The oldest trace of the Mayan sacred calendar of 260 days has been discovered by archaeologists in the ruins of a pyramid in Guatamala.

This is revealed by a study published in the journal

Science Advances

and relayed by the magazine



Scientists have found evidence for the earliest known Maya calendar notation, according to an investigation of painted mural fragments excavated from San Bartolo, Guatemala.

— Science Advances (@ScienceAdvances) April 15, 2022

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An inscription on a wall fragment

It is a fragment of wall on which appears a hieroglyphic date which would belong to the Mayan sacred calendar of 260 days, one of the two systems used by this civilization, the other being a solar calendar of 365 days.

On this wall fragment unearthed by archaeologists, it is possible to see an animal's head above which a dot and a line have been inscribed.

This would correspond to the "7 Deer", one of the days of the sacred calendar of 260 days.

A much older calendar than we thought?

Another fragment has been found but the inscription on it is still uncertain.

It could also be a date.

"The two pieces fit together and feature black calligraphy, opening with the date '7 Deer'.

The rest is hard to read,” said David Stuart, a University of Texas professor and lead author of the report.

Analyzes suggest that these inscriptions were made between 200 and 300 BC, well before estimates that calendar notation began in the 1st century BC. The team behind the discovery even suggests that this calendar was probably in use for many years when these inscriptions were made.


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  • Science

  • Guatemala

  • pyramids

  • Archeology