The Controversy of Correlation 


New evidence for the Herbert Spinden Correlation of the Maya Calendar



By Carl de Borhegyi 2010

In 2009 I came across a sketch (original by Rubén Manzanilla López and Arturo Talavera González) of a petroglyph that was found on a hillside in Mexico near the city of Acapulco. The petroglyph depicts what appears to me to be a monkey jumping from a mushroom, holding a five pointed Venus star in his right hand, and with an apparent Long Count date located just above the monkey's left shoulder, that reads 3.3.4.3.2.


Published research of this petroglyph and its probable Long Count date, conducted by Pedro de Eguiluz Selvas entitled, "Origins of the Long Count," suggests that the correlation of this Long Count  date with the Christian calendar fits the Spinden correlation perfectly, making it equivalent to the year "3 Monkey" in the Unified Account of Anawak (CUAN). While this identification tends to reinforce the Spinden correlation, it calls into question the generally accepted, but still unproven (Wauchope, 1965, p. 605) GMT, or Goodman-Martinez-Thompson correlation, and its end date of December 21, 2012. 



LAS MANIFESTACIONES GRÁFICO RUPESTRES EN LOS SITIOS ARQUEOLÓGICOS DE ACAPULCO.

Manzanilla López, Rubén y Arturo Talavera González.
México : CONACULTA: INAH, (Colección Catálogos), 2008.
RECENT ACQUISITIONS
ISSUE 206  ISBN: 978-9680302949  

Thus the Long Count date of 3.3.4.3.2 would be an important key to locate the origin of the long count at 3374 BC and the famous end to the Mayan Calendar at 1752 rather than in December, 2012. Much more on the significance of "3 Monkey", and the monkey petroglyph and its Long Count date a bit later.


The debate over the correlation of the Mayan calendar with the Christian calendar has come under lots of scrutiny of late because of the widespread belief that the end of the Fifth World cycle in the Maya calendar would signal the end of the world in the year 2012. As we know the world did not end, the calendar simply began another cycle, and the 2012  doomsday prophecy will now be remembered in history as a failed prophecy.



Today the GMT correlation and it's 2012 end date of the Mayan calendar is associated primarily with the late Maya archaeologist J. Eric S. Thompson, one of the most, influential archaeologists of his time. In recognition of Thompson's many achievements in Maya studies, he was knighted, Sir J. Eric S. Thompson in 1975 by Queen Elizabeth II, a few days after his 76th birthday.


Over the years numerous correlations have been proposed but, according to archaeologist Michael D. Coe, today's unofficial "Dean of Maya Studies",  of the various correlations developed to date, only the GMT 11.16, and the Spinden 12.9 correlation meet the requirements of both dirt archaeology and specific dates (The Maya, fifth edition, p.23).



Mesoamerican chronology is based on the correlation of the Gregorian calendar with the Maya Long Count calendar, providing historians with absolute dates. Unfortunately the Mayan calendar cannot be directly correlated with the European calendar because the long count system of dating was no longer in use by the time of the Spanish Conquest. 

            

Chronology of Mesoamerica:

Early Pre-Classic Period:     2000 BCE. - 1000 BCE.
Late Pre-Classic Period:      1000 BCE. - 200 A.D.

Early Classic Period:            200 - 500 A.D.
Late  Classic Period:             500 - 900 A.D.

Early Post-Classic Period:     900 - 1200 A.D.
Late Post-Classic Period:      1200 - 1524 A.D.



            Quoting Archaeologist Michael D. Coe:


"any displacement in the dating of the Maya Classic Period would disrupt the entire field of Mesoamerican research, for ultimately all archaeological chronologies in this part of the world are cross-tied with the Maya Long Count" (The Maya, fifth edition 1993 p. 23).




In 1905 a news paper editor in California named Joseph P. Goodman was the first to correlate the Maya and European calendars and arrive at a date based on the earlier work of Ernst Forstemann who deciphered that all dates in the Maya Long Count calendar were calculated from a starting point equivalent to 3114 B.C., using the GMT correlation (Gallenkamp 1985 revised edition p. 51). 

When in 1926, Juan Martinez Hernandez resurrected the Goodman correlation, Thompson "joined suit" and threw in the full weight of his considerable reputation behind it. Even when most of the new radiocarbon dates seemed to go against him," Thompson "defended his position until the end of his days." (Breaking the Maya Code 1992, 1999 p. 132). According to Coe...


Quoting J. Eric S. Thompson.......


"I do not wish thereby to indicate that the correlation that I have sponsored is necessarily correct. I am very far from feeling that it is infallible, and have said so on many occasions". (from ?Maya Chronology: the Correlation Question?, Contributions to American Archaeology, xiv (1935) 53-104, p.75)



In order to understand the reason for all the controversy, a few words of explanation are needed to explain the problem of correlation. By the time that Columbus and the Spanish conquistadors arrived in the New World, the Maya Long Count system of dating was no longer in use. It had been replaced by an abbreviated system called period-ending dating or the "Short Count", of tuns and katuns set to end on days named Ahau (also spelled Ajaw). Unlike the Long Count of the Classic period, the Short Count is not anchored to a base point. Unfortunately, no one living at the time knew how to integrate the Postclassic Short Count with the earlier Long Count system.


To give a simple example of the problem, imagine, if you will, that some time in the far past we had stopped writing out the full calendar date--say  July 12,  2010--and simply recorded all our dates as 7/12/10. While this date is clear to those of us living today, it would be very confusing for historians in the future who could be left wondering in which century the date  July 11 occurred--1710? 1910?, 2110? If no one could recall the full date for this event, historians would be left scratching their heads.


A number of archaeologists, among them my father, the late Dr. Stephan F. de Borhegyi - Milwaukee Public Museum, and most notably E. Wyllys Andrews (1960, 1965, 1965c, 1968, 1973) have presented archaeological evidence favoring the correlation first developed by Maya archaeologist Sylvanus G. Morley, and later espoused by Dr. Herbert J. Spinden. Since the two correlations differ by 260 years, the so-called "end date," of the Mayan Calendar according to the Spinden correlation occurred in December, 1752.


Archaeologist E. Wyllys Andrews IV (Culbert, 1973, p.15) has presented archaeological evidence which calls for earlier dates than those which are now currently accepted using the Goodman-Martinez-Thompson (GMT) correlation.  Andrews' argument in favor of the Spinden correlation is based on his work in Yucatan (1965) at the site of Dzibilchaltun (Weaver,1972, p.182). These dates fit better when read according to the correlation developed by Dr. Herbert Spinden, that establishes all Maya dates 260 years earlier than the G.M.T. correlation. 


Although most of the archaeologists who have worked in the Southern Maya Lowlands tend to favor the 11-16-0-0-0 GMT correlation, Andrews IV, feels strongly that "the correlation question remains unsolved, and that the possibility of some earlier correlations, such as a 12-9-0-0-0 Spinden correlation, should be left open" (Culbert, 1973, p.15)


         Quoting Maya archaeologist E. Wyllys Andrews:


"I think most students have been influenced in our thinking by the fact that the chronological scheme forces a more than awkward plethora of cultural events into the relatively brief span of time allowed by an 11-16-0-0-0  GMT correlation between the end of the Maya Initial Series and the foundation of Mayapan about A.D. 1250 in the Christian calendar" (The Classic Maya Collapse, 1973, Culbert p.258).


Andrews begins his chapter in the 1973 book, The Classic Maya Collapse,  edited by Patrick Culbert, p. 258:


         Quoting Maya archaeologist E. Wyllys Andrews: 


"Much has been published in recent years about the collapse of Maya civilization and its causes. It might be wise to preface this chapter with a simple statement that in my belief no such thing happened". 


          Quoting Maya archaeologist Robert L. Rands:


"Achievement of absolute dating is a fundamental goal in efforts to understand the collapse of Classic Maya Civilization. A slight shift forward or backward in time can make a significant difference in how one visualizes the pattern of events" (The Classic Maya Collapse, 1973 edited by Patrick Culbert  p.43)



           Quoting Maya archaeologist  Gordon R. Willey:


" In his 1945 paper Thompson put forward the idea that the Puuc, Chenes, and Rio Bec sites and building of the northern Lowlands were contemporaneous with the Late Classic (Tepeu) Period in the southern Lowlands. This was a change from Morley's position, which had seen the northern architectural florescence as occurring later." (Essays in Maya Archaeology 1984 p. 195)



Using Andrews alignment, "the Puuc-Chenes-Reo Bec florescence would have taken place after the abandonment of the southern cities, and Toltec Chichen would have been established as a conqueror's city (Culbert, 1973 p.472)."


"The untimely death of E. W. Andrews IV on July 2, 1971, is a tragic loss to Maya archaeology. At the time of his death, Andrews was engaged in a study of the Reo Bec ruins of southern Campeche, a project which should throw light upon the problem of the alignment of the southern and northern chronologies"  (Culbert 1973, The Classic Maya Collapse p.19)


Academic texts such as Muriel Porter Weaver's, (1981:333) The Aztecs, Maya, and their Predecessors mention that "one of the most confusing periods in Mesoamerican studies is that related to Yucatan between the years A.D. 600-1200, which embraces that crucial time spanning the Late Classic and Post Classic Maya development".  "Involved is the problem of dating and correlation of the archaeological remains with carbon-14 dates and the Maya calendar, the relationship between northern and central Yucatan to the collapse of the great Classic civilization in the south, and the relationship between Chichen Itza in the northern Yucatan and Tula, Hidalgo in central highland Mexico".  


Porter-Weaver writes (1972:3)  that the carbon-14 dates from Oaxaca, Mexico also favored the Spinden correlation. " A strong case can thus be made for a classic dating of Toltec and other Mexican influences that persisted in Yucatan into the Postclassic period" (1981, p. 399). She writes, "there has been a great deal of controversy among scholars that has centered around the chronology of the Great Ball Court at Chichen Itza and that a Middle to Late Classic dating would be welcomed by many who have studied the art and iconography  (1981, p. 399). She also writes that for consistency  reasons only, she uses the GMT correlation, "but not without reservation". 


Dr. Stephan F. de Borhegyi, better known simply as Borhegyi, was one of the leading experts of the pre-Columbian ballgame before his untimely death in 1969. In his manuscript,  The Pre-Columbian ballgame: A Pan-Mesoamerican Tradition;  published posthumously in 1980, by the Milwaukee Public Museum, Borhegyi called into question the construction date of the Great Ballcourt at Chichen Itza. 


Borhegyi and fellow archaeologist Lee A. Parsons had reason to believe that the construction date of the Great Ballcourt at Chichen Itza, (the largest in Mesoamerica) was built much earlier than was previously supposed. Both believed the ballcourt to be Mid to Late Classic rather than Early Post-Classic, and that the stone ballcourt rings were an Early Post-Classic addition indicating a later change of rules in the way the game was played (de Borhegyi,1980-12). Borhegyi further believed that the gruesome human decapitation scenes and human "skull balls" were Late Classic and were influenced by the "Tajínized Nonoalca" (Pipils) or the Olmeca-Xicallanca who spread during that period from the Gulf Coast to Yucatan and through the Petén rainforest as far as the Pacific coast of Guatemala (Borhegyi de, 1980: 25). Ballgame reliefs from the Pacific Slope of Guatemala are contemporary with those of the Great Ball Court complex at Chichen Itza (Susan Milbrath 1999 p.82).  



            Quoting archaeologist Stephan F. de Borhegyi:


" I firmly believe that the vertical-walled Great Ballcourt at Chichen Itza, with its gruesome human decapitation scenes and human "skull balls" is of Late Classic origin and a result of the "Tajinized Nonoalca" (Pipil) or Olmeca-Xicallanca influences that spread during that period from the Gulf Coast to Yucatan and through the Peten rainforest as far as the Pacific coast of Guatemala " (Borhegyi,1980: 25).



Borhegyi just happened to be working in Guatemala in 1951 with the Carnegie Institution of Washington, and was asked to go to Tikal to collect samples of Sapodilla wood from dated lintels (beams which span the temple doorways, Group C. Str. 60; tested in Feb. of 1951 ) for radiocarbon testing. The results of these radiocarbon tests in 1951, favored the Herbert J. Spinden correlation (R.E. Taylor 2009, p.194) (Kulp et al. 1951:566).  


More carbon 14 tests were conducted in 1955, using samples of wood taken from a dated lintel at Tikal with a Long Count date of 9.15.10.0.0. which also favored the Spinden correlation (R.E. Taylor 2009, p.194) (John Paddock, Ignacio Bernal 1970 p.5).  According to these tests (Libby 1955, p.132) the date obtained was A.D. 481 +/- 120 years, with other samples belonging to the same Maya inscription cumming in at A.D. 469 +/-  120 years, and A.D. 433 +/- 170 years. In the Spinden correlation this inscription would correspond to 481, and in the GMT correlation at A.D. 741.


A few years later two other independent carbon 14 tests were performed (W.B. Dinsmoor?) again from dated inscriptions on wooden beams from Tikal (see Satterthwait 1965 p.630, Vol. 3 Handbook of Middle American Indians). These radiocarbon tests place the Maya dates from the inscriptions only 23 years later than the 12-9 correlation proposed by Spinden.


Quoting R.E. Taylor author of Six Decades of C-14 Dating in New World Archaeology 2009 p.194:


"Surprisingly, rather than supporting the GMT correlation the [first] C-14 value on the lintel supported the Spinden correlation scheme, which yielded ages exactly 260 yr. earlier than did the GMT formula (Kulp et al. 1951:566).


"A second C-14 determination on another inscribed wooden lintel from Tikal bearing the same long-count data as in the first test was undertaken at Chicago by Libby and also supported the Spinden correlation" (Libby 1954:740).


"These results were criticized on the basis that they were derived from wood samples from existing museum collections whose size had been reduced for transport and thus had lost their outside rings"  (R.E. Taylor 2009, p.194)



So later tests were performed in 1959 by Elizabeth K. Ralph of the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania, and those tests using wood samples with due consideration of the problem of missing tree rings, called the "pre-sample growth error"  seemed to favor the GMT correlation in most cases (Elizabeth K. Ralph 1971:4).


According to Robert Sharer:


"twelve samples were dated from Temple IV. Of these, ten were consistent with the age span predicted by the GMT correlation (A.D. 741-51), and only one fell within the span based on the Spinden correlation (A.D.  481-91)" This test, along with those based on samples from other Tikal temples, offers strong support for the GMT correlation (Morley / Sharer 1983 p.563).



Due to these and other discrepancies in the testing, radiocarbon dating has not resolved the matter as to which correlation is correct. Lacking such decisive archaeological evidence, the archaeological community--pressed to provide usable dates in the Gregorian calendar, came to a consensus favoring the GMT correlation over the Spinden correlation. A study of the history of the controversy reveals that this consensus, rather than being based on solid scientific evidence, was heavily influenced by the personalities and personal lives of the two archaeologists, Spinden and Thompson.


Yale archaeologist Michael D. Coe...on Herbert J. Spinden:



"it is a tragedy that so many of his insights about Mesoamerican civilization were pushed aside and ignored during the Age of Thompson as a consequence of his lifelong espousal of a Maya-Christian  correlation".  (Breaking The Maya Code 1999 p.175)




At the Maya ruins of Chichen Itza in Yucatan Mexico, in the area known as "Old Chichen" there is a group of excavated structures known simply as the "Date Group", because here archaeologists have found complete dated inscriptions. According to the Thompson GMT correlation the dates cluster around A.D. 889 in the Christian calendar (Alma M. Reed 1966, p.307).


Archaeologist Johan Normark a postdoctoral researcher at the Göteborg University (formerly  Stockholm University) pursues the subject in an article published on the Internet. He writes..."We already live in a postapocalyptic world"



"the Iglesia structure at Chichen Itza has radiocarbon dates of AD 600 +/- 70 and AD 780 +/- 70 (average 690) and the Casa Colorada dates to 610 +/- 70. These buildings are associated with inscriptions that record their dedications (or the groups they are part of). According to the GMT these dates are much later than those provided by radiocarbon dating. The Iglesia structure is part of the Monjas complex which according to the GMT was dedicated on 4 February, 880. This is roughly two centuries after the radiocarbon dates. The Casa Colorada has two inscribed dates whose GMT dates are 11 September, 869 and 12 June, 870. This is also roughly two centuries later than the radiocarbon date".


"The Castillo itself is not associated with any inscriptions but the High Priest Grave, which is a similar but smaller radial pyramid, has an inscription dating to 8 May, 998. The Castillo cannot be much earlier than this date but it has provided the radiocarbon dates AD 755 +/- 70 and AD 776 +/- 100. It is, once again, a roughly two centuries difference between the GMT correlated date and the radiocarbon date".(Normark, 2010) 




Mushroom stones from Mesoamerica representing a monkey god. 


Above are four Type C, monkey effigy mushroom stones. An analysis of the Dresden Codex identifies the monkey, itself,  as being related to Venus as the Morning Star (Susan Milbrath, Star Gods of the Maya: 1999, p. 256 ), and according to the Five Suns cosmogonic accounts  Quetzalcoatl in his guise as Ehecatl (the Wind God) presided over the second sun, ehecatonatiuh, the sun of wind, until it was destroyed by great winds. The survivors of that era were turned into monkeys and Quetzalcoatl was their ruler (Mary Miller and Karl Taube 1993; p.118). 


Maya scholars David Freidel and the late Linda Schele (A Forest of Kings page 410) write that when the image of the Monkey God, known as God C, (Schellhas) is merged with another object it marks the image as "holy." Coe writes " the general word for divinity or God in Classic Mayan is k'uh, while the adjectival form is k'hul, with the meaning of sacred or holy." The logogram for both noun and adjective takes the form of a monkey-like profile, K'uh meaning God and K'hul meaning holy. (Reading the Maya Glyphs 2001, p.109)


Mycolatry: is a term used to describe the study of Mushroom Worship; specifically, worship of the entheogenic [God producing] mushroom species in proto and prehistory as a means for communicating in grave circumstances with the Almighty Powers (R.G. Wasson, 1980 p.XIV). Ethno-mycology, " is the interdisciplinary study that utilizes data from such diverse fields as mycology, anthropology, linguistics, mythology, archaeology, psychiatry and chemistry. Its purpose is to elucidate the significance of the fungus world in human societies past and present with emphasis on magico-religious beliefs and practices that have been influenced by the knowledge and ritualistic use of fungi" (Bernard Lowy 1975 Vol. V/Z).


In Maya religion the monkey represents the first of the Nine Lords of the Night or Underworld. Called the Bolon Ti Ku, these gods were responsible for guiding the Sun (identified as an underworld jaguar), into the underworld to be sacrificed by underworld decapitation and reborn and deified as the new Sun, baby jaguar. The first god associated with re-birth was the Monkey (GI) and Quetzalcoatl (G9) was the last associated with death and completion. The word K'uh in Classic Mayan glyphs was assigned to the monkey god and in glyphs his monkey profile was used to describe "holy" or "sacred," referring to "divinity" or "god" (M.D. Coe 2001, p.109).  


My father, Stephan de Borhegyi was the first archaeologist to propose the theory of an ancient Maya mushroom cult after finding a significant number of small, mushroom-shaped sculptures in the collections of the Guatemala National Museum and in numerous private collections in and around Guatemala City. Borhegyi proposed that mushroom stones had a  ceremonial association with the Nine Lords of the Night, and gods of the underworld. 


Borhegyi identified the existence of an ancient mushroom stone cult that may have begun as early as 1000 B.C.E. This cult, which was associated from its beginnings with ritual human decapitation, a trophy head cult, warfare and the Mesoamerican ballgame, appears to have had its origins along the Pacific coastal piedmont. While the majority of these mushroom stone sculptures were of indeterminate provenance, a sufficient number had been found during the course of archaeological investigations to permit Borhegyi to determine approximate dates and to catalog them stylistically (Borhegyi de, S.F., 1957b, "Mushroom Stones of Middle America"). 

Borhegyi noted that mushroom stones that carry an effigy, like the ones depicted above of a human (god?), monkey, bird, jaguar, toad and other animals, have been mostly found at the higher elevations of the Guatemala Highlands. This is an area of woodlands and pine forests where the Amanita muscaria mushroom grows in abundance. The Amanita muscaria mushroom contains muscarine and ibotenic acid, the substances that cause the powerful psychoactive effects. 


The Amanita muscaria mushroom was likely the inspiration or model for the ancient stone carvings. Borhegyi also noted that mushroom stones first appear in the Preclassic period in the highlands of Guatemala and at sites along the Pacific slope, noting that the mushroom stones from the lower altitudes were of the late type and either plain or tripod (Wasson and Wasson, 1957).

In the Central and Western Highlands of Guatemala, Type D tripod mushroom stones resembling stone-stools have been reported from Kaminaljuyu, the Antigua-Agua area, Amatitlan, Mixco Viejo, Tecpan, Zacualpa, and San Martin Jilotepeque (de Borhegyi, S.F. 1965a, p.37). The Type D plain or tripod mushroom stones, which carry no effigy on the stem have been typically found at lower elevations...(for their distribution by archaeological sites see Borhegyi de, 1961a, p. 500). 


While some mushroom stones were made as early as 1000-500 B.C., others like the tripod variety were used mainly during the Late Classic period (600-1000 C.E.). Mushroom stones that reappear in the highland Maya area during Late Classic times (600-1000 C.E.) are mostly the plain and or tripod variety (Type D) common to the Pacific Coast and Piedmont area as well as in Western El Salvador. "The Chiapas type mushroom stones are usually plain and have a "bundle" on their stem as the only decoration" (letter Borhegyi to Wasson April 25, 1968). 


Borhegyi determined that the plain, un-carved type of mushroom stone must have been re-introduced (along with a mushroom cult) to Guatemala and the Cotzumalhuapa area along with new ball game rituals during Late Classic times, by “Tajinized Nonoalca” Pipil groups. It was in this area along the Pacific coast near the border of Mexico and Guatemala, where countless mushroom stones have been found going back to Olmec times. This is the same region where the ballgame, along with its bloody rituals of decapitation and the dismemberment of body parts reached new levels. Nowhere else in Mesoamerica does the ballgame imagery appear so gruesome. 

The Psilocybe mushroom, called teonanacatl, by the Aztecs, contains the substance psilocin and psilocybin, the active ingredient that causes the mushroom hallucination. The psilocybin mushroom is indigenous to the sub-tropical regions of the U.S, Mexico, and Central America. The plain or tripod mushroom stones, which carry no effigy on the stem (stipe), have been typically found at lower elevations and may indicate the ritual use of the psilocybe mushroom in these regions. 


Spanish chroniclers recorded that the Aztecs called their sacred mushroom “teonanacatl” which in their language means “God’s flesh”. In Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, the general word for mushroom was nanacatl and that the intoxicating species was called teonanacatl, a term Fray Bernadino de Sahagun also gives us, teo, meaning god, that which is divine or sacred (Wasson, letter to Borhegyi, June 23, 1953). 


One of the first twelve missionaries to arrive shortly after the conquest of Mexico was Toribio de Paredes, who the Indians affectionately called Motolinía "poor man". Motolinia ends his disquisition with the observation that the Indians served the mushrooms in Holy Communion (source, The Hallucinogenic Mushrooms of Mexico and Psilocybin: A Bibliography, by R. Gordon Wasson and Stephan F. de Borhegyi, Harvard University, 1962).


            Motolinía recorded...


“They had another way of drunkenness, that made them more cruel and it was with some fungi or small mushrooms, which exist in this land as in Castilla; but those of this land are of such a kind that eaten raw and being bitter they....eat with them a little bees honey; and a while later they would see a thousand visions, especially serpents, and as they would be out of their senses, it would seem to them that their legs and bodies were full of worms eating them alive, and thus half rabid, they would sally forth from the house, wanting someone to kill them; and with this bestial drunkenness and travail that they were feeling, it happened sometimes that they hanged themselves, and also against others they were crueler. These mushrooms, they called in their language teonanacatl, which means 'flesh of God' or the devil, whom they worshiped.” (Wasson and de Borhegyi 1962, The Hallucinogenic Mushrooms of Mexico and Psilocybin)



Spanish chronicler, and cleric Jacinto de la Serna, composed a guide for the clergy in 1892, titled Manuel de Ministros de Indies para  el Conocimiento de sus Idolatnas y Extirpation de Ellas, (Wasson and Wasson 1957, p. 226). More commonly known today as "The Manuscript of Serna". there is a passage that describes the use of sacred mushrooms for divination, prophecy, and communion with the spirit world: 


"These mushrooms were small and yellowish and to collect them the priest and all men appointed as ministers went to the hills and remained almost the whole night in sermonizing and praying".


Serna, also drew the analogy between the Christian Eucharist and the eating of the mushroom; he suggests that the Indians regard the flesh of the mushroom as divine, or as he considers it diabolic. 


Fray Sahagun, who was the first Spanish chronicler to report mushroom rituals among the Aztecs, also writes that the Chichimecs and Toltecs consumed hallucinogens before battle to enhance bravery and strength (Peter Furst 1972, p.12). Consuming hallucinogens before the ballgame or before battle most likely eliminated all sense of fear, hunger, and thirst, and gave the ballplayer or battle-raged warrior a sense of invincibility and courage to fight at the wildest levels. The Amanita muscaria mushroom contains the powerful psychoactive drugs muscimol, and ibotenic acid which is known to cause the feelings of increased strength and stamina. 

In the years that followed Borhegyi's death, the existence of a mushroom cult in ancient Mesoamerica, and specifically among the ancient Maya, was denied or essentially dismissed as inconsequential.


Stephan de Borhegyi, like many archaeologists at this time, greatly admired Thompson, but Thompson scoffed at Borhegyi's theory of a mushroom cult, among the ancient Maya, arguing that the mushroom-shaped sculptures were more likely used as stools, though Thompson conceded that they would not have been very comfortable (The Hallucinogenic Mushrooms of Mexico and Psilocybin: A Bibliography. Botanical Museum Leaflets of Harvard University, Wasson & de Borhegyi, Vol. 20 (2) p.49) 


                        Quoting Sir J. Eric S. Thompson:


"I had heard of the theory that these stones might represent a narcotic mushroom cult, but I would think it a difficult theory to prove or disprove... I know of no reference to their use among the Maya, ancient or modern" (Thompson to de Borhegyi, March 26,1953, MPM Archives).


Thompson was not unfamiliar with mushroom stones, he excavated a mushroom stone in connection with a stone ballgame yoke, dating to the Late Classic period. The artifacts are described and illustrated in "An Archaeological reconnaissance in the Cotzumalhuapa region, Escuintla, Guatemala; Carnegie Institution Contribution Vol. IX, No. 44, from Publ. 574, pp.1-95, 1948). Quoting Thompson, "I don't think that any significance attaches to the presence of a piece of yoke with the mushroom stone" (letter from Thompson to Borhegyi, March 26th 1953; MPH de Borhegyi archives).


Thompson also found an anthropomorphic mushroom stone representing a seated individual with a mushroom cap in the course of a trial survey of the Southern Maya area. The mushroom looking specimen came from the Central Highlands of Guatemala. Thompson described the piece as a huge mushroom-like object that some anthropologists thought to be stone stools (The Hallucinogenic Mushrooms of Mexico and Psilocybin: A Bibliography. Botanical Museum Leaflets of Harvard University, Wasson & de Borhegyi, Vol. 20 (2) p.49). 


Thompson (1941, pp.38,39) "advanced the hypothesis that a group, or groups of Nahuat-speaking peoples (Pipiles by the Spanish chronicles) from Mexico invaded the Pacific Coast and Piedmont of Guatemala during Postclassic times". He associated these Nahuat groups with the spread and manufacture of the so-called Cotzumalhuapa-style stone sculptures (Borhegyi de, 1965b p.39). Upon later evidence (1943a, pp.118-21) Thompson reassigned this migration to the Late Classic period. Archaeological evidence had revealed that the sculptures actually represent three distinct chronological periods, only the last of which can be associated with the Late Classic Pipil migration (Borhegyi de, 1965b p.38). Borhegyi and fellow archaeologist Lee Parsons (Milwaukee Public Museum) who excavated the Cotzumalhuapa sites of El Baúl and Bilbao, believed that most of the stone sculptures are of the Late Classic period (600-1000 C.E.) (Borhegyi de, 1965: 36, 39). In 1948 Thompson later wrote that the ballgame imagery in the highlands of Guatemala and the Piedmont sites suggested that the ballgame and its bloody rituals were closely connected with the Mexican god Quetzalcóatl (Thompson, 1948: figs. 10-15) (Remarkable Remains of the Ancient Peoples of Guatemala 1996 p.15). 


History has shown that Thompson was not right about all things. Michael Coe devotes nearly an entire chapter  to this subject in his book Breaking The Maya Code.  In it he writes at length about Thompson being wrong about Yuri Knorosov's  theory of phoneticism in Maya hieroglyphic writing,  Thompson's claim was that Maya hieroglyphs had nothing to do with the spoken word, and also how Thompson was wrong in his assessment of the antiquity of the Olmec civilization.


Thompson refused to accept the Olmec Long Count date as being the same dating system used by the ancient Maya. According to Maya archaeologist Gordon Willey, Thompson challenged the Smithsonian Institution's archaeologist Matthew Sterling on his interpretation of the bar-and-dot inscription dating from the seventh baktun found on a stela at the Olmec site of Tres Zapotes. (1987, p.196)  

        Quoting archaeologist Michael D. Coe...


"The attack on the claimed antiquity of Olmec culture was led by Eric Thompson, the formidable British-born "brains" of the Carnegie Institution of Washington's Maya program" (Breaking The Maya Code 1999 p. 61) 


The earliest known Long Count dates recorded in Mesoamerica are not from Maya archaeological sites but from the Olmec influenced sites of Chiapa de Corzo in Chiapas Mexico, and Takalik Abaj on the Pacific coast of Guatemala.  Although the date on Stela 2 at Takalik Abaj remains controversial, Stela 2 at the Olmec site of Chiapa de Corzo records a date of 36 BCE, using the GMT correlation, or 296 BCE using the Spinden correlation. 


In 1971 an ancient Maya codex, surfaced in New York City, called the Grolier Codex. The codex which Thompson, called a fake, got its name when it was put on exhibit at the Grolier Club in New York City in 1971 by Michael Coe (Breaking the Maya Code  1999 p.228). The Grolier codex if complete, (fragments of 10 out of 22 pages: Coe, Revised edition 1999 p.227`) would have covered 65 cycles of the planet Venus and apparently supports the evidence for the Spinden correlation placing the date of the origin of the Maya calendar at 3374 B.C. and the end date at A.D. 1752 (Peter Tompkins 1976, p.295).


The Grolier codex has been dated between A.D. 1400 and 1500 (radiocarbon date A.D. 1230, + or - 130 Coe 1999 revised, p.228), and according to Charles Lacombe,who directed the hieroglyphic studies department, at the Institute of Maya Studies, Miami Museum of Science, its "the world's first and only known perpetual calendar of Venus ever produced by any civilization."


Cryptographer Charles Lacombe...(Tompkins 1976, p.295)


"To those who have suggested that this newly found codex could have been a fake, no forger could have been clever enough to fake such data for which there is no other source among Mayan scripts. This ancient Mayan document must rank among the supreme intellectual achievements of human history."


            According to Michael Coe:


"The denouement of the Grolier Codex affair was that it is now considered authentic by almost all those Mayanist who are either epigraphers or iconographers, or both; that the archaeoastronomer John Carlson has shown that it contains concepts about the planet Venus which have come to light only after it was exhibited in New York; and that it is probably the earliest of the four known codices." (Breaking the Maya Code 1999 revised p.229)



Michael Coe writes that the late David H. Kelley who was one of the great pioneers of Maya decipherment, also rejected Thompson's GMT correlation (BREAKING THE MAYA CODE, 1992,1999, page 158). 


Kelley pointed out the similarity between the Mesoamerican calendar and the Hindu lunar mansions, a resemblance far to close to be merely coincidental (M.D. Coe, The Maya, fifth edition 1999, p.45).  Kelley saw the resemblance between the Mesoamerican cycle of the Nine Lords of the Night, to the Hindu planetary week of nine days, and noted the parallel belief of four previous world ages and their cataclysmic destruction, a belief shared by Hindus, Buddhists, and Zoroastrians (Susan Milbrath, 1999, p.292).


            Quoting Michael Coe:

"David Kelley recognizes that his relationship with Thompson was never particularly close; Eric obviously disliked Dave's non-conformist views on the historical nature of the Classic monuments and inscriptions (in which he anticipated a revolution that was to follow), his non-acceptance of the Thompson (or GMT) correlation, his theories about the trans-Pacific diffusion of the Mesoamerican calendar from west to east (Dave made this the subject of his Ph.D dissertation), and his interest in phoneticism" (page 158).


"Thompson could talk himself and his colleagues into any position if it coincided with his own preconceptions." (Breaking the Maya Code 1992, 1999)


"When Dave's massive Deciphering the Maya Script appeared in 1976, a year after Thompson's death even the most loyal Thompsonians were faced with irrefutable evidence that Knorosov had been right and Eric very, very wrong" (page 160).


Coe writes that when Joseph Goodman first came up with the correlation in 1910,  that we now accept as the Goodman, Martinez, Thompson correlation, (GMT),  it was generally rejected in favor of the correlation developed by the other great Maya archaeologist, Sylvanus G. Morley, and later espoused by Spinden. 


Morley (1937-38 1: pp. 308-26) assumed a base date 5 Ahua 8 Yaxkin 1.11.19.0.0.0.0.0 before the normal date 4 Ahua 8 Cumku. Thompson's version calculates to 9 Ahua 3 Kankin as a base 1.13.0.0.0.0.0.0, Another version (Quirigua) calculates to a base date 7 Ahua 8 Xul, 1.0.1.13.0.0.0.0.0.0 Morley recognized an apparent expanded Initial Series on Stela 1 at Coba, transcribed as 13.13.13.13.0.0.0.0 4 Ahua 8 Cumku.  It is a count forward to the normal date by vigesimal multiples of 13 baktuns. But there is no introducing glyph. Morley also notes a Secondary Series 13.13.13.1.1.011.14 on the stone of Chiapa. The base for the expanded Coba Initial Series, if real, is 4 Ahua 3 Pop, the earliest vague-year position for Ahua. The number equals 43,789,200 tuns, according to Linton Satterthwaite (1965, pp.616, 617).


Fortunately, some of the early Spanish historians left some clues to the puzzle. Bishop Diego de Landa, who wrote his chronicles shortly after the Spanish Conquest, tells us of an event which fell on a certain day in the 52 year calendar round that he said coincided with July 16th, 1553 in the Julian Calendar.  This Julian calendar, developed by the Romans during the reign of Julius Caesar,  was used in Europe until it was revised in the year 1582 during the papacy of Gregory the XIII.  


After this date the calendar now used in most countries in the world was known as the Gregorian Calendar. Another date, recorded in native Maya chronicles known as the Chilam Balam, set the date of the Spanish foundation of the city of Merida in Yucatan in the Julian calendar at 1539 (Morley / Sharer 1983 p.562) corresponding to January 6th, 1542 in the Gregorian calendar. The GMT correlation places the long count katun ending of 11-16-0-0-0  13 Ahau 8 Xul on November 14, 1539 in the Gregorian calendar (Morley / Sharer 1983, p.562).


Cross-checking the historical dates recorded in post-Conquest documents for which we have precise Gregorian equivalents, Thompson (1927:5) writes that a Katun 13 Ahau ended sometime between 1536 and 1541, and that most of the evidence actually favors 1536 as the date of the end of the katun. Another reliable source that Thompson mentions is the Chronicle of Oxkutzcab. On page 66, of that document, translated by William Gates, it indicates that the year was 1539 for the close of the 13 Ahau katun which corresponds to a 11-16-0-0-0 in the long count which is the basis for the GMT correlation.

Spinden rejected the Oxkutzcab date of 1539 as unreliable, placing 12.9.0.0.0. 13 Ahau 8 Kankin in 1536 (Handbook of Middle American Indians Vol III 1965, p.627).

Thompson writes that "If the Katun 13 Ahau did not end in 1539 then its positions in the long count would be 12-9-0-0-0  13 Ahau 8 Kankin the correlation developed by  Spinden (J.E.S.Thompson 1927b, A correlation of the Mayan and European calendars:  p.5).

Archaeologist Johan Normark, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Gothenburg writes quite a bit on the correlation debate on his internet blog, (Johan Normark's neorealistic blog: Archaeology, the Maya, 2012, climate, travels, and more).... 

Quoting Johan Normark...


"Thompson makes another move to allow continuity between the Chronicle of Oxkutzcab and the Landa equation. He changes the Christian years to correspond to the beginnings of the Maya years, rather than the endings. Hence he changes the supposed 13 Ajaw 8 Xul katun to 1539 instead of 1540 which is the actual recorded date in the chronicle (well, there it is actually 13 Ajaw 7 Xul). Basically, Thompson argues that Juan Xiu (the author of the chronicle) knew that the New Year 11 Ix 1 Pop and the katun end/beginning 13 Ajaw 8 Xul occurred in 1539 but since the Year Bearer (11 Ix) ended in 1540, Xiu assigned both dates to 1540. This is a move that is necessary for the GMT correlation but "it masks an argument that Thompson cannot really convince even himself of" (p 29).




The Maya city of Chichen Itza is one of those sites with Puuc architecture and  archaeological data that seriously questions the GMT correlation upon which the December 21, 2012 "End Date" in the Maya Long Count Calendar depends.


            Quoting Ronald Wright, author of Time Among the Maya:


" It seemed logical that the Maya part of Chichen had been built first; then a warlike group of Toltecs, led by a king bearing the ubiquitous name of Quetzalcoatl, had invaded Yucatan and made Chichen the capital of a brief and bloodthirsty Mexican state. Almost every aspect of this neat reconstruction is now being challenged.


First, it appears that Yucatec cities such as Uxmal are not later than those of the Peten classic. Second, there's circumstantial evidence that the Maya and Toltec parts of Chichen Itza were built at the same time. Last, and most disquieting, is that a void of several centuries now seems to exist between the ruins themselves and their history recorded in colonial sources. 


Even the Thompson correlation has been rattled: some Yucatan specialists argue that a shortened chronology, putting the end of the Classic in the thirteenth century instead of the tenth, would best close the gap. Unfortunately, such a revision is hard to reconcile with radiocarbon dates from wooden lintels and much of the astronomical data in Classic inscriptions" (Ronald Wright, 1991  p. 342).


Archaeologists Esther Pasztory (1978 a), Marvin Cohodas (1978 a, 1978 b) and the late Lee A. Parsons (1969), have been at the center of the controversy. Their evidence indicated that the Puuc and related styles of architecture began in the seventh century, and peeked in the eighth century, a sequence in Yucatan that further favored the Spinden correlation. In contrast, archaeologists like Gordon Willey (1978) believed that the Puuc style of architecture lasted from A.D. 800 to A.D. 1000, favoring the GMT correlation. Cohodas  estimates  a A.D. 650 date for the construction of the great ball court of Chichen Itza (Porter-Weaver, 1981 p. 399).

Porter-Weaver...(1981 p.333) 


"When radio carbon dates began coming in after 1950, and ages for the earlier periods proved to be older than previously estimated, some Mayanists enthusiastically embraced the 12.9.0.0.0 correlation of Spinden, since it seemed to apply particularly well, pushing dates back approximately 260 years beyond those of the GMT correlation. In regards to the correlation of northern Yucatan with the southern Maya lowlands, controversy has centered around the chronological placement of the Pure Florescent Period characterized by the Puuc style architecture".



In a publication which appeared in Archeoastronomy in the Americas, Judith Ann Remington writes that, the Thompson or GMT correlation does not fit the astronomical evidence very well, and that when the  Carbon 14 dating process became available, it supported the Spinden correlation. She writes that "the GMT correlation  was accepted perfunctorily  at a time when the Spinden correlation  was  being rejected because of Spinden's  "ungentlemanly ways". (Clarifications: The Correlation Debate: internet source, John Major Jenkins, http://alignment2012.com/fap3.html)


The author calls attention to this research so that students on the subject of correlation or the Classic Maya Collapse, may re-visit the Spinden correlation in an effort to solve the many complex archaeological problems. To date there are almost ninety different theories or variations of theories purporting to explain the "sudden", Classic Maya Collapse. Between AD 900 and A.D. 1000 there appears to have been a disruption of Classic Maya civilization, where no new construction was undertaken and monumental stelae ceased to be erected. We are led to believe that some mysterious fate befell the Classic Maya, and that people just suddenly disappeared and the once great Maya cities of the Classic Period were all abandoned.



          Quoting Maya archaeologist T. Patrick Culbert:


" The evidence all indicated that the Classic Maya had disappeared somewhere in the time-shrouded past and had left no modern descendants with even a faint touch of their glory and accomplishments" (Culbert 1974; The Lost Civilization: The Story of the Classic Maya,  p.105)



           Quoting Maya archaeologist  Gordon R. Willey:


"Even more recent....are questions and doubts, again, about the Lowland Maya Collapse, its relationships with the Postclassic, and southern-northern Lowlands relationships.  This nexus of problems goes back a long way in Maya research. Were there "Old Empire" and "New Empire" separate climaxes in Lowland Maya civilization, as Morley, and later E.W. Andrews IV, have argued; or was Thompson correct in his belief that the southern Late Classic Tepeu phases were coeval with the Rio Bec-Chenes-Puuc developments of the north"


"When Andrews advanced this return to something close to the original Morley formulation, the majority of Mayanists were unconvinced and preferred to continue with the Thompson interpretation. But in 1982 a seminar on the lowland Maya Postclassic, held by the School of American Research, in Santa Fe, returned to the Morley-Andrews position in a consensus that well-known Puuc sites, such as Uxmal, Kabah, Labna, and Sayil, were to be dated after the southern Collapse". (Essays in Maya Archaeology, p205)



One theory or explanation for the so called collapse of Classic Maya Civilization, may be of a Toltec invasion into the Maya region by Chontal Maya tribes also known as the Putun Maya. These Chontal speaking Maya may have disrupted so called Classic Maya civilization, because they were devout followers of Quetzalcoatl and his mushroom religion. The Classic Maya Collapse is a time period that takes place between A.D. 900 and A.D. 1000, when archaeologists see an abrupt halt of any new construction and that dated monuments with Long Count dates called stelae ceased to be erected. It's during this time period in the Central lowlands of Guatemala that archaeologist see a sudden decline in population or the abandonment of Maya cities. 


The general belief has been that the Quiche Maya, who claimed Toltec ancestry, entered the Guatemalan highlands from the eastern lowlands after the abandonment of Chichen Itza in Yucatan. The date in text books for their entry has been set between  A.D. 1250-1300,using the GMT correlation. (Porter Weaver, 1981, p. 477;  Fox, 1978).  According to S. W. Miles, in a Summary of Preconquest Ethnology of the Guatemala-Chiapas Highlands and Pacific Slopes writes that, "Robert Wauchope,(1948a, pp.29-40; 1949, p.18)  working three main sites at Gumaarcah, Iximche, and Zacualpa could not find archaeological coordination earlier than ca.A.D. 1300 between ceramics and genealogical reckoning" (see S.W. Miles 1965, Vol. 2 p. 282-283, Handbook of Middle American Indians).


Borhegyi called this date into question in a letter written to Robert Wauchope in response to Wauchope's1947 publication "An Approach to the Maya Correlation Problem through Guatemala Highland Archaeology and Native Annals,".   Borhegyi wrote:


Dear Bob:

"I will try to put down in as concise form as possible, my questions concerning Quiche archaeology.
1) As you know, Dick Woodbury found cremations in Tohil effigy jars at Zaculeu. If cremations are to be connected with the Quiche expansion under Quicab this would mean that Zaculeu was occupied by them during the Early Post-Classic period.

2) You postulated Quicab's reign in the middle of the 15th century. These lately discovered cremations at Zacueu would infer an earlier date for this reign, i.e., around 1300. If I remember correctly, you derive the date for Quicab's reign from a passage in the Annals of the Cakchiquels, which states that the daughter-in-law of Quicab died in 1507. Can it be that this passage refers to Quicab II, and not to Quicab I ? In this case, Quicab I could have reigned in 1300.


3). I think the arrival of the Quiche-Cakchiquel's to Guatemala (probably following the Usamacinta River from the Laguna de Terminos) can be correlated with the first appearance of Fine Orange X wares, Mexican onyx vases, Tohil plumbate, and effigy support tripod bowls. ... On the other hand, the Quiche expansion under the reign of King Quicab falls together with the distribution of white-on-red ware, red on buff ware, red-and-black-on-white ware, and micaceous ware. This data also suggests a reign of around 1300 for Quicab.


4). I have long wondered about the quick "Mayanization" of the Quiche and Cakchiquel tribes, who supposedly came from Tulan. Using Morris Swadesh's lexicostatistical system, it is quite improbable that by the time of the conquest all these tribes could have spoken Maya with practically no retention of their original language. Could it be that the Quiche and Cakchiquels, like the Itzas and Xius of Yucatan were actually Chontal speaking Mayas from the Laguna de Terminos region, who wandered southward after being influenced by Nahuatl speaking groups"I wonder if Quetzalcoatl, after leaving Tula for Tlapalan, settled among these Chontal Mayas and introduced among them a new religious cult, based on the worship of idols. Could it be that only a few of Quetzalcoatl's followers (who actually could trace their origin to Tula) led these Chontal Mayas down into Guatemala? If so, they must have arrived to the borders of Guatemala around 1000 and not, as you once postulated, around 1300. Their arrival, around 1000 AD coincides with the appearance of Fine Orange X wares, Tohil plumbate etc. (we have lately found Tohil plumbate sherds at Altar de Sacrificios and at Santa Amelia). I would appreciate very much your comments on this hypothesis and questions mentioned above. If you'd like, I could even write it up for the Research Records, amplified with the latest distributional studies of the above-mentioned wares. At any rate, I would be very much interested to know your opinion. "  As ever, Steve  (Borhegyi to Wauchope, April 1954, MPM archives)



                       My father formulated this theory  in 1953......



Dear Gordon,


"This is a completely new theory that I have recently formulated.  It is quite revolutionary, and I will try to publish it as soon as possible.  When you carefully check the Annals (of the Cakchiqueles) and the Popol Vuh, you will read that, in spite of the fact that the Quiche and Cakchiquel tribes claim origin in the legendary city of Tollan, throughout their trip until they reach the Guatemalan Highlands (they) encounter only tribes speaking a language similar to their own.  The country between the Laguna de Terminos and the Usamacinta region was and still is populated by Chol Mayas.  Consequently, the Quiche and Cakchiquel's must have understood this language, and therefore were also Maya speakers.  When they reached Guatemala, they met the Mams and in the Annals, they referred to them as "stutterers", thus implying that they spoke a language somewhat similar to their own. J. Eric Thompson, a few years ago advanced the theory that the Itzas (who) came to Chichen Itza about 1000 A.D. were Mexican influenced Chontal Maya Indians from the Laguna de Terminos region.  The Yucatecan Mayas called the Itza invaders "stutterers", or "people who speak our language brokenly".  I therefore suggest that the Quiche's and Cakchiquel's were equally Nahuatl influenced Chontal Mayas.  I think that the story is as follows: the priest king Quetzalcoatl /Kukulcan, (Gucumatz) was expelled by his enemies from Tula (Tollan), sometime around 960A.D (Quetzalcoatl was accused with sodomy and incest.).  He left with a small group of his followers and went to Tlapallan, that is, the Laguna de Terminos region.  Here he apparently settled down.  It would seem that some of the Chontal tribes accepted the mushroom cult introduced by him and after a few years, the pressure of enemy tribes forced them to move on, led by descendants of Quetzalcoatl and his followers.  Some went northeast to Chichen Itza; others moved southward following the Usamacinta toward Guatemala.  The archaeological picture of Northern Guatemala, favors this theory.  Linguistically, it is far more plausible than the other.  The few leaders could still refer to their homeland as Tollan, and probably continued for a while to speak Nahuatl. (The Itza leaders in Yucatán, according to the Chilan Balam of Chumayel, continued to speak a secret and sacred language called "the language of Zuyva".)  The great mass of followers, however, did not speak this language and therefore probably spoke Chontal Maya.  The Quiche and Cakchiquel Maya are, of course, linguistically related to the Chol and Chontal Maya.  Please understand, this is a completely new theory.  I am in the process of gathering archaeological data, which might support it." 

     As Ever, Steve


Against his better judgement Borhegyi later revised his time line on Quiche archaeology, as found in another letter to the late Gordon Wasson...


"Both the Quiché and Cakchiquel people presumably arrived in Guatemala around 1100 or 1200 A.D.  At that time, however, the mushroom stones were no longer in use.  The confusing picture is now that here we have definite literary evidence of the mushroom cult practiced in a period when mushroom stones were no longer in use.  On the other hand, we have the archaeological evidence of the use of mushroom stones, prior to 1200 A.D., without any literary evidence that they were connected with a mushroom cult.   I think they [mushroom stones] prove beyond any doubt that at least some sort of a mushroom cult must have existed among the Quiché and Cakchiquel Mayas.  As you remember, these are the regions from where we got the most satisfactory linguistic information.  It would seem, therefore, that even if a mushroom cult is not in existence today among these two groups, it was in evidence 300 years before the conquest."

As Ever, Steve


                       More recent evidence suggests that Borhegyi was right after all !


Quoting Maya archaeologist Marion Popenoe de Hatch, from her 1998 article (FAMSI.org), 


"The Conquest Of Tak'Alik Ab'aj"


"According to the stratigraphic evidence and the analysis of ceramics recovered in recent excavation, it would seem that Tak'alik Ab'aj was conquered by K'iche [ also spelled, Quiche] groups at the beginning of the Early Postclassic period (ca. 1000 AD). This date goes a long way back from the period comprised between  1400 and 1450 AD that many ethno-historians claimed for the K'iche expansion towards the South Coast of Guatemala".


"The problem is when, and the Tak'alik Ab'aj information suggests that the expansion had been initiated at the beginning of the Early Postclassic period and not at the beginning of the Late Postclassic, that is to say around 1000 AD, contemporary to the dispersion of the Tihil Plumbate pottery. The chronicle states that the conquest took place in 1300 AD, but archaeological evidence shows that this happened around three centuries prior to that date, that is, around 1000 AD".



                                                                            

                                                                         "3 Monkey" 


The  sketch above,  (original by Rubén Manzanilla López and Arturo Talavera González) is of a petroglyph that was found on a hillside near the southern Mexico Pacific court city of Acapulco. The petroglyph depicts a monkey jumping from what the author believes represents a divine mushroom, with an apparent Long Count date, of 3.3.4.3.2.

Research of this petroglyph and its probable Long Count date, conducted by Pedro de Eguiluz Selvas entitled, "Origins of the Long Count," suggests that the correlation of this Long Count  date with the Christian calendar fits the Spinden correlation perfectly, making it equivalent to the year 3 Monkey in the Unified Account of Anawak (CUAN). While this identification tends to reinforce the Spinden correlation, it calls into question the generally accepted Goodman-Thompson-Martinez correlation, and its end date of December 21, 2012. Thus the Long Count date of 3.3.4.3.2 would be an important key to locate the origin of the long count at 3374 BC and the famous end to the Mayan Calendar at 1752 rather than in December, 2012.


(LAS MANIFESTACIONES GRÁFICO RUPESTRES EN LOS SITIOS QUEOLÓGICOS DE ACAPULCO. / Rubén Manzanilla López, Arturo Talavera González. México, D.F.: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, 2008. 152p. 26cm. Bibl., bibl. notes, illus., photos. Catálogos. ISBN: 978-9680302949),  and Pedro de Eguiluz Selvas "Los Origines del Calendario Maya/Olmeca, 26 March 2009, Internet)


Mexican archaeologists Manzanilla López, Rubén, and  Arturo Talavera González, published two articles on the monkey petroglyph which bears a probable Long Count date of 3.3.4.3.2.  The date is shown between the left shoulder and the tail of a monkey (see below) holding a five-pointed star and jumping off what I believe to be is a sacred mushroom. Researcher Pedro de Eguiluz Selvas ("Origins of the Long Count,") reports that the date as calculated by the Spinden correlation, (ie: 2168 B.C.in the Gregorian calendar) corresponds in the Unified Count of Anawak correlation (CRAN) to the  year 3 Monkey  in the Maya/Olmec Calendar. There is no corresponding association using the more often cited Goodman-Thompson-Martinez correlation. Further study of this date 3 Monkey is needed and might explain the many painted Maya vessels, plates, and bowls which depict three monkeys. 



In order to understand the special nature of these associations, and why it may have been important to the ancient artist to record this date,  we need to refer again to the image of the monkey in the petroglyph. First, the monkey appears to be jumping off an Amanita muscaria mushroom, an hallucinogenic variety considered to be highly sacred throughout Mesoamerica because of its mind-altering qualities. The identification of the mushroom as an Amanita derives from the characteristic"skirt" on the mushroom's stem. The monkey also holds in his right hand a 5-pointed star, an iconic symbol identified by Mesoamerican scholars as linked to the planet Venus and it's 5 synodic (5 x 584 days) cycles in the Dresden Codex.  It should be noted that the number 5 was "specifically associated with Quetzalcoatl and his quincunx symbol, and also with Venus, one aspect of Quetzalcoatl". "The synodic revolution of Venus (Quetzalcoatl) is 584 days, and these revolutions were grouped by the Nahuas in fives, so that 5x584 equaled 2,920 days, or exactly eight years" (Nicholson, 1967 pp. 45-46).


Eguiluz has, in addition to deciphering the long count date, called attention to the two concentric circles in front of the monkey's stomach. These he associates with the calendrical cycle of 13. He also notes that, counting counterclockwise from the fourth point, three parallel rows of dots probably allude to the Nine Lords of the Night.  Eguiluz sees the two larger dots on either side of the monkey as alluding to the tonalpohualli date of 2 Wind, and the shape of the monkey's tail as a symbol of the wind. According to the Five Suns cosmogonic accounts as interpreted by scholars Mary Miller and Karl Taube (1993; p.118), Quetzalcoatl in his guise as Ehecatl (the Wind God) presided over the second sun, ehecatonatiuh, the sun of wind, until it was destroyed by great winds. The survivors of that era were turned into monkeys and Quetzalcoatl was their ruler,  Finally, Susan Milbrath writes in her monumental book on Mesoamerican archaeoastronomy entitled, Star Gods of the Maya (1999,p. 256 ), that an analysis of the Dresden Codex identifies the monkey, itself,  as also related to Venus as the Morning Star. 


Photograph © Justin Kerr: Maya vase paintings photographed in roll-out form by Justin Kerr,  depicts the "3 Monkey" motif.



In summery, if Eguiluz's interpretations are correct, the petroglyph of the monkey jumping from an Amanita muscaria mushroom (first noted by the author) commemorating  the calendar year "3 Monkey", would be the earliest known date associated with both the mushroom cult and Venus cult,  with both cults linked with the god Quetzalcoatl. That fact alone is of great significance. However, since it lends heavy weight to Spinden's correlation of the Maya calendar,  it not only establishes the date for the beginning of the First world cycle at  3374 B.C.  


It  places the "so-called" end of the Mayan Fifth world cycle at 1752  CE rather than 2012.  In other words, contrary to contemporary hype, the end of the "Fifth world" already occurred, and the Mayan Calendar simply began another cycle.