Maya Astronomy: Basic to Advanced.

SYLLABUS (First Quarter: December 31, 2001 through April 7, 2002)

Week 1 (December 31, 2001 to January 6, 2002)

Overview: Maya Spiritual Values, Shamanism and the World Tree, Calendrical Astronomy.

Week 2 (January 7 to January 13)

The 260-Day Tzolkin: Structure, Spiritual Implications, Astronomical Functions (Venus, Eclipses, Tropical Year).

Week 3 (January 14 to January 20)

The 365-Day Haab: Structure, Uayeb, Tropical Year, Relationship to 360-Day Tun.

Week 4 (January 21 to January 27)

The Calendar Round (18,980 days): Astronomical and Spiritual Implications.

Week 5 (January 28 to February 3)

The Long Count Notation (1,872,000 Days).

Weeks 6 & 7 (February 4 to February 17)

The Dresden Codex Eclipse Table: Classic Period Usage and Contemporary Applications in the 12 Lamat Eclipse Correlation.

Happy Mardi Gras! (February 12th)

Weeks 8 & 9 (February 18 to March 3)

The Dresden Codex Venus Table: Structure and Use.

Dresden p59: 780-day Multiplication Table.

Weeks 10 & 11 (March 4 to March 17)

Palenque's Dynastic History (Temple of the Inscriptions).

Week 12 (March 18 to March 31)

Copan's Architectural Alignments: Stelae 10 & 12, Temple 22.

Week 13 (April 1 to April 7)

Maya Calendrical Harmonics and Geometry.

All lectures will be posted on the Web-site on each Sunday prior to the first day of each week. Please read them at your earliest convenience and e-mail any questions or comments you have about the material. All questions and responses will be posted on the Q&A page as soon as I can write a response. Try to finish by Wednesday with each assignment (your questions) so that we do not get behind the curve on our progress through the material. Try to be as specific as possible with your queries since it is impossible for me to answer well if your question is too general.

The purpose of this course is to disseminate knowledge about the cultural artifacts of Maya civilization. I will not test your assimilation of this material and there will be no grades issued. My responsibility is to provide what I have learned about the Maya calendar and how they used it during the Classic period to monitor and observe the regular motion of the celestial objects that interested them. I have been studying this subject for 35 years and have managed to accumulate a serious amount of information with respect to those issues. Some of that material is speculative and not generally supported by other scholars in the field. All material related to the calendar and its essential structure and composition, however, is exactly consistent with accepted perceptions.

My sense of your responsibility as a student is to take as much or as little of the material I offer as pleases you. All files posted on the web-site should probably be down-loaded to your hard-drive or to a disk or CD for future reference. I will also provide a full bibliography of books and articles that are useful for study and research at the end of the course for your records. Watching the sky, even on a nightly basis, even with the use of a planetarium soft-ware program on your computer, is something I highly recommend, since you cannot know the Maya sky if you do not look at it.

E-Mail any questions you have.