The Mayan calendar consists of three separate calendars that are used simultaneously: the Long Count , the Tzolkin (divine calendar) and the Haab (civil calendar).
Maya calendars, mythology and astrology were integrated into a single system of belief. The Maya observed the sky and calendars to predict solar and lunar eclipses, the cycles of the planet Venus, and the movements of the constellations.
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 52-year period of time was called a “bundle” and meant the same to the Maya as our century does to us.
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.
Maya mathematics constituted the most sophisticated mathematical system ever developed in the Americas. The Maya counting system required only three symbols: a dot representing a value of one, a bar representing five, and a shell representing zero.
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 current practice of referring to the current baktun as ” baktun 13” or “thirteenth baktun ” may stand, even though it is properly the fourteenth baktun .
Mysterious Decline of the Maya From the late eighth through the end of the ninth century, something unknown happened to shake the Maya civilization to its foundations. One by one, the Classic cities in the southern lowlands were abandoned, and by A.D. 900, Maya civilization in that region had collapsed.
The Calendar Round is still in use by many groups in the Guatemalan highlands. 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.
The Maya had a numeric system, games, aqueducts, and even a calendar to tell time . The calendar that the Maya used looks very different in comparison to the 12 month Gregorian Calendar that we use. The Mayan Calendar consists of three dating systems, which make interpreting the date more unique than our dating system.
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.