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Dating

 

MAYA CULTURE

ASTRONOMY

DATING THE ECLIPSE TABLE OF THE DRESDEN CODEX

AND THE CORRELATION PROBLEM

 

In the exploration of the Maya culture two different fields evolved which could not have been more contrary. Decoding the hieroglyphs started with only slight success but progressed rapidly during the last decades. The problem, however, consisting in how the Maya calendar correlates with our time measurement, was a direct hit from the very beginning, because   Goodman’s first proposal  is still valid after nearly one century  – provided a difference of 3 – 5 days is neglected. Goodman´s correlation constant of 584280 is no longer "en vogue", the dispute has focussed on 584283 and 584285 and these values known as "GMT" received acknowledgement by the majority of Maya researchers.

But is the GMT-Correlation really as correct as it seems, when publications show a Maya date, followed  by the corresponding date of our calendar ? How shall we judge the fact that about 50 more constants were published after the establishment of the GMT-Constant? Presumably doubts arouse about GMT, which continue to exist up to now.

Aren’t arguments supporting GMT based on insecure ground with expressions like:
"...fitting best into Maya-Chronology ...", or
"...is confirmed by historical, astronomical, archaeological and other reasons..."?

The question must be answered with a definite "YES" because GMT is least confirmed  by astronomical reasons. On the one hand everybody has the right to consider GMT to be the only correct constant, but on the other hand it is legitimate to question GMT  and to look for new ways.
But if an adherent of GMT is not troubled by the fact that e.g.

      • according to H. and V.Bricker (1983) the date 755-11-06 results in the Julian Calendar  with 584283 and with the basic date 9.16.4.10.8 of the eclipse table.
        Yet that does not correspond to a solar eclipse day

         
      • two correlation constants – 584283 or 584285 – are still being used,
         
      • no hieroglyphs were found for Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn up to now,

then he may easily spare his time instead of going on reading.

Here are some remarks referring to the above mentioned arguments:

It must be expected that

      • starting from 9.16.4.10.8, with a correct correlation constant a solar eclipse day can be reached - according to the tables of Oppolzer - , even though this solar eclipse would not have been visible in the Mayaregion
         
      • for a defined Maya date there should be only one day  in the Julian calendar
         
      • Maya astronomers did observe and record the planets Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn in the same way as did all other cultures of the classical antiquity

The fact that hieroglyphs for Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are not known up to now is another proof for the incomplete picture  of astronomy in Maya culture.

To clear up this picture was the aim of a 15 year long work, which was finished with results mainly based on astronomical arguments. The main concern was focussed on three topics:

      • dating the eclipse table of the Dresden Codex in the Maya Calendar and in the Julian Calendar
         
      • the correlation problem combined herewith
         
      • correlating hieroglyphs with the planets Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

Furthermore additional questions could be solved, e.g. planetary constellations in textural hieroglyphs of the eclipse table, results of LC-data, what kind of constellations attracted special interest of the Maya astronomers and much more.

Scepticism of reeaders should be reduced by the following lines, proposing a correlation of hieroglyphs with planets and trying to show the working method:

By means of that hieroglyph a planetary constellation is described, which allows the conclusion that it yielded special importance for the Maya astronomers, since it was recorded in the eclipse table for 4 times . Here a constellation of Jupiter and Saturn is shown, where the two planets are positioned in opposite directions – each one in the east and west respectively – at an identical elevation above the horizon in the morning - or evening skies.
Such a constellation could be seen e.g. on 1992-07-30 shortly before 8 p.m. local time in Tikal, when Jupiter and Saturn stood opposite with about 12 degrees above the horizon.

Only 3 items are necessary for being able to assess the truth of these statements and to check them:

      • an acceptable astronomical software
         
      • a copy of the Dresden Codex
         
      • and my documentation (PDF):

"Astronomy of the Maya Culture"

Dating the Eclipse Table of the Dresden Codex

and the Correlation Problem.


NOTE: This work is protected under copyright law.

Orders and questions should be addressed to:
stock@baktun.de

Original title of the German book:
" Astronomie der Maya-Kultur - Die Datierung der Finsternistafel aus dem Dresdner-Codex  und das Korrelationsproblem” von Anton Stock.
Katun Verlag, 1998
ISBN 3-00-003079-4

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Copyright 2010 Anton Stock

Last updated August, 2010