profile: James Walton is a jewelry designer and manufacturer who is also an avid archaeoastronomer. He received his AB Degree in Art History from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Masters Degree in Museum Studies from the University of Colorado, Boulder. As art historian he is especially interested in jewelry arts and material cultures of past societies, with particular emphasis on the Viking Age, Mesoamerica and the Ancestral Puebloans of the American Southwest. Jim is one of the conference organizers
presentation: “The Aztec Calendar Stone Revisited: an Antiquarian View”
abstract: The Aztec calendar stone, possibly the most familiar monument of Mexico, is believed to be the colossal allegory of the ages of creation preceding the Aztecs at the time of the Spanish Conquest. The grandiose central figure of the Sun God, enclosed in the day sign “Ollin”, or “Movement”, is surrounded by four rectangular enclosures with the initial days of four previous cosmogonic eras, or “Suns”, each destroyed by an elemental catastrophe: 4 Jaguar -feline monsters; 4 Wind – hurricanes; 4 Rain – volcanic eruptions; 4 Water – floods. In this interpretation of the Stone, the Aztecs were living in the 5th Sun, 4 Movement, destined to be destroyed by earthquakes. However, the imagery of the stone goes much further than allegory, into history, chronology and astronomy. According to the Mexican Savant, Enrique Juan Palacios, writing at the beginning of the 2oth Century, the stone would be better named, “The Cyclographic Stone of the Sun and Venus”. Palacios’ application of the Venus Period of 584 days, which coordinates with the 365 day vague solar year 5 times in 8 years, is the foundation of a fourfold scheme that programed the monuments of not only the Aztecs, but their Toltec predecessors in the Valley of Mexico. In this scheme the primary unit of time is the 104 year Huehuetilitztli, or double anniversary of the 52 year Aztec New Fire Ceremony, or “Binding of the Years”, after which the calendar starts over again with the same day sign, number and “month”. But this does not allow for astronomical corrections. Palacios demonstrated that the 416 year quadruple period brings the two calendars of the Sun and Venus into harmony. Using this paradigm, four and sixteen Huehuetiliztis, 416, and 1664 years respectively, also recorded in the stone, are the fundamental architecture of Aztec secular and sacred chronology.