4 MAR 2020

Time travelling Mayan journal

And how we lost 11 days

Anton discovered a 500-year-old journal that has been handed down by generations of archaeologists exploring the history of the Maya. Something very strange happens when we open it as we’re transported back in time. Continuing the Chronometry theme I look why we have leap years and how they lead to 11 missing days.

Full show notes coming soon.


This transcript is automatically generated so may contain errors.

Welcome to the curiosity of a child. Yeah, welcome back. We've had an exciting week. Haven't we? on Twitter.

Yeah, very active.

Is we were named Wanna punch aces? Most listened to podcasts and we've got lots of new listeners and a lot of really nice kind of.

Community on Twitter, with the podcasters, haven't we?

So would like to thank two podcasts now which is run with me on this which sensor nice comments. Really enjoying here. Anton and I remember facts from previous shows and also conquer cop, just not chat which is great fun podcast and maybe we are attached them again in the future. Hopefully yeah, but we won't say anymore now.

So what have you been up to since we last recorded?

I've been doing a school project with my in temples.

And yeah, and just chilling as well, yeah?

Yeah, not too much really weathers not being raped in windy and wet hasn't. Yeah now we don't have much in my reviews at the moment. Do we? And we need people out there being good comments and Twitter people seem to be enjoying this show, but we want to turn it into ratings and reviews just so we have some stars next time. So you feel famous here. So please rate us and review us an Apple iTunes or on Pod Chaser.

Is really good as well, please. You'll be able to find links on our Twitter account which is at Curie Child Pod.

So she got on with the show, then on the 1st feature which is.

My feature under and investigates and it's on. It's my project, the Lions.

Yeah, mine temples over the show on with this show.

Anton investigates the Mayans.

This is really exciting.

Curious study and I have just found a ancient Journal, yeah?

Looks incredible, appears been handed down by explorers for several 100 years, yeah?

There seems to be a little introduction an on the history of the Maya, yes, so it says the first Mayan settlement started around 1800 BCE until about 900 CE.

This makes them the longest lasting civilization in the Americas, and one of the longest in the world.

The Mayans only had Stone Age tools, yet could make outstanding limestone temples and great cities.

Yeah, pretty incredible stuff, isn't it? But.

I can feel some energy or something when we leave through the pages of this book. Somebody being transported back to the time in these early explorers were actually first making these incredible discoveries in Central America.

1576 Diego Garcia de Policia.

I've heard storeys of ancient temples. Do you know where they are?

There is some temples deep in the forest, but it is a long way to go. But we show you if you want.

To yes please yes please.

Okay, let me try you map, but this is very dangerous than Jaguar. Everything all over forest.

What is Jaguar?

Jaguar is a big cat. It is like a spirits though and is so powerful.

They sound very, very scary.

Okay, come with me, Are you ready?

Yes, I am ready.

We are travelling through the jungle to the lost city of Kapan. Thankfully we haven't encountered any Jaguars yet.

I think we are near there now. Just through here. Jump down these bushes.


Wow, this is amazing. No one at home will believe me.

My ancestor. They built this place. It's so special to us. Still great great people.

It is special to me too.

Dear Journal, the temples were built with such skill, but it seems they could never have been made by people as coarse as the inhabitants of this province.

1810 Dresden Codex.

Alexander von Humboldt.

I'm very kind Vic.

Yes, Alex bought butterfat is.

If I have found this.

It looks like an ancient Mayan book. Ohh this is fantastic. This will help us to decode the fire and language, yes.

It is beautiful.

The hieroglyphics in there look like they're done with vegetable dyes.

And the colours are fantastic and the illustrations.

I mean, what do you think this must say?

I think it has things about that their gods and also maybe some sacrifices.

Yes, and the history of the regions. This will help us.

To go into the tempos, ya until translate.

Ohh the hieroglyphics that are all over the fools of the tempos. That would be amazing.

These Codex could be the key to.

Understanding much more about.

The Mayan culture.

How big is this?

I mean, how much do we have here? I think we have 4 metres unfolded very carefully, okay?

Was nice.

Yes, they are very good. I think more like 3.7 metres.

Of ancient Mayan.

Hieroglyphs I believe looking at the style of the lettering that is done by.

Several different authors.

Really, that is.

Yes, look carefully. Take this seriously, Alexander.

1839 John Stevens and Frederick Kathy would.

Hey Frederick ferric. Get over here is amazing. Yes yes when coming.

It looks like the storeys are true. Diego was right. This place is amazing.

There's thousands of temples and many other buildings.

All the cities are amazing.

I must draw the mall.

Hey Frederick, look up here. I'm in the top of the Temple of the Moon. Hey Frederick, to see me, yes I.

Do you shouldn't be up there. It's 43 metres tall.

And 130 metres wide.

You have our pairs amazing.

Friend recover lucky competitors.

And great branches show up here.

I like the picture park.

But you must come down now.

Okay, I'm on my way down let's.

Keep exploring these jungles this amazing.

Yes, guessing late we must get.

Back okay.

Today is the day of the Equinox. There is a great spectacle to be seen as.

These servant undulates

up the temple of the moon hair gather, what are you gonna?

Close look at the shadow. Yes yes, I am calm down but it's amazing. It's like this like a snake climbing up the steps and calm down. I'm drawing it now fantastic.

Yes, that is good.

1890 Alfred Mosley

Then you're.

Sending your Alfred yes. What is it?

Well, I assume you show me this way this way.

Okay, I'm right behind you.

It is so hot this better be worth a visit.

It's covered in.

Lots and lots and lots of trees though.

Remarkable is the lost fabled temple of the Jaguar truly.

Incredible, we must clear this holds land.

This whole city and we must discover its secrets. Have your men get on that immediately.

Right away senior Alfred.

Sonia Alfred, we found the reservoir and those things at the bottom of it really well. We must have this dredged immediately. I want to know what is at the bottom of that over here. I'll get my men on dredging right away. Okay, thank you.

Chop chop.

What do we have here? This is most.

Remarkable amazing fabulous splendid.

It looks like a sort of mask.

Yes, this looks like a Jade. Maybe a death mask or something. Those human bones yes they are.

What do you think this could be used for? What storeys do your people have these?

Places these voters must have been.

From the people who were.

Thrown into into the reservoir after they died. Yes, yes it.

Looks like these.

Reservoirs were used for some form of worship, like an early primitive temple or sacrificing people to their guards, asking Quincy Kotel to bring them health and spring rains to the land.

1956 The Tickle project.

Dear Journal.

Evidence shows that the Mayans believed sacrificing bloodletting was a gift to the God. It appears that they would Pierce the ***** the.

Ear lobe and the tongue.

There are even detailed carvings showing this gruesome acts.

We are experiencing the.

Planets and stars coming up through the windows in the Observatory.

Yes, that's right.

Appears at the temples have been built aligned to the stars and the planets in the Sky. Look at Venus.

Rising up through the window, now it's useless.

To help track.

These days in the seasons of the year, yes, this is outstanding.


How many Stone Age tools were they able to build?

And see precisely align these these massive buildings to these astronomical events.

1989 Kapan Bario discovery.

Dear Journal, today we discovered a burial.

In a temple situated in the city of Compan.

We have discovered.

Many great ornaments including a Jade mask.

That's right, it's truly.

Incredible what we found here inside the burial site there. Clay, fgs and incense burners which look like they're offerings, maybe to the guards.

Who do you think was buried here?

By the looks of it, it is. It may be a Princess for or a daughter from one of the Snake Kings. Yeah, when the powerful Kings in the area perhaps?

This was a Royal.

Wedding that was used to create some kind of a relationship or friendship between two of the Mayan city states, yeah.

The team itself is very deep within one of the temples, so it's very difficult to excavate. We had to dig very carefully right inside the structure of the temple, hoping that was still holed up after being deserted for hundreds of years. Yes, that's right. We're very scared at times when the ceiling started crumbling a little bit. Yeah, I know it's a dark in there as well, but it's worth it for this discovery. Truly, truly amazing.

2018 The Lidar project.

Nidahas revealed thousands of new buildings under the canopy, 40 times more than we originally suspected.

Yes, this is the most amazing discovery we've made using LIDAR from a plane flying over the rainforest be fire laser beams down to penetrate through the canopy of the forest itself. They bounced back up to the aircraft overhead. Allow us to form a 3D map of the landscape below which.

Reveals details than ever seen.

Before yeah, so when they shoot the leaves down there bumps back up and then they time how long it takes for them to come.

Back up, that's right, and using this it's just.

Phenomenal. What they found stripped.

It has what we've thought. First, we're just small.

Townsend cities have turned into sprawling.

Metropolises there is going to be hundreds of thousands of new discoveries to be made in this area is when we were trekking through the forest you could see in front of you just 10 metres.

You'll see nothing, but with this lidar reveals for.



This Journal has been amazing.

But there's been many, many discoveries in the.

Past, but what do you think the?

Future holds.

I think the.

Lidar evidence they found recently it's.

That shows that there's so much that has yet to be found out about the mines in the future. Yeah, Julian football moves so lucky to your family's Journal as well on how it's got the storeys. Like Diego. Who else was in there?

Frederick, Catherine, Alfred's mousley.

Yeah, and their storeys I.

Mean if you look at the past first before we look at the future, you can say that they started off as just storeys of these cities, didn't they? Yeah, and when the first discovery that we found out about.

Always seen in this channel they it was funny. We can see the Spanish people didn't even believe created Garcia. That's right. He didn't believe that there be such large cities there and then his moves that you right back to it was that Philip the second. I think the King of Spain at the time he.

Even space saying Oh well, the the native people have that too primitive have made these temples and archaeologists have discovered through their hard research in the Haut sweaty, different conditions of the rainforest. Actually just how sophisticated and how amazing a civilization the.

Mayans were yes.

With the astronomy and their tool making even though they only had to stay in tools and wooden tools. Yeah, yeah. So I think the future is going to have more discoveries and we can.

Ever imagine this?

So what do you think the future holds?

Um, I know you excited by it. Do you want to be part of it? I excited possibly part of it.

I think the future will hold.

Up well, we'll definitely discover more buildings and temples.

But Lidar has helped us a lot.

When we were.

Researching for your project, it reminds me of a book that we read little while gay. The Explorer by Katherine Rundell. Yeah, it's really good.

And I'll read the blog when their plane crashes, four children are stranded in the Amazon jungle. Now they have to survive alone.

But was someone there before them.

It's really good Storey and actually one of the children their dreams of being on the explorers of old. Doesn't he? Exploring deep in the jungle and finding lost cities? Yeah, well worth a read. I think his name is Fred.

That's all we're giving you.

Yes, you got better memory than me. Yeah yeah. So watch this space for the next Explorer, which could be you Anton on too busy?

General safety.

Who makes yourself to that time travel? Yeah, so back to the present.

And actually Speaking of time yesterday.

Was a leap day, wasn't it? Yeah.

Imagine having your birthday on that day.

Let's see you at 8 would only officially be two years old and I age really slowly. Yeah, so do you know why we have leap years?

Um, is it because every year there's 365 and a quarter days?

And then every four years they will have to add on an add on an extra day.

Because Mo forequarters is 1. How have you been reading my notes? No okay, but do you know you OK so?

That's correct, there's yeah, an extra quarter a day each year says the protesters access than orbiting the sun. It doesn't quite seem cop exactly, but do you know why we need the leap year?

I mean, what effect would that have?


I don't know. You don't know, Okay?

Will listen and you will learn.

So he said it's about 365 and a quarter days. Or to be more precise, the Earth takes approximately 365.242189 days to travel round the sun.

Or 365 days. Five hours 48.

Minutes and 45 seconds.

And this is called the tropical year, so that's the exact time that it takes the Earth to orbit around the sun. So what that means is that each year the Earth finishes its final rotation all day, about 6 hours quicker than it fully orbits the sun. Yeah, it goes slightly out of sync so much that's not a big kind of time is 6 hours. It's not particularly long. It means that every four years, like you're saying, without approximately one day wouldn't be if he's 4 * 6 is 24.

So 24 hours got your maths right this.

Time I have.

Yes, but you also remember that's not exactly 6 hours, it's.

Five hours, 48 minutes and 45 seconds.

And these 11 Anna quarter minutes add up. So it's actually a special formula used to work out the PS. It's not really every four years, so the year has to be divisible by 4 but not devisable by 100 unless it's divisible by 400. That makes sense, yet know. So the year 2000, when the world ended was a leap year.

So it was 2012 when some said that the Mayans predicted the world would end was also a leap year.

What 1900 and 2100 will not be leap years because they are divisible by 100 but not by.

400 yeah, so you can't fit 4.

100 into 2100, but you can fit 120. Yeah, got that.

Even with these changes, the Gregorian calendar, so it's a kind of system that we use isn't perfect, and.

It will be out by one day every 3236 years.

However, there is a revised version of the calendar which is only up by one day, every 31,250 years. We don't really use that big Gorian calendar is accurate enough for our general needs.

But what would happen if we didn't have leap years impacts that original question.

It means that in just 100 years the seasons would have drifted by about 20-4 days.

Okay, but we do gotta think.

Yeah, MPs would be the calendar date and the kind of weather would move.

At different rates. So yeah, because.


I get it now. Yes, that quarter day with keep adding up and pushing everything. I think. Yeah exactly if it continued would be having snow in July and would be throwing shrimps on the Barbie mate for Christmas like they do in Australia. But this would only affect us in the Northern hemisphere that way so in the Southern Hemisphere would be the opposite. Yeah? So we would be the new Australia kangaroo that's rubbish wallah. I can't do it today. Normally I'm much better. So why is this important? Do you think that?

Keeping our dates and our kind of seasons In Sync.

Um, so people don't get confused.


For weather forecasts as well, maybe. I don't know anything that is too too much now, but I think it's mainly going to be around planning things I'd imagine so historically it could be things like planting crops and kind of religious days. If you know that the weather starts getting better in say mid spring or something, and that's when you have to plant or religious days.

Knowing that they are kind of in the same point of the year.

Particularly with some older civilizations, there may be, like the Mayans they had there.

The serpent crawling up the temple, didn't they? On the equinox.

Well, that would still be the same in a way, because that would be In Sync with the sun or the tropical year.

We it depends on the position of the.

Sky doesn't it to form a shadow, but you.

Still want the actual date itself to be the same.

Although the Mayans they use three different calendars and they had fantastic time keeping and I don't actually know if they used to leap years or not. And it will also be important for WOR if you were going to go out on campaign, you would want to know that the weather is going to be fine.

Because so you during the Roman.

You would want to know that, okay, we can go at the start of summer when summer is and you're going.

To have fine weather.

So who do?

You think introduced leap years, any idea?


Who introduced a leap year?

One please is in 45 BC.

Still not sure it was called the Julian calendar? Julius Caesar Julius Caesar exactly, so that's why I mentioned the importance for Warren Battle.

Yeah, so he introduced in 45 BC and very humbly. It was named after himself. However, he's had a leap year every four years with no exception every 100 years. So different to what we used today. So I had to go out of sinks, wouldn't it? Yeah.