The problem of associating dates in the Mayan long count with dates in the Gregorian calendar is that of finding the single number which supplies the number of days by which these two calendars are offset. In order to do this, use is made of dates near the time of the Spanish conquest where the same event is recorded in both the calendar round and the Gregorian calendars. This allows the possibilities to be trimmed to a small handful (Aveni 1980), some of which can be eliminated because they lie outside the realm of reasonable dates.
The final selection from among these possibilities can be made by using information from the eclipse tables in the Dresden Codex. This information confirms the correctness of the offset value long championed by Sir Eric Thompson. A discussion of all of the evidence for this correlation, based on the recent ability to read the Mayan manuscripts, may be found in Coe (Fifth edition, 1993).
Several programs for conversion between calendar systems are available for downloading over the Internet, for Macintosh, PC and Unix systems. Links to all of these can be found on Thomas Burglin's Mesoamerican Archaeology links page.
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© 1995 - Karen M. Strom