Origin of the Mesoamerican 260-Day Calendar

Science  07 Sep 1973:
Vol. 181, Issue 4103, pp. 939-941
DOI: 10.1126/science.181.4103.939


The sacred 260-day Mesoamerican calendar probably originated near a latitude of 15 °N, where there is a 260-day interval between transits of the zenithal sun. Archeological and faunal evidence favors an origin in the Pacific lowlands rather than in the highlands near Copán, Honduras, although Copán, which is located at the 15th parallel of latitude, later became the principal Mayan astronomical center.