Scholars on the Astronomy at Izapa


Discussions of early July 2007. John Major Jenkins.


An interesting exchange on astronomy at Izapa unfolding on the UT Meso Google group. It was a direct result of the NYTimes piece and was initiated by Dr. John Hoopes. The full 19-post exchange on this thread, called, “The Final Days” is here or online here. In one of my responses to Hoopes, I invited anyone who dissented with the idea of astronomy on the carved  monuments of Izapa to speak up. David Stuart, who had made a brief earlier post to Hoopes, responded. An excerpt from my post is followed by Dr Stuart’s response:


John [Hoopes],
I disagree with your interpretation of my statement. I'm all for
stating facts as facts and leaving speculation in the category of
speculation. What I pointed out, in the quote you cited, were facts.
Let's take a look.

First, “the carved monuments repeatedly [or, let’s say, “frequently”]
depict astronomical features.” So, the question is whether it is a fact
or not that the Izapan monuments frequently depict astronomical
features. (I’ll give the scholars who concur or originated the
identification in parentheses, off the top of my head, so it will be
incomplete.) The Big Dipper: Stela 25 (Coggins, Schele, Looper,
Kappleman). The bird deity on Stela 25 is identical to the ones
portrayed on Stelae 4, 2, 60 and is probably also depicted on Altar 20
(Lowe and Norman, BYU). The Milky Way: Stela 25 (D. Kelly, Coggins?
Schele, Kappleman, Looper); the Milky Way is portrayed as a canoe on
Stela 67 (the argument follows from the alignment of the ballcourt
with the Milky Way, the iconographic association of ballcourts with
the Milky Way, the position of Stela 67 in the middle of the north
wall of the ballcourt, and the iconographic association between the
Milky Way and canoes on incised bones from Tikal, discussed by
Schele). The vertical axis mundi in Olmec figures discussed by
Joralemon, Schele, Taube and others in the book The Olmec World helps
us understand the iconographic association between the Milky Way and
the vertical world axis. As such, we can understand the vertical tree/
axis form in many Izapan stelae as symbolizing the Milky Way, such as
Stela 27, Stela 10, even perhaps Stela 11. Dark Rift: mouth of snake/
caiman/frog; thus see Stelae 6, 11, 25, 27 (the orientation of Stela
11 to the December solstice sunrise azimuth, with the dark rift rising
heliacally during Izapa's heyday is a key to understanding the dark
rift on Stela 11, and is identical to the interpretive argument by
Benfer et al regarding Buena Vista in Peru and the Fox dark cloud
constellation.) The December solstice sun: Stelae 11, 67, 22, Throne 2
(horizon azimuth alignments also important here). These are just a few
of the depictions of astronomical features in the Izapan corpus. So,
even though several of these may be dismissed without looking more
closely at the evidence which I can't summarize here but that can be
found in my book, I believe it is still safe to say that the Milky
Way, the dark rift, and the December solstice sun are depicted at
Izapa. As you can see, these are not all derived from my own
arguments, and even if they were, there's nothing wrong with that, and
I invite you to discuss the arguments more fully. I am aware, however,
that certain arguments that are not bullet-proof and subject to
formulating in the hard science of equations will never convince
certain thinkers, so we have to admit in the soft science of
reconstructing ancient symbology and belief systems—such as the
incredible work done by Joseph Campbell, Ananda Coomaraswamy, and
Huston Smith---that some people will never be satisfied or convinced.
Nevertheless, it's clear that advances have been built upon much
flimsier evidence than I bring to bear on the question of Izapa’s
cosmology. So, Izapa’s monuments depict astronomy. If there is a
chorus of dissent at this point, let's hear it.

David Stuart responds:

Dear all,

It may not be a chorus, but there is indeed “dissent” among scholars  
when it comes to astronomical interpretations of Maya iconography.  
Others would probably agree that significant problems exist in many  
previous attempts to correlate iconographic elements in Maya art with  
astronomical features and phenomena.  The Maya of course often  
represented celestial bodies in a pretty direct way ("star," "sun,"  
"moon" etc.), usually as part of larger designs, but there's little  
solid evidence to show that sculptures at Izapa or at any other site  
are systematic depictions of astronomical features or forms, at least  
in the way suggested earlier on this thread. For example, I see no  
good reason to interpret "world trees" as depictions of the Milky  
Way, nor do I see any other motifs as correlating with the rift of  
the galactic plane. There are many other specific doubts to bring up  
on a case-by-case basis.  This is not to deny the importance of  
cosmography in Maya art – it’s clearly everywhere.  Instead I would  
argue that the assertion that “Izapa’s monuments depict astronomy” is  
way too simplistic. Izapa’s remarkable monuments depict the  
intertwined themes of cosmology, history, and mythology, and its very  
hard to draw firm lines between these areas.  Julia Guernsey’s work  
on the monuments of Izapa shows this complexity very well.

The “astronomy method” of Maya iconographic analysis, as it might be  
called, was widely read and touted in the 1990s, due mostly to Maya  
and Linda Schele’s use of celestial maps to interpret Classic  
Maya imagery. I may be opening a can of worms in saying this, but  
many of the iconographic interpretations in that book have turned out  
to be wrong, and the astronomical methodology behind them full of  
numerous false assumptions and identifications. Although Izapa didn’t  
figure heavily in Linda's discussions, I think the astronomy-based  
interpretations suggested for Izapan sculpture are undercut by many  
of the same problems.

For what it’s worth,
David Stuart

I welcomed the opened dialogue with David Stuart:


Hi David,

Thank you for your input. Having studied the orientations and
iconography at Izapa, I'd have to disagree. The suspicion that Izapa
as a whole, and its main groups and individual monuments, are
intentionally oriented to significant horizons and the astronomical
movements over those horizons, actually goes back before Schele's
work, to V. Garth Norman's 1980 thesis and general observations by the
BYU archaeologists who excavated the site in the 60s. The astronomical
content of the Izapan monuments can be deduced, following principles
of archaeoastronomy, at the site itself. That Schele and a dozen other
scholars accept these connections should mean something. Timothy
Laughton, Clemency Coggins, Looper, and others have offered
observations about the astronomy at Izapa. I do recognize that a
certain school of thought underplays, or ignores, astronomy at the
sites - some sort of lingering reaction to Thomson's "dreamy
stargazer" myth, but I consider that interpretive bias to be
unwarranted. You note that I've stated in blunt terms that Izapan
iconography refers to astronomy, but of course I allow for the larger
complexity of interwoven relationships. In fact, I explored how the
monuments encode not only astronomical references but also ballgame,
kingship, sacrifice ritual, Creation Mythology references,
agricultural motifs, and shamanic rites, beginning with my 1995 book
The Center of Mayan Time. This is the larger complex of Izapan
"cosmology" that Dr. Guernsey-Kappleman has approached from the other
side of the investigation, first highlighting kingship and
agricultural metaphors and slowly, more recently, incorporating the
astronomical considerations. I tend to emphasize the astronomy and
mythology --- and there's a lot there to emphasize --- and am not
focused on early kingship rites. Izapa is, after all, largely a
ceremonial or religious site. It would not be too much to say that
Izapa, like Takalik Abaj (see May '04 Nat. Geog. piece:, is an astronomical observatory.

In this regard, I'd like to focus on an analogous case in point, which
I referred to in my previous post, that of Benfer's work at the Buena
"astronomical observatory" in Peru. I invite all to read the
above link to that piece in Astronomy magazine (previous post). If
there is ANY merit to his deductive observations regarding the Fox
dark cloud constellation, then there must be SOME merit to my findings
at Izapa (our deductive approaches are identical, though my work
integrates a great deal more contextual support).

Finally, I see the important points of Schele's "discoveries" to
actually be drawn from earlier work --- for example, that the "sacred
tree" is a demonstrable Maya concept, namely the cross formed by the
Milky Way and the ecliptic, goes back to Girard, Tedlock, Milbrath,
etc etc (citations in my book).  The dark rift feature is a widespread
reference implicit in the data, though often overlooked. See, for
example, my 1995 review of Maya Place Names:
(this was expanded into Appendix 4 in my book). Is the refutation of
"Schele's work" publicly available, or written up at all? Which
points are problematic? I've notice problems - e.g., that the "sky
portal" opens when the Milky Way rims the horizon; actually, more
relevant and supported by known concepts is the fact that the dark
rift ("road to underworld; Black Road; sky portal") rises over the
horizon at that time. Thank you for your time and comments,


David didn’t respond to this, but started another thread on Copan kings, saying, “In the faint hope that this discussion board doesn’t turn into an exclusive 2012 forum, here’s a completely different topic...” I took that as a hint to drop it, but I had a lingering question that I hoped David could clarify, so I emailed him off list:


 Hi David,


Thanks for contributing your thoughts to the thread. I don’t want to clog up the list with my panegyrics and digressions from the main trajectory of the list, so off-list a quick question. Your post responded to the issue of astronomy at Izapa. Do you, then, disagree with the interpretation that the caiman on Stela 25 represents the Milky Way? Your consideration is much appreciated,


John M Jenkins


David was nice to reply with careful consideration:


Hi John,


Thanks for your question on Stela 25.  I don't claim to be the expert on Izapa iconography, but to answer your question: no, I would not see this alligator/caiman as a Milky Way representation.  To put it more accurately, I'm not convinced by any argument put forth that this is in essence an astronomical image.  The caiman is a caiman-tree, clearly related to Trees of Sustenance depicted in later Maya art.  Images of the upturned gator-tree appear on vessels as well as in 3-D sculptures at Copan, where they regularly show cacao pods. None of those have any astronomical significance.  So, I think we are dealing with a specific iconographic presentation of the caiman or alligator, not easily equated with other types of alligators in Maya art.  As has long been known, Stela 25 also has clear connections to the narrative of the Popol Vuh, showing the Principal Bird Deity perched atop a volador pole grasped by one of the Hero Twins, missing his arm.  To be honest, I can't feel comfortable going beyond this sketchy assessment, nor can I consider astronomical identifications without a rigid and carefully constructed argument to back it up.  Maya iconographic interpretation is akin to glyphic decipherment, and requires a similar meticulous chain of connections to make a viable interpretation.





With his verification that he didn’t believe the caiman-tree on Stela 25 to represent the Milky Way, I sent an email with unequivocal (or so I thought) quotes from his 2005 book, The Inscriptions From Temple XIX at Palenque, that indicated the contrary:




Thanks for your time and for answering my question. I greatly respect your work, and certainly don’t want to alienate you, but I’m quite surprised that you don’t think the caiman-tree on Izapa Stela 25 represents the Milky Way. It seemed clear to me that your own work made this connection. Not only that, but your words below also implicate the iconographic variations of the dark rift in the Milky Way. My comments are in blue in brackets. 


“I believe that the Starry Deer Crocodile is more than an animated sky symbol. The iconography consistently associated with the creature strongly indicates that it represents the starry, nocturnal aspect of the more broadly conceived Celestial Monster, and that it in essence symbolizes the cloudy Milky Way (D. Stuart 1984; Milbrath 1999).”1


I agree completely.


“In the Temple XIX passage we have two sequential references to the Starry Deer Crocodile, with only a single alternation in each. The first name, as we have briefly touched upon, makes use of a so-called ‘hole’ sign before the hunched back and the Starry Deer Crocodile’s head…. [so, we seem to have a ‘hole’ in the Milky Way entity] The ‘hole’ sign in these names deserves a few comments, since it is an important element of the script and a significant symbol within Maya iconography… there is general agreement that it represents some cavity within the earth, such as a cave or cenote (Thompson 1972:150). In iconographic settings the hole can readily transform into a bony serpent’s mouth or maw….  [the ‘hole’ in the Milky Way is variously depicted as a cave, cenote, or mouth] A well known example of its iconographic use comes from the sarcophagus lid of Pakal at Palenque, depicting the deceased king’s emergence from the Underworld as the reborn sun of the east. [‘he entered the road’; this was explicitly associated with the xibalba be, the dark rift in the Milky Way, by Looper and Schele. Is there a cogent refutation of this interpretation? Is the tree on Pakal’s lid not the Milky Way / ecliptic cross?] The precise reading of the glyphic ‘hole’ element is difficult to nail down with much confidence … The crocodile or other reptile with a hole in its back can be traced far back into Preclassic Maya art. On Stela 8 from Izapa, a reptile of some sort has on its back a quatrefoil cartouche enclosing an enthroned figure. [the legs of the ‘reptile’ on Stela 8 are very similar to the frog-jaguar on Stela 11, who has a cross in its belly right where this cartouche on Stela 8 is located.] More direct parallels are found in representations of upright crocodiles that form trees from their tails, as depicted on Izapa Stelae 25 and 27.”2 [this is where the connection to Stela 25 is made; your current disconnect must be explained, based on the following considerations…]


You’ve traced the prototype of the Starry Deer Crocodile back to early representations at Izapa. You’ve stated a connection between the Starry Deer Crocodile and the Milky Way (in Classic Period art). You identify the caiman-tree on Stela 25 as an early depiction of the Starry Deer Crocodile. Is there a model, or principle, conventional wisdom, consensus agreement, or default assumption, that demands a discontinuity in the celestial reference? Is there, then, any possibility or suggestion that the caiman-tree on Stela 25 might, like its later forms as the Classic Period Starry Deer Crocodile, represent the Milky Way? Applying logic to your data, I think so. Additional considerations provide more contextual evidence that strengthens the argument for such a continuity. For example, Stela 25 is in a row of five monuments on the north end of Group A. Several of the stelae in this row depict the principal bird deity rising and falling. A person who stands in front of these monuments, facing north, looks at the iconographic depictions of the bird deity on the various monuments and can, at night, tilt their head back slightly and observe Tacana volcano in the distance. The altars and stelae are oriented in a line east to west so that priests facing the stelae, doing ritual on their altars, can look up and pay homage to Tacana in the distance. Why? And what connection might this have with the bird deities represented on the stelae? The Big Dipper rises over the eastern flank of Tacana, spins around the pole, and sets to the west. I find this compelling and meaningful in terms of identifying the bird deity on Stela 25 with the Big Dipper. Your acknowledged connection between the mythic scene portrayed on this monument and the much later Hero Twin episode recorded by the Quiché Maya in the 1550s is additional evidence for the astronomical identification, since according to the Popol Vuh the bird deity involved in this episode is Seven Macaw, who the modern Maya associated with the Big Dipper. (The purpose of this observation is to show continuity of meaning between the myth at Izapa and the conceptual connection among the modern Maya). The probability that Izapa Stela 25 contains astronomical reference is thus extremely high, and furthermore suggests that a Milky Way identification of the caiman-tree on Stela 25 was a prototype and continuous with your stated Classic Period redactions. This line of argument is one small slice of a chain of interconnections that I could go into in greater detail --- I’m confident this would provide you with the “rigid and carefully constructed argument” and the “meticulous chain of connections to make a viable interpretation.”   


“…Dennis Tedlock (1992:252) is explicit in giving the name Hun Hunahpu to the ‘pre-Triad’ GI, whom Lounsbury considered to be the father of the Triad namesake … GI is by no means a local Palenque character. He is depicted and mentioned in numerous inscriptions and iconography throughout the Maya region from the beginnings of the Classic period, and he seems to have been a figure of major cosmological importance…. GI apparently played a significant role in the ‘era event’ on 4 Ajaw 8 Kumk’u… GI’s k’in bowl helmet indicates his important solar connections, but we can cite certain other associations he has with K’inich Ajaw. Significantly, the facial profile of GI bears strong resemblance to the standard sun god, as many other writers have noticed. Details of the eye and other facial features mark GI as a separate entity in some fundamental way … The k’in bowl motif is of course found also on the back end of the Starry Deer Crocodile and other representations of the “Cosmic Serpent”… In one revealing example (Figure 135), the k’in bowl represents the anus or vagina of the Starry Deer Crocodile, and thus seems to serve as a symbol for the rear orifice of the creature. How GI is connected to this iconographic pattern is unclear, yet some hieroglyphic evidence may help unravel part of the mystery. The k’in bowl is a common hieroglyphic sign for EL, used in the spelling of the ‘east’ glyph, EL-K’IN. The word el means ‘rise, come out.’ One can naturally wonder, therefore, if perhaps the k’in bowl itself was somehow a ‘vessel’ for the rising sun in the east … As mentioned in Chapter 3, the Starry Deer Crocodile likely served as a symbol for the night or underworld, and I believe an argument can be made that the k’in bowl was its ‘anus,’ whence the sun would daily rise in the east.”3


Your observations about the k’in bowl helmet are intriguing, and suggest that the ‘hole’ was a place that the sun could occupy. This makes absolute sense if we accept the celestial prototype of the ‘helmet’ or ‘hole’ as the dark rift in the Milky Way. Two things here: the hole is on the Milky Way crocodile, and the sun can occupy it. The sun moves along the ecliptic; there are only two places where the ecliptic crosses the Milky Way. One of these crossing zones is touched by the southern terminus of the dark rift, near Sagittarius. Why can’t the established astronomical references provide clues as to as-yet unidentified aspects of the iconography? With some caution, the sky can provide a map for interrelations in the iconography. Comment – I don’t understand why you favor the anus interpretation over a vagina – the two choices you originally suggest. Anuses are not birthplaces. Vaginas are birth places; that’s the context of the data, right? In this connection, we see one of the variant conceptual designations of the dark rift as a vagina or birth place. If we see it as a vagina, then we can begin speaking about a birthplace that is located on the Milky Way. See also Ruud van Akkeren’s Scorpio article on the Copan Notes website.  


“Representations of the solar cartouche within the crocodile’s body (Figure 136) strongly suggest that the sun was consumed by the crocodile during its nightly course beneath the earth and defecated or reborn each morning. [Caption for] “Figure 136: The sun within the womb or stomach of the Starry Deer Crocodile, on Yaxchilan HS3, Step III.”4 [The ecliptic-traveling sun within the ‘womb’ of the Milky Way. Fascinating. Where could that be?]


I commented in the post to John Hoopes that more data is not necessarily needed for making progress in understanding the astronomical connections in iconography, and that what really needs to take place is a shift in perspective in how the current data is perceived. Another listero implied this indicated some rational failing on my part.  I’m interested in progress in Maya Studies. I know that you are, too. Any comments will be greatly appreciated. Best wishes,


John Major Jenkins

p.s. – I didn’t say 2012 once!


1. David Stuart. 2005. The Inscriptions From Temple XIX At Palenque. The Pre-Columbian Art Research Institute, San Francisco. Page 72.


2. David Stuart. 2005. The Inscriptions From Temple XIX At Palenque. The Pre-Columbian Art Research Institute, San Francisco. Pages 73-75.


3. David Stuart. 2005. The Inscriptions From Temple XIX At Palenque. The Pre-Columbian Art Research Institute, San Francisco. 163-168.


4. David Stuart. 2005. The Inscriptions From Temple XIX At Palenque. The Pre-Columbian Art Research Institute, San Francisco. 167-168. 





He replied quickly:


Hi John,


I apologize if I wasn't clear about my thinking on this.  Yes, I do firmly believe that the Starry Deer Crocodile / Alligator) represents the Milky Way in many examples.  This is best shown, I think, on Temple 22 at Copan, where the SDC appears with a body of cloud glyphs, evoking the Nahuatl name for the Milky Way Mixcoatl, "cloud snake." However, the tree-croc at Izapa and elsewhere is a very separate iconographic element, lacking the deer features and the star signs.  I've never thought of them as connected, given the visual differences and lack of contextual overlap.  I basically think that alligators and crocs in the art can't be lumped together, since they can have very different meanings and associations, depending on other visual cues and contexts.






This seemed to be an attempt to safely bring to a close our exchange. Dave’s comment here that “alligators and crocs in the art can’t be lumped together, since they can have very different meanings and associations” implies that the Starry Deer Crocodile is something essentially different from the caiman on Stela 25, which therefore must not be a crocodile but an alligator. But in passages from his book that I cited above, the “Starry Deer Crocodile” (which he identifies as the Milky Way) is by name a crocodile, and the figure on Stela 25 is also a crocodile, according to his own words: “More direct parallels are found in representations of upright crocodiles that form trees from their tails, as depicted on Izapa Stelae 25 and 27.” It seems he ended his email with a complete reversal of his published words in order to give the impression that I was simply missing a basic truism, and then bowed out of a dialogue that was leading him, logically and coherently, in a direction that he did not want to follow. I decided to not press this odd oversight, a completely irrational disconnect between his officially published position of two years ago and his current thoughts, but there was so much in my email that was ignored, I felt I had to hone my essential questions carefully to elicit a more direct response:





Your book is beautifully produced, illustrated, and written. PARI did a great job and your insights are most welcome. I love quality books and deep research.


Did you notice how similar in form and detail the “Starry Deer Crocodile” on the jade ear spool from Rio Azul (Fig 135, page 166 of your book) is to the so-called frog-jaguar on Izapa Stela 11? What are the details, or lack of details, that disqualify the frog-jaguar on Stela 11 from also being identified as an early form of the Starry Deer Crocodile? Also, does not the frog-jaguar together with the solar deity on Stela 11 provide a symbolically identical situation as portrayed in Fig 136 of your book (“The sun within the womb or stomach of the Starry Deer Crocodile”). What would it be about a deer element that would clinch the association with the Milky Way? Or would it hinge more on the frog-tree-croc feature? I’m trying to figure out where the Milky Way association came into the picture if, as you say, the Milky Way is not depicted by these Izapan croc-trees. I don’t actually believe that, but I’m trying to entertain your assertion and deal with the unavoidable question of when the Milky Way got inserted into the symbolism, and why it would not be there as the celestial prototype from the beginning.


So, I gather from your comments that the identification of astronomy in the iconography is not contingent upon a close resemblance between or even direct inclusion of critical iconographic elements, such as the cartouche on Izapa Stela 8 (I would have thought that cartouche, and the mask at the bottom, to be the critical elements).


At any rate, if the Milky Way association of any croc-tree must be supported by, as you say, other sets of visual cues and contexts, I believe that’s what I offered in sketching the setting, orientation, and Popol Vuh continuity of Stela 25 (in my previous email). If that information is accepted as viable contextual, orientational, and documentary support (and I see no reason why it should not), don’t you think it goes a long way to showing astronomy on Stela 25 – if not the croc-tree as the Milky Way, then the bird deity as the Big Dipper? In other words, apart from any demonstrable link in the evolution of the iconography from Izapa to the Classic Period Starry Deer Crocodile, the argument here comes primarily from the carvings and the site itself, as I described in detail in my previous email.


I apologize if this opens worm cans, I just want to bring it to a satisfying closure regarding the points essential to the issue ---- which began on the UT list as a dissent regarding my evidence and arguments that astronomy is depicted at Izapa. Best wishes,




At this stage, there is no response. Another thread, called “the final days” (lower case) was started by Jorge Pérez de Lara while this private exchange with David was happening. It is here or online here. As usually happens at this stage in my efforts to share my research, this thread did not address me directly, but shifted the focus of address to the “listeros.” This move effectively sets up a dichotomy between the good citizens of the list and the obnoxious rabble rouser. I ignored this passive-aggressive move and responded directly to the poster.


The two threads, and my private exchange with David Stuart, are very revealing. I responded to the need for cogent argument and integration of compelling sets of contextual evidence, and yet that material was ignored. I was cordial, careful, diplomatic, albeit direct in my tone and questions. David seems to prefer to back away and change the subject rather than engage in a direct, intellectually honest and fair discussion. A simple face-saving observation is that most scholars are not that well acquainted with the situation at Izapa. However, that’s no excuse for dancing around or denying the evidence I present, upon which my interpretations are based. I’m left with the sinking feeling that the only reason for a lack of cooperation in engaging the facts, is that I’m a non-affiliated independent scholar. Yes, I am the only person who has confirmed the solstice ballcourt alignment at Izapa. Doing so was a simple case of being there on the solstice and adjusting for the tiny shift in the obliquity of ecliptic between 2,100 years ago and today. And yet, I fear that my observations and photos are not trusted. They certainly have not been commented on; it’s as if they don’t exist. Perhaps the link to my webpage where those field observations are reported, and that I’ve offered repeatedly, is simply not being visited. I’m baffled and disappointed at this stage. Can anyone give me a reality check on this situation? I’m not asking for agreement with my work, but just the honest assessment it deserves. Assessment happens, but it is wanly dismissive, superficial, and neglectful of what I’m actually presenting for scholarly consideration.  –JMJ. 7-12-07


Update. May 17, 2008. Very recently, I learned of research by Barb MacLeod and Michael John Grofe that provides strong argument that the Serpent Series in the Dresden Codex provides evidence that the Maya were preoccupied with calculating precession.

Grofe's work was approved as a Ph.D. thesis at the University of California, Davis, in May of 2007. Titled: "The Serpent Series: Precession in the Maya Dresden Codex." It truly does promise to move this whole discussion forward, along with MacLeod's work on the 3-11 Pik formula, and how it relates to rites of Maya kingship. I have to say it was extrremely heartening to discover my work inspiring this serious scholarly research, especially after my recent exchange with Aveni. This open-minded invitation to join forces, dialogue, and move the work along is what I've been waiting for, for over ten years. Now we can really begin the revolution in understanding the precessional preoccupations of the ancient Maya cosmologists.