They used observatories , shadow-casting devices, and observations of the horizon to trace the complex motions of the sun, the stars and planets in order to observe, calculate and record this information in their chronicles, or “codices”.
At El Caracol, dubbed “the observatory ,” narrow shaftlike windows frame important astronomical events. One such window marks an appearance of Venus at a particular point on the horizon that takes place—like clockwork—once every eight years.
It doesn’t, of course, but there is plenty of evidence suggesting that El Caracol was used as a lookout on the heavens. In particular, El Caracol seems to be carefully aligned with the motions of Venus. Venus had tremendous significance for the Maya ; this bright planet was considered the sun’s twin and a war god.
It has been suggested that Daykeeper be merged into this article. (Discuss) Proposed since January 2021. The Maya calendar is a system of calendars used in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and in many modern communities in the Guatemalan highlands, Veracruz, Oaxaca and Chiapas, Mexico.
Chac Mool A.D. 800–1250 Sculptures of this type, featuring a reclining male figure holding a bowl on his torso, were given the invented name Chac Mool by nineteenth-century explorers during an archaeological expedition to Chichen Itza .
Maya codices (singular codex) are folding books written by the pre-Columbian Maya civilization in Maya hieroglyphic script on Mesoamerican bark paper. The codices have been named for the cities where they eventually settled. The Dresden codex is generally considered the most important of the few that survive.
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 Mayans were careful observers of the sun , able to accurately predict eclipses and celestial cycles. Keeping track of the seasons for agricultural purposes was so important that buildings and settlements were designed to help follow the sun’s yearly cycles.
The 260-day calendar was used to determine important activities related to the gods and humans. It was used to name individuals, predict the future, decide on auspicious dates for battles, marriages, and so on.
One important body of myths describes Quetzalcóatl as the priest-king of Tula, the capital of the Toltecs . He never offered human victims, only snakes, birds, and butterflies. But the god of the night sky, Tezcatlipoca, expelled him from Tula by performing feats of black magic.
Chichén Itzá , Yucatán, Mexico, designated a World Heritage site in 1988. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Chichén Itzá is located some 90 miles (150 km) east-northeast of Uxmal and 75 miles (120 km) east-southeast of the modern city of Mérida.
Maya belief establishes the creation and sanctity of human beings, the earth, and all things sacred. This divine sanctity can be translated into Maya creation myths as well.