The oldest Mayan calendar find was published in Science Advances.
Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin found evidence of the oldest known Mayan calendar in the Guatemalan city of San Bartolo.
During the excavation of murals at an archaeological site, two fragments were found that were joined to form the notation “7 deer”, dating back more than 2,000 years to 300 BC, several centuries older than previously obtained evidence.
The fragments are part of the Mayan divinatory calendar, which was also used by other Mesoamerican cultures, including the Aztecs, and which is still in use today.
The calendar survived hundreds of years of conquest and nearly 40 years of Guatemalan civil war, and is a testament to the long history of Maya intellectualism.
«The Mayan calendar is one of the most distinctive and well-known features of traditional Mesoamerican culture and peoples.
It was used for centuries before the arrival of Europeans, and some of it is still used among the indigenous Mayan communities of Guatemala,” David Stuart, the art history professor who discovered the fragments, said in a statement. “But its origins have been murky for a long time.”
The discovery of the painted fragment in San Bartolo allows us to establish a date of 300 BC, which is much earlier than any date we had before.
According to the study, published in the journal Science Advances, the deer’s 7-day record is important in understanding the development of the 260-day divinatory calendar. The calendar is an important aspect of Mayan indigenous identity.