Lasers reveal sites used as the Americas’ oldest known star calendars

Olmec and Maya people living along Mexico’s Gulf Coast as early as 3,100 years ago built star-aligned ceremonial centers to track important days of a 260-day calendar, a new study finds.

The oldest written evidence of this calendar, found on painted plaster mural fragments from a Maya site in Guatemala, dates to between 300 and 200 B.C., nearly a millennium later (SN: 4/13/22). But researchers have long suspected that a 260-day calendar developed hundreds of years earlier among Gulf Coast Olmec groups.

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