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A Lunar-Solar Year Calendar Stick from North America

Alexander Marshack
American Antiquity
Vol. 50, No. 1 (Jan., 1985), pp. 27-51
DOI: 10.2307/280632
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/280632
Page Count: 25
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A Lunar-Solar Year Calendar Stick from North America
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Abstract

The microscopic and sequential analysis of an early nineteenth-century American Indian calendar stick documents the notation of a precise, non-arithmetic, observational lunar year of twelve months with the evidence for added, subsidiary months suggesting the use of a thirteenth intercalary month every three years to bring the calendar into phase with the solar tropical year. The calendar stick is the most complex astronomical-calendric, problem-solving device known from the Americas outside of the high Mesoamerican and Andean Civilizations, but it is not derived from these late traditions. The analysis suggests the presence of an underlying observational conceptual base that may have come into the Americas from Asia.

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