Archaelogical Evidence that Tonina was a Major Mayan Calendar School
Much has been made of the fact that the 3114 BC creation date of the Mayan Long Count calendar is carved in stone at Palenque, Quirigua and Copan. Not only is the creation date found at Toniná, but the last known Long Count date is at Toniná.
Mayan Cosmology Revealed at Tonina
According to epigrapher Guillermo Bernal, known as Ahau One Hunajpu, an inscription at Tonina speaks of the third creation of the universe in Mayan cosmology and the third reconstruction of the sacred ball game. Archaeologist Juan Yadeum says that these inscriptions, along with others, "give us the whole story of the creation of the universe, which has three icons that are in this field and in this ball game."
The Sunken Ball Court
Tonina is also home to one of Mesoamerica's few sunken ball courts, considered a portal to the Underworld, as well as an even more rare ceremonial maze and four observatories.
The Ballgame court at Tonina is the one that most resembles the one described in the Popol Vuh, since it is the deepest sunken ballcourt in Mesoamerica. The Popul Vuh (the sacred book of the Maya) points out that the Ballcourt of the Underworld is the at the meandering of a plentiful river. In the case of Tonina, there is a river that often floods the court.
The Frieze of the Four Suns has been interpreted by some as a mural depicting the four ages of the world as they correspond to similar creation myths in Mesoamerican culture.
Tonina Used the Short Count, or Katun Wheel
Tonina is the only Maya city west of Tikal known to have used the Short Count (the 260-year Katun Wheel, employed for prophecies) simultaneously with the Long Count.The current katun, which completed this cycle on December 21, 2012, is 4 Aj'pu/Ahau (Sun). Several katun ending dates were recorded at Tonina as well at Tikal and other prominent Mayan sites.
The archaeological and anthropological information on this page was uncovered by Shay Addams following his field work at Tonina in February 2012 and a follow-up expedition.
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