E.P. Grondine  epgrondine@hotmail.com


I suppose that some Conference participants will be surprised to learn that any Native American records of the Rio Cuarto and 1150 BCE impact events survived the Spanish conquest.  It is well known that the Spanish Catholic priests in their efforts to stamp out the religions of the Native American peoples burned most of the books of the conquest period “Maya” as well as other Native American peoples, and thus it is also widely believed that they managed to destroy nearly all of these Mayan records, except for those few Mayan hieroglyphic documents which somehow managed to escape destruction.  Such is not the case.

Unlike the European immigration into North America, where relatively low-density Native American populations were nearly completely finished off by contact with the European diseases, with large numbers of colonists then settling in their lands, the Spanish exploiters of Central America faced a much different situation.  In Central America there were very large Native American populations, populations so large that even after the European diseases had taken their toll, fairly large Native American populations still remained.

This is one factor in the survival of the records, but an even more significant factor in the survival of the Native American cultures and their records was the difference between the Northern European countries and Spain in their strategies for exploiting the newly discovered lands.   France, England, and the Dutch were all late in the settlement of the New World; their primary goals at the time were the control of the long standing Spanish trade routes to the New World.   To satisfy this goal these countries focused on the permanent settlement of ports capable of hosting their fleets, fleets capable of intercepting the Spanish trade.

The Spanish conquest itself had preceded these efforts by some 200 years. As Spain had very few people involved in the exploitation of the lands which they discovered, in order to exploit these lands it was necessary for the Spanish to make use of the Native American peoples already living in them.  In Cuba, their first conquest, the Spanish quickly discovered that if they attempted to enslave a population, it would fight them to the death. In the future the Spanish would largely leave the Native American societies in place, as long as their leaders served them and provided them both with the labor they needed and with the goods which they desired to send back to Spain.

What do you need to conquer a densely populated land?  First of all, you need interpreters capable of understanding the language of the peoples already living in that land.   These interpreters are of incredible historical significance, and their role has been little studied to date.  The usual Spanish technique for obtaining these interpreters was to kidnap speakers of the desired language and then to learn the language from them.  In the case of Central America, people with mastery of two languages were available from among the captives of warfare and from those engaged in the coastal trade.   Another source of interpreters was the recovery of Spanish crew members who had been ship wrecked and had then not been killed by their Native American “hosts”.

Other key items of intelligence which could be learned from these individuals were descriptions of the lands, the resources available for exploitation, the military strength of the people living in them, any cultural myths which could be used during the conquest, and most importantly, knowledge of conflicts between the different Native American peoples, conflicts which the Spanish could then use to enlist allies for their conquests.

As I said earlier, the Spanish goal during conquest was to kill off only the very top levels of Native American governments and to take their role, leaving the subservient political leadership in place to run local affairs for the benefit of both the Spanish and as well as themselves.  These local leaders had intellectuals in their employ, and these intellectuals would thus survive as well, at least until the Catholic priests arrived later and began the co-optation of these lesser leaders (by conversion) or their elimination (by auto de fe).


In Classic Mayan (Chol and Yucatec) creation myths there are featured two characters known as the “Paddler Gods”. (It must be remembered that Classic Mayan (Chol and Yucatec) language and rites were also absorbed by later Toltec and Itza immigrants into the area.) One of these “Paddler Gods” has been firmly identified as the primal version of a Classic Mayan Lord, an Ahau, by the stingray spine placed through his nose.  The other Paddler God is the primal version of the Classic Mayan Lords’ intellectual advisor, the Chilam Balam, who may be identified by the jaguar (Balam) cap which he wears.

What does the title “Chilam Balam” mean in English?  On a primitive level, it means “Jaguar Interpreter”, but this does not do the title justice.  The Mayan Lords are referred to as jaguars; and at the same time the Maya also referred to both the sun, spotted with sunspots, and the night sky, spotted with stars, as jaguar.  The best translation of the title I can come up with is “The Lord’s Celestial Interpreter”, which still does not fully do the title justice, but at least it does account for some Mayan connotations of “jaguar”.

What were the duties of a Lord’s Celestial Interpreter?   He was the intellectual advisor to a Mayan Lord, the intellectual leader of a city state, and as such his duties were all encompassing, as can be seen from this description by Bishop Diego de Landa: (A.R. Pagden translation, J. Philip O’Hara, Chicago, 1975, page 42):

“The people of Yucatan were as diligent in matters of religion as they were in those of government.  The had a high priest whom they called Achkinmai, and by another name Ahaucanmai, which mean the Priest Mai or the High Priest Mai.”

Landa’s Mayan is known to be bad, and this is a good example of it. The first title is “Ah Kin May”, which means “The Sun-Priest of the (Sun) Cycle”, and the second title is “Ahua Can May”, which means “Lord of the Heavens’ Cycle”. These titles are in addition to that of Chilam Balam.  It is also important to note when working through Mayan studies that the title “Chilam Balam” has caused much confusion, and it has been quite common for some to confuse the title with the existence of one person, and for others to confuse the balam, interpreters, of which there were many, with the Chilam Balam, of which each Lord had only one. Continuing now with Landa’s account

"This person was greatly revered by the Lords, and had no repartiamento (a Spanish colonial term for an allocation of serfs) of Indians, but in addition to the offerings, the Lords made him gifts, and all the priests of the town made contributions. He was suceeded in office by his sons or closest relative, and in this lay the key to their learning.


"And indeed it was in such matters that these priests worked most, giving advice to the Lords and answering their questions.  The High Priest rarely participated in matters of sacrifice, unless they concerned major feasts or important affairs.  He provided priests for the towns when they were needed, examined them in the knowledge of their sciences and ceremonies, charged them with all the duties of their office, and urged them to be a good example to the people; and he provided them with their books, and sent them out.

"He also looked after the temples, as well as teaching Indian sciences. and writing books about them.  He also taught the children of the other priests and the second sons of the Lords. who were reared for the office from infancy if they showed any inclination to it."

(This is a major exception to Landa’s earlier statement on the passage of the office of Chilam Balam by inheritance.)


“The sciences which they taught were the reckoning of the years, months, and days, and of their feasts and ceremonies; the administration of their sacraments, and of the fateful days and seasons; their manner of divination; and their prophecies, incidents, and cures for sickness; as well as their antiquities, and method of reading and writing, where by means of their letters and characters they wrote in glyphs which represented the meanings of their writings.


“They wrote their books on a large sheet doubled over several times, this closed together between two boards which were highly decorated. They wrote on both sides of the sheet in columns, following the folds.  And the paper they made from the roots of a tree, giving it a white gloss on which it was easy to write.


“Some of the principle Lords out of diligence had also acquired these sciences, and although they never used them in public, they were held in great esteem for having done so.”


When the Spanish conquered the Native Americans of Central America, they usually killed only the Lords who were the rulers of the leading city states. Those Lords who ruled lesser city states usually escaped death, at least for a while, and their Chilam Balams escaped death as well.  These Chilam Balam were of especial use to the Spanish, as among other items of knowledge which they kept, they wrote detailed records of the tribute the Lords had received, as well as the lands which they ruled. This information was vital to Spanish exploitation, and copies into Latin alphabet of many of these land holding records survive in the Spanish archives.

The detailed study of the conquest period is still in its infancy, and while it is known that the Latin alphabet was adopted in several variations, where these adoptations took place and when and by whom are currently unknown, as is exactly who were the Chilam Balams during the conquest period, or the Lords of the local ruling dynasties, for that matter.

What is clear is that the different Chilam Balams made local transliterations into the Latin alphabet of the hieroglyphic records available to them, and some of these survive in collections of their records, which are usually called “The Chilam Balam of X”, where X is the town in which the collection was recovered. Some 9 manuscripts of these collections have been preserved, usually  in later copies, while some 9 more collections were known but have disappeared. The location and recovery of these manuscripts is much desired, but is not funded in any way.


In thanks large part to funding from the US National Science Foundation several decades ago for the development of several dictionaries of Mayan and other Central American languages, it has at last been possible for scholars working on Mayan Hieroglyphic to read part of it.  About 140 glyphs out of 287 are currently read (Coe, op cit, p. 220-222), and the number capable of being read is slowly increasing, despite the fact that due to both the nature of the writing and the language of the Mayan script it is not amenable to decipherment by techniques of phonetic loading.  For an excellent introduction to the Mayan glyphic, I highly recommend Understanding Maya Inscriptions, A Hieroglyphic Handbook, John F. Harris and Stephen K. Stearns, The University of  Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia, 1997.”

One of the key figures in this decipherment was the late Linda Schele, both for her own personal contribution as well as for her technique of annualy assembling most of the Mayan scholars together in Texas for sessions of joint work. This technique sped things along significantly. (Conference participants may find it of interest that David Stuart, who has played a significant role in the decipherment, studied briefly with computational linguistics expert David Packard, who they may know as a patron of the Spacewatch effort of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in Arizona.)

Another technique which Schele encouraged was field work among modern Maya, and with these two techniques, along with her artist’s eye, many key words in Mayan were at last understood to some degree.  This reading of Mayan texts from codices, stelae, and painted poly-chrome pottery has fundamentally changed the understanding of the Chilam Balams’ collections of texts.  The world view which has emerged is very significantly different from a European one, and Schele’s works must be read before reading any earlier translations of the Chilam Balams’ collections. The translations of these writing by Munro S. Edmonson, where available, are the ones I prefer.

Thus for the purposes of this survey, in addition to the later copies in European alphabet, we now have partial translations of the 3 Mayan hieroglyphic codices which survived, as well as translations of some of those Mayan stone inscriptions which have been recovered.  For an introduction to the codices, I highly recommend The Paris Codex, Handbook for a Mayan Priest, Bruce Love, University of Texas Press, Austin, 1994.

I do not know the current state of National Science Foundation funding for Mayan related work.  If traditional methods of publication are relied upon, those of publication, comment, and re-publication, the work will take centuries, as will the search for manuscripts, and the assembly of a detailed history of the conquest period. If electronic means are used (computers, the internet, e-mail,  multi-spectral imaging, and online collections of archives), it may be as little as a 20 years until adequate translations of the underlying documents are assembled from the recovered fragments.


As was mentioned earlier in the second part of this survey, the first thing which must be understood about Native American religions from Central America is that they were based on the use of hallucinogens.  The Maya used hallucinogens, and while specific identification of plant species is difficult, particular note must be taken of their references to what they called the “Sac Nicte”, or “White Flower”.

One well known effect of hallucinogens is the inability of their users to differentiate themselves from their environment.  Thus Mayan shamans would become the gods themselves by taking on their “way”, or channeling the god’s spiritual force, in their way of thinking. Another effect of the stronger hallucinogens is the hallucination of objects which are not there, and this can include the hallucination of people who have been dispatched to the gods.

The Mayan shamans conducted one fundamental rite to ensure that an impact event (“tzuk”) would not take place, and this was known as the “Seating of the Katun”. Fundamentally, what occurred was that the rite’s participants would assume the roles, the “ways”, of the “bacabs”, those gods who kept the heavens separate from the Earth, and the by their performance of the “bacabs” tasks the Mayan shamans would thus magically ensure that no impact would take place during a katun’s period of time.

The shaman-bacabs would erect poles in the east, north, west, south, (some say in the NE, NW, SW, and SE) of the city-state’s lands, and finally in the center of the city-state. While some times the “poles” were stones, at other times the Maya raised trees, and the one raised in the center of the city state was the Ceiba tree, source of a MAO-DMT inhibitor.  Given the terrible nature of the impact event which prompted the adoption of this rite, its sacrifices were severe as well, and included human sacrifice.

The journey of the shaman-bacabs to the four corners of a city-state’s territory also provided a means for the city-states to affirm their control over a territory.  Thus the seating ceremony, which ensured the separation of the Earth from the Heavens, also served to separate a polity’s lands from that of its neighbors, and it was accompanied by a journey through all of a polity’s lands and villages. This ritual need is a key reason why so many itineraries have survived from Central America.

This “seating of a katun” rite has great antiquity, and as was mentioned earlier, that it was practiced by the Pre-Formative (Zoque (“Olmec”) et al.) peoples may be seen by one symbol worn by their lords, which is that of a rectangle crossed corner to corner by parallel lines with a square in the center.   In the earlier rites poles were used instead of trees, and a Zoque (Olmec) image of just such a rite may be seen at:


Throughout Mayan history, and even before it, the territorial conflicts brought on by the need “to seat a katun” brought on regular conflict on a 20 year basis. By the conquest period the city-states were entering into larger confederations, and thus the competition to “seat a katun” had become even more intense, leading to warfare on a larger scale.

The Mayan shamans also conducted another fundamental rite, this one to ensure rainfall, crop yield, and fertility.  When we think of Central America we think of rain forest, but in point of fact all rain which falls in the Yucatan is quickly absorbed by the limestone underlying the region, and the region is very arid.  To ensure the crops, the shamans took on the “ways” of the “chac” rain gods, and performed rites tied to the timing of the appearance of Venus, which is strongly correlated with the times of optimal planting.

These chac-shamans were also responsible for ensuring the fertility of the people themselves, and performed coming of age ceremonies.   In order to assure fertility, the shaman-chacs would “purify” both people and land, and thus the Lords would wage war to “purify” the lands of their enemies under the symbols of the stars.  When you read a reference by a specialist on the Maya to a “star war”, this is what they mean.

Again, as was mentioned earlier, that the rituals of the chac-shamans are of great antiquity may be seen in another symbol worn by the Zoque, that of an “E” on its side, kind of a “W”, which is identified as a symbol for star (see Love, op cit, pg 89; Schele, 1993, p 361; and Milbrath, op cit, p 188 for differing analyses).  The two troughs of this symbol may be related to the Venus cycle.  For those Conference participants further interested in Maya astronomy and time keeping, I point them in the direction of Schele’s “Mayan Cosmos”, Edmunson’s “Book of the Year”, Love’s “The Paris Codex”, and Milbrath’s “Star Gods of the Maya”.

To my knowledge no one in the community of Central American anthropologists has ever considered the possibilty of historical impact events.


As some two volumes of The Handbook of Middle American Indians are devoted to the manuscripts of the Native American peoples, no comprehensive listing of their writings is possible here.  Mention will only be made of some of the key titles which were commonly in the Chilam Balams collections of writings, and remember that these have hieroglyphic antecedants.

The first of these writings was a creation tale, of which in the Popul Vuh we have a pretty full copy of the Quiche adaptation and variation of the Maya tale.  As was mentioned in Part 2 of this survey, other peoples’ adaptations of the Mayan version differ from their own. Fragments of this tale also remain in the Chilam Balams’ collections. These creation tales contain information on the items under study here, the impact events, the multiple creations of the world and their subsequent destruction, the “partitioning” events, the Mayan “tzuk” .

One of the interesting things about the Mayan sciences is that they form a cohesive body of knowledge.  An example of this may be seen in another of their books which survived, a book of medical cures. In this book the same gods which ruled over the parts of creation which included the patient’s diseased part were invoked, along side of a listing of the cures for the diseases, and thus the Maya intellectuals actually repeated a part of their creation story within a medical text.

In the codices themselves the creation myths appear to have usually been followed by a history of each people.  While many other peoples seem to have used a sequential record, the Maya themselves appear to have extended their inductive method of science to their history. Among the Chilam Balam of the conquest period there was a book known as “The Book of Seven Generations”, where the “Generations” in question seem to have been turnings of either baktun’s or may’s, time periods of roughly 400 and 256 years respectively. (My completely amature guess is that baktuns were used.)  It appears that the Maya organized historical events along cyclical temporal lines, instead of along a straight temporal line, so that they could bring to bear the predictive power of earlier periods as a means of handling current events.  We have fragments of history in both forms preserved in the Chilam Balams’ works.

Aside from the fragments of these historical works found in the Chilam Balams’ collections, we have a fairly long version of one given by Landa, and this was undoubtedly provided to him by his own Native American Interpreter and Chilam Balam, Gasper Antonio Chi (Xiu).  Gaspar Antonio Chi was the son of a Xiu nobleman slain by the Cocom (Edmonson gives Itza), and the Xiu of (Tiho-Merida) apparently thought that the Spanish would be good allies against the Cocom.

After the creation story, and then the historical records of each separate people, there seem to have been a series of astrological works, whereby the goodness and badness of days, months, years, and katuns (20 years) seems to have been forecast.

Parts of different versions of these also remain in various adaptations of other differing peoples. This reflects the inductive nature of Mayan science, and is also reflective of their world view.  Sadly, undoubtedly through their peoples’ trade networks the Chilam Balams had learned of the genocide which the Spanish were engaged in Cuba, and not surprisingly many of their “prophecies” which advised surrender have been preserved.  Definitely more amusing than these is one Mayan book wherein an individual’s entire life and fortunes, including his marriage, number of children, illnesses, and date of death, was predicted based entirely on date of birth.  (Now if we could only convert all this into a computer program, and either sell the program or sell the results online!)

Since these peoples had been pounded by the Sky Gods pretty severely not just once, but several times, as will be shown in Part 4 of this survey, their obsession with astronomy is perfectly understandable.  The books on creation, history, and astrology appear to have been followed by books which were astronomical ephemerides, used to predict solar cycles, the cycles of Venus, and those of other planets, along with tables for the easy computation of significant dates. (It is not only modern scholars who had difficulty with Mayan dates!) Copies of these have been recovered in the hieroglyphic, and work on reading these extremely difficult texts is proceeding. For a good overview of work on the codices see Love, The Paris Codex.  While little of these works appear to be seen in the Chilam Balams’ collections in Latin letters which we now have, we do find multiple attempts to reconcile the Mayan and Spanish calendars.

A short aside as to the level of the researchers’ understanding of Mayan astronomy is in order here.  Standard Mayan inscriptions usually give the date in four ways: first, as a count of days from an initial starting day; second, as a combination of the day count and solar year date; third, by means of series of glyphs Morley catalogued as GFZYEDCXBA; and fourth in a 819 day cycle.  The last two are not understood (Harris and Stearns, op cit, p 16-17) but are thought to be astronomical in nature.  My belief is that these date forms were probably also generated using the information in the books contained in these parts of the hieroglyphic codices.

Now before the advent of carbon 14 dating, there were only two ways in archaeologists could date remains: the first of these was by astronomical records which were discovered and then deciphered, and usually these pertained to eclipses; the second method which archaeologists then used was stratigraphy, placing other remains within the context of remains with astronomically established dates.  Since the advent of carbon 14 dating, no archaeologist has had to master astronomy in order to master dating.

One piece of analysis which I think should now be provided by the astronomical community to the archaeological community is a table which gives BY DATE the estimated times of the appearance of known periodic comets which are visible to the naked eye, a list extending from at least 3,000 BCE to the present day. This table should include a rough estimate of the areas of the Earth from which the comets were visible, and very rough estimates of the lengths of the comets’ tails in degrees, using standard comet erosion data, such as it is. Further, this table should indicate whether the comets were visible at day, or not.

As if this was not enough, this table should give this information in both absolute terms as well as in descriptive terms.  In other words, the areas of visibility should be given not only in geographic co-ordinates, but in standard descriptive terms - North America, South America, Central America, Middle East, Africa, Europe, Russia, China, South East Asia, Australia, etc.; the tail data described not only in degrees, but also in centimeters; the peak magnitude data given with a separate column indicating daylight visibility; and not only the time span of the visibility of any comet’s visit, but the date of its peak visibility.

Oh, and by the way, throw in super-nove and cite all known written references to the phenomena. Even better yet, such a table should be generated it should be posted to the internet, so that it will be available to any researcher.

Any volunteers?

Back to the Maya. The timing of the rituals was determined on an astronomical basis, and parts of those books which gave detailed descriptions of how these rites were to be performed survived.  Fragments of quiz books for the testing of both astronomers, “The Theodora”, and public officials, “The Language of Zuyua” (Zoque?) have survived as well.

Two other books, one book for the instruction of sons, another for the instruction of daughters, have survived in a fairly complete but Christianized form.


Amazingly, the Maya had stylized their Ceiba tree, the source of their MAO hallucinogen intensifier, into a cross long before Spanish contact. The identification of this Ceiba cross with the Christian cross was almost immediate; that the Spanish should kill the Mayan Lords as a sacrifice to their God, while the Mayan Lords only sacrificed prisoners of war and the underclass, was more of a display of the power of the Spaniard’s God than anything else.  It is only among those Chilam Balams who were of peoples who were not the Spaniards allies that the Mayan literature survived, and that survival continued only for a while.  Slowly their writings become more and more Christianized, and knowledge of the glyphs faded.

But before that occurred some of the Mayan books were preserved, at least in part.
And those parts which remain leave clear record of the impact events.



@2001 E.P. Grondinecerun:   epgrondine@hotmail.com

For all of the following records it will require extremely detailed study to determine which calendar systems were in use in each of them and the dating corruptions which may have been introduced into them over the course of 2,000 - 3,000 years, and in transmission.  In other words, it is going to be quite a task the for the professionals to determine if any useful dating information can be recovered, and the prospects for tieing these records to cyclical astronomical phenomenon is slim.



from The Codex Perez and the Book of Chilam Balam of Mani, page 118
Translated to English with notes by Eugene Craine And Reginald Reindorp
University of Oklahoma Press, Norma, 1979

It is unclear from the statements of Craine and Reindorp whether the parts in brackets are new readings, restorations from other copies, or their own additions to the text.

“[In the reign of 13 Ahau and 1 Ahau were the days and nights that fell without order, and pain was felt throughout the land. Because of this] the Thirteen Gods and the Nine Gods created the world and life; there also was born Itzam Cab Ain (The Spirit of the Earth Crocodile, the Milky Way - see Schele, Maya Cosmos, page 97,-epg).

“[Ah Mesencab (glossed by Craine and Reindrop as the Four Bacab, but the Musencabs are shamans, see below )] turned the sky and the Peten upside down, and the Nine Gods raised up Itzam Cab Ain (the Spirit of the Earth Crocodile).

“There was a great cataclysm, and the ages ended with a flood. The 18 Bak Katun was being counted and in its 17th part.

“The Nine Gods refused to permit Itzam Cab Ain (the Milky Way) to take the Peten and to destroy the things of the world, so he (?) cut the throat of Itzam Cab Ain (the Spirit of the Milky Way) and with his body formed the surface of Peten...

“[Ah Mesencab (glossed by Craine and Reindrop as the Four Bacab)], the one who laid waste to the Earth, rose up in the Katun 11 Ahau and bandaged the face of the Thirteen Gods (this appears to be bad translation of “the putting on a masks”.), but they did not know his name and they were told he was called Father, Son, and Holy Ghost [an obvious Hispanic insertion]. When the Thirteen Gods told them fire, stones, and clubs came down.

“He took the green buds, large and small gourd seeds, wrapped them up with the Nine Dz’acab ” (These have been identified as either gods, creators, conjurors, priests, steps, the Lord of the Nine Generations, the Nine Doctors - see Munro, 1982, p. 46, f. 888 and Schele, 1993.  Most likely they are simply the well attested Mayan hallucinogens.), “and [...]

“They did not know that the heart of the tubercule (tuber=manioc?) was gone. After the evil sons and daughters were buried, although alive [they had no hearts], and those who were on the beach were buried between the waves of the sea.

“In this katun, on the day 3 Oc, an avalanche of water came, and on the day 1 Cimi, everything came to an end.  It was said that four gods, four Bacabs, were the ones that destroyed the Earth. (The Bacabs held the sky off of the Earth.)

“After this cataclysm the Red Imix (=Alligator:Munro,1986;=Milky Way:Schele, 1993) Tree was erected, for it is one of the supports of heaven and the sign of the dawn.

This one (east) is the Bacab who turned aside.  (The tsunami came from the east.)

“Kan Xib, the father, planted the White Imix (Milky Way) Tree to the north, and Zac Xob Chac says that this is a sign of destruction.   The Black Imix (Milky Way) Tree was planted to the west of Peten for the pixoy to sit upon.  The [...] planted the Yellow Imix (Milky Way) Tree to the south of Peten. The Green Imix (Milky Way) Tree (The hallucinogenic ceiba tree.) was planted in the middle of the earth as a record of the destruction of the world.  Since then [...] has established his gourd, his bowl, and his mat.” (These last are signs of office.).


from The Book of Chilam Balam of Tizimin: The Ancient Future of the Itza, translated and annotated by Munro S. Edmonson, University of Texas Press, Austin, 1982, page 45 et seq

“In 11 Ahau, then arose the Priest of Muzen Cab, and tied the faces of the Thirteen Gods, but they did not know their names. “The Holy”, “The Remote”, these are the names they called them.  And they also did not show their faces to them either. At last it dawned, and they did not know their going or their coming,” (This is a comment either on the state of religious knowledge at that time or at a later time. The meaning is unclear.) “and then spoke the Thirteen Gods to the Nine Gods: “Bring down fire, bring down the rope”,  (This is most likely an impact plume.),  “bring down stones and trees.””

“Then came the pounding of sticks and stones.” (This is the impact blast.)

“And then appeared the Thirteen Gods, and beat their heads and flattened their faces, and they were spat on and snatched away.  (This is an account of the destruction of the Zoque (“Olmec”), who were “spat upon” with a mega-tsunami.)

“The Four Year-bearers” (Munro later (1986) translated “cangel” as “four changers” instead of as “year-bearers”; but as will be seen below, the cangel are astronomical.) “and 5 Za Bac,” (Munro translated this as “Soot Head”, an obvious impactor reference.) “and the Quetzals were taken, and the Bluebirds.”  (These seem to be totems used thoughout the surviving literature in reference to two population groups.)

The shamans rituals are established next, with the preparation of the hallucinogens followed by the heart sacrifice.

“Crushing the Zic, crushing the Top, and wrapping the seeds of the first Nine Tz’acab, which went to the Thirteen Levels of Heaven.

“Then was cut the membrane, and the nose, of the skeleton.   Then went the heart, on account of the Thirteen Gods. But they did not know what was going.” (Either a comment on the current state of knowledge or on the anethesitic effect of the drugs.)

“The heart of the Moon there is dropped flat. And the fatherless, the miserable, and those without spouses or living relatives, (Sacrificial victims came from these populations.) “and those that don’t have hearts, then began to rot, by the margin of the sand, by the margin of the sea.

“One torrent of water occurred, which was released by the Year-bearers.” (Once again, the “Cangel”, something astronomical, see below.)

“That was the cleaning of heaven, and also the cleaning of the lands for the period (of time) opposite the fold (of the katun), killing the youngest sons. That is the fold of the katun cycle, 3 Oc is the time it arrived here.  1 Cimi is the time that ended the word of the returned katun.   The four gods - the Four Bacab (Sky-Bearers) - that is their flattening of the land.”

What follows is the description of the Bacabs, the Sky-Bearers, interlaced with the then current Spanish execution of their five priests.

“When the lands have been flattened, then there returns the Red (east) Imix (Alligator=Milky Way) Tree, that is proceeding to pass the four.  That is the sign of the flattening of the land; that is the toppling of the Tree of the Fathers of the Land, called the East Priest Xib Yuy.

“Then there returns the White Imix (Alligator=Milky Way) Tree to the north; he is called the North Priest Xic, the sign of the flattening of the lands.

“Then also returns the Black Imix (Alligator=Milky Way) Tree to the west country, the sign of the flattening of the lands, that is the Black Imix Tree, seating the West Priest Tam Puc the Weak.

“Seating the Yellow Imix (Alligator=Milky Way) Tree to the south of the country, the sign of the flattening of the lands, seating the South Priest Oyal Mut.

“Then is seated the Green Imix (Alligator=Milky Way) Tree in the middle of the lands, the reminder of the flattening of the lands. Piled in its place is the whole of the existence of this katun.”


also from The Book of Chilam Balam of Tizimin, pages 40-41:

(A Lord’s Celestial Interpreter finishes tranlsating one account of creation from hieroglyphic to roman letters, and begins working on a copy of another part of it, which includes the tale set out above.)

“...This is the arrival of the end of the word of the Sun Priest of Muzen Cab and Za Bac Na, which completes the lordship of the Thirteen Lords (Gods).

“1 Ahau is the day for it, when they will join with each other: the rising Sun, and Moon, and night.

“Then comes the dawn from the Thirteen Gods, for the Nine Gods, who are then born and created.

“Then is born Itzam Can Ain (the Spirit of the Milky Way), cutting the Pyramid of the Sun and the World.

“Then the sky is divided (from the Earth by the four Bacabs), and the land is raised.

“And then there begins The Book of the Thirteen Gods.

“Then occurs the great flooding of the Earth.

“Then arises the great Itzam Cab Ain (Spirit of the Milky Way)

“The ending of the word (the book?): the fold of the Katun: that is a flood which will be the ending of the word of the katun.

“But they did not agree, the Nine Gods; and then will be cut the throat of Itzam Cab Ain (the Spirit of the Milky Way) who bears the country upon his back.

That is Uoh Puc (?) by name, for they didn’t bear their right names - to tie the stone face, and return the lordship.”

This last sentence refers to the tying on of a ritual mask, and by doing so they would be re-establishing the old rituals and return their local leaders to power.


from The Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel: Heaven Born Merida and Its Destiny, translated by Munro S Edmunson, University of Texas Press, Austin, 1986, page 152 et seq

“It is very necessary, the path that is the introduction to the heart. This is the tun period, when it was shaped by our Father the Remote.

“This is the taking of the occasion: this is the bal-che (?+tree) ceremony, as we honor Him here.  We, the rulers spread in many parts, worship them, the true Gods.

“There they are as tuns, the established representation of the True God, our God, our Father, who is God the Father of Heaven and Earth, the true God.

“However, the first gods were leperous gods, finished is the word of their worship. They have been done in by the benediction of the Father in Heaven. Then it ends, the redemption of the tz’oc (tz’uk = partitioning of Earth and Heavens = impact event - EPG) is over, (by) the twice born life of the true God, the true Dios.   When they sweetly prayed to heaven and earth, that put an end to the gods of you Mayan people. Shattered is the belief in your gods then.

“This is the account of the land at that time.  That is because it was written there, because it would not have happened at the time of the making of these books. These are the thousand words here for the examination of the Mayan people here, who may know how they were born and (how they) settled the land here in this country.

“In 11 Ahau, that was when there began the Muzen Cabs (some kind of priests) to tie the faces of the Thirteen Gods - and they did not know their true names, for their older sisters and their engendered sons, their offspring, and those who are not grown: perhaps even their faces and their voices are gone. The dawning of the land they did not know about either, the going and the coming.

“and then there were finished the Thirteen who are Gods, by the Nine who are Gods.

“They then brought down fire (impact detonation), they then brought down the rope (symbol of the impact plume), they then brought down stones and sticks, then came the beating with sticks and stones.” (the impact blast)

“And then were finished the Thirteen who are Gods; and so their heads were beaten, and their faces were flattened (by the impact blast), and then their faces were flattened, and then they were forgotten, and then they were also carried away.

“And then were planted the four cangel (heavenly bodies, see below), together with the Soot Heads.  Then was created also the Quetzal and the Blue Bird.

“And then was created the placenta of breast plants, and the heart of breast squash, and breast pumpkin, and breast beans, the wrapping of the seed of the First Nine Steps.

“Then they went to the thirteenth (13th) level of (the) heaven(s), and so then were established his membranes, and his nose, his skeleton here in the world.  So then went his heart, because of the Thirteen who are Gods. But they did not know his heart was to be a plant.

“And then they all arrived, even the fatherless, and the suffering poor, and the widows; the living and those without hearts.”

(This probably describes the classes of people from which sacrificial vitctims were selected.)


“And they began to wait for it: the direction of the thatch grass, the direction of the sea.  The deluge of water, a storm of water, then reached the hearts of the Four Cangel, who radiated in (the) heaven(s), and also radiated on the land. Said the Four who are Gods, the Four who are Fathers of the Land: “This water shows them to their faces.  Then let us finish the flattening of the lands.””

The “Can”in Cangels has commonly been interpreted as “four”, but perhaps given this passage reading “Can” in its sense of “heavens” might make sense: the four heaven changers, the planets or something else?. The Bacabs now intercede.]

“The South Priest Xib Yuy then bore the North Alligator (Milky Way) Tree in the north.  And then he bore the Entrance to (the) Heaven(s), the sign of the flattening of the lands. That is the North Alligator (Milky Way) Tree, said to be carried.

“And then he bore the West Alligator (Mikly Way) Tree to the seat of the black-breasted weaver bird.

“And then he bore the South Alligator (Milky Way) Tree to the sign of the flattening of the lands to seat the yellow-breasted weaver bird.

“And was seated the South Priest Xib Yuy, and the South Priest Oyal Mut. And then he bore the Center Alligator (Milky Way) Tree to the middle, signifying the flattening of the land.

“It is seated.  Its being raised established the town.  And the same when the return of the katun is fulfilled.”


For a picture of the mega-tsunami flood, see the Codex Dresden, page 74, availble also in Schele, 1993, p 106.  This page is now believed to have been the page 1 the Codex.



A very late and highly modified version of the Mayan mega-tsunami account survived as part of the Quiche collection of translations known as the Popol Vuh, and it includes a description  actor, Seven Macaw (Izam Ye), the tale of whose defeat is included along side those two other hazards to these early people, Volcano (Zipacna) and Earhquake.

The translation of the Popol Vuh used here is that of Dennis Tedlock, with a few modifications to tense and punctuation.  To give some idea of the stages of transmission the tale had undergone by that time, see the Quiche’s own migration lists on pages 149 and 184-185 of Tedlock’s translation.  While from the account itself, it is clear that Seven Macaw was originally a combined comet/asteroid, Tedlock and Schele argue that Seven Macaw was the Big Dipper, and it seems likely that such a metamorphises was underway as memory of the impact faded.

“This was when there was just a trace of early dawn on the face of the Earth: there was no Sun.  But there was one who magnified himself: Seven Macaw is his name.

“The Sky-Earth was already there, but the face of the Sun-Moon was clouded over.

Even so, it is said that his (Seven Macaw’s) light provided a sign for the people who were flooded.  He was like a person of genius(?) in his being.

(In the Popol Vuh version, Seven Macaw appears after the impact. Seven Macaw now speaks)

“I am great. My place is now higher than that of the human work, the human design.

(The “wooden” people had just been created.)  I am their Sun, I am their light, and I am also their months.

“So be it: My light is great.  I am the walkway and I am the foothold of the people, because my eyes are of metal. My teeth just glitter with jewels, and turquoise as well: they stand out blue(?) with stones like the face of the sky. And this nose of mine shines white into the distance like the Moon.

“Since my nest is of metal, it lights up the face of the Earth. When I come forth before my nest, I am like the Sun and (the) Moon for those who are born in the light, begotten in the light.  It must be so, because my face reaches into the distance,” says Seven Macaw.

“It is not true that he is the Sun, this Seven Macaw, yet he magnifies himself, his wings, his metal.  But the scope of his face (his light) lies right around his own perch: his face does not reach everywhere beneath the sky.   The faces of the Sun, Moon, and Stars are not yet visible, it has not dawned. (This last is probably a reconciliation.)

“And so Seven Macaw puffs himself up as the days and the months, though the light of the Sun and Moon has not yet clarified.  He only wished for surpassing greatness.

This was when the flood was worked upon the mannequins, the wood carvings (the wooden people).”

In the Popol Vuh, the description of Seven Macaw is preceded by accounts of the Rio Cuarto impact and the 1150 BCE mega-tsunami, and these will be given later on.  It is followed by a long astronomical allegory, in which hero twins defeat Seven Macaw.

Again, this is a very late version, and isolating the underlying components and modifications will be a very complex task.


Before continuing to the records of the Rio Cuarto Impact, it is very important that the Mayan  concept of “tzuk” be clearly understood.  “Tzuk” was a “partition”, a separation of the Earth from the Heavens or Sky.   Each of these “tzuk”’s was a creation, and the way in which these partitions-creations was ended and a new partition-creation established by the divine power was by impact event.

One sign for “tzuk” was a mirror affixed to the head.  This makes sense in that the Maya considered both asteroids and comets as being the same, with meteoritic iron being a source for their mirrors. For some examples of early use of the tzuk sign, see Schele’s Maya Cosmos, p 140-141,and 418-419, though sadly Schele was unaware that impact events actually could and did occur in historic times.


Part of the Maya story of these multiple creations, multiple impacts, has been preserved in a series of hieroglphic panels set up around 692 CE at B’aakal (Palenque) by the Mayan Lord Kan Balam II.  These are part of a general florescence of inscriptions which were written at that time, which probably reflect a crisis in dynastic legitimacy.  The triggering event for this particular series of inscriptions occurred on 23 July, 690, and is thought to have been a planetary conjunction.

What the texts describe is Hun Nal Ye Tzuk, First Maize Revealed the Partitioner, his wife Na Sak (White), and their children.  In Mayan thought, the destruction of the wooden people (the 1150 BCE mega-tsunami event) led to the creation of the maize people, and accounts for his name First Maize Revealed the Partitioner.  But the events described here refer to the destruction of the mud people, in other words the Rio Cuarto event, and Hun Nal Ye Tzuk apparently was associated with that as well.

Perhaps this may be indicative of a fragmenting comet in an Earth intercepting orbit... but perhaps not.  One must remember that this is an adoption of a Zoque cycle by the Maya, and that it is written in a language that is only half understood.

The translations given here adapted from those Understanding Maya Inscriptions, A Hieroglyphic Handbook, John F. Harris and Stephen K. Stearns, Philadelphia, 1997, with adaptations focusing of the titles of GIII, which are actually read pretty well, though not believed.  This is an excellent introduction to the Mayan glyphic, and it is frank in its admission as to how many problems remain in reading these texts. The dates given in the table following these translations are very very tentative, and Conference participants wishing to see exactly how difficult the problem of reading them is should examine the work cited.



“12 Bak’tuns, 19 k’atuns, 13 tuns, and 4 winals after the previous era began; on 8 Ahaw, 18 Sek, was born Lady White. It was 8 tuns and 5 winals since the birth, and then the (?) event was carried out on 4 Ahaw 8 Kumuku. 13 baktuns were completed. It was 1 tun, 9 winals, 2 kins since the image was made visible at the Closed Sky, the First Three Stone Place, and then First Maize Revealer the Partitioner entered the sky.  On 13 Ik’ 20 Mol he prepared the Raised Up Sky Place, Eight House Partition is its holy name, it is the House of the North.  It was 1 bak’tun, 18 k’atuns, 3 tuns, and 12 winals since Raised Up Sky Heart was set in motion by First Maize Revealer the Partitioner, and then he (identified as God 1) arrived as Matawil.  He (identified as God 1) is the child of White Ox Ya Ch’okle Lady.  It was 2 bak’tuns, 1 k’atun, 7 tuns, 11 winals since her birth and then the white headband was closed for her White on 9 Ik’ 0 Sak.



“, 13 Kimi 19 Keh: He was born, The spirit of the Sun-eyed Torch, The killer of the Kings in the White House, the White Bone House, The ?? of heaven, who with fire closed the eye of the Sun-eyed Lord Sun.

“ days (note the day count repetition, but this time as a day displacement) since he (First Maize Revealed the Partitioner) set in motion the Raised Up Sky Heart and then he (Sun-eyed Torch, the king killer) arrived at Matawil. He (Sun-eyed Torch) is the child of Valley Lady White Holy Palenque Lord

“ days since made visible the image at Closed Sky First Three Stone Place on 4 Ahwa 8 Kamk’u and then happened 2 Kib 14 Mol.



“, 1 Ahaw 13 Mak: The Third one was born, the Red Dwarf(?) Partitioner, the third born of the K’awil Man (First Maize Revealer the Partitioner), the Divine Sprout K’awinal.

“ days since he arrived, the Sprout K’awinal, at Matawil, and then was completed 2 baktuns.

“2 Ahaw 3 Wayeb, She conjured up the gods, Valley Place Lady White, Holy Matawil Ruler.  It happened at Firs True Mountain White Flower, Born First Tree Precious.”


Such as they have been reconstructed by the glyph scholars, and this is extremeley extremely tenative, are:

16 June,     3122 BCE - The First Maize Revealer Partitioner is born 
7 December,  3121 BCE - Birth of Lady White (?) 
13 August,   3114 BCE - Image made visible at Closed Sky, the First Three StonePlace; 
                        Event for The First Maize Revealed Partitioner 
5 February,  3112 BCE - The First Maize Revealed Partitioner enters the sky, 
                        Prepared/Dedicated the Raised Up Sky Place in the North 
                        Set in motion the Raised Up Sky Heart
8 November,  2360 BCE - Birth of the Red Dwarf(?) Partitioner
25 October,  2360 BCE - Birth of Sun-eyed Torch, The killer of the kings in 
                        the White House, the White Bone House, the ?? of the heavens,
                        who with fire closed the eye of the Sun-eyed Lord Sun;
                        “arrived” (struck) at Matawil 
21 October,  2360 BCE - Birth of G1 
7 September, 2325 BCE - A white headband was closed for White?
17 February, 2325 BCE - Lady White conjured up the gods at Matawil

23 July,      690 CE  - Some significant contemporaneous event occurred, 
                        thought by some scholars to be a planetary conjunction. 
                        Is this a comet’s appearance? 

Most of these dates are very poorly derived from the texts of these inscriptions, and these translations really need to be very carefully re-done.  If the dates hold, then it would appear that the Rio Cuarto impactor may perhaps have landed at a much earlier date than previously thought, leaving the ca. 2100 BCE climate collapse without explanation.


from The Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel: Heaven Born Merida and Its Destiny, translated by Munro S Edmunson University of Texas Press, Austin, 1986, page 120 et seq

“Thus it was read by the First Sage Melchisedek, and the First Prophet, Puc Tun: the Catholic priest (sacerdote), and the First Sun Priest. This is the sermon of the occurance of the birth of the Count of Days, which was before the awakening of the world occurred, and it began to run by itself, alone.”

This appears to be a team translation: Melchisedek was the biblical name given by the Padres to their Catholic sacerdote, and Puc Tun was the First Prophet and First Sun Priest - in other words, the Chilam Balam. Following the introduction, some kind of prime force next brings into existence his companions by “saying ” them, and together they then try to create and perfect man:

“Then said his mother’s mother, then said his mother’s sister, then said his father’s mother, then said his sister in law, “What is to be said when a man is seen on the road?”  So they said whilst going along, but no man occurred.

“And then they arrived, there, in the east, and they began to say, “Who is it that passed by here now?  Here are his tracks, right here.  Measure them with your foot, according to the word of the Planter of the World.”

“Then they were to measure the footprint of our Father, who is the holy God. This was the beginning of saying the Count of the World by footsteps.  This was 12 Oc.

“This is the account of his birth.  For 13 Oc occurred, and they matched each other’s paces, and arrived there at the east.

“They said his (the Count of Days’) name, since the days had no name(s) then. (By “saying” the days’ names, the gods created them.) And he traveled on with his mother’s mother, his mother’s sister, and his father’s mother, and his sister-in-law.

The month was born, and the day name was born, and the sky born, and the earth, the pyramid of water and land, stone and tree.  Then were born the things of sea and land.”

What follows is an expansion of the preceding passage.

“On 1 Chuen (Monkey) he manifested himself in his divinity, and created [the] heaven[s] and [the] Earth.

“On 2 Eb (Peak) he made his first pyramid. He descended, coming from there in the heart of [the] heaven[s], there in the heart of the water[s]. For there was nothing of earth, or stone, or tree.” (Perhaps the Maya concieved of space as a cold clear lake, as did the Hurrians.)

“On 3 Ben he made all things, each and every thing: the things of [the] heaven[s], and the things of the sea, and the things of the land:

“On 4 Ix there occurred the separation of [the] heaven[s] from the Earth.

“On 5 Men occurred the working of everything.

“On 6 Cib occurred the making of the first light (candle): there occurred illumination, for there was no Sun or Moon.

“On 7 Caban there was born the Earth, which we did not have before.

“On 8 Etz’nab He planted His hands and feet, and made birds upon the Earth.

“On 9 Cauac Hell was first tasted.

“On 10 Ahau occurred the going of evil men to Hell, because the Holy God had not yet appeared.

“On 11 Imix occurred the shaping of stones and trees. That was done on this day.

“On 12 Ik (Wind) occurred the birth of breath.  This was the beginning of what is called breath, because there is no death in it.

“On 13 Akbahl occurred the taking of the water. Then He moistened earth, and shaped it and made man.”

This is the creation of the “clay” men of the first creation.   Oher Native American peoples have different numbers of creations and destructions, but the Maya had 2: the first, that of the clay men, seems to have been destroyed by the floods caused by rain from the soot of the Rio Cuarto impact; as was seen above, the second, that of the “wooden” men, was destroyed by the mega-tsunami of the 1150 BCE impact. God now plans the destruction of the “clay” men.

“On 1 Kan he was disturbed in his (at) heart, by the evil that had been created. (the clay men)

“On 2 Chicchan occurred the appearance of everything evil.run:   And He was it, even within the towns.

“On 3 Cimi (Death) He invented death. It happened that then was invented the first death, by Our Father who is God.

“On 4 Manik ... (Sadly, the text here is lost.)


“On 5 Lamat there was the invention of the Seven Floods of Rain, water, and sea.

“On 6 Muluc occurred the burial of all the caves. And this was before the awakening of the world. (In other words, the final creation.) This occurred by the commandment of Our Father, who is God.

“Everything that there was not (which had been destroyed), was then spoken in [the] heaven[s]. (In other words, everything is created again.) For there had been no stones and trees. (These are required by the Bacabs for the separation of the heavens from the Earth.)

And they went and tested each other (This probably refers to the astronomical quiz, the “Theodora”, posed to candidates for astronomer.), and then He spoke as follows: “Thirteen heaps and seven make one.”, He said for speech to emerge. (A count of 13 and then of 7 exhausts the 20 day names.)

“For they had no speech.  Its origin was requested by the First Lord Sun-Priest (Kin), for their organs of speech were not yet opened, so that they could speak to each other.

“They went there to the Heart of the Sky, and took each other by the hand. And then they (the Bacabs) stood there in the middle of the country, and (they) divided it up.

(This is the Bacabs’ partitioning ceremony described in the passages above.)

“And they (the Bacabs) divided the Burners, the four of them: 4 Chiccan the Burner, 4 Oc the Burner, 4 Men the Burner, and 4 Ahau the Burner. These are the Lords, the four of them.

(These “Burners” were officials who kept a fire cult which was tied to the Count of Days.)

(This is followed by a long passage untranslated from the hieroglyphic and a closing. Continuing with the last line.)

“The account of all the days, through which The Beginning is counted, was in the east, as has been told.”


Freely adapted From Schele, 1993, p 67

Schele interprets the wording of the following stela inscription, which dates from the mid- first millenium, as being an astronomical parable, where the three thrones represent the sky, the earth, and the sea; but a literal reading of the words as the response of the Lords of 3 different lands may originally have been meant and seems to work just as well.

“4 Ahaw, 8 Kumk’u, to say - to make appear;
Three stones were set, they planted;”
(Either the parts of creation, the sky, the earth, and the water; or a list of three peoples perhaps now follows.)

“One stone, the Jaguar Paddler (Chilam Balam) and Stingray through nose Paddler (Lord),
It happened at First-Five-Sky (Na-ho-chan) Jaguar (Lord’s) throne stone;”
(Na-ho-chan the Maya homeland?)

“He planted a stone, the West-First-Rainpriest,
It happened in the land, of the Serpent-Throne-Stone;”
(Some north-western people?)

“And then it happened a stone was set, Na Itzamhi,
Waterlily-throne-stone, it happened at Lying-Down-Sky;”
(The tsunami happened in the east, where the “sky laid down”. The “Waterlily-Throne-Stone” is probably a reference to the people widely known as the “Olmecs” (the Zoque).)

“(The) First stone place were completed 13 baktuns (?ago);
It was his action, Raised-up Sky Lord.”

13 baktuns is a year count, and translates into 5,200 years. This clause may refer to the raising of the first stone, a different time than the raising of the 3 stones; if Rio Cuarto dates to roughly 2360 BCE, then moving back 5,200 years brings you to 7,560 BCE; add in the years between the baktun start to 4 Ahua, 8 Kumk’u, and possibly you’re at 8,000 BCE or so, the time of the hypothesized Holocene-start impact event, and quite possibly the beginning of Native American astronomy.

If you’re attempting to reconcile the dates, remember that conquest period Tultul Xiu and Itza peoples used different counts, and it is likely that those counts differed from those of the “Classic” Maya.


It has long been known that Plato’s tale of Atlantis was a construction of his designed to instill moral lessons.  It has been widely known that Plato incorporated into this construction two remote historical memories, one a description of the Minoan confederation, and the other a memory of the invasion of the “Sea Peoples”.

The mystery has been why Plato set this tale in the Atlantic.

In his book Gateway To Atlantis, author Andrew Collins has carefully assembled a large amount of material documenting very firmly early contacts by peoples from Europe and the Mediterranean with those of the Western Hemisphere. So far so good, but then Collins goes on to set “Atlantis” in Cuba, and further argues that Plato’s tale actually refers to the Holocene-start event.

From the Mayan records of an impact produced mega-tsunami which occurred around 1150 BCE, we can assert that it is far more likely that the bit of ancient history which Plato incorporated into his moral fable was most likely is a dim memory of that impact event, rather than the Holocene start impact event.



“Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, first and last, behold, they [are] written in the book of Jehu the son of Hanani, who [is] mentioned in the book of the kings of Israel.

And after this did Jehoshaphat king of Judah join himself with Ahaziah king of Israel, who did very wickedly.  And he joined himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish: and they made the ships in Eziongeber. Then Eliezer the son of Dodavah of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, “Because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah, the LORD hath broken thy works.” And the ships were broken, that they were not able to go to Tarshish. ”

PSALM 48:4

“For, lo, the kings were assembled, they passed by together.
They saw [it, and] so they marvelled;
They were troubled, [and] hasted away.
Fear took hold upon them there;
Pain, as of a woman in labor:
Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish with an east wind.”

It is important to note that while the ships of Tarshish were destroyed, enough people survived on land that Tarshish was able to re-build.


Well, there you have it: a worldview so absolutely different from our own that it has defied analysis for several hundred years by some of the best intellects available.  It appears to me that the fundamental reason for this failure is that modern Europeans had not experienced impact events for a considerable period of time, and certainly nothing so devastating as the impacts the Maya experienced twice.

One of the most interesting aspects of this difference between peoples is their view of the afterlife.  The Europeans retained but dim memories of the sky gods, and most peoples placed their afterlifes either in heaven, living comfortably with the sky gods, or in hell, consumed by the dimly remembered flames of a land impact. In contrast, the Maya had experienced a massive impact produced mega-tsunami, and they placed their afterworld under the sea, and described death as “going into the water”.

The differences are actually that great, and dealing with them has been exhausting.

As for myself, this is simply as far as I am able to take this survey from hell for the indefinite future, a future in which I am looking forward to going into the water at some sandy beach. I plan to come back out of that water as well.


@copyright 2001 e.p. grondine

For further online reading about the peoples of this area, see:

With many thanks to Munro, as well as to Mukta Antz Chingon and her friends

“The ship at sea,
now old and without strength to navigate,
be it with two or three masts,
will list and turn over.”
The Priest Xupan Nauat

“The diviners of birds,
The diviners of stones, (tun)
The diviners of flat stones,
The diviners of jaguars, (balamob)
are weak spirits.

“Sixteen hundred years is the end of their lives,
And three hundred years follow.
And so their lives are ended:
Because they know the Count of Days among them.

“Returned is the month;
Returned is the year;
Returned is the day;
Returned is the night;
Returned is the wind,
And gone again.

“Returned is the blood also:
It has arrived,
And divined,
On the nobles mats,
And on the thrones.

“They have measured to learn the best hours;
They have measured to find the best day;
They have measured there to see the arrival of the best stars in ascendancy;
They have measured to observe the arrival in ascendancy of the best stars:
The best tun altogether.

“And so they form their opinions.” (Ca tun u takbes y al ob.)
Author unknown