham, Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic p. The latter Inscriptions, vol. Lounsbury, in Dictionary of Scientific Biography, vol.

Saturno, D. Del Cid, F. Papers of the to the Eclipse table on the same page as the mul- Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Acknowledgments: The data reported in this paper are tiplication table dated to C.

Excavations by responds well with the C. Thompson, Maya History and Religion Univ. Codical tables were likely copied and re- Oklahoma Press, Norman, Teeple, Maya Astronomy, in Contributions to American Committee for Research and Exploration grants , on observational data, incorporated periodically. Expeditions Council EC



Brazuru Ancient Maya astronomical tables from Xultun, Guatemala. Thank you for your interest in spreading the word about Science. The ancient Mayans in a similar fashion erected many stelas to mark important royal occasions, such as the birth or accession to the throne of their kings. Quasicrystals Tessellating tiny tetrahedrons. A Date of Opportunity. Bricker, in Astronomy in the Maya Codices vol. Lentz 19 Estimated H-index: The second large number from Xultun, Guatemala is also gutemala from previous studies of Mayan inscriptions or codices.


Ancient Maya astronomical tables from Xultun, Guatemala.


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