Dr. M. (Manuel) May Castillo MA

  • Researcher

Time and Persistence, Contemporary calendars in Maya communities of Yucatán and Guatemala.

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This research is embedded into a major project: Time in Intercultural context, The Indigenous Calendars of Mexico and Guatemala leaded by Dr. Maarten Jansen and funded by ERC.

The endangered knowledge about Maya calendars has been well studied in the past, mainly centering the attention around the mathematical structure (cycles of 260 days, 360+5 days and a Long Count started around 5126 years back from today) but there were other different layers related to Time perception embedded in Maya society (religious, social, political, economic and daily life activities) which still survive especially in spite of opposition, prohibition and persecution in colonial times and also other obstacles in present days such as globalization, migration (volunteer o forced) and revival of new Christianization phenomena leaded by foreign organizations. This research will focus in these different layers of Time perception, which are relevant in order to better understand the complexity and specialization of Maya Time System.   

Contemporary rituals, divination, healing and perception of the world (astronomical observations, climatology and ecological interactions) will be analyzed not only into an academic scenario but also within the Maya community in order to generate an active discussion between academia and society. Interaction with colleagues, who are working at the same time in other parts of Mesoamerica will also result on intercultural approach.

By linking academic methods with Maya contemporary knowledge and ancient calendars will allow us to better understand the ancient manuscripts. By comparing these knowledge with other cultures will give us a wider perspective of Maya System of Time and will help us to preserve its fragmentary layers and maybe revitalize it within the community.  

Last Modified: 01-02-2016