More on the nine-year solar cycle at Tonina

Back in 2002 I pointed out the appearance of a strange calendar cycle mentioned in three inscriptions at Tonina, apparently equaling a span nine solar years (9 x 365 days, or in Maya notation, 9.2.5). Stations in this cycle are marked in the inscriptions with a distinctive glyph, depicting a human profile head with a prominent “chinstrap”-like element over the mouth, followed by a -TE’ suffix. In my original analysis the extant dates were actually 18 solar years apart, but a telling reference to one station being the “second” in the reign of K’inich Baknaal Chahk suggested that the true cycle was nine solar years in length. If this seems confusing (it is to me…) maybe my original note posted on Joel Skidmore’s Mesoweb site will clarify.

Several months ago, Yuriy Polyukhovych circulated his analysis of a newly unearthed inscription at Tonina, discovered around 2005-6 by Juan Yadeun and his team (grácias, Yuriy!). This appears on a temple doorjamb that once accompanied a richly decorated and vividly colored wall, all of modelled stucco. Yuriy saw there mention of another date with the same “chinstrap” glyph, easily readable as 10 Ok 18 Xul. This falls exactly nine solar years (9.2.5) after the earliest attested such station mentioned on Monument 141, and confirms its true nature as marker of a nine-year cycle. Here, then, is an updated list of attested stations, with the newest in boldface. 1 Chikchan 18 Xul 10 Ok 18 Xul 6 Men 18 Xul 11 Chikchan 18 Xul

The 10 Ok 18 Xul reference is also interesting for what the stucco jamb inscription goes on to mention. As Yuriy pointed out in his analysis, this was also the dedication day for “the wall” itself (u kot), coming 89 days after the a “fire-entering” activation rite of a structure. This building dedication was, in turn, just nine short days after K’inich Baaknal Chahk’s one K’atun anniversary as king — an event and day mentioned in yet another stucco text, as discussed in my previous post. The 10 Ok station would have been the third such “chinstrap” period ending in K’inich Baaknal Chahk’s reign.

Incidentally, the style of the stucco wall and its glyphs looks to be far later than the dates and events recorded in the text, suggesting a possible reuse or refurbishment of the space by a later ruler.

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