Johan Calleman was born in Stockholm, Sweden at noon on May 15, 1950 (the
exact midpoint of the month named from the Roman goddess Maia) on the day 5
Jaguar in the Classical Mayan tzolkin count. For the past seven years he has
devoted himself full time to disseminating information about the Mayan
calendrics and has lectured on his topic in seven different countries and
among other things appeared on Swedish, Finish and Mexican television. He was
one of the main speakers at the conference on the Mayan calendar organized by
the Mexican chapter of the Indigenous Council of the Americas in Merida,
Yucatan during the spring equinox in 1998. He has published calendars and a
book, Maya-hypotesen (1994), in Swedish.
He is also a scientist with a Ph.D. in Physical Biology
from the University of Stockholm. In his capaticity he has, among other
things, been a Senior Researcher at the Department of Environmental Health at
the University of Washington in Seattle. As a cancer expert he has lectured
around the world, from MIT to the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine in
Beijing, and he has worked as an expert for the World Health Organization. He
currently teaches Environmental Technology at Dalarna University in Borlänge,
His Internet address is http://www.ioon.net/mayaonics,
which publishes information in English.
Recent Mayan Find
New York Times,
March 14, 2002, Thursday
Archaeologists Find Mayan 'Masterpiece' in Guatemala
By JOHN NOBLE WILFORD
Archaeologists exploring deep in the rain forest of Guatemala have uncovered
what they think is the earliest intact wall painting of the Maya civilization.
A depiction of scenes from mythology and ritual, the 1,900-year-old mural is
being hailed by experts as a masterpiece.
Even though only part of the mural has been exposed so far, scholars said
the scenes and portraits promised rare insights into the society and religion
of the Maya. The paintings, dated about A.D. 100, are described as more
extensive and better preserved than the only other existing piece of
Pre-Classic wall art. What is known as the Maya Classic period lasted from
A.D. 250 to about A.D. 900.
''It opens a window into the mythological and courtly life of the ancient
Maya,'' said Dr. William Saturno, a lecturer at the University of New
Hampshire and researcher at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at
Dr. Saturno led the team that found the mural in a buried room at the ruins
of San Bartolo, a Maya ceremonial site that was previously unknown to
archaeologists, in an uninhabited part of northeastern Guatemala. The
discovery is being announced by the National Geographic Society, which
supported the research, and is publishing an article on the findings in the
April issue of its magazine.
Dr. David A. Freidel, an archaeologist at Southern Methodist University in
Dallas, was not a team member but has studied pictures and drawings of the
mural scenes. To help bring the faded mural to life and possible
understanding, an artist working with the researchers has studied photographs
and drawn outlines of the scenes.
''It's as fine a mural as I've ever seen painted in Mesoamerica,'' Dr.
Freidel said, referring to the region of southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize
and Honduras where the pre-Columbian Maya culture thrived. ''The quality of
the execution, the composition itself, the beautifully rendered faces -- this
is a master at work and a masterpiece of visual art.''
Dr. Saturno said that luck and exhaustion entered into the discovery.
Arriving at the San Bartolo site exhausted after a three-day journey, he
sought shade in a tunnel that looters had dug near an 80-foot pyramid. He
turned a flashlight on the dark tunnel wall.
''There was this Maya mural, a very rare thing,'' he recalled. ''The
looters had cleared off a section and left it. I felt like the luckiest man on
The visible part is about six feet long and more than two feet high, but
this may be only 10 percent of the total painting. The archaeologists said
that traces of the border and other clues suggest that the entire mural wraps
around the room. Most of the room, which adjoins the pyramid, is still filled
with dirt and rubble.
Joining Dr. Saturno in subsequent studies of the site were Dr. David
Stuart, also of Harvard's Peabody Museum, and Dr. Héctor Escobedo of the
Universidad del Valle in Guatemala. They determined the approximate date of
the mural by comparing its style and content with the only previously known
but poorly preserved paintings from the Pre-Classic period, those from the
much grander Guatemalan site of Tikal.
In the painting, at least nine people are standing or kneeling in a scene
surrounded by geometric designs. The dominant figure is a man standing and
looking back over his shoulder at two kneeling women.
Dr. Karl Taube, a scholar of iconography at the University of California at
Riverside, said the scene may depict an important ritual in Maya mythology,
the ''dressing of the maize god.''
Dr. Freidel, a co-author of ''Maya Cosmos: Three Thousand Years on the
Shaman's Path'' (Morrow, 1993), said that it was more likely that the figure
was not meant to be the maize god himself, but a ruler who is impersonating
the god in a ceremony of regeneration associated with the season of planting
and the season of nourishing rain.