Saturday, 12 May 2012

Mural Found On Walls a First for a Maya Dwelling; Painted Numbers Reflect Calendar Reaching Well Beyond 2012

ScienceDaily (May 10, 2012) — A vast city built by the ancient Maya and discovered nearly a century ago is finally starting to yield its secrets.

Excavating for the first time in the sprawling complex of Xultún in Guatemala's Petén region, archaeologists have uncovered a structure that contains what appears to be a work space for the town's scribe, its walls adorned with unique paintings -- one depicting a lineup of men in black uniforms -- and hundreds of scrawled numbers. Many are calculations relating to the Maya calendar.
One wall of the structure, thought to be a house, is covered with tiny, millimeter-thick, red and black glyphs unlike any seen before at other Maya sites. Some appear to represent the various calendrical cycles charted by the Maya -- the 260-day ceremonial calendar, the 365-day solar calendar, the 584-day cycle of the planet Venus and the 780-day cycle of Mars, reports archaeologist William Saturno of Boston University, who led the exploration and excavation.
"For the first time we get to see what may be actual records kept by a scribe, whose job was to be official record keeper of a Maya community," Saturno said. "It's like an episode of TV's 'Big Bang Theory,' a geek math problem and they're painting it on the wall. They seem to be using it like a blackboard."
The discovery is reported in the June issue of National Geographic magazine and in the May 11 issue of the journal Science.

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