Maya Calendar Mystery Solved? Scientists Say They’ve Cracked Its Ancient Code

Among the most intriguing mysteries of our time is the 819-day calendar used by the ancient Maya civilization. A puzzle that baffled scientists near and far for many years, anthropologists from Tulane University may have finally cracked its secrets.

For a long time, researchers suspected that the Maya calendar followed astronomical events, specifically the movement of planets in the night sky as seen from Earth, known as the “synodic periods” of planets. The synodic period is the time it takes for a planet to appear in the same place in the night sky when observed from Earth.

However, according to a study published in Ancient Mesoamerica, the cycles in the Maya calendar cover a much larger timeframe than scholars previously thought. Anthropologists John Linden and Victoria Bricker found that by increasing the calendar length to 20 periods of 819 days, a pattern emerges that matches the synodic periods of all visible planets, which include Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.

Before this discovery, researchers thought the calendar referred to four cycles of 819 days, but that time span didn’t line up well with the synodic periods of all the planets that can be seen with the naked eye. It turns out it takes 20 cycles of 819 days, which is about 45 years, for the calendar to align with the synodic periods of all visible planets.

Within these 20 cycles, each planet goes through some number of synodic periods a whole number of times: Mercury every cycle, Venus every 5 cycles, Saturn every 6 cycles, Jupiter every 19 cycles, and Mars every 20 cycles. While each synodic period is less than 819 days, only Mercury has a synodic period that happens a whole number of times within a single cycle. By combining the cycles, it becomes possible to predict the placement of the planets in the sky.

Linden and Bricker suggest that this knowledge is also connected to important dates and celebrations in the ancient Maya culture. They wrote, “Rather than limit their focus to any one planet, the Maya astronomers who created the 819-day count envisioned it as a larger calendar system that could be used for predictions of all the visible planet’s synodic periods.”

This research is crucial for understanding how the ancient Maya studied astronomy and is part of a decades-long quest to comprehend the complexity of ancient Maya calendars. By unraveling the mystery behind the 819-day calendar, anthropologists have gained valuable insights into the astronomical knowledge and practices of the ancient Maya civilization. This discovery also highlights the advanced understanding the Maya had of the night sky, and how they used that knowledge to create a sophisticated calendar system that not only tracked time but also allowed them to predict the positions of the visible planets in the sky.


  1. The recently confirmed synodic periods of visible planets within a period of about 45 years raises
    obvious questions. For instance:
    1- At how many years of age could any Mayan astronomer possibly have ascertained and convinced his/her peers of such regularity given that cloudiness must certainly have confounded confirmation at some very critical times?
    2- What underlying qualifications allowed astronomers to perform required observations at night with- out the necessity of working during daylight hours? By implication, these rare individuals were highly trusted by royalty, very skilled in mathematics, making keen observations, and either long-lived or educated by elders with superior knowledge.
    3- What was average Mayan / Olmec lifespan in 2000 BC?

    1. 1) the observations could be done by anyone of nearly any age. The reports or calendar developed by someone older and trusted.
      2) Average lifespan is immaterial if the observations are noted and passed down. I see nothing that says 1 person, in 1 generation, did all of this. As with any culture, especially those that have invented a writing system, information can be given to future generations rather easily.
      3) A priest caste also satisfies every single one of your requirements. As one can observe in other cultures, such a caste is held in high regard, educated, makes its own schedule, and can have acolytes (or whomever) up at weird hours to record stuff.

  2. I think it reflects an idea and a plausible one that what we call ancient civilizations were much more advanced then what we realize or understand.

    Perhaps the very word “ancient” produces the idea that means backward, rudimentary, basic, lack of knowledge compared to our modern age. Thinking in this manner is likely an error on our part. Much of “ancient” history was destroyed over time for various reasons. The truth is, we do not know the facts outside of the history we have been told or that came from actual records.

    I wasn’t there, none of us were, but the idea of a more advanced ancient society with skills we were unaware that they possessed is not at all out of the question. Perhaps every civilization advances to the same futile point, then collapses, and it all begins again. Even that, not a single person can claim any complete knowledge of the history none of us ever knew. We learn via keeping an open mind, listening, reading, researching what we can know, facts, evidence, in order to learn.

    Religion played a deep role in turning that critical thought mechanism off, in some ways, I think, in order to get a majority of adherents to stop thinking for themselves, and allowed something else to take that role.

    1. Of course you ended up saying religion is the blame thereby exposing what a foolish premise you base your ideas upon and if you had any intellectual knowledge. Or acuity you would have learned that it was because of religion such as the mayan calendar religious people such as the aztecs religious people such as the. Jews and the Persians and the babyloniania send a phoenicians and the Egyptians that opened up the space in the science studies.
      It was Isaac Newton who was basically a Bible scholar on Galileo all these men. Did these things by faith God edit? What’s the scripture that first exposed to constellations in the heavily bodies

      1. The Church rescued all kinds of works of the ancients of at least the Biblical lands and some non-Mediterranean ones. It modernized the legal system and many other fields. Every discipline in society rides on its coattails, though they seem intent on shouting “science!” while making a mockery of it when it serves a narrative. They would rather euthanize the developmentally-less-able, when they used to fight time, despite mockery and disinterested disbelief of their peers, to find cures. They can’t define what a woman is, yet they accuse conservatives of being against them for saving women’s sports! We must look like fools for passing students for college who are not ready for high school, because it is racist to expect the same ability to think of black kids as white, East Indian area, East Asian and Middle East kids in the same school! BTW, the woke crowd pointing fingers at Christians are suppressing speech, castrating kids they expose to porn (probably for grooming) and otherwise cancelling logic (quite a lot a worse offense against science than what happened to Galileo, which was like one of a thing or two), so don’t you as not-religionists (AKA anti-Christianists) talk to us about violating science! We still sponsor the actual thing—Catholics and other Christians (there were also Protestant clergy also advancing real society and sciences, though the disregard for biblical marriage god the common folk began its unwinding, but that can be for another discussion)!

  3. Our desperate attempt to explain the unexplainable produces intellectual gymnastics that defy logic. It’s the aliens, stupid.

  4. Based on this article, I’m unpersuaded. You folks have ruined “science” over the last 3 years with your lies and political cheerleading, and your debasing yourselves for grants. I truly wish it wasn’t so, and I’d love to never have been exposed to your infantile flights of fancy (for what? Fame? Money? Beating your former classmate to the “next thing”?).
    The magic is gone. We looked up to you. Now we look across, or even down at you.

    1. I earned a PhD in 1999 and quickly became disillusioned with what modern “science” had become! It was the man-made-global warming (of course now called “climate change” since data didn’t support the man-made-global warming theory) that awakened me to what was happening with modern “science”, and of course, all things covid revealed how corrupt all things science had become. I became a scientist because I appreciated truth, only to later find that truth was somewhere down the list of goals of modern science.

  5. Odd isn’t it, hundreds of years without any remote answer to this ancient question and rather suddenly the answer arrives… hmm, I’m gonna call BS on this! These ‘researchers’ came up with this answer shortly after AI has been unleashed upon the planet.

    No, more likely it’s a convenient logical answer to Artificial Intelligence only, with little other facts included.

    Did the ancient Mayans actually invent the telescope? (magnifying glass, etc)

    Sounds like that may be the next claim queueing up. lolol

    1. Of course they inherited it and there is persuasive evidence the hybrid offspring of the fallen angels, that mated with human women, ,as recorded in Genesis 6, called the Nephilim/ part human,part angel, are the “gods” who built the megalithic structures around the world, incorporating Vast knowledge of astronomy in their pyramids.

  6. Another article about the Maya calendar showing the Aztec Calendar Stone rather than any version of the Maya calendar. It’s a common mistake but shows how journalists continually do not check their own work

  7. Joe Dimarco – You discount the possibility of multi-generational work. Could young apprentices have continued their seniors’ work, and then passed it on to their apprentices? Of course they could have done so.

  8. You wrote, “each planet goes through some number of synodic periods a whole number of times: Mercury every cycle, Venus every 5 cycles, Saturn every 6 cycles, Jupiter every 19 cycles, and Mars every 20 cycles.”
    ….This seems odd, since as every school kid knows, the order of the planets is Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. And as Kepler proved back in 1572 or so, the period of an orbiting body is proportional to the 3/2 power of its radius of orbit. Yet you say Saturn orbits the sun almost as quickly as venus, and in less than a third of Jupiter’s period.
    ….Since your group specializes in Space, I’m sure you can explain the seeming anomaly.

    1. Yes, they can. And they did. So I will point it out for you.

      “The synodic period is the time it takes for a planet to appear in the same place in the night sky when observed from Earth.”

      Do you see why your post trying to be all smart was am abject failure? If not, ask a fourth grader to explain what that sentence says.

  9. Great discovery, was anything interesting found in your research that figures in the 29.22 true mean Synodic Period of the Moon?

    Here is a quotation from Simon Shack’s book on his model of the solar system called:

    The Tychos (which can be found at

    I will henceforth call this 29.22-day period the Moon’s TMSP(True Mean Synodic Period).
    This period provides us with the spectacular indication that our Moon plays a central role in our Sun-Mars binary system. This stands in stark contrast to the Copernican notion that the Moon is just some ‘random’ peripheral appendage circling around Earth. If that were the case, why would all of our system’s celestial bodies in the Copernican scenario exhibit exact multiples of Moon’s synodic period? Here are the facts:
    The Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars exhibit an orbital resonance pattern of:
    1 : 4 : 20 : 25
    1 TMSP : Average orbital period of our Moon: 29.22 days (29.22 X 1)
    4 TMSP’s : Average orbital period of Mercury: 116.88 days (29.22 X 4)
    20 TMSP’s: Average orbital period of Venus: 584.4 days (29.22 X 20)
    25 TMSP’s: Average orbital period of Mars: 730.5 days (29.22 X 25)
    The average orbital period of the Sun is 365.25 days (29.22 X 12.5)

  10. I wonder if these were same people who told us we were all going to die in 2012. You know, the movie and all that based on the Mayan calendar. I also wonder how much government grant money (ie our tax payer money) they received for this study.

  11. I would like to know how much of a grant these scientist received to come up with this so call theory. It is all BS.

  12. They were much more advanced- it was very defined when a woman should have sex with a man——>anytime he wanted it- we are very backwards today

  13. Well I can certainly see why a “sophisticated calendar,” would be useful, but the value of being able to predict the position of the visible planets in the sky,” leaves me up in the air!

  14. i maked come all the way under the bus while i was watching Duck Dodgers and when i came i got it all over my tentacles and now i am a simple squid

  15. So we miscounted and thought the end times would be on 12/21/2021 and now the world ends 11/4/2024?

  16. The scientists that figured this out, they glow in the dark. You can see them when you’re driving. You just run them over, that’s what you do.

  17. These people were bored to death and had a lot of time to fulfill curiosity. Looking up and seeing an enormous array of stars and planets mo b ing around surely stimulated curiosity. So they figured out the regulsrities of celestial mechanics after decade upon decade of observations. And that is supposed to impress us all.

  18. It was obviously the little green men who did that stuff for them if forced them to make it for them. I mean, obviously, if we can’t with our heads in the smartphones and binging ballgames or the show everyone is watching, they couldn’t either.

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