By Webteam - 11th August 2019 6:01am
The Mesoamerican Long Count calendar
The Mesoamerican Long Count calendar is a non-repeating, base-20 and base-18 calendar used by several pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures, most notably the Maya. For this reason, it is often known as the Maya (or Mayan) Long Count calendar. Using a modified base-20 tally, the Long Count calendar identifies a day by counting the number of days passed since a mythical creation date that corresponds to August 11, 3114 BC in the Proleptic Gregorian calendar.
So August 11, 3114 BC marks the Creation of the world of human beings according to the Maya. On this day, Raised-up-Sky-Lord caused three stones to be set by associated gods at Lying-Down-Sky, First-Three-Stone-Place. Because the sky still lay on the primordial sea, it was black. The setting of the three stones centred the cosmos which allowed the sky to be raised, revealing the sun.
Rather than using a base-10 scheme, like Western numbering, the Long Count days were tallied in a modified base-20 scheme. In a pure base-20 scheme, 0.0.0.1.5 is equal to 25 and 0.0.0.2.0 is equal to 40. The Long Count is not pure base-20, however, since the second digit from the right (and only that digit) rolls over to zero when it reaches 18. Thus 0.0.1.0.0 does not represent 400 days, but rather only 360 days and 0.0.0.17.19 represents 359 days.
The numbered Long Count was no longer in use by the time the Spanish arrived in the Yucatán Peninsula, although the Long Count calendar was widely used on monuments
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