A different calendar was used to track longer periods of time and for the inscription of calendar dates (i.e., identifying when one event occurred in relation to others). This is the Long Count.
Of all the ancient calendar systems, the Maya and other Mesoamerican systems are the most complex and intricate. They used 20-day months, and had two calendar years: the 260-day Sacred Round, or tzolkin , and the 365-day Vague Year, or haab . These two calendars coincided every 52 years.
The Aztec sun stone, also called the calendar stone, is on display at the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City . The calendar consists of a 365-day calendar cycle called xiuhpōhualli (year count) and a 260-day ritual cycle called tōnalpōhualli (day count).
The current practice of referring to the current baktun as ” baktun 13” or “thirteenth baktun ” may stand, even though it is properly the fourteenth baktun .
Allen Christenson, professor of comparative arts and letters and an expert on Mayan society, explained that although the Maya couldn’t predict the exact day of an eclipse , they could predict eclipse seasons by noting when Venus rose above the horizon just before sunrise.
The Aztec sun stone (Spanish: Piedra del Sol) is a late post-classic Mexica sculpture housed in the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City, and is perhaps the most famous work of Aztec sculpture.
|Aztec sun stone|
|Created||Sometime between 1502 and 1520|
|Discovered||17 December 1790 at El Zócalo, Mexico City|
In the Maya Long Count, the previous world ended after 13 bʼakʼtuns, or roughly 5,125 years. The Long Count’s “zero date” was set at a point in the past marking the end of the third world and the beginning of the current one, which corresponds to 11 August 3114 BC in the proleptic Gregorian calendar.
Scholars have suggested a number of potential reasons for the downfall of Maya civilization in the southern lowlands, including overpopulation, environmental degradation, warfare, shifting trade routes and extended drought. It’s likely that a complex combination of factors was behind the collapse.
The Aztec Empire flourished between c. 1345 and 1521 CE and, at its greatest extent, covered most of northern Mesoamerica.
It turns out that the Aztec calculation of an average 365.2420 days per year is actually closer to the real value of 365.2422 days than the old Julian value of 365.2500 days or even our current Gregorian value of 365.2425 days. The Sun Stone was hand-carved in the 52-year period from 1427 to 1479.