Astronomical Footnotes to the Mesoamerican Calendar

Since the publication of my book "Cycles of the Sun, Mysteries of the Moon: The Calendar in
Mesoamerican Civilization" in the spring of 1997, my continued research into various aspects of early
time-reckoning in the New World has produced several new findings which can perhaps be shared
with the academic community most effectively in a series of short papers, no one of which would
merit a journal article of its own but which together may well serve as a contribution of some value.

Here I would like to discuss four of these findings, the first having to do with the possible role
of Venus in the origins of the both the Meso-american 260-day sacred almanac and the 365-day
secular calendar; the second is a new interpretation of the three stone rings erected by the Totonac
people at Zempoala; the third examines the astronomical basis for the Mexican holiday known as
the "Day of the Dead"; and the fourth is a brief observation on the correlation of specific events
in the astronomical calendars of both the Mesoamerican and Western worlds.

(For readers having a special interest in an individual topic, the following links will take you directly
to the paper in question.)

- References -

Broda, Johanna. 1993. "Astronomical Knowledge, Calendrics, and Sacred Geography",
Astronomies and Cultures, Papers of the III Oxford International Symposium on Archaeo-
astronomy, St. Andrews, Scotland, Sept. 1990, edited by C.L.N. Ruggles and N.J. Saunders.
Niwot, Colo.: University Press of Colorado.

Lounsbury, Floyd G. 1978. "Maya Numeration, Computation, and Calendrical Astronomy,"
Dictionary of Scientific Biography, vol. 15, pp. 815-816.

Malmström, Vincent H. 1992. "Geographical Diffusion and Calendrics in Pre-Columbian
Mesoamerica", Geographical Review, Vol. 82, No. 2, pp. 113-127.

Malmström, Vincent H. 1997. Cycles of the Sun, Mysteries of the Moon: The Calendar in
Mesoamerican Civilization. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Teeple, John E. 1931. Maya Astronomy. Contributions to American Archaeology, vol. 1, no. 4.
Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institution of Washington, Publication 403.

 

Return to Home Page