Professor says current meteor shower proves theory of calendar's origin

Aug 13, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Stargazers are in for a unique treat tonight: the planet Earth will pass through the debris train of the Swift-Tuttle comet this evening which astronomers call the Perseid meteor shower.

Dartmouth College geography professor emeritus and geographer Vincent H. Malmström had a theory in 1973 that the shooting stars an ancient Native American tribe saw in the sky thousands of years ago was a sign that something important was about to happen.

"The shooting stars that will be observed this evening are part of a recurring celestial phenomena that heralded the beginning of recorded time in America exactly 3,367 years ago tonight, on August 13, -1358 (1359 B.C.)," said Malmström.

In 1992, the Swift-Tuttle comet passed the Earth, a trip it makes once every 130 years. The Zoque, a Native American tribe in what is now southern Mexico, first noted it and initiated the earliest calendar in the Americas. The following day at noon, the sun passed directly overhead at their principal site, now known to archaeologists as Izapa, giving rise to a 260-day calendar that became the time-count subsequently adopted by most of the early peoples of Mesoamerica, including the Mayas and the Aztecs.

Malmström's book on the Mesoamerican , "Cycles of the Sun, Mysteries of the Moon", was published by the University of Texas Press in 1997 and in 2008, using NASA data, he demonstrated how the Mayan people learned to predict . The latter paper can be found on his website.

Provided by Dartmouth College

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User comments : 3

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yyz
not rated yet Aug 14, 2009
What kind of 'science' story is this? The Perseid meteor shower is visible over the course of a few weeks in late July to late August. Over time the date of the shower's peak has changed due to changes in the orbit of the parent body (Swift-Tuttle) and comet-shed debris in its orbit(in Roman times the shower was prominent in mid-June to mid-July). How could you extrapolate all those variables over 3000 years to a precision of one day(which exactly coincides with the 2009 peak of the Perseids)! At what latitude is this site (Izapa) located? The science reported on here is stunningly poor. And he has a book to sell? How could he have missed the 2012 Doomsday Mayan calender? To find Dartmouth College as the source of this 'news' is most disappointing.
Hungry4info2
not rated yet Aug 14, 2009
Yeah this story is pretty pathetic.
Caliban
1 / 5 (1) Aug 14, 2009
Not to mention that the Zoque would have had to've been incredibly stupid to only count to a "260-day calendar", as is stated in this article.