Mayan Calendar References
- The Maya, Michael D. Coe
(1st Edition published in 1966)
Thames & Hudson, New York (Trade paperback).
A general introduction.
- The article on calendrical systems
in Britannica III (15th Edition, 1980): Volume
3, pp 595-612.
- From One To Zero, George Ifrah, 1978(?) pp 397-427.
- “Maya Numeration, Computation, and Calendrical Astronomy”
by Floyd G. Lounsbury, in
Dictionary of Scientific Biography Vol. 15, Supplement I
(1978) edited by Charles Coulston Gillespie. (New York:
Scribner’s, 1978) pp. 759-818. Tough going, but probably
the most accurate available information, except that the
correlation constant does not appear because he hadn’t
found it yet.
- “Calendrics of the Maya Lowlands” by Linton Satterthwaite,
in Handbook of Middle American Indians: Archaeology of
Southern MesoAmerica part two. General editor Robert
Wauchope; volume editor, Gordon R. Willey. (Austin, Texas:
University of Texas Press, 1965) pp. 603-631.
- An Introduction to the Study of the Mayan Hieroglyphics by
Sylvanus Griswold Morley; Bulletin 57 of the Bureau of
American Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution. (Washington,
D. C.: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1915).
Detailed (excruciatingly detailed) reference on working out
Maya dates and distance numbers by hand.
- Practical Astronomy With Your Calculator by
Peter Duffett-Smith, second edition (Cambridge University
Press: Cambridge, 1981). (First edition 1979.) You want this one, not Astronomy With Your Personal Computer, because
the programs in that are in BASIC.
- Explanatory Supplement to the Astronomical Almanac ed.
P. Kenneth Seidelman; Completely Revised and Rewritten
(University Science Books: Mill Valley, CA 1992).
See especially Chapters 2, 11, 12 and 13.
- The Book of the Year: Middle American Calendrical Systems by
Munro S. Edmonson. (Salt Lake City, UT: University of Utah Press, 1988)
Excellent, exhaustive and enthusiastic coverage of the tzolkin as used in virtually
all Pre-Columbian Middle American cultures, plus those cultures still using
The most important information required to use the Maya calendar is
the “correlation constant;” this is the Julian Period Date that equates
to day 0, 4 ’Ahaw 8 K’umk’u. Floyd Lounsbury
proved to many people’s satisfaction that it is 584285. This works
out to Wednesday, 13 August, -3113, Gregorian style, or
Wednesday, 8 September, 3114BC, Julian style.
Another popular correlation is 584283. It has the advantage
of correlating with the day-count as kept now in the Guatemalan Highlands.
Dates with this correlation are Monday, 11 August, -3113, Gregorian, or
Monday, 6 September, 3114BC, Julian.
To find out what the Julian Period is, see reference 8 and The Julian Period.
For information on other calendars, see Claus Tondering’s
Main web site: http://www.pauahtun.org