Lost King of the Maya Student Handout

Calendar Count

If someone asks you when your birth date was, you probably answer them by giving a month, day, and year. But that's not the only way to record passing time. Different cultures have used different calendar systems to mark time. One such system used by the Maya culture is called the Maya Long Count. In this activity, you'll figure out your birth date in Maya Long Count. You have been hired to help curators at the Museum of Anthropology. They have come across a number of older, unopened boxes that contain artifacts—or pieces of artifacts—from archeological expeditions. The museum wants you to sort through the artifacts and infer what country they came from, what time period they are from, and with whom they are associated.

Part I
Most people today measure time in days, months, years, decades, and centuries, based on what's known as the Gregorian calendar system. The ancient Maya measured time in kins, uinals, katuns, and baktuns based on the Maya Long Count system. The numbers add up to the number of days since the beginning of the Maya Fourth Creation (which is calculated as August 13, 3114 B.C.E., on the Gregorian calendar used today).

Procedure

1. Your first task is to convert a Maya Long Count date into days. In Maya Long Count, the date December 31, 1979 is recorded as 12.18.6.9.14

2. Use the Maya Long Count Conversions chart below to convert each Long Count place value in the date above to days and then add up all five values to calculate the total number of days. Write your answer below.

 Days from the beginning of the Maya Fourth Creation to December 31, 1979 = __________________

Maya Long Count Conversions

Maya Long Count dates are written as a series of numbers separated by periods.

 _________ . _________ . _________ . _________ . _________ baktun katun tun uinal kin

baktun = 144,000 days
katun = 7,200 days
tun = 360 days
uinal = 20 days
kin = 1 day

Part II

Procedure

1. Now, using the Days in Each Month/Year chart below, calculate how many days there are from January 1, 1980, to the day you were born. Note that leap years have an extra day in February.

 Your Birth Date __________________ Days from January 1, 1980, to your birth date = __________________

Days in Each Month/Year
(Leap years are noted in bold.)

 Days in month January = 31 February = 28/29 March = 31 April = 30 May = 31 June = 30 July = 31 August = 31 September = 30 October = 31 November = 30 December = 31 Days in year 1980 = 366 1981 = 365 1982 = 365 1983 = 365 1984 = 366 1985 = 365 1986 = 365 1987 = 365 1988 = 366 1989 = 365 1990 = 365

Part III

Procedure

1. Add the number of days from the beginning of the Maya Fourth Creation to December 31, 1979, and the number of days from January 1, 1980, to your birth date. Write the total in below.

 Days from the beginning of the Maya Fourth Creation to your birth date = __________________
2. Now it's time to convert the number of days since the Maya Fourth Creation to your birth date back into Maya Long Count. Use the Maya Long Count Conversions chart to turn the number of days into Long Count. Write the conversions in below.

 _______ . _______ . _______ . _______ . _______ baktun katun tun uinal kin
3. Congratulations! Now when somebody asks you when you were born, you can say "Do you want to know by the Gregorian calendar or Maya Long Count?"

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