Lunar series
New answers

Maya culture

Old questions and new answers

Correlation – eclipse table – venus table




It would be interesting to know  the amount of followers of the Mayan explorers for each of the correlation constants published till now (about 50 – 60).  The GMT-group  with 584285 and 584283 is leading without any doubt and separates the field of experts into two camps. The debate about the 2 days has been continuing for nearly 70 years and is especially apt to divert from the weak sides of  GMT.

A short contemplation of the development of the correlation constant from the 1st trial by

Goodman with 584280 (1905)

then Martinez with 584281 (1926)

then Thompson with 584285 (1927)

then ‘Thompson 2" with 584283 (1935)

shows that Goodman – from today’s view – already hit the mark, if the 3-5 days of difference are neglected. The GMT-group was completed with Beyer with 584284 (1937) and Lounsbury with 584286 (1978), who soon changed to 584285.

Among the other correlation constants only the constant of Spinden 489384 (1919) could get more attention for some time, while the remaining constants couldn’t get more followers. According to today’s knowledge the constants proposed till now lie between the values of 394483 by Bowditch (1910) and 774083 by Vaillant (1935) and this means, that the start of the Mayan calendar on 4 Ahau 8 Cumku has his equivalent according to Bowditch on 14.01.-3632 and according to Vaillant on 29.04.-2593.

What possibilities are there to limit this space of more than 1000 years and to get to statements that are either probable or improbable?

The following argument tries to show the limits.

A radiocarbon-method or C14-method used in the 60ies on wooden lintels of temple IV in Tikal came to the following result according to William R. Coe (1988:81):

“The hieroglyphic inscriptions on these lintels indicate that the temple IV was built at about, or AD. 741 in the usually accepted Maya-Christian correlation. A long series of radiocarbon dates on lintel beams and vault beams give an average age of A.D. 720 +/– 60, which helps to confirm the correlation.”

In spite of the space of 120 years, the C14 method  has an important function:

It limits the space within which a certain Mayan date has to be present.

Following these rules, 2 important conclusions must be considered:

The space for the LC-date must extend from AD 660 to 780, or the starting date for the Mayan count  4 Ahau 8 Cumku must lie between the years –3194 and –3073.

The correlation number then has to be between 554523 and 598718.

Every value beyond 554523 and  598718 is to be considered improbable.



The eclipse table

An additional argument concerns the ‘preface of the eclipse table’ from the Dresden Codex, p. 51a and 52a. The Mayan date  12 Lamat 1 Muan is considered as the basic date for the eclipse table according to the majority of the Mayan investigators. As the majority interpretes the eclipse table as  sun eclipses, then + correlation constant has to result in a sun eclipse according to the tables of Oppolzer (1887).

Taking GMT 584283 as an example, we see that this postulate is not fulfilled: = MDN (Maya Day Number) 1412848 +584283
= 1997131 JD (Julian Day Number) =  6.11.755 (Julian calender).

The next day of a sun eclipse is according to Oppolzer 32 days later, on 8.12.755.

To support 584285 Lounsbury proposed to set the beginning of the eclipse table on 20.4.1083, i.e. = 1412848 + 10 times the length of the eclipse table = 119600  = 1532448 + 584285 = JD 2116733 = 20.4.1083 (Julian calender).

It is improbable that the creators of the eclipse table set the beginning at 328 years later. To be able to predict the  sun eclipses which were highly feared was for theMayan astronomers a task for the present.



Venus table

The majority of the Mayan investigators preferred as a basic date for the Venus table  the Mayan date Datum  1 Ahau 18 Kayab. This day is linked to the first rising of Venus in the morning sky – the so-called heliacal rise.

Here again we see no correspondence with GMT: = MDN (Maya Day Number) 1364360 +584283 =  JD 1948643 = 4.2.623 (Julian calender).

On this day Venus was seen in the evening sky, at about 23 – 24° distance from the sun. The heliacal rise didn’t take place before 21.2.623, i.e. 17 days later.

Here again Lounsbury postponed the beginning of the Venus table for 6 calender rounds into the future, to finally reach the heliacal rise with 584285 to the date  1 Ahau 18 Kayab = 20.11.934.



New answers

If we search the Mayan literature for arguments for interpretations which are used in the prefaces of the Dresden Codex of the eclipse and the Venus table, we find for each table only one argument.

For the eclipse table that is the date Datum  12 Lamat 1 Muan. All further  records stay more or less unanswered. Only Lounsbury describes the preface in detail. Even the so-called ‘multiples’ are listed, he recommends, however, to add these ‘multiples’ 10 times to A tenfold multiple is, however, not listed in the preface.

One specialty is obvious in the ‘multiples’: the 3 and 4fold ‘multiples’ are each listed twice with and This fact is decisive for  determing the starting point of the eclipse table:         12 Lamat 1 Muan         MDN 1412848

minus 4 x  11960                                          minus 3 x  11960

 =                                         =

 12 Lamat 16 Mac                                        12 Lamat 11 Chen

MDN 1365008                                         MDN 1376968

    Start <<<<<<<<<<<<  1st table round >>>>>>>>>>>  End.



The main argument for setting the starting point in the Venus table is the date
1 Ahau 18 Kayab. As mentioned above, this is no heliacal rise of Venus. To  insinuate that the Mayan astronomers made such an important mistake, is beyond any argumentation.

“There has to be another explanation as the one of an observed rise of the morning star…” already Dittrich states in 1937. Makemson (1946) supported this view in a similar way.

But  1 Ahau 18 Kayab is after 8 decades still standing firm in his position – according to the saying:

“An error, committed by everone, is finally considered as a rule.”

     André Malraux

The starting point of the Venus table is not  1 Ahau 18 Kayab, but  4 Ahau 8 Cumku. (The heliacal rise of Venus as well as the beginning of the Mayan Calendar on Day 4 Ahau 8 Cumku is certainly not accidentally.)

But what then is the meaning of the dates 1 Ahau 18 Kayab, 1 Ahau 18 Uo, 1 Ahau 13 Mac and 1 Ahau 3 Xul ? This is the description of the correction procedure for the Venus table which was excellently described by Lounsbury. The Mayan astronomers set the Venus synodic round with 584 days, but the real value is 583,92 days. To limit the sum of this deviation, the Mayans developped the following correction procedure:

After 57 Venus cycles (presented in the preface with = 33280 days a correction of 8 days is achieved, after another 61 Venus cycles = 35620 days the correction is 4 days and after another 61 Venus cycles another 4 days.

Without correction: 179 Venus cycles x 584 days = 104536 days

With correction: 33280 + 35620 + 35620              = 104520 days

Reduction                                                                   =          16 days

With this reduction the Tzolkin date 1 Ahau attributed to Venus is attained.

The procedure for correction is described by the following example:

Supposed on the day 1 Ahau 18 Kayab a heliacal rise was described, then after 57 Venus cycles the date 1 Ahau 18 Uo would be reached. After another 61 Venus rounds 1 Ahau 13 Mac and after another 61 rounds 1 Ahau 3 Xul would be reached.

Why the Mayan astronomers didn’t use for the correction formula a real heliacal rise of the Venus, this fact already incited Dittrich to muse about a secret code.


Now only the correlation constant is missing which is able to complete the circle and enables to check the arguments listed above.

The correlation constant has the value






The eclipse table

The starting date – see above – is  12 Lamat 16 Mac, MDN 1365008 + correlation constant 556408 = JD 1921416 = 20.07.548. According to Oppolzer this is a day of solar eclipse. The first solar eclipse in the eclipse table will be predicted with the date 7 Chicchan 8 Zotz, JD 1921593 = 13.01.549.  (The exact time of the new moon was one day later). The 69th and last solar eclipse of the table with the date 12 Lamat 11 Chen was predicted for 18.04.581, JD 1933376. These two eclipses are so-called days of solar eclipses, but neither of them was to be seen in the region of the Mayans.


Venus table:

The starting date of the Venus table is – see above –
4 Ahau 8 Cumku, MDN  1366560 + 556408 = 1922968 = 19.10.552 = heliacal rise of Venus.

After 57 + 61 + 61 Venus cycles = 17.12.838 the real heliacal rise was in 20.12.838. The correction system couldn’t compensate the synodic cycle of the Venus to the day for a longer period, in addition the synodic Venus cycle vacillates between 579 and 588 days.

(The Venus dates have their origin in a PC-Astro-Software by F. Verbelen, Belgium).


These facts enable a multitude of new insights while unveiling the content of the Dresden Codex.

An astronomically orientated expert soon will make his own discoveries, e.g. on the Mars table, p. 58 with the date 4 Ahau 13 Muan
- 1.7.11
=  13 Muluc 7 Mol

and the date 4 Ahau 13 Muan
 - 12.11
=  13 Muluc 2 Zip


I’d be happy to receive commentaries and questions at



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Copyright 2010 Anton Stock

Last updated October, 2011