A Prehispanic Maya Katun Wheel
Journal of Anthropological Research
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Much has been written on the calendrical achievements of the ancient Maya; however, little is known of the ancient Maya models for recording and conceiving of the passage of time. A carved stone turtle excavated at the site of Mayapan indicates that the Maya concept of circular calendar wheels is prehispanic in origin. Contextual information provided by archaeological excavation and representations in prehispanic Maya codices indicate that stone turtle sculptures were the locus of penitential blood offerings marking calendrical period endings, particularly that of the roughly twenty-year Katun. The ancient Maya had a number of distinct metaphors for conceiving of the world. Among both the Classic and Postclassic Maya, the turtle served as an important model of the rounded and circular earth.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Taube, Karl A., "A Prehispanic Maya Katun Wheel" (1988). KIP Articles. 5945.