Page:Travels in Mexico and life among the Mexicans.djvu/105

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MAYAPAN, THE ANCIENT EMPIRE.

were found two stelæ, situated about one hundred metres from the southwest corner of the principal pyramid (named anciently Kukulcan), the first of the kind seen during a long and careful

TLM D105 Hieroglyph of the god of fire.jpg

"HIEROGLYPH OF THE GOD OF FIRE."

exploration of the ruined cities of Yucatan. Of them Dr. Le Plongeon says:—

"Following the detours of an obscure trail, we at last reached the foot of a small mound, eight metres high, eleven metres fifty centimetres wide at the base. The platform (on top), four metres seventy centimetres on the north and south sides by three metres on the east and west, sustained two perpendicular stelæ, forty-five centimetres in diameter and one metre high from the floor, which once was perfectly level and paved with beautifully hewn slabs of stone. To-day it is covered with ten centimetres of loam, the product of three centuries and a half of deposition. The distance between the centres of the stelæ is one metre seventy centimetres, their orientation as perfect as it could be done to-day with our improved instruments."

By careful measurements, Dr. Le Plongeon arrived at the conclusion that the ancient Mayas correctly calculated the true declination of the sun; and he adds that the Maya astronomers divided their astronomical year into twelve months of thirty days