Calendar Discovery at Xultun

DISCOVERY OF MAYA CALENDAR IS A GAME CHANGER FOR DOOMSAYERS

By James A. O’Kon, PE

The announcement of a sensational discovery of murals and calendar calculations, at the ancient Maya site of Xultún in Guatemala, is a boon for Maya archaeology and a real “reversal of the field” for doomsayers, who predict the end of the world on December 21, 2012. The newfound calendar calculations indicate a Maya calendar with a longer length of time equal to 17 baktuns rather than the 13 baktuns cycle that ends on December 21, 2012. A baktun is 144,000 days. The 17 baktuns equal a time period of time of 2,500,000 days or 6850 years, a longer time span than the 5126 years in the 13 baktun cycles. The current 13 baktun cycle ends on December 21, 2012. The new found 17 baktun cycle extends the Maya time line for an additional 1124 years to the year 3136 CE. The Xultún calculations do not identify a specific date but indicate that the Maya had all intentions of  extending time into infinity, and December 21, 2012, is only a place mark in time.

The “doomsday” date of December 21, 2012 has been heralded by media hype to be the prediction of doom and gloom. Few people realize that the date of December 21, 2012, which is the end of the 13 baktun cycle, has been found on only one monument, in all of the Maya cities. The date is inscribed on a broken stele at the site of Totuguero near Tabasco, Mexico. Nowhere else in the approximately 40 to 50 thousand Maya monuments with carved hieroglyphics has this date been observed. The dates on certain monuments extend farther into the future, such as the inscription at the site of Pakal’s tomb at Palenque. Pakal’s tomb is inscribed with his birth date plus 20 baktuns to the date of October 13, 4772 AD which indicates that the Maya had all intention of extending time far into the future.

The calendar calculations and murals at Xultún were uncovered by William Saturno in 2011. The unprecedented discovery was a fortuitous find when a graduate student, Max Chamberlain, noted vestiges of paint on the interior walls of a Maya structure. Further excavation of the stone-filled chamber revealed the first Maya murals ever encountered in a building that was not a palace. In addition, it contained the oldest calendar calculations yet discovered. The structure has a 6 foot by 6.5 foot interior space. The murals were miraculously discovered to be in excellent condition. The murals had been protected from looters by the interior stone fill, but primarily their preservation was due to the advanced building technology of Maya engineers. This building system protected the building and it’s interior. The structure consists of a vaulted Maya arch (which I describe in detail in my book) which is constructed of a durable composite of cast-in-place concrete and stone. The outside of the structure was waterproofed by a coating of exterior stucco and an interior stucco plaster coating covered the internal walls and also served as a painting surface for the murals and calendric hieroglyphics. The east wall, which was painted with the mathematical calculations, had been plastered and re-plastered several times, indicating that they were apparently used it as a surface for painting calculations. The 40 square foot room was also installed with a built in stone bench, indicating that it was probably a studio for scribes and astronomers.

In addition to the calendric calculations, the mathematical tabulations include the 260 day ceremonial calendar, the 365 day solar calendar and lunar cycles, the 584 day period of Venus and the 780 day period of Mars which are located nearby the calendar calculations.

The use of this wall as a writing surface conjures up images of Albert Einstein calculating higher mathematics on a black board with chalk, or a modern physicist writing on a white board with an erasable marker. The Maya calculations were painted over layers of plaster that had covered previous calculations and the visible calculations are made in black paint with mathematical errors corrected in red paint. It appears that great minds have worked in the same manner for millennia.

This ancient “white board” calendar painted in 817 AD is a major find. Prior to this discovery the only  Maya calendar was found in the Dresden Codex, an 11th or 12th century Maya book that survived the Spanish Conquest. This 9th century find at Xultún and the Dresden Codex were both based on earlier Maya books that had deteriorated long ago. David Stuart, an archaeologist and specialist in reading Maya glyphs, who deciphered the Xultún glyphs was quoted as saying “it’s very clear that the 2012 date, which is the end of 13 baktuns, while important as a turning of a page in time, the 14th baktun is going to be coming, and baktun 15 and baktun 16. The Maya calendar is going to keep going and keep going for billions, trillions, and octillions of years into the future.”

It appears that Saturno and Chamberlain knew they had a significant find, but they surprised the world and pulled a “Howard Carter”, the archaeologist who discovered King Tut’s tomb in Egypt. They uncovered an unprecedented archaeological treasure trove. Their find was not gold and jewels, but an immense archaeological breakthrough that will rewrite archaeological theories by unveiling the new calendric calculations and murals in this new venue.

The pair will go down in history not only for discovering an intellectual archaeological find, but also for reversing the playing field on the media hype and doomsayers who predict the end of the world on December 21, 2012. The doomsayers have predicted the end of the world by a variety of causes: collision with a dark planet, reversal of the poles, earthquakes or volcanic eruptions, to name a few. The Xultún evidence gives needed relief to millions of worry warts concerned with the end of the world. It also means that when you wake up on December 21, your only fear will be that there are only four more shopping days until Christmas.